All These Lonely People by Gervase Phinn

phinn1I loved this little book; I thought it was a really touching and moving read that drew you straight into the story. It follows some of the characters from the song Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles, as Mr Phinn chose to see how they might have lead their lonely lives. I thought Father McKenzie was a beautifully drawn character and I really wish the world was made of more characters like him, although I don’t feel they would all need the religious element as I believe people of varying types could have the characteristics, understanding, compassion and ability to see the good in everyone as does Father McKenzie. I really recommend this and being a quick read it’s easy to fit in to a busy life.

5star1

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Unspoken by Sam Hayes

unspokenMeet Julie, her alcoholic husband Murray and her silent mother Mary. This thriller revolves around the search for the attacker of a local schoolgirl and was certainly one of those books that I wanted to keep reading. It was a joy to read as each chapter was told by the perspective of these three people and brought them and their story to life. I really enjoyed getting to the know the characters and really warmed to them all. It was good to see the black, the white and all the greys in between with the characterisation. I really enjoyed the  emotion of the thriller as well as the story as I find many thrillers lacking in this area and to bring them together I find very satisfactory. I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoy a thriller, but enjoy the emotional side of life too!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Todd is the last boy of Prentisstown, who is shortly to become a man. Only men live in Prentisstown as the women have all died, and it’s an uncomfortable place as everyone’s thoughts can be heard by everyone else, otherwise known as ‘Noise.’

Todd’s parents are both dead and he’s been brought up by Cillan & Ben. Suddenly he finds himself being ordered from his home as Cillan and Ben feel it’s no longer safe for him. He takes with him Manchee his talking dog and takes off into the swamp, where he meets Viola, another orphan. They are destined to travel together on a hunt for Haven: the safe town! At the same time they are the hunted by the men of Prentisstown who will not let him just leave and Aaron, who has only recently become a man is also on their trail.

Great, dystopian, young adult novel, but I believe is suitable for us oldies too! It’s a real page turner! I haven’t read a story of this genre in a long time, but enjoy it I most certainly did. Its drama all the way through and just as you feel all will settle down the pace accelerates again. Every time I picked it up I found it very hard to put down. It’s a dark read and all told from the view that Todd has on his world. I thought the characters are all well drawn and I adored Manchee, the dog, and his funny ways. I was really sad to finish the book, with an ending I wasn’t expecting, but was very pleased to learn that this is only the first book of a trilogy. I can’t wait for more!

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Precious Cargo by Clyde Ford

Precious Cargo by Clyde Ford

African American Charlie Noble loves his boat: The Noble Lady as well as his lady friend Kate. He is hired by Marvin and Angela who pull up an unwanted lady from the bottom of the seabed. Having lost their own daughter they ask Charlie to investigate and find out how this lady came to be there. Charlie takes on the challenge and finds himself in many dangerous situations, but is helped by Raven, a Native American.

For a thriller I found this an extremely laid back read and an enjoyable one too. I was really surprised that as the story was always moving that I could find the story so laidback, however maybe it was the way that Clyde wrote the character of Charlie. I loved the watery theme of this thriller too and it certainly gave it a different slant than many other of the thrillers that I have read lately. It’s certainly left me feeling like a boat trip; however I’d give the bullets a miss.

Clydes website here

1/2

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Cliffhanger by T J Middleton (Tim Binding)

Middle class modern England, quaint village by the sea with some lovely cliffs: here we meet Al Greenwood and his wife Audrey. This story is told from the perspective of Al. Initially we find out that Al has had enough of his wife and it’s time to be rid of her and he intends to do this by pushing her off a cliff; that’s the plan anyway! Another young lady called Miranda disappears at the same time. You’ll have to read it to find out how she fits into the story.

It’s a mystery and comedy rolled into one. Al is a very strange character; well actually everyone in this book is strange! Al loves his Asagi koi carp (Torvill & Dean) and finds himself in the company of a local policeman that can also see the finer side of fish! The neighbour Alice Blackstock, otherwise known as Mrs Poke Nose, seems like an old hippy at heart and when she makes stuffing to accompany the pork chops at a dinner party we can wonder what her secret ingredient is that means they take 10 minutes to chew through and why are they so irresistible? This book is really funny and one can’t help at times feeling a bit sorry for Al, but at the same time thinking he’s a selfish prize idiot. They certainly are a wonderful set of characters to follow and the tale of Kim out at night with a lady roaming the countryside had me in stitches.

It certainly feels like a right English romp and there is so much to find funny in this book and I would definitely recommend it as it’s a lovely read.

Guardian article here

1/2

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Paying For It (A Gus Dury Novel) by Tony Black

Paying For It by Tony Black

Set in Edinburgh this is an atmospheric and gritty novel, but also full of dark humour. Gus Dury is an ex-journalist and his wife is divorcing him as the demon drink has taken a strong hold of him. His friend Col’s son is found dead, but the police say that he committed suicide. Gus finds out this isn’t true and Col asks him to find the killer of his son and what’s with the cover-up? Gus endeavours to find the truth and along the way we meet some unsavoury characters, as well as a wolf, and see Gus facing his own demons regarding his upbringing with his cruel and harsh father.

What a fantastic crime novel, I found this exceptionally entertaining. At times it felt you could really warm to Gus, but then at others you just wanted to yell at him to get a grip, but then I guess that’s the way it can be with alcoholics. I found that characterization was great, plot was superb and it was really fast paced and also contained emotional depth. For me this had everything that I love in a book, although be careful if you don’t like strong and sometimes course language. I have visited Edinburgh, but feel I only scratched the surface and there’s much more to it than meets the eye if this novel’s anything to go by. What I also find strange is that I’ve read Ian Rankin, but his books have never really shouted at me, but this book most certainly does!

Gus is definitely a character I wish to follow and I can’t wait for the sequel: Gutted.

I highly recommend this book!

Tony Blacks Website

Interview with Tony Black

Paying For It documentary

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Losing You by Patricia Debney

Losing You by Patricia Debney

A book that gives us a glimpse of the lives of two women: Marilyn and Hillary over the space of a few days. In the first half of the book we hear the voice of Marilyn and the second half we hear the voice of Hilary. Marilyn a counsellor loses her father and is in the process of grieving and re-evaluating her life and even though she guides many of her clients through their various problems, she feels a bit at a loss about her own existence with husband Doug and son Lewis. Her new friend Hilary has a son Aaron, who is the same age as Lewis and her other half is Adam who also appears to have a soft spot for Marilyn.

This was a very compelling read and these two women seem to be trying to find their place in the world and it really does make you think and wonder about the lives of others and how complex they may actually be. I really enjoyed reading it and wondering what did happen to Marilyn as the book has undertones that something macabre may have happened, or at least that’s the way it made me feel, as I thought it had an eerie feel most of the way through.

I thought this was a great read that is asking me to read again shortly and I strongly recommend it.

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