My #review of #TheLittleWartimeLibrary by @katethompson380 @HodderBooks

London, 1944.

Clara Button is no ordinary librarian. While the world remains at war, in East London Clara has created the country’s only underground library, built over the tracks in the disused Bethnal Green tube station.

Down here a secret community thrives: with thousands of bunk beds, a nursery, a cafe and a theatre offering shelter, solace and escape from the bombs that fall above.Along with her glamorous best friend and library assistant Ruby Munroe, Clara ensures the library is the beating heart of life underground.

But as the war drags on, the women’s determination to remain strong in the face of adversity is tested to the limits when it seems it may come at the price of keeping those closest to them alive.

Based on true events, The Little Wartime Library is a gripping and heart-wrenching page-turner that remembers one of the greatest resistance stories of the war.

For those followers who know my reading patterns, they will know that I really love novels set during WW2, so when I won The Little Wartime Library, I was so pleased as from the premise, I hoped it would be a good read.

Firstly, I must say that The Little Wartime Library is based on fact, this made the red so much better. This is the story of two friends, Clara and Ruby manage to survive the latter part of the war in Bethnal Green, London, working in a library that has been built above the tracks of the Underground because the above-ground library has been hit by a bomb and destroyed. This novel follows their lives and those of the locals, trying to work, live, love, and survive in tired war-torn London.

The cast of characters is quite large, but they are written with such love and care, you can tell that Kate Thompson has done a huge amount of research into the history of Bethnal Green and its inhabitants. I loved the cast of The Little Wartime Library and found the plots to be heart-rendering, gripping, and warm. We follow the novel from both Clara’s and Ruby’s perspectives in each chapter, and this works well.

As always you know I’m not going to give any spoilers away, but this is a multi-faceted story of the lives of the Jewish and English residents of this small corner of London, I really did enjoy The Little Wartime Library, and particularly liked the section at the end of the paperback that tells you how Kate Thompson researched the background to writing this book.

If you like books based during WW2, that are also based on truth, books with a lovely warm feeling about them but also written with knowledge and great care and compassion, then The Little Wartime Library is one for you. I really did enjoy it and gave it a strong 4 stars.

Kate is an award-winning journalist, ghostwriter, and novelist. She spent five years working on national newspapers such as the Daily Express and Daily Mail, and also on all the major national woman’s magazine titles.

Over the past seven years, she has concentrated on writing ten fiction and non-fiction titles. Her debut novel, SECRETS OF THE SINGER GIRLS, was a Sunday Times bestseller in 2015, with first-week sales of over 10,000. It has recently been optioned by Bandit Television.

Kate’s first non-fiction book , which uncovers the lives of extraordinary women of wartime East End, THE STEPNEY DOORSTEP SOCIETY, was published by Penguin (Michael Joseph) in February 2019 and reached number one in the history categories on Amazon.

You can follow Kate Thompson on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can buy The Little Wartime Library and Kate Thompson other books HERE

#BlogTour #review of #DeadInTheWater by #MarkEllis @MarkEllis15 @AccentPress @midaspr @amberchoudhary

Summer, 1942.
The Second World War rages on but Britain now faces the Nazi threat with America at its side.

In a bombed-out London swarming with gangsters and spies, DCI Frank Merlin continues his battle against rampant wartime crime. A mangled body is found in the Thames just as some items of priceless art go mysteriously missing. What sinister connection links the two?

Merlin and his team follow a twisting trail of secrets and lies as they investigate a baffling and deadly puzzle .

This is my first read of a novel by Mark Ellis, but as I love Historical crime fiction, particularly set around the World Wars, I was looking forward to it.

I know that this is the 5th Novel in the DCI Frank Merlin series, but even with a back history, this can be read as a standalone.

The writing is gritty, evocative and absolutely full of attention to detail which makes the reader really feel like they are there in London, in the Summer of 1942. In particular, the description of chaps attires right down to the name of his shirt maker and shoes (both of which I googled to make sure this was factual – it was!).

The plot was character-heavy at the beginning, and I was a little lost BUT all is revealed in the end and it works, it really does. The writing is pure noir and the character descriptions are really amazing. Even famous figures are given the Ellis touch here – Herman Goering for one was spectacular over breakfast with his wife…totally believable!

The plot is thick with spies, Army Officials of all sides and Police including, of course, the wonderful DCI Frank Merlin, who for a first-time reader I instantly loved!

The feel when you read Dead In The Water is amazing, its like you are transported from our messed up 2022 right back to 1942, again I must applaud the attention to detail, it is clear that Mark has an amazing mind at writing intricate and stunning Thriller, but also his love for the period during the Second World War in London. It almost read like a sweeping black and white movie at times!

In essence, this is a fantastic novel of wartime Noir at its best, gritty, tense and intelligent. I shall be awarding it 5-star rating.

If you’ve not read any of the DCI Frank Merlin books then I urge you to, I shall be buying the back catalogue to binge read on!

Mark Ellis is a thriller writer from Swansea and a former barrister and entrepreneur.
He is the creator of DCI Frank Merlin, an Anglo-Spanish police detective operating in World War 2 London. His books treat the reader to a vivid portrait of London during the war skilfully blended with gripping plots, political intrigue and a charismatic protagonist.
Mark grew up under the shadow of his parents’ experience of the Second World War. His father served in the wartime navy and died a young man. His mother told him stories of watching the heavy bombardment of Swansea from the safe vantage point of a hill in Llanelli, and of attending tea dances in wartime London under the bombs and doodlebugs.
In consequence Mark has always been fascinated by WW2 and in particular the Home Front and the fact that while the nation was engaged in a heroic endeavour, crime flourished. Murder, robbery, theft and rape were rife and the Blitz provided scope for widespread looting.
This was an intriguing, harsh and cruel world. This is the world of DCI Frank Merlin.
DCI Frank Merlin appears in four novels: ‘Princes Gate’, ‘Stalin’s Gold’, ‘Merlin at War’ and the just published ‘A Death In Mayfair’.
Mark Ellis is a member of the Crime Writers Association.’MerlinAt War’ was longlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger in 2018.

You can find Mark Ellis’s Website HERE

You can follow Mark Ellis on TWITTER FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

You can buy Dead In The Water HERE

#BlogTour #TheChemist by Lewis Hastings @istheauthor @HobeckBooks Release Date UK 22.02.22

“Then, with his wrist trembling under the pressure, he carved the names of two men into the paper, ripping the surface…

Jack…

The Seventh Wave organised crime gang is long defeated, its members dead or jailed. Their London-wide campaign of terror a fading memory.

Jason…

Or is it? An old foe is released from his maximum-security prison cell, with dreams of revenge and a score to settle.

…You. Just. Watch.”

He calls himself ‘The Chemist’, and he’s determined to make anyone who’s crossed him pay. To him, death is just a game of chance, and he’s stacked the odds in his favour. Can Jack Cade save those closest to him from the twisted plans of The Chemist?

Firstly I must say thank you so much to Hobeck Books for letting me join in The Chemist Blog Tour and supplying me with the paperback.

Secondly, although this is part of a series, this is the first time I’ve read a Lewis Hastings book, however it did not detract from the storyline.

Where to start! Well this is a fabulous crime fiction thriller and I urge everyone to buy a copy and read it, you won’t be at all disappointed. It is gritty, dark, fucked-up and totally brilliant! I was sold from the first chapter. I love the way Lewis Hastings writes, it is extremely raw and dirty, but it’s exactly what The Chemist is! If you like edge of your seat thrillers with a host of fabulous characters and quite possibly THE most EVIL and fucked-up criminal of all time (Worse than Hannibal Lecter!!) in a book that I’ve read, and I’ve read a LOT of crime books!

Remember the name Constantin Nicolescu because Lewis Hastings has invented a mammoth of a criminal here, the research that has gone into how The Chemists psychopathic mind works and the games he plays with his victims (of which there are many) is breathtaking and at times had me reaching for the sick bucket! Think Chris Carters style of writing only better! The plot revolves around Nicolescu and the chain of awful events that he wrecks on an elite team of Metropolitan Police Officers, dubbed The Orion Squad. Every chapter just draws you in further and makes you gasp!

I really don’t want to give any of the plot away but I must also mention the attention to detail that Lewis has taken in writing the Police characters in The Chemist. As an ex Police Civvy from the 1990’s, I always find a book hard to read if the language and black humour of Police Officers and Detectives in books is wrong, no fear of that here, the writing is super realistic and for me spot on, I think that’s also part of the reason why I loved The Chemist so much. You can tell when an author has been a Police Officer, it makes for realistic writing!

And finally I must draw attention to all the research that must have gone into writing The Chemist, from the effects of drugs and poisons on humans, to the settings in London and also to homeless people and especially ex-Forces homeless, it is absolutely solid gold and I commend Lewis Hastings on this!

This is a big book 500+ pages and it kept me entertained all the way through, the story was complicated but I was able to follow it easily, I was gripped by the darkness that is in The Chemist, and there’s car chases, and edge of your seat moments! The Chemist has it all!

This is one of those books that would very easily lend itself to television or film, and I for one would love to see that happen! And if not then at the very least it needs to become a bestseller or prize-winning novel!

An absolute book banger and a definite 5 ⭐️ read from me!

Lewis Hastings is a pseudonym. His real name is far more, real.

Born as a product of the long, harsh and miserable winter of the early nineteen sixties in southern England he soon shot to fame for his child acting, embellishment and love of justice and propensity for injury. His catalogue of injuries and their research has actually proven to be of use, particularly when describing some of the medical events within the book. The sensation of pain, often clinically described, is based upon real-world events and countless hours in Accident and Emergency Wards. His relationships with the many nurses, doctors and specialists is acknowledged.

Above all Lewis is a passionate and caring soul who always puts the needs of others before his own, a career in law enforcement was therefore a logical path, having drifted helplessly on a sinking rudderless ship that saw him involved in many diverse occupations, including but not limited to selling, border security, exotic dancing, prostitution and people trafficking*.

He joined the British Police in April 1990 and was posted to an upmarket suburb of Nottingham where he learned the art of policing; investigation, intelligence and communication. Along the way he dabbled in many varied branches of policing and worked for seven years in one of the toughest inner-city areas in Britain. Some of the key events and people are brought back to life in the early segments of the story that are set in Nottingham, again, to protect those still serving their names have been changed.

Having spent his formative years both living and working in the United Kingdom he was offered what for many would be the chance of a lifetime. Clutching his worldly goods, his family and his reputation he took the leap of faith and now lives on the other side of the world in a house, with the same wife and a lake-loving Labrador.

Having headed across the world, his law enforcement career – not unlike Jack Cade’s – would take an unexpected turn and soon he found himself building a capable and worthy team at an international border. The thirteen years that followed saw him carve out a reputation as a subject matter expert in port security, document fraud and international border intelligence, particularly the influence of travelling European criminals. He now acts as a government liaison officer – connecting law enforcement units throughout the Five Eyes community. He hopes for the chance to meet another “Theodora” – tired, afraid but agenda-driven and with her own unique story to tell to someone prepared to listen.

He has two amazing children, one adorable granddaughter, an equally adorable grandson and a long-suffering, incredibly patient wife who meets all of the cliched aspects of a redhead.

* The author was never involved in selling.

You can purchase The Chemist HERE

You can follow Lewis Hastings on Twitter Instagram

Lewis Hastings Website HERE