The Twenty-Three is the last book in Linwood Barclay’s Promise Falls Trilogy and I really wanted to like it. I wanted to like it because the author is a great guy and I have enjoyed his books previously. Also I wanted to like it, because it always makes the review easier – and I enjoyed most of this novel.
The Twenty-Three starts with a normal morning in Promise Falls: predictably things start to go wrong rapidly. Vast numbers of people fall ill with no explanation, people are found dead or dying in or near their homes and the hospital and emergency services are stretched to their limits.
Detective Barry Duckworth is already investigating two murders when another young woman is found dead on the campus of Thackery College too. A strange car is noticed near the student halls at a critical time and a local jogger may be able to help identify the driver. Barry starts to wonder if the cause of the sickness and deaths of the townsfolk and the new attack on the campus are connected to the mysterious incidents in Promise Falls involving the number twenty-three.
This book cleverly weaves the various strands of the stories started in Broken Promise and Far from True. The twists that lead to the conclusion are marvellous. however, what I did not like was the rather clumsy way the reader is reminded of some of the back stories. I found that disappointing.
As with any trilogy, I strongly recommend you start at the beginning! Is it Linwood Barclay’s best book? Not by a country mile.
Linwood Barclay is the #1 internationally bestselling author of seventeen novels for adults, including No Time for Goodbye, Trust Your Eyes and, most recently, A Noise Downstairs. He has also written two novels for children and screenplays.
Three of those seventeen novels comprise the epic Promise Falls trilogy: Broken Promise, Far From True, and The Twenty-Three. His two novels for children – Chase and Escape – star a computer-enhanced dog named Chipper who’s on the run from the evil organization that turned him into a super-pup.
Barclay’s 2011 thriller, The Accident, has been turned into the six-part television series L’Accident in France, and he adapted his novel Never Saw it Coming for the movie, directed by Gail Harvey and starring Eric Roberts and Emily Hampshire. Several of his other books either have been, or still are, in development for TV and film.
I was sent a copy of the new novel, She Chose Me by Tracey Emerson, by the publishers Legend and have read the book. I now provide an honest review for this debut psycholgical thriller.
There are two main protagonists, Grace and Cassie. Grace has returned to the UK after working abroad for many years because her mother is terminally ill and is being cared for in a nursing home. Cassie was adopted shortly after her birth but as her adoptive mother has recently died, Cassie sets about finding her birth mother.
Grace receives a blank Mother’s Day card in the mail, she is upset by this because she isn’t a mother. Later, another Mother’s Day card arrives and after that she is subjected to a series of silent phone calls. These haunt Grace and she has disturbing flashbacks. She worries that someone is out to take revenge on her because they know what she has done. She finds herself having to face a past she has tried hard to ignore and has run from for years.
Cassie has been brought up by wealthy, adoptive parents but she feels there is something missing in her life: her birth mother. Cassie identifies her birth mother and sets out to get to know her before revealing her identity.
While the ending is quite satisfying, if a bit predictable, I found the method of narrating She Chose Me through the two women quite confusing and it took me a long time to establish Cassie’s identity in my own mind. That irritated me. As a debut novel, it was interesting in parts but not as engaging as I had hoped.
Before writing fiction, Tracey worked in theatre and community arts. As well as acting she ran drama workshops in healthcare settings, focusing on adults with mental health issues. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh and works as a literary consultant and writing tutor. She is also the Creative Director of The Bridge Awards, a philanthropic organisation that provides micro-funding for the arts.
Her short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, and her debut psychological thriller, She Chose Me, is published by Legend Press.
You can find out more about Tracey and her writing at: http://www.traceyemerson.com
I am so happy to welcome author Peter Sutton to the blog today. He has agreed to share an excerpt of his new novel, Seven Deadly Swords as part of the Love Book Group Tours. It sounds like such a gripping story: I am truly excited to present this book to you. Be sure to follow the whole blog tour to find out more!
For every sin, a sword
For every sword, a curse
For every curse, a death
Reymond joined the Crusades to free the Holy Land from the Saracens and win glory for himself. Instead, with six others, he found himself bound under a sorcerer’s curse: the Seven Sins personified. Doomed to eternal life and with the weight of the deaths he has caused dragging his soul into the torments of hell, Reymond must find his former brothers-in-arms and defeat them. Riding across a thousand years of history, the road from Wrath to Redemption will be deadly…
“A book?” Fisher asked the American who’d met them at Horseguards. They were enjoying a cigar and a brandy at the Yank’s expense.
“A special book. It’s been locked in a tomb for hundreds of years.”
Fisher exchanged a glance with Lumpy.
“And you want us along for?”
“The tomb is in Iran… “
Which was in the middle of a shitty war with Iraq. That was pretty hot, as far as theatres of conflict went.
“Iran?” Lumpy asked. Fisher watched the American carefully. What were they getting into?
“Are you up for it? I’ll pay you handsomely.”
“Let’s talk about how handsome this pay packet is. Is it leading Hollywood man handsome?” Lumpy asked.
They got down to talking about money.
Buy Link https://amzn.to/2TbM3iT
Peter Sutton is the author of three books: A Tiding of Magpies, a collection of ‘deliciously dark tales,’ Sick City Syndrome, an urban fantasy set in Bristol where he lives and Seven Deadly Swords – a historical fantasy thriller partly set in the crusades, partly set in the modern day.
On Twitter he’s @suttope and his website’s here http://petewsutton.com/ .
The new novel, The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl was published by Berkley, in July of 2018 and had been on my wish list, so when Love Book Group Tours approached me to take part in the blog tour and provide an honest review in exchange for a free copy of the book, I was only too happy to take part.
THE BOY AT THE DOOR:
Everyone has secrets. Even those who seem to be perfect…
On a rainy October evening, Cecilia Wilborg – loving wife, devoted mother, tennis club regular – is waiting for her kids to finish their swimming lesson. It’s been a long day. She can almost taste the crisp, cold glass of Chablis she’ll pour for herself once the girls are tucked up in bed.
But what Cecilia doesn’t know, is that this is the last time life will feel normal. Tonight she’ll be asked to drop a little boy home, a simple favour that will threaten to expose her deepest, darkest secret…
The Boy at the Door captured my attention from the very beginning. The main protagonist, Cecilia Wilborg lives with her successful, kind husband Johan and her two daughters in and affluent area of Sweden. However, everything changes and she finds she must face her past after she gives a young boy, Tobias, a lift home from swimming class one day.
Tobias has had a chquered past and has had to face a great deal of change in his short life. He has lived with a variety of people, some he remembers more fondly than others as the story wends its way across Northern Europe through Scandanavia and even to Poland.
What I enjoyed most about this novel was that the characters were three dimensional, they were distinct, flawed and fascinating. Even the unpleasant characters held my interest and the scene when Cecilia asks her well-heeled friends for help and they evaporate before her eyes was sadly realistic and deftly drawn.
Other things that makes the novel The Boy at the Door exciting, unpredictable and unsettling are the lies and exaggerations of the main protagonists. The reader very quickly realises that they cannot rely on everything they are told being true. The twists and turns continue throughout the novel right to the very end.
The Boy at the Door is a complex and absorbing story and if you enjoy mysteries, I highly recommend this novel. It is my favourite book so far of 2019 and will take some beating, if it is to be overtaken.
Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she wrote The Boy at the Door while living in Sandefjord.
She graduated with a B.A. in Russian and German linguistics with international studies and went on to complete an M.A. in creative writing at Bath Spa University, followed by an M.S. in business management at Bath University. Alex has published short stories in the U.K. and the U.S. She is a serious Francophile and currently lives in both London and Sandefjord. The Boy at the Door is her first novel.
PRAISE FOR THE BOY AT THE DOOR:
“Unsettling, layered, bold, unpredictable, dark. EXCELLENT.” Will Dean, author of Dark Pines
“Remarkable… Dahl is able to ring satisfying changes on the familiar ingredients, and her heroine Cecilia, in particular, is one of the most distinctive that readers will have encountered in recent years.” Crime Time
“Stunning… an extraordinary plot; intricate and twisted with dark secrets emerging at every turn. An engaging mystery with an ending you won’t see coming.” Alexandra Burt
“Heartbreaking and HEAD-SPINNING.” Mary Torjussen, author of Gone Without a Trace