Perfect Death by Helen Fields @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK

** advanced copy received via Netgalley **

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Author : Helen Fields
Title : Perfect Death
Series : DI Callanach #3
Pages : 448
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : January 25, 2018

aboutthebook

There’s no easy way to die…

Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.

But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task.

mythoughts

After having read the previous two books in this series, I’ve come to expect a dark and gruesome story with a level of originality from Helen Fields. This third instalment is no different and the DI Callanach series just keeps getting better!

For one, there’s an absolutely fascinating killer on the loose. Charming, manipulative and apparently completely invisible. A killer whose pleasure comes from watching other people’s pain and grief. If that’s not original, I don’t know what is!

But there’s more! A former colleague is found dead. Is this a suicide or did something far more sinister happen? Newly promoted DCI Ava Turner may just find out some things she’s not exactly prepared for and some team members may even find themselves in danger. Meanwhile, DI Luc Callanach suddenly finds himself face to face with his mother. What does she want after all this time?

This is another well-paced, addictive and gripping addition to the series. With various layers, investigations and excellent character development, this had me hooked. Getting some insight into how a killer’s brain works is both utterly thrilling, creepy and terrifying. I also adore this team of detectives and how amidst all the gloom and doom, the author manages to throw in a dash of humour and sarcasm via the fabulous character of DS Lively. It’s this combination of things that keeps me coming back for more.

If Helen Fields wasn’t already on my list of go-to authors, she most certainly would be now. It’s going to be a long and excruciating wait for the next book but I know it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, you can catch up! Do yourself a favour and pick up these books, if you haven’t already. For the full experience, start at the beginning so you don’t miss out on truly interesting background stories. I promise this is one of the best crime thriller series out there and you won’t regret it!

Perfect Death is published on January 25th!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Bookdepository | Goodreads

Weekly Wrap-Up (January 21)

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I’m not quite feeling myself these days. Everything and everyone irritates me, I have zero patience and often seem to find myself close to bursting out into tears for no good reason whatsoever. I don’t know if it’s the time of year (although that’s never been an issue before), the horribly cold weather, old age, hormones, the past eight months or so catching up with me, lack of sleep or a midlife crisis! 😱 Do women get a midlife crisis? Am I supposed to go out and buy leather pants and a wee red sports car or a motorcycle? Or find a toy-boy? How does one find one of those anyway? Does Amazon sell them? 😂

Anyway! Thank goodness for books, right? It’s been a pretty good week and I’m ahead of my Goodreads challenge which always makes my competitive streak happy.

Books I read this week

Technically, seven. However, one I abandoned at the 35% mark and one I can’t talk about so that’s not included here. Oooh, intriguing. 😉.

 

Books I bought this week

I was aiming for none because my kindle is set to explode and my bookshelves are about to collapse. So I bought 8. 😂. Some are pre-orders though. They don’t count, right? And apart from the third one, I already owned the C.J. Carver ones on kindle but I wanted the paperback copies as well. Excuses, excuses.

ARC’s received via Netgalley

I couldn’t request Rachel Abbott’s new book fast enough. The other two, you guessed it, are for blog tours.

 

Book post received this past week

All set for the blog tour in February, with thanks to Corvus!

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On the blog this past week

Monday : Shared my thoughts on The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Veronica’s Bird

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan and joined the publication day blog blast for The Silent Girls by Dylan Young

Saturday : Posted my review for 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

Sunday : Reviewed Assassins Retribution by Rachel Amphlett

Next week on Novel Deelights

I may have a few blog tour stops coming up. I know, you’re shocked. Maybe I need an intervention 😂. Watch out for my stops for The Innocent Wife, The Daughter, Liars and The Chalkman. I’ll also be reviewing The Confession.

And that’s it! Best get my reading on. The 100 reviews Netgalley badge is firmly in my sight and I want the precious! Or maybe I should write this backlog of reviews first. Hm.

Wishing you all a great week and lots of happy reading! xx

Assassins Retribution by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

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Author : Rachel Amphlett
Title : Assassins Retribution
Series : The English Spy Mysteries #3
Pages : 196
Publisher : Saxon Publishing
Publication date : January 21, 2018

aboutthebook

The net is closing in on Eva and her team, now on the warpath and seeking revenge.

Old alliances are tested, new enemies are exposed, and somehow Eva has to stop a madman unleashing a weapon of terrifying consequences upon an unsuspecting population.

The clock is ticking…

mythoughts

Well, by now I sure hope you’ve bought, read and enjoyed the previous two episodes of The English Spy Mysteries because it’s time to unravel this intriguing web of deceit and lies and find out who’s been pulling the strings behind the scenes.

This last instalment is an action-packed and nail-biting race against the clock as Eva and her team travel across Europe to stop a terrorist attack that would have inconceivable consequences. And all the while, suspicions remain. Who can be trusted in this thrilling spy game? Help is coming from a rather unexpected corner and Eva will finally get some answers as to what happened to Douglas.

Assassins Retribution is incredibly gripping and I found it hard to put down as the action builds up. There are plenty of reveals that lead to some very satisfying conclusions but most of all, I really enjoyed seeing Nathan develop and coming into his own. In fact, Eva’s whole team works like a charm, despite their differences. Each brings their own skills to the table and true to form, as is a spy’s job, they’ll put their lives on the line for the greater good.

I loved every minute of this concept, receiving a new episode every week. Although, writing reviews about these has been truly challenging. There’s only so much I can say without spoiling it all if you’ve not caught up. Everything comes together fabulously and unlike tv shows, there are no continuity errors 😉

I must say, if Rachel Amphlett decides to tackle a book like this again, I’ll be first in line. You may be familiar with her Kay Hunter series but I do hope you give this book a go as well as she proves once again that she’s a brilliant espionage thriller writer. I look forward to whatever’s next!

My thanks to Rachel Amphlett for the review copy.

Assassins Retribution is available now!

Rachel Amphlett Store [affiliate link] | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | iBooks | Nook | Goodreads

29 Seconds by T.M. Logan @TMLoganAuthor @BonnierZaffre

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Author : T.M. Logan
Title : 29 Seconds
Pages : 432
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : January 25, 2018

aboutthebook

Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear . . .

When Sarah rescues a young girl in trouble, she expects nothing in return. But her act of bravery puts a powerful and dangerous man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid – in the only way he knows how.

He offers Sarah a way to solve a desperate situation with her intolerable boss. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that will make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No comeback. No chance of being found out.

All it takes is a 29 second phone call.

Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

mythoughts

What a way to turn a simple premise about an intolerable boss completely on its head.

Sarah works at the local university but things aren’t going well for her. She’s consistently being passed over for promotion and her creepy boss has made it quite clear that her circumstances will only change if she sleeps with him. Her boss’ reputation is a well known secret all around campus but he brings in lots of money and the dean refuses to rock that particular boat. Sadly, Sarah’s situation is highly realistic and believable. It’s also incredibly frustrating and makes you angry at the injustice of it all.

So, what if you were given the opportunity to get rid of someone who’s making your life utterly miserable in every way? When Sarah rescues the daughter of a dangerous criminal, he offers to repay the debt the only way he knows how to. And all it takes is a simple 29 seconds long phone call.

Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.

Oooh, moral dilemma. Now, okay, maybe this is a tad far-fetched and it requires suspending belief for a bit but it’s also incredibly thrilling and it makes you think. That old adage of “what would you do?”. Because as it says in the book description, we all have a name to give, don’t we? Will she? Or won’t she? You’ll have find out for yourself.

This is one rollercoaster ride of suspense that had me guessing until the end. I was rooting for Sarah all the way, wondering what she would do, thinking things through with her. 29 Seconds is one of those books where you find yourself swiping the pages faster and faster, desperately needing to know the outcome. T.M. Logan has delivered another hugely entertaining, tense and gripping psychological thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed his previous offering Lies, but in my opinion, this one is even better and I very much look forward to more from this author!

29 Seconds will be published on January 25th.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Bookdepository | Wordery | Goodreads

 

The Silent Girls by Dylan Young @dyoungwrites @bookouture #blogblast

Happy publication day to Dylan Young and welcome to the blog blast for The Silent Girls! Many thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for the opportunity to join and the review copy, received via Netgalley. Here’s what this corker of a book is all about.

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Author : Dylan Young
Title : The Silent Girls
Series : Detective Anna Gwynne #1
Pages : 309
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : January 19, 2018

aboutthebook

When a young girl disappears from the edge of the local forest, the Gloucestershire police are convinced she’s been taken by the same killer who stabbed to death beautiful, young Emily Risman eighteen years ago. They’re desperate to finally have the evidence to put him away. To save another girl before it’s too late.

Only Detective Anna Gwynne thinks he isn’t the real killer.

Anna can’t find proof and as time is running out, she realises she needs to get inside the killer’s twisted mind. And she knows just who to ask. Hector Shaw, in prison for killing the six men who caused his own daughter’s death.

Can Anna get what she needs from Hector before another life is lost, or could he lead her down a path that puts her own life in grave danger?

mythoughts

Eighteen years ago, a young girl was found murdered on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Neville Cooper was arrested and has spent all this time in prison. But now he’s been released, pending a retrial. Detective Anna Gwynne and her team are tasked to investigate this cold case but then another murder happens. Coincidence or not? The local police force is convinced Cooper is the killer and determined to prove they’re right but Anna thinks they’re looking at the wrong person.

The Silent Girls pulled me in from the start and just wouldn’t let go. This is an incredibly gripping page-turner with a cast of truly fabulous characters. Especially Hector Shaw, who’s in prison for killing the men who caused his own daughter’s death. Like a true psychopath, he plays games with Anna and he’s one of those characters that just gets right under your skin, making it crawl, maybe even make you feel a little dirty and in need of a long shower. And yet, utterly fascinating and I do so hope there’s more from Hector in the next instalments.

I must say I love the whole concept of cold cases. Investigating a cold case is so different from a current one. Laboratories used back in the day may not be around anymore and who even knows where all the paperwork is. Original detectives may have retired or passed away as is the same for any witnesses. What possible clues could there be at a crime scene that has changed so much over the years? And who even remembers where they were or what they were doing some twenty odd years ago? But science has made progress in leaps and bounds with DNA testing, for example, being much more accurate and reliable.

The investigation itself is a thrill a minute and I found the book really hard to put down. Incredibly compelling, it had me hooked and the ultimate conclusion left me reeling. I didn’t see that coming at all! This is a fantastic start to a new series and I can’t wait for the next book!

The Silent Girls is published today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | KoboGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Dylan Young was born in a mining village in the Swansea valley in Wales where he attended primary and secondary schools. In 1974, he was offered a place at Medical school in London and qualified in 1979. Medicine and a family followed, but writing as Dylan Jones, he published 4 novels in the nineties, two of which were filmed by the BBC. In 2011, Random House re-released two of the books in the Natalie Vine series as ebooks.

Dylan Jones now writes children’s fiction as Rhys A Jones and contemporary urban fantasy as DC farmer. But crime never went away. The first in his new series featuring Detective Inspector Anna Gwynne, is due for release in January 2018. Two more books will follow.

Dylan Lives with his wife in West Wales where the landscape (and the weather!) provide ample inspiration for his books.

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The Silent Girls - Blog Tour

The Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan @Lisalregan @bookouture #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan! Many thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the opportunity and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley. Here’s what the book is all about.

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Author : Lisa Regan
Title : Vanishing Girls
Series : Detective Josie Quinn #1
Pages : 334
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : January 17, 2018

aboutthebook

Everyone in the small American town of Denton is searching for Isabelle Coleman, a missing seventeen-year-old girl. All they’ve found so far is her phone and another girl they didn’t even know was missing.

Mute and completely unresponsive to the world around her, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Detective Josie Quinn can get from her is a name: Ramona.

Currently suspended from the force for misconduct, Josie takes matters into her own hands as the name leads her to evidence linking the two girls. She knows the race is on to find Isabelle alive, and she fears there may be others…

The trail leads Josie to another victim, a girl who escaped but whose case was labelled a hoax by authorities. To catch this monster, Josie must confront her own nightmares and follow her instinct to the darkest of places. But can she make it out alive?

mythoughts

Vanishing Girls is the first instalment in a new detective series by Lisa Regan and as far as firsts go, you can’t ask for much more than this!

Josie Quinn has been suspended from her job as a detective in Denton, PA. But that won’t stop her sticking her nose into the search for seventeen year old Isabelle Coleman, who disappeared from her home. The investigation is slow-going and unearths another girl nobody even knew was missing in the first place. Josie is determined to find Isabelle but there are dark forces at play and she may be getting a lot more than she bargained for.

As far as main characters go, Josie is a strong and kick-ass lady. She’s flawed, damaged and there’s an intriguing background story that I hope will be explored further in future but she’s also stubborn, fierce, not afraid to pull any punches and has the uncanny ability to often find herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s also the perfect balance between her professional and personal life as she deals with the break-up of her marriage and tries to move on with her new partner.

Denton has this fantastic small town vibe, which I enjoy immensely. Everybody seems to know everybody and their business, or do they? Josie quickly finds herself questioning everyone and everything as her search for Isabelle reveals a disturbing and harrowing town secret. Some events may make for some uncomfortable reading although it’s not too gruesomely detailed.

I’m not at all familiar with Lisa Regan’s work but with Vanishing Girls, she delivers a gripping and compelling story that had me hooked from start to finish, putting my faith into the wrong people, not trusting the ones I maybe should have and always second-guessing everything. This is a fantastic start to a new series and I very much look forward to reading more about Josie.

The Vanishing Girls is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Facebook | Twitter | Website

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I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

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Author : Teresa Driscoll
Title : I Am Watching You
Pages : 302
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : October 1, 2017

aboutthebook

What would it take to make you intervene?

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.

mythoughts

This is one of those stories that will hook you right from the beginning.

Ella is traveling on a train when two young girls are approached by two men. There’s some banter and flirting and Ella doesn’t really make anything of it until she realises the two men have just been released from prison. As a mother, she feels she should notify someone but this doesn’t happen. And when Ella wakes up the next morning, it transpires that one of the young girls, Anna, has gone missing.

The story then picks up again a year later. Anna is still missing but with an anniversary appeal around the corner, will the truth about what happened to her finally come to light? It seems quite a few people are hiding something and even Anna’s friend, Sarah, never quite told the full story. Some characters I could sympathise with, some maybe a little less so. The premise is highly realistic, believable and thought-provoking. What would you have done if you’d been Ella?

I really enjoyed the way this plot was constructed, with chapters switching back and forth between friend, father, witness and private investigator. All of these characters are affected by Anna’s disappearance and in the case of witness Ella especially, that was something I’d never really considered. In an odd sort of way, life goes on and yet it also remains in limbo for her as she’s constantly questioning her actions. Would things have turned out differently if she had spoken up sooner?

Someone out there knows the truth and is threatening Ella but with secrets and lies galore, I couldn’t figure it out at all. Throw in some twists and turns, a red herring or two and you have one outstanding and gripping psychological thriller.

This is my first introduction to author Teresa Driscoll, who has made quite a name for herself in women’s fiction. But this is her first step towards a more darker side and it promises quite a lot for the future. I look forward to what’s next!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads

This Week in Books (January 17)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading

Cheating a little this week. The actual book I read last was a DNF at 35% and it doesn’t seem right to list it here so this is the book I did finish before that one. Get it?

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Twenty years ago, Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of a young girl in Florida’s Red River County. Now he’s the subject of a true-crime documentary that’s whipping up a frenzy online to uncover the truth and free a man who has been wrongly convicted.

A thousand miles away in England, Samantha is obsessed with Dennis’s case. She exchanges letters with him, and is quickly won over by his apparent charm and kindness to her. Soon she has left her old life behind to marry him and campaign for his release.

But when the campaign is successful and Dennis is freed, Sam begins to discover new details that suggest he may not be quite so innocent after all.

But how do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?


The book I’m currently reading

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Seventeen years ago, something happened to Jess’s daughter Beth. The memory of it still makes her blood run cold. Jess has tried everything to make peace with that day, and the part she played in what happened. It was only a brief moment of desire… but she’ll pay for it with a lifetime of guilt.

To distance herself from the mistakes of the past, Jess has moved away and started over with her family. But when terrifying things begin happening in her new home, seemingly connected to what happened to Beth, Jess knows that her past has finally caught up with her. Somebody feels Jess hasn’t paid enough, and is determined to make her suffer for the secrets she’s kept all these years.


What I’m reading next

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Jenny hasn’t had an easy life – no job and no money, with a sick mother and an abusive ex-stepfather. Not that anybody cares, she’s from the wrong side of town.

David has taken care of Jenny ever since they were at school together. He knows how special she is, how much she needs his support. David has a lot of love to give.

Jenny and David aren’t in a relationship. They aren’t even friends.

Jenny thinks she’s free to do what she wants, see who she likes. What does David think? Well, you’ll have to find out.

***

Yes, in case you were wondering, these are all for blog tours because I just can’t help myself. 🙄

Happy reading! xx

 

Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird and Richard Newman @Authoright @gilbster1000 #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird and Richard Newman. I have an extract to share with you all but first, here is what this true story is all about.

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Author : Veronica Bird and Richard Newman
Title : Veronica’s Bird
Pages : 290
Publisher : Clinkstreet Publishing
Publication date : January 23, 2018

aboutthebook

Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the 1950s, as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. Astonishingly, to her and her mother, she won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates.

A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the re: he took over control of her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as a cheap option on his market stall. Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away and applied to the Prison Service, knowing it was the only safe place she could trust.

This is the astonishing, and true story of Veronica Bird who rose to become a Governor of Armley prison. Given a ‘basket case’ in another prison, contrary to all expectations, she turned it around within a year, to become an example for others to match. During her life inside, her ‘bird’, she met many Home Secretaries, was honoured by the Queen and was asked to help improve conditions in Russian Prisons.

A deeply poignant story of eventual triumph against a staggeringly high series of setbacks, her story is laced with humour and compassion for those inside.

extract

Prison riots and escapes

Prison riots and escapes are top of the agenda incidents in the prison service: they have to be, because of their unpredictability. A riot, fully flared up is like a raging fire, uncontrollable until highly trained prison officers are brought to bear. In the short time before their arrival, prisoners will often smash the entire contents of their own cells, thus depriving themselves of their own possessions and making it difficult for them, to settle down again after the madness of the moment. They can be extraordinarily unsafe places to be, just as an elephant in musth will destroy anything in its path.

Escapes are of huge concern because the staff, under Veronica’s control, were charged to keep the public safe from what can be very dangerous individuals. If an inmate escapes it is usually because of a singular lapse in the normally tight security which surrounds the prison population twenty-four hours a day.  Prisoners have all the time in the world to plan.  They have the opportunity and will seek out every weakness in the system even before the staff become aware.

As an example, four prisoners escaped from Armley jail, a large prison in Leeds during Veronica’s watch. She was in charge, as the senior Governor was away on holiday, and was woken at three in the morning to be given the news. She threw some spare clothes into the back of her car and roared off towards Armley from Wilmslow where she lived. Arriving, she was told by a policeman she ‘…can’t park there, four prison-’   ‘I know, I’m the Governor.’ ‘Oh yes, Madam’, the Copper replied, seeing a lady in front of him dressed in a nightdress and wearing pink slippers. He received her car keys in his lap with some force. Now was not the time for niceties, she felt, as she quickly set up a Command Post to take charge of the necessary actions according to a plan already drawn up for such emergencies. This involves the police as well as the Prison staff and the media to advise the public accordingly.

Of the four men, three were on the prison roof having dug out the mortar in a new concrete block building with a knife, and were still there. The fourth was a different problem entirely, for he was dangerous, and it was not for the public to do their duty to try and stop such a bad man. Hence the need of the police for the search outside.

Gradually the news was passed up to the Command Post that this man had climbed out of a window and shinned down knotted sheets to a builder’s yard and was away before anyone knew of it. The search operation first learned of it later being told that a milkman had seen a man walking alone up the side of the M1. The milkman stopped and gave the  walker a pint of milk even though he had no money to pay for it, before driving on to make his deliveries.

In the middle of directing operations from her office, Veronica heard on the local radio she was, apparently, up in a helicopter, hovering over the prison, over-seeing the action. It is not always wise to believe everything one is told.

The prisoner had disappeared into the morning mist with the milkman never stopping to think it might have been a bit strange to have encountered a man on the motorway at that time of the morning. Eventually, the three men were returned to their cells with loss of remission, the fourth took longer to find but, as always, he ended back inside Armley. The enquiry exonerated Veronica on the basis the building works had created the opportunities for escape. The prisoners had been very quick to see a route out.  The enquiry did, however, issue recommendations for lockdowns whenever a knife, say, or a tool disappeared. The following search would continue until the missing item was found.

Riots put the staff most at risk; escapes put the public at risk. Veronica always recognised this and strove to ensure that prisoners grievances did not grow until they became unmanageable. There was always something she could do to keep the prison population calm: ‘…it’s not rocket science, just common sense.’

***

Veronica’s Bird will be published on January 23rd.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

After thirty-five years working for the Prison Service, Veronica Bird is now retired and living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. She is still an active proponent of the justice system and continues to lecture across the country and is a supporter of Butler Trust, which acknowledges excellence within the prison system.

A qualified architect and Swiss-trained hotelier, Richard Newman enjoyed a forty-year career designing and managing hotels worldwide before retiring in 2001. Since then he has gone on to publish a number of novels: The Crown of Martyrdom, The Horse that Screamed, The Potato Eaters, The Green Hill, Brief Encounters and most recently The Sunday Times bestseller, A Nun’s Story. He is currently working on a new novel about retirement and an autobiography of his time in the Middle East. He lives happily with his wife in Wetherby, West Yorkshire where he enjoys being close to his family.

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

** My thanks to the publisher for an advance copy, received via Netgalley **

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Author : Heather Morris
Title : The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Pages : 288
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : January 11, 2018

aboutthebook

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

mythoughts

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov. In April 1942, Lale finds himself on a train being transported from his hometown in Slovakia because the Germans needed men to work for them. Lale wasn’t supposed to be on this train. His older brother should have been. But Lale sacrificed himself as his brother was married and had children.

What Lale doesn’t know, is that his final destination will be the concentration camp of Auschwitz. It’s incredibly confronting to think of Lale in his suit and tie, completely oblivious, while the reader knows perfectly well where he’s heading. But even when Lale arrives at his destination, he holds his head up high, is kind, positive and determined to survive. Especially when he meets Gita, the love of his life. Lale meets Gita in his job as the tattooist of Auschwitz. He’s the person who inks his fellow Jews with the number on their arm by which they will be known from then on.

There are many stories out there about life in the concentration camps, some of which will never be told. Lale deserves the utmost admiration for telling his story, a harrowing and haunting tale of cruelty and inhumanity, a part of history that should never be forgotten. Lale sees opportunities everywhere and does what is necessary to survive. As the tattooist, Lale “enjoyed” a privileged position, able to get away with a bit more than his fellow prisoners did. But it’s also here where I had some issues with the novel as some events seemed a tad too far-fetched, or even impossible, for me.

It’s really rather incredible to think that amidst all this horror, a beautiful love story blossoms. A love that will endure all the vile things that’s thrown at it. Despite everything, Lale continues to give Gita hope, determined that they will both survive and live a long and happy life together. It’s moving and at times quite emotional but also full of hope, uplifting and inspirational.

But for me, the writing lets this book down. It all felt rather matter-of-fact to me, lacking sympathy and I feel Lale and Gita’s story deserved so much more.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is available for purchase.

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