Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Review of Dark Market

Dark Market by Frank Coles both entertained and infuriated me (often at the same time). I’m not a big fan of the Jack Reacher type of Teflon-coated action man and the central character in Dark Market, John Savage, definitely falls into that category. However, there is something very human about Savage which made me root for him, even when part of my brain was saying, oh for goodness sake, surely with so many guns and so much muscle against him he should be dead by now!

This is, first and foremost, an action novel, but it is saved from being a predictable shoot-em-up by a complex and well thought out plot. John Savage is an investigator for the Financial Services Agency, but if this is the type of person they are now using I would say the banking world should be trembling in fear. Savage returns from the Middle East, where he has been working as a mercenary, after he finds a link between a murdered news reporter and the suicide he’d caused years earlier. Once back in his old job at the bank he begins to delve into crimes, cover ups, scandal and intrigue on a massive scale. The dark market of the title refers to a ‘game’ whereby anyone with the right amount of money can arrange for whoever they choose to be an assassin’s target and the bank is facilitating it. A premise disturbingly possible.

I found the book’s opening section less than engrossing, but I’m glad I persevered because the book gets better and better as it progresses. Characterisation is good; even though most of the characters are a bit OTT, they are still credible.

Would I read another John Savage tale of death and destruction if Frank Coles produces one? On balance, yes, I would.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Free Writing Critique on Offer

Calling all writers – would you like to win a free critique of your work (fiction or non-fiction) worth £30? Yes? Then this is the competition for you to enter. NO ENTRY FEE OR PURCHASE NECESSARY. All you need to do to be in with a chance of having up to 3,000 words critiqued absolutely free of charge is answer one simple question – and I’ll even tell you where to find the answer!

To celebrate the paperback launch of Bad Moon Rising, published by Crooked Cat Publishing on Friday 12 October, my alter ego Lorraine Mace is offering to critique up to 3,000 words, something for which she would normally charge £30. Full details of what to expect can be found on her critique page.

To enter the competition you need only send an email to frances@lorrainemace.com stating the name and nickname of the pub in Bradchester which features in Bad Moon Rising. You don’t even have to buy the book, as you can find the answer by reading the opening chapters via the ‘Look Inside’ feature on any Amazon site.

Make sure you put BAD MOON RISING PAPERBACK COMPETITION in the subject line so that your email is logged correctly. Each email will be given a number as it arrives and on Friday 12 October the numbers will be put into a large bowl. My husband will be given the onerous task of picking a winning number from the bowl.

The winner will be announced on this website on paperback launch day – so don’t hang about. Get reading and send me an email with the answer. Don’t forget, you have to give the name of the pub and its nickname. If you only give one of them your entry will not count.

Good luck.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Review of The I-Spy Murders

The I-Spy Murders is the second Sanford Third Age Club mystery I’ve reviewed and this one is a great read – not only a whodunnit, but a howdunnit, too! Self-styled brilliant amateur detective Joe Murray proves his mettle in this most intriguing of cases. A murder is committed in a closed house with television cameras watching the inhabitants every move.

Based on the Big Brother set up, the I-Spy television series welcomes one of Joe’s closest friends, Brenda Jump, as a contestant, which is why Joe, who would normally rather watch paint dry, ends up glued to the set. Because of this, when one of the contestants is found dead and declared a suicide, Joe is the only person convinced a murder has taken place – and in usual bullish Joe fashion, he’s determined to prove it. In no time at all Joe is once again centre stage in an investigation where the finger of suspicion points at all the other contestants, including his friend Brenda.

I’ve no intention of giving away the plot; not least because it’s so cleverly done it would be a crime in itself to post any spoilers.

One thing I will say, Joe is growing as a character. He is more human and so more credible. I would certainly recommend this novel as an entertaining read and am looking forward to the next in the series. I hope David Robinson is busy writing because his fan club is growing.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Review of The Charter

Based on the true-life story of the shipwreck of the Royal Charter in 1859, The Charter, Gillian Hamer's debut novel, opens with a chilling account told from the point of view of a child who dies in the disaster. The child’s tale comes back to haunt both reader and Sarah Morton, the modern-day main character, as we move with Sarah from the funeral of her estranged father through tragedy, intrigue and fear.

Instead of a straightforward will, Sarah’s father leaves instructions which have her fearing even her childhood friends and questioning everyone’s motives and actions. The Royal Charter was carrying gold from Australia when it went down with tremendous loss of life. The descendants of both survivors and rescuers seem to have much to hide and Sarah is soon swept up in the history of the shipwreck, but nothing and no one is as it seems on the surface. In a race to find the missing gold, Sarah’s life and sanity is put in jeopardy again and again.

This well crafted story of greed and intrigue kept me absorbed from the first page to the last. I would have no hesitation in recommending The Charter.