blog tour · book review · British · corruption · crime · police procedural

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Chloe: Never Forget

Chloe: Never Forget

An off-duty detective gunned down. A dead woman. A student missing, feared dead. And now, a former policeman in search of his past. All these people, dead or alive, have one thing in common. D.I. Carl Sant must discover what it is.

A series of cold-case enquiries leads D.I. Sant and his colleagues to investigate a botched assassination plot dating back to the 1980s. The deeper they dig into the case, the more secrets are revealed, including shocking connections to the infamous National Front.

Meanwhile, the memory of former P.C. Tanner, survivor of the assassination horror, is beginning to recover. Sant must find Tanner, and find out who is behind it all – before his superiors lose their rag and more lives are lost.

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Author Bio 

Dan Laughey is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where he teaches a course called ‘Youth, Crime and Culture’ among other things. He has written several books on the subject including Music and Youth Culture, based on his PhD in Sociology at Salford University. He also holds a BA in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds.

Dan was born in Otley and bred in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a hop and a skip away from the Leeds setting of his Chloe novels.

His crime writing was purely academic to begin with. He’s written about media violence and tackled the age-old concern about television and video games influencing patterns of antisocial behaviour in society. After years of research and theoretical scrutiny, he still hasn’t cracked that particular nut.

He’s also written about the role of CCTV and surveillance in today’s Big Brother world, the sometimes fraught relationship between rap and juvenile crime, football hooliganism, and the sociocultural legacy of Britain’s most notorious serial killer – the Yorkshire Ripper.

All in all, Dan’s work has been translated into four languages: French, Hebrew, Korean and Turkish. He has presented guest lectures at international conferences and appeared on BBC Radio and ITV News in addition to providing expert commentary for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

Social Media Links – Twitter: @danlaughey – Facebook:

My Review

Following on from Chloe: Lost Girl, the story picks up with PC Tanner, now known as Nigel Fleming. Unfortunately he cannot remember the incident about which he is being questioned … well, not at first.

As time passes, the mystery of the ‘are they connected or not’ cases becomes abundantly clear. Of course, Sant was right, but someone is determined to make sure he doesn’t finally join those dots.

This is a speedy read, with the tension escalating as Sant gets closer to solving the mystery and there are plenty of twists and turns on the way.

This is reminiscent of the TV series Line of Duty, with the corruption of high ranking police officials at the core – exciting, frustrating, tense … all those magical ingredients that make a thrilling read are thrown into the mix here. (Though the phrase ‘bent copper’ is not said 😉 the implication is well and truly made)

As Fleming’s memory returns, he wants revenge. The matter of his priming, and who is involved adds more intrigue. You won’t see it coming – it’s sublime storytelling. The far right element is both eerily familiar and scary, and brings an added layer of unrelenting disquiet to the already sombre atmosphere.

Back at base, Sant is being fobbed off, pushed every which way by his superiors to avoid him making the necessary connections. The mood between Sant and Lister is grim, but oh so fascinating. Capstick is growing into his role and has much to offer despite his own doubts and the odd ‘interesting’ mistake. Along with Holdsworth, who continues to be strong and effective, the author has created a very believable working environment and set of relationships. This team are determined to crack the case – regardless of what those higher up might think.

To be honest, as the end drew closer, I began to feel a little disillusioned with the outcome. Wishing that Sant had not let the guilty party get away with it. But, that’s how I was meant to feel because there was another twist to come.

Clever writing, indeed.

This was an engaging read, keeping me totally enthralled, rooting for Sant and his team, and desperate for a solution.  If you enjoy a thrilling police procedural story, then you can’t go far wrong with this.

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Africa · blog tour · book review · corruption · crime · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Teeth of Giants

The Teeth of Giants

by Gordon Wallis

In the brutal war on Elephant poaching in Africa one man takes a stand against a ruthless international ivory smuggling syndicate. A stand that almost costs him everything.

Jason Green never for one minute expected the appalling violence and horror he would endure when he returned to Africa to pay his respects to an old friend. 

A profound sense of guilt and nostalgia prompts London based ex soldier Jason Green to return to Africa for the funeral of an old friend killed in suspicious circumstances in The Zambezi Valley. He is about to be sucked into the murky and brutal underworld of the illegal ivory trade. Grave injury and a burning desire for revenge thrust Green from the blistering heat of The Zambezi Valley to the tropical coast of Mozambique and beyond. Every tortured step of this journey is fraught with extreme danger and the ever present threat of death. 

The Teeth Of Giants is the second novel by Gordon Wallis featuring his main character Jason Green. Readers of thrillers set in Africa will devour the frenetic pace and sheer brutality of this gritty crime thriller. 

Pick up The Teeth Of Giants today and prepare for the ride of your life.

Purchase Links:

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About the Author

Gordon Wallis is a 50 year old author based in Zimbabwe , Southern Africa. Born of British parents he has lived there all his life. A keen reader of thriller novels , particularly those set in Africa , he has travelled extensively in Africa , Europe , The Middle East and Asia. He runs a number of businesses in Zimbabwe and is single.

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My review

This was the first book I’d read by Gordon Wallis and, despite it featuring the same character as his previous novel, I didn’t feel disadvantaged by not knowing the main character, Jason Green, prior to this story. If I were to sum this book up in one sentence, I’d say it was “exciting, fast-paced and hugely addictive, set against a stunning backdrop.”

The settings were so vividly drawn, I felt totally immersed in Jason’s world right from the tense investigation of the camp back in 1979; the putrid sewer he and Kriel were confined to in order not to get caught had me holding my nose and my breath.

When Kriel’s wife passed over the hard drive which inevitably cost her husband his life, then the anticipation of a fantastic – and horrific – adventure drew me in completely. Stunning wildlife settings painted a beautiful world, but one marred by the hunters and crooks who sought to kill elephants for their ivory tusks, or to massacre rhinos for their horns just to feed the demand from unscrupulous companies exporting their ‘wares’ to China.

It was clear from the start that Jason would pick up where Kriel had left off, not only delivering that report to Switzerland but by closing down the hunters and businesses by whatever means possible. So, you can see what I mean by exciting and fast-paced.

There were a few inconsistencies that caught my eye – I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to detail, it’s the editor in me 😦

The main one being that when Hannes Kriel died in the present day (by which I assume 2019), he was 51, yet he and Jason – whose age is not disclosed – were on a mission together back in 1979, forty years earlier. That slight glitch jumped out at me, but says more about me as a reader than anything because I just had to do the sums.

For me, the story was written in such a style that is not so common these days, with more telling than showing. That said, it didn’t spoil the story in any way. In fact, it was more gripping than many stories that ‘show’ too much at the expense of the story.

I often wondered – as did Jason – now and then, why he didn’t just take the hard drive home – or at least email / post it right at the beginning. He didn’t have to take on the battles he did, he could have let justice do its job – or was he saying he didn’t trust the system – in which case why bother with exposing the corruption at all? Although, I’m glad he didn’t do that, it would have been a very short, and dull, story had he done so. And, besides, I’d have missed the great drone experiences, where Jason captured so much of the evidence he added to Kriel’s report.

In all, this was a story of total adventure where real danger lies in exposing the utter greed of the few. There’s a very real message within these pages. If only there were more real-life Jason Greens to end this exploitation of Africa, which is driving so many great creatures into extinction.

Definitely an author whose books I’ll will seek out in the future.

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blog tour · book review · corruption · must-read · mystery · suspense

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – A Matter of Latitude

A Matter of Latitude

From the acclaimed author of The Drago Tree comes a riveting thriller about survival, revenge and long-hidden secrets.

When local Lanzarote anti-corruption activist, Celestino, is T-boned on a lonely stretch of road, he knows the collision was no accident.
Wounded and fearing for his life, he hides in an abandoned fishing village, waiting for a chance to make it home. Meanwhile his wife, English expat Paula, is distraught. Her pursuit of answers is deflected when her neighbor, troublesome retiree Shirley Mobad, co-opts Paula on her escapades around the Canary Islands.
Paula’s search for her husband quickly descends into mayhem, danger and intrigue. Before long, she realizes she’s being followed. She needs answers, and fast.
But where is Celestino, and will he ever make it back alive?
“A Matter of Latitude simmers with danger, betrayal and treachery, drawing the reader into the island’s history of shady dealings and uneasy relationships between natives, tourists and expats… Isobel Blackthorn has crafted an atmospheric and setting-rich novel with alluring lyrical style.” – Sandi Wallace, award-winning crime fiction author

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Author Bio

Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of original fiction across a range of genres, including psychological thrillers, gripping mysteries, captivating travel fiction and hilarious dark satire.
Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her ground-breaking study of the texts of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Her engagement with Alice Bailey’s life and works has culminated in the biographical novel, The Unlikely Occultist.
Isobel carries a lifelong passion for the Canary Islands, Spain, her former home. Many of her novels are set on the islands, including The Drago Tree, which was released in 2015 and is now in Spanish translation, Clarissa’s Warning and A Matter of Latitude. These novels are setting rich and fall into the broad genre of travel fiction, and the novels are as much stories about the islands themselves as they are straight-ahead entertainment.
Isobel has led a rich and interesting life and her stories are as diverse as her experiences, the highs and lows, and the dramas. Some of her writing is dark, like the psychological thriller, Twerk, which is based on six years of research and first-hand accounts of dancers working in what are euphemistically called gentlemen’s clubs.
A life-long campaigner for social justice, Isobel has written, protested and leant her weight to a range of issues including family violence. A Londoner originally, Isobel currently lives near Melbourne, Australia.

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My Review

This is a great read, a proper whodunnit based on corruption in what most of us will consider the idyll of Lanzarote. The story is told in first person, with alternating viewpoints from married couple Paula & Celestino (every now and then a chapter creeps in told from the viewpoint of Richard, an author wanting to write a captivating thriller – a genius move, if you ask me!)

Paula is British and after a holiday romance that didn’t die in the ether, she marries local artist, Celestino. Together they have a child, who is three years old as this story develops. Paula struggles to fit in, feeling she is stuck in a gap, being neither an expat in the truest sense of the word nor a local.

Celestino comes across as quite a moody character, with artistic temperament oozing from his pores. He feels his art is underappreciated, and despises the “need” to produce irrelevant tat for the tourist market. You see, for him, tourism has taken over his island, leaving half the island basking in the sunshine in palm-lined streets whilst the locals are ignored by council after council. All anyone seems concerned about is keeping the tourists happy, whether by fair means or foul.

Hedonism is corruption’s accomplice

The web of corruption is gradually revealed, and Celestino’s “disappearance” is only the start. (By disappearance, read: being forced off the road, over a cliff, hunted by a rabid dog and wanted by those whose fraudulent and corrupt methods he seeks to expose).

Paula is frantic when her husband doesn’t arrive home in time for their daughter’s birthday party. With everyone blaming the storm, she hopes that’s all it is. But when the land dries and Celestino is still nowhere to be found, then the mystery deepens. With her father’s help (her parents have moved to the island to be nearer to her) she sets about tracing her missing husband.

Asking the neighbours, local shop owners and everyone who knows Celestino, leaves her no further forward. But when his paintings – taken from his studio – start to appear in the unlikeliest of places, then she feels her husband has stumbled into the viper’s nest and maybe his anti-corruption activities will be the end of him.

Two characters, in particular, help to bring some relief to the dark atmosphere of this story. Firstly, Richard, the author looking for a new plot, constantly badgers Paula for ideas for his next book, since his last effort bombed. He is determined to be accurate this time. What he finds is almost the plot he could have written – a body in a remote setting. Then we have Shirley, another Brit, but one who feels she is now a local having lived on the island for so long. Shirley has her fingers in many pies, and from first inspection she seems to be doing good work for the right people – charity groups in particular. What we learn later is that Shirley is no fan of Celestino, since her own late husband was one of the few Celestino had wanted to expose.

The conclusion will keep the reader guessing on many points. Will Celestino return to his family safely? How did those paintings end up in such strange locations? Whose body did the author find? So many questions, but all nicely tied up at the end. I can thoroughly recommend this book to lovers of a good mystery.

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