#BlogTour #BookReview: A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley (@detectivekubu) @OrendaBooks

51rRel5hflL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_‘There’s no easy way to say this, Kubu. Your father’s dead. I’m afraid he’s been murdered.’

“Faced with the violent death of his own father, even Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu, Botswana CID’s keenest mind, is baffled. Who would kill such a frail old man? The picture becomes even murkier with the apparent suicide of a government official. Are Chinese mine-owners involved? And what role does the US Embassy have to play?

Set amidst the dark beauty of modern Botswana, A Death in the Family is a thrilling insight into a world of riots, corruption and greed, as a complex series of murders presents the opera-loving, wine connoisseur detective with his most challenging case yet. When grief-stricken Kubu defies orders and sets out on the killers’ trail, startling and chilling links emerge, spanning the globe and setting a sequence of shocking events in motion. Will Kubu catch the killers in time … and find justice for his father?”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the A Death in the Family blog tour.  A Death in the Family is book 5 in the Detective Kubu series written by brilliant writing team, Michael Stanley (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip).

It’s so good to have Kubu back!  At the start of August I had my first introduction to the very likeable Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu when I reviewed the wonderful Deadly Harvest.  If you missed that review, you can check it out by clicking here.  I was so looking forward to catching up with the man affectionately named ‘hippo’ once again and I was not disappointed!  It was a joy to read this book so soon after Deadly Harvest as the characters and the stunning setting of Botswana, were still fresh in my mind.

Assistant Superintendent Bengu receives a call in the middle of the night telling him that his father is dead.  A parent passing is bad enough but Kubu’s world crumbles when he discovers his father has been murdered.  He’s keen to start working on the case but Director Mabaku puts a halt on any involvement immediately.  Instead Kubu is tasked with investigating the apparent suicide of a government official.  Elsewhere the people of Shoshong are on the brink of catastrophe.  Having been offered jobs, the young men are keen to encourage the expansion of the local Chinese-run mine, but the Chief and Elders are more concerned about upholding tradition.  Anger starts to build and is set to erupt with explosive consequences.  Chock full of suspense, intrigue and corruption; will Kubu manage to find the cause of the official’s death, and more importantly, can he discover who killed his elderly father…?

I was surprisingly saddened by Kubu’s father’s death, having only met him once before in Deadly Harvest.  He seemed like such a kind gentle man that I found his murder quite unsettling (I’d read the back of the book and was fully expecting it – maybe I’m just a softie!).  I fell a little more in love with Kubu this time around, despite him being a relatively normal kind of guy and not my usual dark and dangerous detective.  You find out a lot more about him and what makes him tick in this book.  My feelings towards Samantha Khama haven’t changed one iota, I still dislike the woman!  She really doesn’t do herself any favours in my eyes. So I was rather pleased that Kubu was a touch colder towards her.

The plot was clever, intricate and interesting throughout.  My husband studied geology at university so we had a lovely chat about mining for minerals and rare earth elements (he chatted, I listened…I’m still none the wiser!).

I’m still amazed that two people can write so well together yet make it sound like one voice. Just goes to show what fantastic writer’s Mr Sears and Mr Trollip are!

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would.  I think it works well as a standalone.  I, however, enjoyed it more because the characters and the landscapes were familiar to me.  A cleverly written police procedural which is full of mystery and suspense featuring some wonderful characters – what’s not to love?

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of A Death in the Family in exchange for an honest review.

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th July 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Orenda Books |

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A1tzuKdGl0L._UX250_Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award. The next in the Detective Kubu series is A Death in the Family, also published by Orenda Books.  Connect with Michael Stanley via Twitter @detectivekubu.

 

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*Blog Tour: Guest Post* Ghost Target by Will Jordan (@WillJordan83)

Ghost Target crop small“From Marseille to Islamabad at breakneck pace… it’s kill or be killed for Ryan Drake and his team

Ryan Drake, once a decorated field operative, is now wanted for treason. On the run from the CIA’s corrupt Deputy Director Marcus Cain, he has spent the past six months in a remote French safehouse. Drake’s former life seems to be behind him, but the uneasy peace is shattered when Cain moves against him with startling force.

Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan is faltering in the wake of a devastating suicide attack. Cain though has a plan to find and destroy al-Qaeda’s top commanders. And nobody will stand in his way.

Backed into a corner, Drake turns to the deadly but unpredictable Anya – once Cain’s most promising agent, now his most bitter enemy. With tensions running high and their uneasy alliance threatening to tear itself apart, Drake’s hastily assembled team travels to Pakistan to intercept Cain.

With the fate of the War on Terror hanging in the balance, loyalties are tested and scores settled, as Drake embarks on the fight of his life. Only one side will survive…

From the bestselling author of Black List and Deception Game, Ghost Target is the sixth Ryan Drake thriller, and an incredible tale of deception, desperation, and ultimate betrayal.”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Ghost Target blog tour.  Ghost Target, written by Will Jordan, is book six in the Ryan Drake series of novels and was published by Canelo last month (July 2016).  I haven’t come across Will’s main protagonist, Ryan Drake, before but I’m thrilled to have a copy of Ghost Target on my mountainous TBR so look out for a review in the near future.

Will has very kindly written a guest post for us today.  So, without further ado, I will hand you to over to Will:

Writing an ‘Espionage Epic’

I was on my Goodreads author page a couple of months ago, answering a reader’s question about my Ryan Drake series, when something rather interesting happened. He made an astute and, to me, quite startling observation:

“It helps that you’ve constructed what could be called an “espionage epic” of sorts, only instead of Gods and legendary warriors, you’ve got spies, killers and large intelligence services “

I’d never quite thought about it in those terms before, but the more I mulled over that comment the more sense it made. I had, in effect, taken an epic fantasy series structure and transported it into the present day thriller genre.

So how (and why) on earth did I end up doing such a thing? Well, even though I’d committed to writing a series of thrillers about covert operations, conspiracies and hidden conflicts, there were certain things that had come to bug me about this genre – the biggest of which was the reset button effect, where characters basically don’t change from book to book. Their experiences – good and bad – don’t affect them in a meaningful way. They just continue as they always have, bounding from one adventure to another.

This wasn’t for me at all, because it’s not how real people act. Real people are constantly changing and developing, growing and learning from the things they’ve seen and done. Traumatic experiences often leave deep marks that go far deeper than physical scars, while important lessons can inform the way they respond to future situations.

In short, I wanted a series based around real people.

A human hero
One of the things many reviewers have picked up about my main character Ryan Drake is that he’s surprisingly human and vulnerable compared to many heroes in the genre. He doesn’t have the brute strength and unflinching machismo of Jack Reacher, the fearless bravado of Dirk Pitt, the deadly skills of Jason Bourne. He can make mistakes, he can be misled, he doesn’t always have all the answers or know how to prevail in every situation.

Why did I make him this way? Because I knew his development as a character was going to unfold gradually over a series of many books. If I made him near perfect right from the start, where did I have left to take him? How could he change and grow and improve?

No, I wanted to take a different approach with my protagonist. In fact, I wanted to do the same with all of my recurring characters. Why? Because for me, that’s the joy of writing a series – depicting not just the action, but the effects of that action on those involved.

A tiny example is that during my first novel Redemption, Drake is disarmed and threatened by another series regular Anya (an older and more experienced operative). On the face of it, this seems to be nothing more than a brief, violent encounter between these two characters. However, two books later Drake is able to use exactly the same technique to overpower an opponent who’s got the drop on him. He’s learned from his experience, and is able to put those lessons to good use, gradually becoming stronger and more capable as a result.

By the time of Ghost Target, my sixth book, Drake has become tougher, more jaded and cynical than ever before. He’s more of a threat to his enemies than he’s ever been, but his experiences have left him questioning what he’s actually fighting for, what he and his companions have risked and sacrificed so much to achieve. It isn’t until the war comes very suddenly and violently back into his life that he realises there can be no walking away from the life he’s chosen.

Getting the balance right
“As someone who despairs at the fact the complex ‘serialized arc’ format is under attack by readers, I commend you for being an author not afraid to have a grander vision than just making stand-alone closed loop plots for your novels, and instead, make a sweeping tale with a unifying arc.”

The quote above pretty much sums up my entire thoughts on the Ryan Drake series.

For me, any story has to constantly feel like it’s building towards something. This applies both to individual novels, and also to the series they’re part of. Every book is a stepping stone on the path to the ultimate end of the series, the pieces of a larger puzzle coming together. Not only is there an overarching storyline to my books, but a complex backstory involving most of the major characters whose details are gradually expanded and fleshed out. Again, it’s important for me to show that every character isn’t just influenced by events in the present, but also that they have a life and a history all of their own.

Of course these books need to be able to stand on their own merits, to tell their own stories, and I always try to include enough background to put their events into context for first-time readers, but I believe the Ryan Drake series is a far more rewarding experience for those able to enjoy it in its entirety.

And when it’s finally over, well, I hope I can look back on it as something truly unique.

***

Thank you, Will. You’ve made me look forward to reading Ghost Target even more thanks to this fascinating post.  I may also need to add the first five Ryan Drake books to my wish list (just don’t tell my other half!).

Ghost Target by Will Jordan was published in the UK by Canelo on 4th July 2016 and is available in eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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unnamedWill Jordan is a British thriller writer, born in Fife, Scotland in 1983. His works to date include:

Redemption (Ryan Drake 1) – 2012
Sacrifice (Ryan Drake 2) – 2013
Betrayal (Ryan Drake 3) – 2014
Black List (Ryan Drake 4) – 2015
Deception Game (Ryan Drake 5) – 2015

After graduating high school he moved on to university, gaining an Honors Degree in Information Technology. To support himself during his degree he worked a number of part time jobs, one of which was as an extra in television and feature films. Cast in several action/war movies, he was put through military boot camp and weapons training in preparation.

Having always enjoyed writing, he used this experience as the basis for his first thriller, REDEMPTION. He was able to supplement this with visits to weapon ranges in America and Eastern Europe, as well as research trips to Washington DC, London and New York.

For his second thriller SACRIFICE, he was able to interview members of the British armed forces who had served tours in Afghanistan. His fifth novel in the Ryan Drake series, DECEPTION GAME, was released in November 2015.

He lives in Fife with his wife and two sons.

For more information on Will and the Ryan Drake series, go to www.willjordanbooks.com or follow him on Twitter at @WillJordan83

Will Jordan Tour.jpg

*Blog Tour: Extract* Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley

51eyx2Lz7mL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_“A young girl goes missing after getting into a car with a mysterious man. Soon after, a second girl disappears, and her devastated father, Witness, sets out to seek revenge.

As the trail goes cold, Samantha Khama – new recruit to the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department – suspects that the girl was killed for muti; traditional African medicine.

She enlists opera-loving wine connoisseur Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Benga to help her dig into the past. But as they begin to find a pattern, Kubu and Samantha suddenly find they are in a race against time…”

I am thrilled to be today’s stop on the Deadly Harvest blog tour.  Deadly Harvest, penned by writing team Michael Stanley (aka Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) is book four in the Detective Kubu series. If you are a regular visitor to damppebbles then you will know that I adore books with an international flavour. I don’t think I have visited Botswana before (in a literary sense, of course!) so I am incredibly excited to read Deadly Harvest in the not too distant future.  Here’s an extract to whet our appetites:

Chapter 1
As she walked home, Lesego’s head was full of Christmas. She knew her sister would save some of her tips and buy her a small present. Lesego had no money, so she was making Dikeledi a doily from scraps of red material left over from her needlework class. She was trying to embroider ‘Dikeledi’ across it in blue, but she’d made the first letters too big, and the whole word wouldn’t fit neatly. She frowned. She was going to have to start it again.

Lesego was carrying a cloth bag heavy with shopping and another with her schoolbooks and, even though it was a threadbare hand-medown, her school uniform was hot. She was already tired when she came to the steep hill leading to her aunt’s house in the upper section of Mochudi. She sighed, and her eyes followed the road upwards causing her to miss her footing. She stumbled, nearly dropping her shopping. The two potatoes she’d bought rolled from the top of the bag towards the road, and her shopping list, which had been shoved between them, fluttered into the weeds on the verge. She gave a small cry and scurried after the potatoes; her aunt would be furious if she lost anything. Just as she retrieved the fugitive vegetables, a red Volkswagen pulled over and stopped next to her. The driver leant across and opened the passenger door.

‘Hello, Lesego,’ he said. ‘Jump in. I’ll give you a lift up the hill.’
She gave a grateful smile and wrestled her shopping and school books into the car. ‘Hello, rra. It’s very kind of you. It’s a long hill.’
He smiled back, put the car into gear, and started on the road up. There was a click as he engaged the door locks.
Lesego took no notice. She looked around. ‘This isn’t your usual car.’
‘You’re very observant, Lesego. My car is at the garage. They loaned me this one while they service mine.’
She nodded, wondering about people who were so rich that they could just lend you a new car with no trouble. But she thought it would be rude to say that, so instead she pointed at her supplies.
‘I got everything my aunt wanted except the two sweet potatoes. They were too expensive – and old as well – so I bought two ordinary potatoes instead, which were cheap. Do you think she’ll be cross?’
‘I’m sure she won’t be. It was a sensible decision.’
She nodded, relieved.
When they reached the top of the hill, she turned to the driver.
‘You can drop me here if you like, rra. I can walk home now. Thank you.’
But the car started to move faster now that it was on the level.
‘Let’s go for a short drive first,’ he said.

So what do you think?  I’m hooked and that’s only the first paragraph or two of the first chapter!  I think it’s time for me to move Deadly Harvest to the top of my TBR.  Review to follow soon…

Many thanks to Christine at #northern #crime who helped me select such a fantastic extract to share with you all.

Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th May 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

Smith & Sons (11)unspecifiedMichael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award.  Connect with Michael Stanley on Twitter @detectivekubu.

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*Blog Tour: Review* Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen (translated by Don Bartlett)

415DfcTexyL“September 1977. Mette Misvær, a three-year-old girl disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Her tiny, close middle-class community in the tranquil suburb of Nordas is devastated, but their enquiries and the police produce nothing. Curtains twitch, suspicions are raised, but Mette is never found. Almost 25 years later, as the expiry date for the statute of limitations draws near, Mette’s mother approaches PI Varg Veum, in a last, desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter. As Veum starts to dig, he uncovers an intricate web of secrets, lies and shocking events that have been methodically concealed. When another brutal incident takes place, a pattern begins to emerge … Chilling, shocking and full of extraordinary twists and turns, Where Roses Never Die reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.”

I am delighted to be today’s stop on the Where Roses Never Die blog tour.  As you may be aware, I have a habit at the moment of coming to a series several books in.  I tend to start with book two or (heaven forbid!) book six.  I think this book and it’s beleaguered lead, PI Varg Veum, takes the biscuit though.  Gunnar Staalesen has been writing about Veum since 1977!  Granted, only a handful of his novels have been translated from their original Norwegian to English, but I intend to hunt down every single one of them!

It’s 1977 and a young girl is snatched whilst playing in the sand pit outside her home.  She and her family live in a remote but secure co-op, designed by one of the residents and surrounded by handpicked neighbours.  They all trust each other…to some extent.  After a thorough police investigation the family is none the wiser and Mette is not found.  As the statute of limitations approaches (25 years later), Maja, Mette’s mother contacts Veum hoping he will discover the truth, before time runs out.  All Veum discovers though is a community in pieces harbouring the most shocking of secrets…

Brilliant!  I have a real soft spot for translated books but have always tended to avoid Scandinavian authors and Nordic Noir (I can’t say why that is but it may be something to do with reading a novelisation of ‘The Killing’, which was written by a Brit!).  That won’t be the case in future!

I really warmed to PI Varg Veum despite his very obvious flaws and addictions.  He is quite a character and I feel a little jealous of Norwegian readers who have grown up reading his stories.  (There is a life sized statue of Veum in Bergen, that’s how you treat your most loved fictional characters!)

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Gunnar Staalesen and the statue of Varg Veum

One thing I will say, this is not a ‘fast paced, thrill-a-second’ book.  More of a slow build to a blistering conclusion (which is superb).  There are unexpected twists throughout the story which are cleverly placed to make sure you keep turning the pages.  It’s a very enjoyable read about a group of people who aren’t necessarily what they seem.

Would I recommend this book?  Definitely.  Thanks to Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum, Nordic Noir has a new fan.  My Norwegian is pretty rusty (haha, read: non existent!) so I’m off to find Gunnar’s other translated-to-English Veum books so I can fall in love with him just a little bit more.

Five out of five stars.

Thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books for my copy of Where Roses Never Die in exchange for an honest review.

Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen (translated by Don Bartlett) is published in the UK by Orenda Books on 30th June 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

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unspecifiedGunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947.  He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series.  He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. The next instalment in the Varg Veum series – No One Is So Safe in Danger – will be published by Orenda Books in 2017.

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#Blogival: Soho Honey by A W Rock (Review)

41NSZsaON9L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“This contemporary crime story takes place over three weeks in November and unfolds against the multi-cultural backdrop of Soho, London.

Branen had to leave the UK six years before to escape his complex clandestine history and the consequences of a crime that achieved worldwide notoriety. When his daughter is brutally murdered in Soho he believes that he could be the reason. He returns to his old hunting grounds to find the killer. His search brings him into conflict with the British Secret Service and Soho’s underworld. He is forced to flee Soho again after a tragic meeting with his ex-wife. His past has caught up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted. Now forty years old Branen wants to stop running and to remove forever the continuing threat to his life. In an effort to get rid of his pursuers he is faced with the prospect that his only chance of survival could lead to his death.”

I am thrilled to be taking part in the Clink Street 2016 #Blogival today with my review of the gripping Soho Honey by A W Rock.  I had decided to read this book before I had a chance to look at the blurb.  That was all thanks to that stunning cover, absolutely gorgeous!  If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will!

Ex-secret service operative Branen is called back to action following the horrific death of his only daughter, Carrie.  He is tasked with finding her killer which means returning to the stomping ground of his youth, notorious Soho in the West End of London.  During his investigation he puts several high powered noses out of joint.  Not that they needed much encouragement.  Branen is a wanted man, on the hunt for a killer.  The bodies pile up as he gets closer to the truth, can Branen avoid being one of those bodies…

I enjoyed this book, it’s a fast paced thriller with lots of action, but I was quite confused by the end of part one.  There is a lot of information (locations, jobs, hierarchies, names etc.) which I felt came flying at me.  I wanted the story to slow a little to give me time to absorb what I was reading.  It all felt a little too much, too quickly and as a result it took me a little while to enjoy A W Rock’s style of writing.

Once I had gotten used to the author’s style, I found myself completely submerged in the story.  A W Rock paints a very vivid picture of Soho and it’s darker side.  The characters are well written and the action flows from start to finish.  It’s a dark, gritty tale about the criminals of Soho’s underbelly and I’m looking forward to reading book two in the series, particularly as book one left us on such a cliffhanger!

Three and a half out of five stars.

Thanks to Rachel at Authoright for my copy of Soho Honey in exchange for an honest review.

Soho Honey by A W Rock was published in the UK on 5th May by Clink Street Publishing and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

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JKnowles_AlanRandall_0152_crop-721x1024

Photograph by Jonathan Knowles

Based in London A.W. Rock has been a regular in Soho working in various sectors of the entertainment industry.

Graduated Hornsey College of Art with a BA degree.

Worked in design and graphics, co-owner of Mighty Mouse Studio designing for many companies and theatres including the Royal Court Theatre and The Roundhouse.

He then became a professional photographer based in England and working all over the world, for most of the major advertising agencies in stills and film. These include J. Walter Thompson, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, McCanns, Bogle Bartle & Hegarty and many others.

A.W. Rock has directed a wide range of music promo films and over two hundred TV commercials worldwide. Working in a variety of locations he has made commercials for General Motors in New Zealand, American Express in New York and Dyson vacuum cleaners in England. A commercial he made for The Royal Tournament was nominated for a prize at the Cannes Film Festival. He also directed several thirty minute commercially financed dramas.

He made his first theatrical drama – Deux ex Machina – a short film which won 2nd prize in a national competition sponsored by Channel One TV – Prize Shorts. It was also chosen by the British Film Institute, from over 300 shorts, as one of eight international films to tour the country in the Brief Encounters Festival. It later was shown by the BFI on a worldwide tour.

This film received critical acclaim and was judged

” Very accomplished and remains in the memory ” by Derek Malcolm the Guardian film critic.

This film has appeared in several other international film festivals.

Blogival Calendar

 

*Blog Tour: Review* Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus

51E1j1admpL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_“Jerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God. Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.

A complex, page-turning psychological thriller, riddled with twists and turns, Epiphany Jones is also a superb dark comedy with a powerful emotional core. You’ll laugh when you know you shouldn’t, be moved when you least expect it and, most importantly, never look at Hollywood, celebrity or sex in the same way again. This is an extraordinary debut from a fresh, exceptional new talent.”

Welcome to my stop on the Epiphany Jones blog tour.  This book is something special and I am thrilled to be a part of the tour, along with some other fabulous bloggers.  Make sure you check out all of the other stops along the way.

Oh. My. Gosh!  I have never read a book quite like Epiphany Jones before.  From the moment I read the blurb I HAD to read this book.  And look at that cover!! Absolutely stunning. This is a brand new reading experience so I suggest you do everything you can to get hold of a copy.  Did I mention that I have NEVER read a book like this one before…??

Jerry suffers from figments, imaginary people who pop into and out of his life at the most inopportune moments.  This is due to his traumatic past; his young sister died of leukaemia and his father died in a horrific car accident, Jerry was also in the car at the time.  Oh, and he’s addicted to porn.  He can keep the figments at bay though by taking his meds, but there’s this one figment who keeps appearing.  She even appears in his dreams!

Whilst Jerry is at lunch one day a priceless painting goes missing from the museum where he works.  He is accused of the theft but only digs himself in deeper by lying when confronted.  Upon his return home he is aghast to find the stolen painting in his apartment.  Confused and wanting to distance himself from the booty he leaves his apartment only to bump into his figment, literally.  But that can’t happen.  Figments are created by his mind and they are not real.  Except this one is and she’s not really a figment.  She’s Epiphany Jones…

This book contains some pretty dark, gutsy themes and you do need a strong stomach for parts of it.  Saying that I am hugely impressed with the way Michael Grothaus has handled these themes within the story.  None of the sexual content felt gratuitous and it was very much necessary for the story.  Even the moments when Jerry is alone (I shall say no more and let your mind fill in the blanks)…

The story flows smoothly and at an enjoyable pace.  My interest was kept from the very first word to the very last.  I couldn’t predict where the story was going and I was always surprised by the twists and turns (full marks from me for that!).  The humour I adored. The blurb is correct, you do find yourself laughing at things which you know you shouldn’t.

I didn’t like Jerry, I did like Jerry and then I didn’t like Jerry again.  Now I have reached the conclusion of the book I definitely DO like Jerry.  The rest of the characters I’m not so sure about.  That is, except Epiphany.  Epiphany is an amazing character, quite possibly my favourite fictional character…ever!

I have to congratulate Michael Grothaus on his use of the word ‘mosey’.  It’s not a word I see often in books but it’s one of my favourites.  Thank you for using it with such aplomb Mr Grothaus.

Would I recommend this book?  I most certainly would.  I would, however, add a cautionary note about it not being for the faint hearted. There is a lot of bad language, copious amounts of sexual content (it’s about sex-trafficking and Jerry is addicted to porn, after all) and a fair amount of graphic violence that even made my tummy flip and that’s saying something as I love blood, guts and gore in my books!

Five stars out of five.

Thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my copy of Epiphany Jones in exchange for an honest review.

Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 16th May 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones |

Smith & Sons (11)92ec49_4f4057921c6b4147bddfc2baee5fa1d7

Novelist and journalist Michael Grothaus was born in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1977. He spent his twenties in Chicago where he earned his degree in filmmaking from Columbia and got his start in journalism writing for Screen. After working for institutions including The Art Institute of Chicago, Twentieth Century Fox, and Apple he moved to the United Kingdom where he earned his postgraduate degree and began writing for The Guardian, Fast Company, VICE, and others. His debut novel is EPIPHANY JONES, a story about sex trafficking among the Hollywood elite, based on his experiences at the Cannes Film Festival. It will be published by Orenda in May 2016. Michael is represented worldwide by The Hanbury Agency in London, where he lives when not traveling. His writing is read by millions of people each month.

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