#BlogTour | #BookReview: House of Spines by Michael J. Malone (@michaelJmalone1) @OrendaBooks

House of Spines front.jpeg“A terrifying psychological thriller cum Gothic mystery, as a young man with mental health issues inherits an isolate mansion, where all is not as it seems…

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who it seems has been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, it seems Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror… the reflection of a woman…

A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…”

I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today and to my stop on the House of Spines blog tour.  House of Spines is written by Michael J. Malone and was published by Orenda Books on 15th September 2017.  I adored (okay, adored may be a bit of an understatement!) Malone’s first Orenda release, the incredible A Suitable Lie.  It totally took my breath away and remains, nearly a year after reading it, at the very top of my favourite books of all time list!  If you missed my review the first time around or would like a quick reminder of exactly how much I loved A Suitable Lie then please click here.

So, I’m sure I don’t need to say this, but House of Spines had an awful lot to live up to. What needs to be clarified at this point is that, to me, these two books written by the same author, published by the mighty Orenda are completely different works.  I don’t think they can be compared and to be honest, I don’t want to.  House of Spines was a very different reading experience for me.

Ranald McGhie was a likeable lead.  He exudes an air of hopelessness which appealed, as well as his love of the written word (who doesn’t love books?!).  I also enjoyed the relationships he had with the women in his life; ex-wife Martie and elderly neighbour, Donna.  Ranald cannot believe his luck when he is left the imposing Newton Hall by his late Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick.  Having never met his uncle it takes Ranald time to come to terms with the idea.  Not only has he inherited a house but also two staff, a housekeeper and her husband who tends the garden.  It’s like a dream come true.  That is until strange things to start to happen…

I loved the creepiness of Malone’s writing.  He really knows how to make his reader feel uneasy which I think is a great skill.  The prose was so wonderfully poetic in places that I became entranced and totally engrossed in Ran’s story.  The one thing I will say is that I do feel that a rather large dollop of artistic licence has been used in the creation of this novel.  But that’s okay, right? After all, if you can’t bend the rules a little in fiction, then when can you?  I’m a stickler for accuracy and ‘real life’ in my crime reads but this is a psychological thriller, so…..

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  If you haven’t picked up a Michael J. Malone book before then you MUST.  If you’re after a read that is a little different to most everything else then House of Spines may be the one for you.  It’s a dark and eerie read which had me on the edge of my seat.  It has however left me with a couple of unanswered questions.  A re-read may be in order!

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of House of Spines.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

House of Spines by Michael J. Malone was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th September 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author3

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Author bio (c) orendabooks.co.uk

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

 

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Website |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Race to the Kill by Helen Cadbury @AllisonandBusby

race to the kill.jpg“It is the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her.

She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a Syrian refugee.

The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium finds Denton caught up in a world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Race to the Kill blog tour.  Race to the Kill is the third book in the PC Sean Denton series and was written by Helen Cadbury.  I was deeply saddened to hear of Helen Cadbury’s passing earlier this year. Helen first came to my attention in several of the bookish Facebook groups we were both members of.  The thing that stood out most to me was how valued and respected she was, and how much other members (readers, writers, publishers etc) cared for Helen.  I am honoured to be a part of this memorial blog tour for such a talented and well-thought of author.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first meeting with the incredibly likeable PC Sean Denton. What I loved most was that he was just a normal bobby on the beat, along with his partner PC ‘Gav’ Wentworth.  Not a Detective Inspector, not even a Detective Constable – just a fresh-faced Police Constable.  Being an avid police procedural fan I don’t normally tend to dip below the level of Detective Constable in my reads, so Sean being a normal PC was refreshing for me.

Most of the action in Race to the Kill takes place at what was once Chasebridge High School, and the newly renovated Greyhound Stadium next door.  Cadbury’s characters shine from the pages; the suspicious Sarah who resides in a caravan in the grounds of the dog stadium.  The brothers, Tommy and Joe who live in the caravan next door and sort out ‘any problems’ for their aunt and uncle, who own the track.  And Melissa, Tommy and Joe’s young sister – old before her time.  DC Tina Smales and DS Ivan Knowles also deserve a mention as I found both very memorable and well-written.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I read it as a standalone and it worked well for me.  Saying that I have downloaded and am looking forward to reading the first two books in the series.  The plot was interesting, twisty and had my full attention from start to finish.  If you love your crime dramas character driven then I heartily suggest you pick up a copy of Race to the Kill as it’s chock full of interesting, well-written people doing some pretty dark stuff.  What more could you want?

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Race to the Kill.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Race to the Kill by Helen Cadbury was published in the UK by Allison & Busby on 21st September 2017 and is available in hardcover and eBook formats (with the paperback to follow next year) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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helen cadbury.jpgHelen Cadbury was a York based writer whose debut novel, To Catch a Rabbit, was joint winner of the Northern Crime Award.

Helen was born in the Midlands and brought up in Birmingham and Oldham, Lancashire.

Helen died in June 2017.

#CoverReveal: The Seven Trials of Cameron-Strange by James Calum Campbell @ImpressBooks1

I am delighted to share the cover of the forthcoming Impress Books release The Seven Trials of Cameron-Strange with you today.  #SevenTrials is the second book in the Cameron-Strange series by author James Calum Campbell and is due for release on 1st November 2016.  Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite…

Fox stepped swiftly through the door.  There was an audible click.  And there came the sound of a bolt sliding into place.

What follows is the stuff of nightmares…

Just when the bereaved and troubled Dr Alastair Cameron-Strange rediscovers his life on the other side of the world, the British authorities track him down. They recruit him on a mission which takes him to the farthest reaches of New Zealand, to Xanadu with all its grotesque gargoyles, chief among them Phineas Fox, the American business tycoon whose baleful eye is on the White House.  There’s something not quite right about Mr Fox, and Cameron-Strange, with the help of the beautiful Nikki, is determined to find out what it is.  He survives six ordeals, but will he survive a seventh?

I can’t wait to read this!  It sounds so good and a little different, which can only be a good thing.  And now for that brilliant cover…

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Fabulous cover! You can pre-order The Seven Trials of Cameron-Strange by clicking here. Make sure you join me on 1st November when I will have a guest post from author James Calum Campbell as part of the blog tour.

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James Calum Campbell is a doctor-turned-author who divides his time between Scotland and New Zealand. He won the Impress Prize for New Writers 2014 with his debut novel Click, Double-Click. He was born in Glasgow, read Medicine at Edinburgh, and practised in Papua New Guinea, Queensland, and Auckland, where he was Clinical Head of the busiest emergency department in Australasia.