The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood

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EXCERPT: As soon as he hobbled in, he knew there was something off. A strange look from a young bedraggled girl as she glanced up from her phone; a couple of others going quiet as he shuffled past them in the entrance hall. When he walked into the dining room everything went quieter still until someone in the queue dropped a tray on the floor and the loud clatter broke the silence.

Jimmy looked over and saw Gadge staring at him, seemingly oblivious to the food he had dropped over his feet and the floor.

‘F**k me,’ Gadge said. ‘You can’t be here.’

‘Why not?’ Jimmy said.

‘You’re dead.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.

Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story.

The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new.

But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.

MY THOUGHTS: Everyone has a story, which is something we tend to forget. And the people we tend to dismiss most easily, the ‘invisible’ people, the homeless, often have the most interesting stories. This is certainly the case with Jimmy who, for many years, has lived by the mantra of ‘not my fight’, and ‘keep your head down and stay out of sight.’ Life hasn’t exactly been fair to him. He has lost everything that was precious to him…his wife, his daughter, his self-respect.

All Carrie wants is her dad. He is missing, but no one is taking her seriously. But her plight strikes a chord with Jimmy who would love to be wanted by his daughter. And he thinks he saw something the night Carrie’s dad went missing. But he’s not entirely sure. It could have been a hallucination. But then, maybe not….

We hear so much about war vets winding up on the streets, homeless victims of the horrors they have lived through. Jimmy’s plight has brought home to me the absolute reality and the terrible injustice of this problem.

Trevor Wood has created some very interesting characters. Not only Jimmy who suffers from PTSD, but Gadge, bordering on genius, and the young Deano, a child really, substance and drug abuser. But all people with good hearts. Their methods of getting to the truth may be somewhat unorthodox, but they make for a damned good read. Even the skeptical policeman, Murphy, is an interesting character.

Compelling and complex, I really had no idea who was behind the disappearance of Carries dad, or why, until all was revealed. Highly recommended.

😍😍😍😍

THE AUTHOR: I can find no information on this author, but I believe will be hearing more from him. Hopefully soon.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page, or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and

Whatever it Takes by Paul Cleave

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EXCERPT: The house smells of dust and tastes of mold. The last time I was out here was three years ago when Jasmine Kelly called Drew from the other side of the country to say she hadn’t heard from her folks in a week. I flick the light switch but there’s no power. I follow the footprints in the dust. Floorboards creak under my weight. I can feel the heat coming up through the floor. Shadows move across walls as my flashlight lights everything up, and there are lots of everything’s – couches, a dining table, beds, kitchen utilities, a coffee table with magazines and a TV that can’t be any older than five years. There are paintings and photographs on walls and shelves. It feels like the house is waiting for somebody to return. I look into the bedroom where three years ago Ed and Leah Kelly took handfuls of sleeping pills and didn’t leave a note to say why. The farm was heavily in debt and their daughter used to say her dad thought the land was cursed because only the weeds knew how to grow.

I head to the basement. Basements are where men like Conrad Haggerty keep girls like Alyssa Stone. I open the door. It smells like something crawled out of the grave, died all over again, then crawled back in. I hold my breath and light up the steps. They groan as I move down them. The walls are gray cinderblock. There are tools hanging on them. There’s an old chest freezer big enough for a body that I hope is empty. There are piles of blankets and an old dining suite with chairs stacked on top and boxes of junk beneath it. I can no longer hold my breath. The smell doesn’t improve any. There’s an old heater, a couple of bicycles, an old TV. There are shelves full of Christmas lights that could only be ready in time if the untangling started at Easter. The same dust that coated everything upstairs coats everything down here too, even the floor, but the floor also has footprints going back and forth across it.

I follow them.

I don’t have to follow them for long.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When seven-year-old Alyssa is kidnapped, Deputy Noah Harper decides he will do what it takes to find her – but that means crossing lines he can never come back from. Finding the girl safe, isn’t enough to stop Noah from losing his job, his wife, and from being kicked out of Acacia Pines. He’s told if he ever returns, he’ll be put in jail and left there to rot. Now, 12 years later, comes a phone call. Alyssa is missing again and her father wants him to honour the promise he made to her all those years earlier – that he would never let anything bad happen to her again. To find her, Noah is going to have to head back to the pines, and come face to face with the past…

MY THOUGHTS: Whatever I was expecting from Paul Cleave’s latest novel, it wasn’t this. OMG! It certainly wasn’t this. That this could happen never even crossed my mind….he took me places I didn’t want to go. He stunned me with the violence, the sheer evil brought about by greed, the way we can know someone all our lives, but never truly know them.

And I loved it.

I lapped it up. I couldn’t get enough.

And the fact that he could make me laugh at the same time with his little injections of sardonic humour, only more firmly cements him in my top ten author list.

And the ending….you just know that there’s going to be more. Noah Harper is not the sort of man who is going to be able to let this go……

I can’t wait!

Whatever it Takes, get your hands on a copy and read it.

💖😱💖😱💖

THE AUTHOR: Paul Cleave is an internationally bestselling author who 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 work has been translated into fifteen languages. He has won the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel in New Zealand, he won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award in the US, and shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award in Australia. When he’s not writing, he spends his time swearing on a golf course, swearing on a tennis court, or trying to add to his list of 25 countries where he’s thrown his Frisbee.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Whatever it Takes by Paul Cleave (just as I own a copy of every book he has written), published by Upstart Press. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review is also published on Twitter and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2982692485?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni

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EXCERPT: The bus wound its way along the Moskva River, already filling with chunks of floating ice, another harbinger of the wicked winter to come. Thirty minutes after Zarina boarded, the bus reached her stop in front of the supermarket on Filevsky Bulvar. She crossed the bleak park, listening to the spindling tree limbs click and clack with each wind gust. Soviet-era apartment buildings stood like sentries around the park, grotesque concrete blocks with tiny windows and tagged with graffiti. Zarina pushed open a brown metal door to a spartan lobby.The light fixtures had long ago been stolen – along with the marble floor and brass stair railing. Russians had interpreted capitalism to mean: “Steal what you can sell.” Attempts to replenish the buildings had only led to more thefts.

Zarina rode the elevator to the twelfth floor and stepped into a hallway as drab and bare as the lobby. She undid the four locks to what had once been her parents’ apartment, wiped the soles of her boots on the mat so as not to mark the oak floor, inlaid with an intricate geometric design, and hung her coat and hat on the rack before she stepped into the living area.

“We were beginning to wonder if you were coming home, Ms Kazakova.”

The man’s voice startled her, and Zarina screamed.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy. Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters.

Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe. Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse.

Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country.

MY THOUGHTS: I am not a fan of the spy-thriller/legal thriller genres, and had this book been written by anyone other than Robert Dugoni, I may not have finished it. Even so, I struggled at times to maintain my interest. And, if I have to be honest, I probably didn’t check out the subject matter as carefully as I should have before hitting the ‘request’ button. Just seeing the Robert Dugoni name was recommendation enough for me.

And as I said, if The Eighth Sister had been written by anyone other than Dugoni, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. However, his writing style carried me through; that and the mystery of the eight ‘sisters’, a spy ring.

While this is definitely not my favorite of Dugoni’s books, it is certainly to be recommended if you are a spy-thriller aficionado.I am glad I read it, but not entirely sure that I want to repeat the experience with more of this series to come.

#The Eighth Sister #NetGalley

🤔😏🤔.5

THE AUTHOR: Robert Dugoni is the New York Times, #1 Amazon, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite series. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, released April 2018. Dugoni’s first series featured attorney David Sloane and CIA agent Charles Jenkins, both of whom appear in The Eighth Sister.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas & Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page, or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2701024725?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Noble Path by Peter May

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EXCERPT: Four hundred miles away in a small, darkened room on the top floor of a building off the Falls Road in Belfast, Elliott’s face was drawn from a large beige envelope. The face was older than in the wedding photographs, and had by now acquired its distinctive scar. The photograph was placed in the centre of a bare wooden table. There were three men seated around it. The man who had taken the print from the envelope turned it through ninety degrees in order that the others could see it clearly.

‘John Alexander Elliott,’ he spoke with a thick Belfast brogue. ‘Ex-British army. Now freelancing. He killed McAlliskey. And O’Neill.’ He paused. ‘We want him dead.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: THE EVIL WRATH
Cambodia, 1978: Amid the Khmer Rouge’s crazed genocide, soldier-of-fortune Jack Elliott is given the impossible task of rescuing a family from the regime.
THE PAINFUL TRUTH
Eighteen-year-old orphan and budding journalist Lisa Robinson has received the impossible news that her father is, in fact, alive. His name is Jack Elliott.
THE NOBLE PATH
As Jack tracks the hostages and Lisa traces her heritage, each intent on reuniting a family. Yet to succeed, they each must run a dangerous gauntlet of bullets and betrayal.

MY THOUGHTS: Not my normal genre but, to be honest, if Peter May wrote the telephone directory, I would probably read it.

Although this book is set in the 1970s, there are so many issues that are still current today.

WAR: There is always one being fought somewhere in the world, in which the civilians, the innocents, bear the brunt.

REFUGEES: A problem that has become worse over the years, not better. Yet who can blame these people who have already suffered so much, for wanting a better life.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: There are always people looking to make money out of selling people dreams, then using them for their own ends.

This novel is not Peter May’s normal fare. And I must say that I prefer his Lewis trilogy, and the Enzo series, but The Noble Path is compelling reading. I vaguely remember newscasts covering the Cambodian war…but I was of an age where I was far more interested in the weekend’s agenda. Yes, I was shallow. I was aware on a peripheral basis, but if it didn’t affect me directly……for which I now unreservedly apologise.

The Noble Path contains graphic violence, but nothing that is gratuitous, in fact, it has probably been toned down. I cannot, and do not want to, imagine the atrocities, the cruelties, that occurred every minute of every day.

I did not enjoy The Noble Path, but at the same time I loved it. I loved the little kindnesses, the humanity of the characters. There were times that I gasped in horror, times that I wept with sorrow, and times that my heart swelled at some small deed.

This is a story of lost innocence on many levels, of human resilience, of the power of the love of a mother, and the search of a daughter for her father. It is a novel of the horrors and inhumanity of war. It is a novel of love, death and survival. It is a novel of hope.

My favourite quote: The dead couldn’t hurt you. But they filled your mind, touching your soul, a reminder that you too were only flesh and blood and would one day return to the earth. Dust to dust.

#TheNoblePath #NetGalley

😳😢😯😍

THE AUTHOR: Peter May is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He is the recipient of writing awards in Europe and America. The Blackhouse won the U.S. Barry Award for Crime Novel of the Year and the national literature award in France, the CEZAM Prix Litteraire.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Noble Path by Peter May for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2923283324

Watching What I’m Reading…

It’s been a bit of a funny week. Not funny Haha, but funny odd. All sorts of odd things have happened, some frustrating, like some twit severing the fibre cable yesterday so that we had no phone, no eft-pos, and no printer, which I didn’t discover until I went to print out all the financial reports for today’s board meeting. I kept having to remind myself, and the board members, that no one had died so it really wasn’t that serious, just annoying. To make matters worse, just after the meeting finished, everything (except the printer) came back online. I have a lot to catch up with tomorrow.

Even the weather has been odd this week…it’s been either summer hot, or wet, cold and windy. We have even lit the fire a couple of times.

But on with what we are really here for….books!

I am about to start reading

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And I am listening to

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I am feeling a bit guilty as I haven’t yet finished my October reads, and here we are, halfway through November. But realistically, I don’t expect to read anything more than

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It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.
Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story.
The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new.
But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.

And

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‘Sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of us, Kat. Everyone has secrets, even the people we love, the people we live with…’

Kat remembers the days when her only daughter Amy wouldn’t leave her side. Amy was the baby who cried when you walked out of the room, the toddler who was too shy to speak to strangers, the small child who clung to Kat’s legs in the school playground.

But now Amy is grown up, and Amy is gone – to university in a town several hours away. Kat’s house – which once felt too full, too noisy, too busy – is deathly quiet, and Kat awaits the daily phone call to tell her that her beloved daughter is thriving and happy.

But one day Amy doesn’t call. Kat’s husband and friends think she is being paranoid – surely Amy is just out, having fun with her friends. But Kat knows right away that something is very wrong. Her daughter would never forget to call. She would never just disappear… After all, Amy has nothing to run from. Or does she?

A gripping and suspenseful psychological thriller with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. Fans of The Wife Between Us, The Girl Before and Gone Girl will be gripped by this unputdownable story about a mother’s obsessive love for her child.

I have four new ARCs this week

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The Other Woman by Jane Isaac, for which I don’t yet have any cover art.

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I hope you all have a wonderful week’s reading..

Cheers
Sandy

The Return of Mr. Campion by Margery Allingham

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Somehow, I have lost my notes containing the excerpts from this collection of short stories thatthat I wanted to share with you. Hopefully they will turn up in some unexpected place, some time in the future, and I will be able to add them.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In this fantastic collection of thirteen short stories, Margery Allingham explores both the Mystery and the other genres it has allowed her to write.

From a Christmastime story and a portrait of her leading man, Albert Campion, to classic capers and the traditional British mystery, Allingham displays her wit, her humour, and her prowess not just as a Mystery writer but as a storyteller.

Published thirty years after it’s first publication, The Return of Mr Campion proves that both The Mystery and Allingham are still everywhere.

The Return of Mr Campion was first published in 1989 and contains the following short stories:
The case is altered — Mr friend Mr. Campion — The dog day — The wind glass — The beauty king — The black tent — Sweet and low –Once in a lifetime — The kernel of truth — Happy Christmas — The wisdom of Esdras — The curious affair in Nut Row — What to do with an ageing detective

MY THOUGHTS: This was a mixed bag of short stories, many of which didn’t actually feature Mr Campion. But there is plenty to keep the reader interested, with tales of crime, blackmail, romance and even a ghost story.

Of great interest to me is the lack of political correctness that was very evident at the time this collection was written. Very strict social mores are also in evidence. People talk of living in simpler times, but it seems to me that the difficulties were just different.

3.5

THE AUTHOR: Margery Louise Allingham was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a family of writers. Her father, Herbert John Allingham, was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal, while her mother wrote stories for women’s magazines. Margery’s aunt, Maud Hughes, also ran a magazine. Margery earned her first fee at the age of eight, for a story printed in her aunt’s magazine.

Soon after Margery’s birth, the family left London for Essex. She returned to London in 1920 to attend the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), and met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. They married in 1928. He was her collaborator and designed the cover jackets for many of her books.

Margery’s breakthrough came 1929 with the publication of her second novel, The Crime at Black Dudley . The novel introduced Albert Campion, although only as a minor character. After pressure from her American publishers, Margery brought Campion back for Mystery Mile and continued to use Campion as a character throughout her career.

After a battle with breast cancer, Margery died in 1966. Her husband finished her last novel, A Cargo of Eagles at her request, and published it in 1968.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Return of Mr Campion by Margery Allingham for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2753056259?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Buried Deep by T.R. Ragan

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EXCERPT: “I don’t feel good,” Jason told her.

When she looked at him, she was surprised to see how pale her face had become. He was leaning back against the seat, and his face was pasty white. She took his empty cup and put her full one inside of it before placing it in the bucket. Then she loosened her husband’s tie.

He closed his eyes.

Air. They needed air.

She turned to the right and pushed down on the button to lower the window, but nothing happened. When she looked at the driver, she frowned. He had a plastic apparatus over his mouth and nose. “Is that a gas mask?” she asked.

There was no answer.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Two missing persons. One apparent suicide. Three cases pushing PI Jessie Cole and crime reporter Ben Morrison closer to the edge.

Lacey Geiger could be a very rich woman. If Jessie Cole can find her. The beneficiary of a sizable estate, Lacey vanished years ago after escaping an abusive childhood and is veiled now behind a new identity. Jessie has two weeks to find her. It’s enough time to discover that Lacey is hiding from so much more than anyone realized. But she isn’t the only one with secrets. And Jessie’s not the only one searching for the truth.

A concerned daughter has asked for help finding her mother—a woman said to have been murdered thirty years ago. And Jessie’s colleague Ben, an amnesiac still struggling with the bloody memories of a shattered life, is nearer to piecing together a very dark picture. Especially when someone he detests is found dead, hanging from a tree by a riverbank.

Now as the mysteries, puzzles, and lies of three investigations are unearthed, Jessie and Ben will risk everything to bring all that is hidden into the light.

MY THOUGHTS: A quick and easy read, if somewhat superficial; interesting if somewhat unlikely.

A lot of my reservations I cannot elaborate on as they would create spoilers….but there is an example in the excerpt above. Jessie Cole is a PI, her husband has just passed out in the back of a limousine, the windows won’t wind down, the driver is wearing ‘a plastic apparatus over his face’ and she asks…’Is that a gas mask?’ Duh! There are a few of these moments throughout the book, quite a few.

But the characters are interesting, to say the least, and they really do carry this book. Jessie has a plethora of interesting cases; perhaps a few less cases and a bit more depth would have served better.

My rating keeps wavering between three and four, so I will settle on 🙂🤔🙂.5

THE AUTHOR: T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Buried Deep by TR Ragan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page, or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2744463454?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1