#R3COMM3ND3D2022 with #BookBlogger Jude Wright (@judefire33) #Judefire33TheBookBlog #BookRecommendations #publishedin2022 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Loved this Emma, thank you for having me on your Blog! Although, I could actually change these books already lol! xx


Hello bookish pals and welcome to Wednesday on damppebbles. It’s day 23 of #R3COMM3ND3D2022 which means that after today, there are only 7 posts until the end of this year’s series. But what a corker it’s been! We’ve had 61 books recommended with two books – The Girl from Guernica by Karen Robards and Nothing Else by Louise Beech – both receiving two votes each! With the finish line in sight, will these two make it triumphantly to the end to be crowned joint winners? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see!

Joining me to share the book love today is a brilliant blogger who I heartily recommend you follow, it’s the fabulous Jude Wright of Judefire33 – The Book Blog. Jude, like me, is a crime fiction and thriller fan so I always like to keep an eye on what she’s reading! And, slightly off topic but…

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My #Review of #NoCountryForGirls by #EmmaStyles @emstylesauthor @BooksSphere


Charlie and Nao are strangers from different sides of the tracks. They should never have met, but one devastating incident binds them together forever. A man is dead and now they are unwilling accomplices in his murder there’s only one thing to do: hit the road in the victim’s twin cab ute, with a bag of stolen gold stashed under the passenger seat.

Suddenly, outlaws, Nao and Charlie must make their way across Australia’s remote outback using only their wits to survive. They’ll do whatever it takes to evade capture and escape with their lives . . . Thelma & Louise for a new generation, No Country for Girls is a gritty, twisty road-trip thriller that follows two young women on the run across the harsh, unforgiving landscape of Australia

As a fan of Australian crime fiction, I was excited to start reading No Country For Girls.

From the very first chapter, the reader is thrown into a tense and gripping story. We meet the wonderfully sharp-edged Charlie and the calmer Nao during the night, they’ve never met before but when they stumble across each other they become allies after a brutal murder. We then follow their journey through rural Australia as they try to outrun the law in a dead mans Ute with a bag full of stolen gold ingots!

I mean the premise for the story is bloody superb, and it does not let up! I found No Country For Girls an exceptional book, so well written from the point of view of 2 girls from different sides of Australia by descent, the way Emma Styles portrays their inner feelings and thoughts is so perfect! Both girls have “backgrounds” that have molded them into the people they are now, and it shapes the whole novel and the outcome.

I was literally full of anxiety reading No Country For Girls, the plot weaves at a fast pace just like the girls across Australia, and there are so many shocking moments that will have you going ” oh no” out loud! As always I’m not giving any of the plots away, but if you like your thrillers dark, edgy and realistic then No Country For Girls is going to be a book for you.

I read this novel in 2 days so that tells you how superb it is, I had both girls, Charlie and Nao firmly in my mind, in fact even after finishing No Country For Girls, they are still vivid and alive in my mind!

A triumphant debut novel from Emma Styles, about friendship, hope and survival. I hope Emma Styles will be up there with the other big names of Australian Thrillers very soon. I am so eager for the next novel!

A ripper of a 5-star read from me!

Emma Styles writes contemporary Australian noir about young women taking on the patriarchy. She grew up in Whadjuk Noongar Country in Perth, Western Australia, and now lives in London where she was born. Emma loves a road trips and once sat out a cyclone on the northwest coast of WA in a LandCruiser Troop Carrier. She spent her teens and twenties learning to ski, snowboard, ride horses and motorcycles, and fly small airplanes. She is less afraid of great white sharks than she should be and is hopeless at surfing.

Emma has an MA in crime fiction from the University of East Anglia. Her debut novel, No Country for Girls, won the Little, Brown UEA Crime Fiction Award in 2020 and was chosen by Val McDermid to feature in her New Blood panel for outstanding debut novelists at the 2022 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

You can follow Emma Styles on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can find out more about Emma Styles HERE on her website

You can buy No Country For Girls HERE

#Guest #Author #KateRhodes @K_RhodesWriter author of #TheBrutalTide #DIBenKitto #Series

JW; I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And what gave you the idea for The Brutal Tide?

KR; I loved reading as a child, without realising I was slowly developing into a writer. My parents were teachers, so I was lucky to grow up with plenty of books lying around. Being a voracious reader helps greatly when you start to write. It’s like taking a crash course in plotting, atmosphere, and character development. The learning just happens by default. I became an English teacher after university but had little confidence in writing. I began with poems, which are nice and short, slowly building my confidence to write something longer. I was 40 by the time I quit teaching to focus on writing, and take the risk that I could pay the mortgage by words alone.

The Brutal Tide came about because I wanted my protagonist’s past to catch up with him at last. DI Ben Kitto is leading a quiet life down in Scilly, with his girlfriend and his dog, when a vicious killer comes looking for him on the islands. She’s incensed that her father is behind bars, thanks to Kitto’s successful work exposing the brutal gang he led in London.

JW; How much research did you have to do for the DI Ben Kitto Series, and indeed for The Brutal Tide, there’s some close attention to being murdered several ways, which seems realistic!

KR; I love researching the Isles of Scilly series. I’ve been visiting them since I was small, but it’s never a hardship to go back. There are just 5 inhabited islands off the southern coast of Cornwall, 40 kilometers from the mainland, in the Atlantic. The smallest islands have less than a hundred permanent residents and they never feel busy. I’m often to be found taking ferries between the islands and interviewing people about subjects like beekeeping, silversmithing, and wildflower cultivation. The internet is a great source of information on ways to kill people. I just hope the police never come calling, because I regularly type questions like ‘how easy is it to drown someone?’ They must think I’m a full-time assassin!

JW; The cast of characters in The Brutal Tide and indeed through the whole Locked Island Mystery series is quite large and complex, how do you keep track! And can we have a list of them all in the next book, please!

KR; That’s such a good question, Jude! I keep a list of thumbnail sketches of each character living on each island. Only a small number of folk get mentioned repeatedly, like Ben’s family, friends, and colleagues, but I try to limit the cast for each book to a manageable number. I loved reading Hilary Mantels’ Wolf Hall but got lost by chapter 3, with so many names to remember. I’d hate to baffle people! I just want to tell a gripping story with the kind of varied characters we meet in real life.

JW; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or watcher of television? Did any part of your childhood make you the writer you are?

KR; I have to be honest and admit that my childhood was scary. My dad was an alcoholic, so I spent plenty of evenings hiding in my room. Books were a great solace. I loved any story with a happy family at its core. I’m lucky that adult life has been far more fun, but back then I used both books and TV as escapism. Maybe I should be grateful for all that time I hid away in my room. It taught me not only the joy of immersing yourself in a story but the catharsis that comes from keeping a diary.

JW; As we are now in November, which book, that you’ve read this year has been your favorite? OR which are you most looking forward to?

KR; The latest book I’ve read is Cruel Acts, by Jane Casey. I love her Maeve Kerrigan series. She used to be an editor, so her writing style is beautifully polished, and she creates characters that are a hundred percent believable. I enjoy a lot of Irish and Scottish crime writers. It seems to me that they are leading the way right now, in detective fiction, but everyone has their own particular taste! I’m currently reading Rose Wilding’s debut crime novel, Speak of the Devil, which is a tremendous page-turner.

JW; Do you have a favourite author or favourite book of all time?

KR; Brighton Rock, by Graham Greene. It’s one of the classiest crime novels ever! I was just twelve when I read it for the first time. He evokes the seedy, rundown glamour of Brighton in the inter-war years, and creates a terrifying crisis. The book also holds the first genuinely convincing teenage psychopath, whose remorseless violence is so chilling it gave me nightmares.

JW; Have you ever been starstruck by meeting one of your heroes in real life?

KR; Yes! I got to meet Lee Childs a few years ago, when I was on a panel at the Harrogate Crime Festival. At the time he was the most successful crime writer in the world, so I was quaking in my boots, but he was lovely to everyone he met. I love it when famous people turn out to be modest, decent folk. He gave me a hug after the event, and I almost fainted, like a very embarrassing super-fan!

Lee Child

JW; What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

KR; This is probably the worst cliché, but that would be my family. My husband Dave, plus my three stepsons and 4 grandkids mean the world to me. Whenever I see them it’s a salutary reminder that while it’s great fun writing books, spending time with the people you love and supporting them matters more than anything.

JW; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

KR; I’d love to be in St Tropez when Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and all their glamourous pals were down there partying. They’re among my favourite authors of all time, so I’d love to tune in to their conversations, and get swept along to the parties they threw, on a wave of champagne.

JW; Can you share a shelfie (photo of your bookshelf) with us?

KR; No problem. It’s tragically full of my own books right now, which makes me seem like a big ego. I try to give loads away, but the publishers send my boxes full, and I never know quite where to store them.

JW; You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?

KR; Patricia Highsmith, Agatha Christie, Anne Cleeve, and Erin Kelly. I’d love to see some brilliant crime writers from the past chatting with some of today’s luminaries!

JW; What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

KR; Keep polishing until every word in your novel glistens. It’s such wise advice! There’s no point in racing to start the next book unless you are a hundred percent happy with the latest, so I do dozens of drafts.

JW; What’s next? Are you writing a new novel?

KR; I’m currently writing book number 8 in the Ben Kitto series. They’ve been optioned for TV, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all the books appear on our screens before too long!

Kate Rhodes is a crime novelist and award winning poet. Kate was born in south London, but now lives in Cambridge with her family. She studied English at university, and did a wide range of jobs including working in bars, being a theatre usherette, and teaching at a liberal arts college in Florida, before focusing on her writing.
Her latest crime novels are the acclaimed HELL BAY series set in the Isles of Scilly. Kate has been passionate about the islands since holidaying there as a child, and still returns for regular visits. Books in the series include HELL BAY, RUIN BEACH, and BURNT ISLAND.

You can follow Kate Rhodes on TWITTER & FACEBOOK

You can buy Kate Rhodes’s books HERE

#Guest #Author #RobynGigl @robyngigl author of #ByWayOfSorrow #ErinMcCabeSeries @VERVE_Books

JW; I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And what gave you the idea for By Way Of Sorrow?

RG; “Always” is probably not the right term, but since around the age of 25, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I started my first manuscript around 1980. I never finished it and it sits in a briefcase to this day, but that’s when I first had the itch to write. As to where the idea for By Way of Sorrow came from—after a 30-year hiatus, I started writing again in 2010. Around 2014, I finished a manuscript, which resulted in me finding an agent, who was shopping that manuscript around (thankfully it never sold). Since I had some time, I reread To Kill a Mockingbird. It had been a long time since I had read it and I had forgotten just how much of the story involved the trial of Tom Robinson—a young Black man in 1930s Alabama accused of raping a white woman. As I read it, I was frustrated because I wanted to know what Tom was thinking—he had to know he had no chance with a jury of all white men. But the whole book is told from the point of view of Scout, a six-year-old girl. As a result, we never get into Tom’s head or hear his point of view. So, I decided I wanted to write a novel involving a crime that dealt with race, gender identity, and the inequities in the legal system, where the accused had very little chance of being found not guilty. That’s how I came up with the basic story—a young trans woman of color (Sharise Barnes), accused of murdering the son of a very rich and powerful politician. But I quickly realized that couldn’t tell the story primarily from Sharise’s POV because I’m not a trans woman of color. However, since I am an attorney and a trans woman, I could come at the story from that perspective and that’s how Erin McCabe was born.

JW; How important is it for you to see transgender and members of the LGBTQ+ community written as lead characters in mainstream fiction?

RG; To me, it’s huge. LGBTQ+ people, and trans people, in particular, are marginalized in so many ways and so often when they do appear as characters in fiction, they’re there as nothing more than a prop or a victim. I wanted to normalize trans people because we are normal, despite rarely being portrayed that way. And while I think it’s critically important for LGBTQ+ folks to see a positive representation of themselves, I think it’s even more important for cisgender, heterosexual individuals to get an accurate representation of who we are and not an image distorted by the media or politicians.

JW; I adored Erin McCabe so much and found the legal side of the book really interesting and easy to understand, how much of Erin McCabe is you?!

RG; While Erin McCabe is not me, she certainly reflects many of my values and attitudes. It’s not a secret that I drew on some of my own experiences both as an attorney and as a transgender woman in developing her as a character, but I also took pains to make sure she’s not me. Erin is a young, attractive, and fearless woman—I’m not.

JW; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or watcher of television? Did any part of your childhood make you the writer you are?

RG; Yes, I was both an avid reader and, although I don’t watch a lot of television now, I certainly watched a fair amount growing up. I guess the difference between the two, at least for me, is that television is visual and leaves nothing to the imagination. When I watch television or see a movie, I feel like I’m merely an observer, not a participant. Whereas, again, for me, a book is more participatory because I’m using my imagination to see the scene the author created and to visualize how the characters look, so I feel like I have a more active role in the story. As to whether any part of my childhood made me the writer I am today, I honestly can’t think of anything.

JW; As we’re now in November, which books that you’ve read this year have been your favorite? OR which are you most looking forward to?

RG; HELL OF A BOOK by Jason Mott—truly an amazing book!

JW; Do you have a favorite author or favorite book of all time?

RG; I won’t say that I have a favorite author, but my favorite book of all time is CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller. I read it when I was about 15, and it changed my view of what a novel could do. It was tragic, hysterically funny, satirical, and had a profound message. I had never read anything like it. The first manuscript that I started 40+ years ago was designed to be the CATCH-22 of the legal profession. Who knows, maybe I’ll still write that story.

JW; Have you ever been starstruck by meeting one of your heroes in real life?

RG; The answer is no. Not because I wouldn’t be starstruck, but because I’ve never had the opportunity to meet one of my heroes.

JW; What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

RG; My family. I know it may sound a cliche, but there is nothing more important to me than my kids, grandchildren, siblings and, although we have been separated for 14 years, my wife. I’m also passionate about my role as an advocate for the transgender community.

JW; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

RG; August 26, 1920, the day that the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, giving women the right to vote, became official. There was no huge celebration, but it was still a monumental historical event.

JW; Can you share a shelfie (photo of your bookshelf) with us?

RG; See Above – You’ll be sorry you asked. I’m shopping for new bookshelves.

JW; You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?

RG; Barack and Michelle Obama, because they are two of the most intelligent and inspirational individuals I have witnessed in my lifetime.

Christine Jorgensen was the first famous transgender individual in the US. I’d love to discuss with her what her experiences were like.

Jesus, because there is no one more famous and I would love to meet the historical Jesus, find out what he truly believed in, and discuss how he feels about what has been done in his name over the centuries, up to the present day.

JW; What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

RG; Be yourself. It was given to me as advice on how to handle myself in a courtroom, but it is advice that I have tried to apply to all aspects of my life.

JW; What’s next? When can I read Erin McCabe 2? (I cannot wait!)

RG; Erin McCabe book 2, SURVIVOR’S GUILT, comes out as an ebook in the UK on March 16, 2023, the same day the paperback of BY WAY OF SORROW is published in the UK. SURVIVOR’S GUILT has been out in the states since January 2022, and book 3, REMAIN SILENT, comes out in the states on May 23, 2023. I’ve just started work on Erin McCabe book 4, which remains untitled.

Robyn Gigl (pronounced Guy-gull), the author of BY WAY OF SORROW and SURVIVOR’S GUILT, is an attorney, speaker and activist who has been honored by the ACLU-NJ and the NJ Pride Network for her work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. Robyn is a partner at Gluck Walrath, LLP in Freehold, NJ, where she handles complex commercial and employment litigation. She has been selected as a NJ Super Lawyer since 2010 and as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in NJ in 2020 & 2021. Robyn is a member of the Board of Directors of Garden State Equality, NJ’s largest LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Organization. She is a graduate of Stonehill College and Villanova University School of Law and can be found online at RobynGigl.com or on Twitter @RobynGigl. A frequent lecturer on diversity issues, she lives in New Jersey where she continues to practice law by day, and work on her next novel by night. Fortunately, she has a very boring social life. 

You can follow Robyn Gigl on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Robyn Gigl has her own website HERE

You can buy By Way Of Sorrow HERE

My Review of By Way Of Sorrow is HERE

My #Review of the outstanding new novel #DeadMansCreek by #ChrisHammer @hammerNow published by @Wildfirebks on 05.01.2023

Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her hometown, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder – a “file and forget”.

But this is no ordinary cold case, her arrival provoking an unwelcome and threatening response from the small-town community. As more bodies are discovered, and she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her, Nell realises that finding the truth could prove more difficult – and dangerous – than she’d ever expected.

The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more treacherous her path becomes. Can she survive to root out the truth, and what price will she have to pay for it?

First, thank you so much to Zoe at Headline for sending me the lush Proof of Dead Mans Creek.

Dead Mans Creek is the second book in Detective Nell Buchanan and Detective Sergeant Ivan Lucic series, so if you want to read them in order, The first book is Opal Country.

Upon opening the book I find a map, this always makes me excited, I’m a real sucker for maps in books, and I did indeed come back to it many times whilst reading Dead Mans Creek.

I have to say having read all of Chris Hammer’s novels I think this might just be his most accomplished and perfect crime novel. The storyline is brilliant involving present-day investigations into a skeleton being found in a reservoir where an eco-terrorist has blown up a dam, and also moving back in time throughout Dead Mans Creek to slowly give us the events that have led up to the body being found. The story is complicated and gripping, Chris Hammer has such a great way of describing his characters and making them so realistic they just jump off the page.

The setting for Dead Mans Creek is the fictional Tulong and the Millewa – Barmah Forest, and the way Chris writes the description of the Forest and its wildlife, creeks, and grassy plains is so magical, it really bought the pages to life, and you can see what a beautiful place it is in your imagination. It is a real place that Chris has visited and this tells by his writing.

The plot is intricate and involves 50 years of family history, and again this is written so so well, it’s easy to follow again to my surprise at the end of Dead Mans Creek is a family tree, which I found really helpful.

I was totally immersed in the story of Dead Mans Creek, I love Nell Buchanan’s character and Ivan Lucic, in Dead Mans Creek, we see newly promoted homicide Detective, Nell Buchanan lead the investigations in her hometown, and it gets pretty risky, in the end, she uncovers old truths that have been kept secret for so many years, and have a rippling effect on several families.

I loved Dead Mans Creek, and I loved that there are references to Martin Scarsden, and Chris Hammer’s other series of novels. I was gripped from the first page and as with every book I read by Chris Hammer, I didn’t want it to end! The ending was brilliant and I really think that this is the most perfectly written crime novel.

I will be giving Dead Mans Creek 5 stars, it’s a must-read when it’s released in January 2023.

Chris Hammer was a journalist for more than thirty years, dividing his career between covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. For many years he was a roving foreign correspondent for SBS TV’s flagship current affairs program Dateline. He has reported from more than thirty countries on six continents. Chris’s non-fiction book, The River, published in 2010 to critical acclaim, was the recipient of the ACT Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award. Scrublands, his first novel, was published in 2018 and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Debut Dagger Award, Best Debut Fiction at the Indie Book Awards, and Best General Fiction at the ABIA Awards. It has also been longlisted for the Ned Kelly Best Crime Novel of the Year. Scrublands was optioned for television by Easy Tiger (a FremantleMedia company). Chris has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master’s degree in international relations from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra with his wife, Dr Tomoko Akami. The couple have two children.

You can follow Chris Hammer on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Chris Hammer has his own WEBSITE

You can BUY Dead Mans Creek HERE

My #review of #TheInvisable by #PeterPapathanasiou @peteplastic @maclehosepress

Burnt out from policework, Detective Sergeant George Manolis flies from Australia to Greece for a holiday. Recently divorced and mourning the death of his father, who emigrated from the turbulent Prespes region which straddles the borders of Greece, Albania and North Macedonia, Manolis hopes to reconnect with his roots and heritage.

On arrival, Manolis learns of the disappearance of an ‘invisible’ – a local man who lives without a scrap of paperwork. The police and some locals believe the man’s disappearance was pre-planned, while others suspect foul play. Reluctantly, Manolis agrees to work undercover to find the invisible and must navigate the complicated relationships of a tiny village where grudges run deep.

It soon becomes clear to Manolis that he may never locate a man who, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist. And with the clock ticking, the ghosts of the past continue to haunt the events of today as Manolis’s investigation leads him to uncover a dark and long-forgotten practice.

After reading The Stoning recently (see my other reviews) I wanted to read The Invisible as I love the way Peter Papathansiou writes, gritty outback noir.

The start of The Invisible sees Detective George Manolis working in the inner city, he’s also got Constable Andrew Sparrow with him however they are involved in a tragic shooting of a homeless kid, which leads to Manolis being ordered to take leave after suffering PTSD. He decides to head off to Greece, in search of inner calm and a break…… however things don’t work out that way!

When he arrives in the mountainous region of Perpes, he’s drawn into an off-duty undercover search for his friend Lefty, which will take him into the furthest reaches of the deserted and harsh landscape and put him in danger.

Now as always, I’m not going to give the plot away, but I must say that The Invisible is a stunning novel, it’s a love story of Greece from an author who loves his heritage and has clearly done a lot of research in this region of Greece. I learned an awful lot about Greek culture and history, in fact, it made me wish that Peter Papathansiou was around when I was at school as he explains the conflicts affecting Greece and its neighboring Countries really well. There is so much to take away from The invisible that it had me hitting up Google to find out more about the customs and culture of Greece, a place I’ve never visited but that I felt I had whilst reading Peters’s novel. It’s written in the same gritty, noir style as The Stoning but it leaves you feeling like you’ve just visited Greece as the prose is absolutely magical and so visceral.

And as for the climactic ending of The Invisible, well let’s just say, I did not see that coming and was super surprised! I’m so looking forward to the next book in the Detective George Manolis series.

If you like to travel the world from your armchair whilst reading then look no further than The Invisible, it will also teach you some Greek history on the way, A compelling and lush novel. A 5-star read from me!

Peter Papathanasiou was born in northern Greece in 1974 and adopted as a baby to an Australian family. His debut book, a memoir, was published in 2019 as “Son of Mine” by Salt Publishing (UK) and “Little One” by Allen & Unwin (Australia). His debut novel, a work of crime fiction, was published in 2021 as “The Stoning” by MacLehose Press (UK) and Transit Lounge (Australia), and in 2022 by Polar Verlag (Germany). Peter’s writing has otherwise been published by The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Seattle Times, The Guardian UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Good Weekend, ABC and SBS. He holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from City, University of London; a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences from The Australian National University (ANU); and a Bachelor of Laws from ANU specializing in criminal law.

My review of The Stoning is HERE

You can follow Peter Papathanasiou on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can buy The Invisible HERE

#Guest #Author #LousieMorrish @LouiseMorrish1 author of brilliant #OperationMoonlight @centurybooksuk

JW; Thank you so much for being a guest on my Blog Loise, I adored Operation Moonlight!

JW; I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Operation Moonlight come from?

LM; I have always wanted to be an author, but when I was growing up this was not a career option for people like me at all! I read ALL the time, and wrote stuff in private, but didn’t show anyone or tell anyone of my secret dream, for years and years.

The idea for Operation Moonlight came from three different ‘sparks’: the first was when a friend told me about a 110-year-old woman she knew who was determined to become the oldest person in the world (she’s the oldest in Britain at this moment in time). The second was when my mum told me about a social club called The Coffin Club (you can make your own coffin and reminisce and make friends at the clubs, all over the world); and the third was when I stumbled across the story of a female secret agent in WW2 who had died all alone in 2010 and no one knew about her secret past. I put all three things together, and Betty emerged!

JW; How much research did you have to do for Operation Moonlight, did you get to visit any of the places mentioned in the book?

LM; Research is why I write historical fiction – I absolutely love it! I read more than 200 books on the war etc, and I visited a lot of the places in my novel. I was born and brought up in Guildford, and my family own a narrowboat on the River Wey, so all that was relatively easy. I also visited Wanborough Manor and Beaulieu, and Arisaig up in NW Scotland. But the worst experience was jumping out of a plane! I knew I had to do a parachute jump in order to write Elisabeth’s chapter authentically. But I have a paralysing fear of heights, and I almost passed out from terror. But I survived!

JW; How important to you was it to raise awareness of women’s roles during WW2 and how that impacted their lives?

LM; One of the main reasons I wrote Operation Moonlight was because I strongly believe that the women who helped win the war should be properly remembered. I hope I’ve honoured the female SOE agents in my novel. My writing is always inspired by real women who did extraordinary things in the past, but whose stories have vanished into obscurity.

JW; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Elisabeth & the older Betty, and also Tali and Jo, when Operation Moonlight is turned into a Movie? (It SO needs to be!)

LM; I’d love Operation Moonlight to be made into a film. Maybe Judi Dench or Maggie Smith for Betty? I haven’t got a clue about any of the other characters, though, as I don’t watch much telly or many films…sorry!

JW; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

LM; I read A LOT.  But back in the 80s, there wasn’t the huge range of children’s books and young adult fiction that there is now, so I read a lot of stuff I maybe wasn’t quite ready for…and I also watched a lot of weird telly. Looking back, the children’s programmes that were shown were bonkers! I loved Monkey Magic, which was this utterly mad Japanese series about a human god called Monkey who lived on a cloud and had weird adventures with a bald female monk and another chap called Piggy who wore skulls around his neck. It was as strange as that sounds!

Monkey Magic

My favourite book as a child was probably Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I was a complete tomboy growing up (still am, actually), and I totally related to Jo March and her boyish ambitions.

JW; What is your favourite book or books that you have read so far in 2022, and why?

LM; So many! Loads of debuts this year have blown me away: No Country for Girls by Emma Styles, The Seawomen by Chloe Timms, The Hollow Sea by Annie Kirby, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter  by Lizzie Pook, Haven by Emma Donoghue, Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson, The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller, The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell, V2 by Robert Harris

JW; Do you have a favourite author or favourite book of all time?

LM; I love Sarah Waters. She is the queen of historical fiction in my opinion. But I can’t pick a favourite book of all time, there are too many that I’ve loved.

JW; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

LM; What a brilliant question! I think I’d quite like to be transported back to 1666, to witness the days leading up to the Great Fire of London and the plague (from a safe vantage point). Not because I want to see our capital city burnt to the ground, but because I want to know what life was like back then, what it actually looked, sounded, smelled and tasted like. I’d love to talk to people on the street, sit in Parliament, walk along the Thames and find out how life was really lived back then.

JW; When you’re writing do you like silence or do you listen to music?

LM; A bit of both. I can’t have talking while I’m writing, so songs with lyrics are out. But I do listen to instrumental music that matches the mood of what I’m trying to write. For the book I’m currently writing, I’m listening to a lot of music from the Edwardian period, orchestral stuff, and also music from films like They Shall Not Grow Old.

JW; If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

LM; Another brilliant question! Sylvia Pankhurst (because she has a cameo role in my next project, and her views on women’s suffrage and socialism would be really interesting to hear); Victoria Wood (because she was a genius, and made me laugh all the time); Ernest Shackleton (because I would question him in detail about how he survived such gruelling conditions in the South Pole, and what kept him going); a First World War soldier who actually fought in 1914 (because I want to know what it was really like then).

JW; If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

LM; The Antarctic, to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps. Before it’s too late.

JW; Do you have a hidden talent?

LM; I love these questions! I’m a ninja speller.

JW; Can you share a shelfie with us?

JW; Are you currently writing another book, and when will it be released?

LM; I am writing another book, but I can’t tell you much about it yet as nothing has been finalised. What I can say is that it’s inspired by two real-life women who achieved extraordinary things over a hundred years ago, but who have been largely forgotten about.

You can follow Louise Morrish on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can buy Operation Moonlight HERE

You can read my review of Operation Moonlight HERE

My #review of #OperationMoonlight by #LouiseMorrish @LouiseMorrish1 @centurybooksuk

1944: Newly recruited SOE agent Elisabeth Shepherd is faced with an impossible mission: to parachute behind enemy lines into Nazi-occupied France and monitor the new long-range missiles the Germans are working on.

Her only advice? Trust absolutely no one. With danger lurking at every turn, one wrong move for Elisabeth could spell instant death.

2018: Betty is about to celebrate her 100th birthday. With her carer Tali at her side, she receives an invite from the Century Society to reminisce on the past.

Remembering a life shrouded in secrecy and danger, Betty remains tight-lipped. But when Tali finds a box filled with maps, letters and a gun hidden in Betty’s cellar, it becomes clear that Betty’s secrets are about to be uncovered . . .

Nostalgic, heart-pumping and truly page-turning, OPERATION MOONLIGHT is both a gripping read and a novel that makes you think about a generation of women and men who truly knew what it meant to survive.

I happened across Operation Moonlight whilst looking at books on Amazon, once I read the premise, I knew I would want to read it. So duly ordered it ( even though I’m not supposed to be buying books! ), and when it arrived was a gorgeous looking tome by a new author to me, Louise Morrish.

The novel is told from two timelines, 2018 when we meet Betty Shepherd the soon to be 100 year old slightly frail lady who lives in her family home of Weyside in Guildford, Surrey, with her lovely young Maurician carer Tali. The second timeline is during WW2, 1944 to be precise when we meet Elisabeth Shepherd and travel with her during her journey of secrets through 1944 & 1945.

So if you like the sound of the premise, you will love Operation Moonlight. It is written so well by Louise Morrish and it’s her debut novel ( it does not read like that!). The attention to detail describing Elisabeth’s adventures during WW2 is truly excellent, and for me, really visceral as most of the action takes place where I’ve lived and visited in the past! Maybe that’s what made the book more magical for me? Who knows, but the wonderful descriptions of what accounts for everyday life during WW2 are astounding, and so moving. Louise Morrish has a real talent for writing from the heart and making that character live through her words, a rare talent, especially in a debut author! Betty/Elisabeth just appeared off the page during both timelines so magically. You can tell that Louise Morrish has studied people of all ages and used that research in writing about Betty.

The story is gripping, and at times had me breaking out in a fit of nerves I did not expect several of the events that happened in fact I was shocked! Operation Moonlight is such an easy read even though it’s packed with historical facts, Louise Morrish really does know how to write a compelling read and keeps the reader engaged the whole way through.

I was left wanting more once I had finished, mainly because I loved all the characters so much. As usual, I’m not going to give any of the plot away, but having read a few Wartime books, I have to say that this is going to be up there as one of my favorites, and it’s a certain contender for my yearly top ten books!

I know I normally stick to crime fiction, as I’m obsessed with murder LOL, but I do love novels set during WW2, this has defiantly been one of my highlights of that genre. That it passed below my radar and hasn’t been talked about on Twitter etc is a travesty, I urge my fellow readers to go out and buy a copy now, you won’t be disappointed.

A glorious 5 stars from me…indeed I’d give it more if I could!

Louise Morrish is a Librarian whose debut novel won the 2019 Penguin Random House First Novel Competition. She finds inspiration for her stories in the real-life adventures of women in the past, whom history has forgotten. She lives in Hampshire with her family.

You can buy Operation Moonlight HERE

You can follow Louise Morrish on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

My #Review of #Chapter1 #MrJones’sSmokingBones by @iqbalacomics

Firstly thank you so much to Iqbal Ali for sending me the first chapter of Mr. Jones’s Smoking Bones, a comic.

Is anyone into historical mysteries featuring secret societies and occult magic rituals? Then Mr. Jones Smoking Bones is the comic for you.

The first chapter is very well written and really left me wanting more from this story. The story is set during Victorian times, and our main character is Mr. Barzakh, the opening chapter see him trying to “find” someone, maybe a former version of himself, by taking drug-induced “trips”, The artwork is really well drawn and being in black and white, it only adds to the atmosphere.

I was especially taken by the meeting between Mr. Barzakh and Queen Victoria! It really added to the mysterious storyline, and I like that there’s a lot left for us to imagine what is going to happen, as the storyline develops.

And the added inclusion of rituals, secret societies, and flaming skeletons had me gripped….I finished the first chapter and was left wanting more! Iqbal Ali is a talented writer and the artwork by Pricilla Grippa is really creepy and evocative.

I mean who doesn’t want to see 7 human skeletons fused together at the spine and the reasons behind it!?

If you like comics that are written about historical times and intertwined with horror and mystery then Mr. Jones’s Smoking Bones will be a must-read for you.

Iqbal Ali has written several other comics and they can be found on his website HERE, and if you sign up you will get free samples by email.

Iqbal Ali says “Mr. Jones’s Smoking Bones is my labor of love”, and it really has the feel of a comic that will be a success. I can’t wait to read chapter 2.

You can follow Iqbal Ali on TWITTER & INSTAGRAM

My #Review of #ThePainTourist by @PaulCleave @OrendaBooks out 10.11.22

A young man wakes from a coma to find himself targeted by the men who killed his parents, while someone is impersonating a notorious New Zealand serial killer … the latest chilling, nerve-shredding, twisty thriller from the author of The Quiet People

How do you catch a killer…
When the only evidence is a dream?

James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.

But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help. Especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…

Firstly huge thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy of The Pain Tourist, you are the best!

This is the second book I’ve read by Paul Cleave, the first being The Quiet people which I loved, so I have been looking forward to The Pain Tourist.

From the opening chapter, I was absolutely gipped by The Pain Tourist. And I was struck by how utterly unique this novel really is. The opening chapter is brutal and frankly quite terrifying, I really don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say that the way Paul Cleave describes the first events in this book made me feel on edge and not knowing what would happen next.

The Pain Tourist then evolves into a brilliantly written crime thriller, how Paul Cleave comes up with these ideas I will never know, but the way he describes things from such an unusual perspective is superb. James Garrett, one of the lead characters in a coma, and how the mind works during that time are the beginnings of a frankly amazing and credible hunt for a killer. I mean how do you even write about someone in a coma?? You’d think well that would be boring …. er no not with Paul Cleave! Again I SO dont want to give anything away but it’s truly a work of art the way this book is written and how the characters interact and have an impact on each other.

I loved the characters in The Pain Tourist, James Garrett is such a well-written character and very likable, as are his sister hazel, detective Rebecca Kent and retired Detective Theodore Tate. I just loved the way that the hunt for a killer also links into another called Copy Joe, this is a truly intricate plot but it isn’t hard to follow. the writing flows and is so easy to follow the storyline. And it’s so gripping and had my palms sweating at times it’s so realistic and visceral. Paul Cleave really is a master crime fiction writer and has an amazing way of writing humans from so many points of view, dare I say it a genius!

The story doesn’t slack at all, it builds and builds and keeps going right to the climatic ending (which had me saying things out loud!) totally brilliant and a really breathtaking bookbanger!

As always orenda books seem to publish the most superb books, if you fancy looking for excellent fiction then you could do no worse than heading to the Orenda website…every book is a winner!

So my rating….. another 5-star read from Paul Cleave, if you thought the Quiet People was a cracking read then you will be blown away by the Pain Tourist. Follow the link below and buy it now!

Paul Cleave is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His novels have been translated into over twenty languages. He has won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award, the Edgar Award, and the Barry Award, and has won the Ngaio Marsh award for NZ crime fiction three times.

The New Zealand Listener said that Cleave writes with ‘an energy that conventional crime novels lack’, and he has been called ‘the next Stephen King’, a rising star of the genre’, and a writer to watch. Publishers Weekly has said ‘a pulse-pounding serial killer thriller. The city of Christchurch becomes a modern equivalent of James Ellroy’s Los Angeles of the 1950s, a discordant symphony of violence and human weakness… the book’s real power lies in the complexity of its characters,’, and

Cleave numbers among his fans top crime and thriller writers such as Mark Billingham, who wrote: ‘Most people come back from New Zealand talking about the breathtaking scenery and the amazing experiences. I came back raving about Paul Cleave.’ John Connolly called Blood Men ‘dark, bloody, and gripping . . . classic noir fiction’, and said that in Paul Cleave ‘Jim Thompson has another worthy heir to his throne’. The Lab’s John Heath calls Cleave’s writing ‘uncompromising, unpredictable, and enthralling’, adding, ‘Made me vomit — seriously, it’s that good.’ Simon Kernick said ‘Cleave writes the kind of dark, intense thrillers that I never like to finish. Do yourself a favor and check him out,’ and S.J Watson said ‘An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish. It’ll have you up all night. Fantastic!’ Lee Child lists him as an ‘automatic must-read’.

You can follow Paul Cleave on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Paul Cleave’s website HERE

You can buy The Pain Tourist HERE