My #Review of #TheShadowsOfMen by @radiomukhers @HarvillSecker

When Abir Mukherjee’s latest book arrived from the Postman, I spent 10 minutes jumping around the lounge in joy!

Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this ‘unmissable’ (The Times) series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?

‘An engaging, evocative thriller that captures the heat of Indian nights and heady days of a bygone era, without being sentimental or simplistic’ Janice Hallett, bestselling author of The Appeal

The Shadows of Menfinds the always reliable Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Award-winner Abir Mukherjee on fine form
‘ Financial Times

When Abir Mukherjee’s latest book arrived from the Postman, I spent 10 minutes jumping around the lounge in joy! I have been hooked on the wonderful adventures of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surrendranath Banerjee from reading the first book in the series, A Rising Man (see an earlier blog post).

We are now in 1923 Calcutta, and times are changing for the British Rulers, there’s an undercurrent of the uprising and amongst this, we find Suren in dire straits! I’m not going to give away the plot, but suffice to say that the book revolves around this event and the chaps trying to stop an all-out Religious war! Which affects Suren, Sam and all the usual characters who readers will know, the gorgeous and daring Miss Annie Grant and Lord Taggart among them.

I have read a lot of books in my life, but never have I read such a brilliant (that word isn’t really enough for how I feel!) series of books, that have taught me SO much about a historical period, as these books do. In The Shadows Of Men, Abir’s talent at taking the reader right there, right into the time, right into the fray, to feel what it must have been like and almost to experience it, is just frankly amazing and beyond my comprehension of how he can write like HE was there! I have always been fascinated with India, and wish I could have travelled there, the books take you there, you can smell the smells, taste the food, feel the oppressive heat or the steaming rain, Abir’s writing is poetic at times in describing the settings of 1920’s India. And to be able to write, with authority on the different faiths, and their peculiarities with such knowledge makes Abir, a once in lifetime Author, that rare mix of talent of a fantastic storyteller and a knowledgable historian.

However it’s not all seriousness, there are laughs, mixed in, Sam’s traditional British black humour to note! And I loved the introduction of another new Character, Miss Ooravis Colah, a fantastic and I’m sure ahead of her time woman.

In summing up, I must say that The Shadows Of Men is Abir’s best work so far, and to be fair, that’s high praise as the other 4 books were bloody amazing! As always I love the relationship between Sam and Suren and in this book we see their relationship start to shift, because of events and because of the times, but we are left with a cliffhanger that means that book 6 will undoubtedly move us into a different phase of their lives. I cannot wait… let’s hope Abir is writing away furiously now!! Thank you for your sublime talent Sir!

About Abir Mukherjee

Abir Mukherjee is the Times bestselling author of the Wyndham & Banerjee series of crime novels set in Raj-era India which have sold over 250,000 copies and been translated into 15 languages. His books have won numerous awards including the CWA Dagger for best Historical Novel, the Prix du Polar Européen, the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing and the Amazon Publishing Readers Award for E-book for the Year.
Alongside fellow author, Vaseem Khan, he also hosts the popular Red Hot Chilli Writers podcast, where every fortnight, joined by special guests from the media and literature, he takes a wry look at the world of books, writing, and the creative arts, tackling everything from bestsellers to pop culture.

WEBSITE Facebook Twitter Instagram

My #Review of #OpalCountry by @hammerNow published by @Wildfirebks….OUT ON 6th JANUARY 2022

OPAL COUNTRY BY CHRIS HAMMER

Opals…

In the desolate outback town of Finnigans gap, police struggle to maintain law and order. Thieves pillage opal mines, religious fanatics recruit vulnerable youngsters and billionaires do as they please.

Bodies…


Then an opal miner is found crucified and left to rot down his mine. Nothing about the miner’s death is straight-forward, not even who found the body. Homicide detective Ivan Lucic is sent to investigate, assisted by inexperienced young investigator Nell Buchanan.

But Finnigans Gap has already ended one police career and damaged others, and soon both officers face damning allegations and internal investigations. Have Ivan and Nell been set up, and if so, by whom?

Secrets…

As time runs out, their only chance at redemption is to find the killer. But the more they uncover, the more harrowing the mystery becomes, and a past long forgotten is thrown into scorching sunlight.

Because in Finnigans Gap, nothing stays buried for ever.

I’ve loved every book so far by Chris Hammer, and am so thrilled to have been given the opportunity to review Opal Country by the publishers Wildfire Books. Thank you so much. 🙏

We start the story in the outback of Australia, at night, with a team of ratters entering a mine in the dead of night, what they find is a hideously crucified, Christ-like, corpse instead of Opals and makes them retreat pretty sharpish!

We then follow Detective Sergeant Ivan Lucic, who as a homicide, detective has travelled from Sydney to investigate the horrible murder.

Chris Hammer manages to weave a really complex storyline involving Opal mining, family, murder, corporate espionage, revenge and the ending of Police Careers, into a phenomenal story, that had me guessing right up to the end as to whom the culprit was, and more importantly why?

The way Chris writes about Australia, the shimmering heat, the oppressiveness of a small town, the community divided by gossip, fears and history is without a doubt brilliant. I could feel myself getting sweaty and anxious in some parts with the relentless sun beating own onto Finnegans Creek.

There are some players from the previous novels in here, even though it’s a standalone, but that just makes it all the better!

And the inclusion of a Map always means it will be a great book in my experience!

Another fantastic 5 ⭐️ start slice of Aussie Noir from the master or Australian Crime Writing, in my opinion.

Finnegans Gap

CHRIS HAMMER – is a leading Australian crime fiction novelist, author of international bestsellers Scrublands, Silver and Trust.

His new standalone novel, Treasure & Dirt, will be published in Australia and New Zealand in September 2021 and internationally, as Opal Country, from early 2022.

Scrublands was an instant bestseller upon publication in 2018, topping the Australian fiction charts.

It was shortlisted for major writing awards in Australia, the UK and the United States. In the UK it was named the Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Year 2019 and won the prestigious UK Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award.

Scrublands, Silver and Trust all feature troubled journalist Martin Scarsden and his partner Mandalay Blonde, while Treasure & Dirt follows Homicide detectives Ivan Lucic and Nell Buchanan.

All four books are notable for their atmospheric Australian settings, range of colourful characters, intricate plots, descriptive language and emotional depth.

Before turning to fiction, Chris was a journalist for more than thirty years. He reported from more than 30 countries on six continents for SBS TV. In Canberra, roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, senior writer for The Age and Online Political Editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Chris has written two non-fiction books The River (2010) – winner of the ACT Book of the Year – and The Coast (2012), published by Melbourne University Press.

He 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, Australia.

Chris Hammer

You can follow Chris on Twitter @hammerNow

Chris Hammer’s website – https://chrishammerauthor.com/

No Honour by Awais Khan

The Blurb…….

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.

I had seen a lot of reviews for No Honour by Awais Khan, and although its not my normal Genre, I know that Orenda Books never publish a doozey, so i ventured in.

From the first page i was utterly gripped and appalled, this is not a book for the faint hearted, its a hard hitting, emotional story of female honour killing in modern day Pakistan.

I found it compelling and harrowing at the same time, I’m not sure that I’ve read a book that manages to write such beautiful prose about such awful events and activities before, but the further i got into it, the more I knew this is a masterpiece of our time!

It feels weird saying what a superb book No Honour is when its such a sad hard-hitting subject matter, but if we don’t write about these things then nothing will change, and if there’s one thing I’d like to see happen from Awais book, its that it helps change the ancient ways to a more equal society for women.

I was really taken by the lead character’s of Abida and Jamil, their inner strength and love for each other is so well written, you could almost feel their pain and love coming off the pages in waves. And the thing that I liked the most was the ending!

I did have to take breaks from reading No Honour as I found it, in parts, very harrowing, but its not written to shock, it is integral to the storyline.

I’m so glad I read No Honour, it is definitely a 5 star read, and opened my eyes to how other cultures live, which lead me to Google to find out more!

Awais Khan

Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University. He has studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim and he regularly appears on TV and Radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He is currently working on his third book. When not working, he has his nose buried in a book. He lives in Lahore.

Books by this author

You can buy No Honour from Orenda books here – https://orendabooks.co.uk/product/no-honour