The Woman Who Felt Invisible by Lizzie Chantree

One of my favourite authors, Lizzie Chantree has published a new novel and allowed me to share and extract from that with my readers. Aren’t I lucky?

The Blurb

A gorgeous romantic story of love and new beginnings. Learning to love herself and be content on her own is the first step. But will Olivia be able to leave her past behind, follow her heart and find lasting happiness? A read full of humour, romance and tear-jerking reality, from international bestselling author, Lizzie Chantree.

Have you ever felt invisible? 

Working as a stationery supervisor and a sitter to a pair of internet famous, delinquent dogs, wasn’t how former cyber-specialist, Olivia, imagined her life turning out. 

Working in a tiny cubicle with a decrepit computer and being overlooked had suited her for a while, but now she’s fed up, lonely and determined to make the world ‘see’ her again. 

Old school friend, Darius, wants to fill Olivia’s days with romance, but their love of technology has taken them on very different paths. 

Gorgeous undercover policeman Gabe, is steadfast in finding out if Olivia was part of an online scam, but something doesn’t feel right and he suspects someone else was manipulating her life. 

Can love blossom from the most deceptive of starts? And can someone who feels lost, find a way to flourish against all odds?

The Excerpt

This was it. This was Olivia Tenby’s life, now. This was how low she had come. At the age of forty-one, she was sweating her guts out in a house that felt like a furnace, babysitting two delinquent Labradoodle dogs called Bertie and Belle, while their owners swanned around getting even richer somewhere else. Wiping her palms across her face, feeling glad she’d discarded her top so that she couldn’t drip on it, she pressed a button. Music blared out of speakers set into the ceiling. This house had everything – lights that came on when you spoke to them, a vacuum cleaner that tripped you over while it scurried along the floor of its own accord, and a fridge that dispensed perfectly shaped ice cubes into crystal glasses.

Olivia looked around furtively for a moment, and then laughed and decided to go for it. Her job as dog sitter extraordinaire had begun two weeks ago. She’d been told to entertain the excitable animals in any way she could think of, as they were naughty and destroyed everything while the owners were out – which they always were. Olivia hadn’t even met them, which was baffling. They left her notes with instructions on how to stop the dogs eating the walls and making a mess of the thick pile carpets. She actually quite liked the job, it was as easy as walking in a straight line. Then she thought about how wobbly she always was after three vodka and cokes, and quickly pushed that picture aside. The dogs were bored and, although her job included giving the house a cursory swipe with a duster, it was always immaculate when she arrived. Something was a bit weird, though, as the place was incredibly hot. The dogs liked to slobber all over her, making her even hotter. So she’d taken to stripping off as soon as she sat down with the pooches, otherwise she’d probably pass out and be found weeks later, mummified in dog hair.

The Author

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. Visit her website at http://www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantree https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree.

International bestselling author Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, about women with unusual businesses, who are stronger than they realise.

The Links

The Links

Universal book buy link: The little ice cream shop: viewbook.at/IceCreamShopByTheSea

Universal book buy link: Networking for writers: viewbook.at/NetworkingForWriters

Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours: viewbook.at/IfYouLoveMe-ImYours

Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: viewbook.at/NinjaSchoolMumRomance

Universal book buy link: Babe Driven: viewbook.at/BabeDriven

Universal book buy link: Love’s Child: viewBook.at/Amazon-LovesChild

Universal book buy link: Finding Gina: viewbook.at/FindingGina

Shh… It’s Our Secret: https://www.bhcpress.com/Books_Chantree_Shh_Its_Our_Secret

The woman who felt invisible: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09J98F32J


Website: www.lizziechantree.com

Author page: https://www.viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizzieChantree/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/lizziechantreeauthor

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCop-RlAcGqggZG3JfE-Mw

Fair Warning by Michael Connelly

While I was on holiday last month, I took the chance to catch up on my reading and started with Fair Warning by one of my favourite authors, Michael Connelly.

The Blurb

Jack McEvoy is a reporter with a track record in finding killers. But he’s never been accused of being one himself.

Jack went on one date with Tina Portrero. The next thing he knows, the police are at his house telling Jack he’s a suspect in her murder.

Maybe it’s because he doesn’t like being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Or maybe it’s because the method of her murder is so chilling that he can’t get it out of his head.

But as he uses his journalistic skills to open doors closed to the police, Jack walks a thin line between suspect and detective – between investigation and obsession – on the trail of a killer who knows his victims better than they know themselves.

Riveting, original and terrifying – this masterpiece from Michael Connelly is the best thriller you will read this summer.

The Review

I was interested to read Fair Warning because most of the Michael Connelly books I’ve read have been Harry Bosch books. In this one, the protagonist is a journalist, Jack McEvoy. He is drawn into a murder enquiry after he becomes a suspect. Jack is working for Fair Warning, a non-profit consumer protection news website run by Myron Levin, which exists in reality. The story focuses on the complexities and terrifying possibilities that having an all too unregulated genetic analytics industry with its lack of governmental oversight, the responsibility of which falls under the remit of the FDA, poses to society. Jack is shocked when he finds himself a suspect for the murder of Tina Portrero, a woman who had picked him at his local bar for a one night stand a year ago. Tina had been killed by Atlanto-Occipital Dislocation, where her neck is twisted so hard that her spine is severed, a most unusual way of murdering anyone.

The LAPD detectives Mattson and Sakai treat Jack harshly, taking his DNA for elimination purposes, and on discovering Jack is investigating Tina’s murder, respond by issuing threats, severe harassment, and arrest. It turns out that TIna had been cyber stalked, been creeped out by meeting a strange man in a bar who appeared to know far too much about her, and had recently found out she had a half sister on submitting her DNA to the cheapest private DNA testing company, GT23. GT23 openly sold on the DNA analysis of their clients for huge profits to a myriad of customers, ostensibly anonymously, but acknowledging that there was a possibility their systems and security may not fool-proof, to ensure they avoid liability. Jack reconnects with the love of his life, Rachel Walling, former FBI special agent and profiler, a relationship with a long history of hope and hurt, but which he just cannot help sabotaging. Jack, a fellow reporter and Rachel find there are other women in the country who had been killed with the same MO, pointing to the existence of a dangerous serial killer called The Shrike.

Connelly writes of the rise in misogyny and the high numbers of men in Incel groups, driven by their hatred of women to denigrate and abuse, act violently and even murder, here illegally accessing DNA information that includes the identification of a specific gene associated with addictions. This is a thrillingly entertaining crime read, touching on issues that need to have stricter governmental oversight and monitoring.

I won’t give any spoilers, but Fair Warning is definitely worth a read.

The Author

Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty-five foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction.

His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller.

His most recent New York Times bestsellers include The Law Of Innocence, Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of Truth, and The Late Show. Michael is the executive producer of Bosch, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, “Sound Of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story’ and ‘Tales Of the American.’ He spends his time in California and Florida.

Val Penny

Snowflake’s Big Adventure by Erin Mackey

The Blurb

Sometimes going out into the world is scary, but it can also be exciting.

We all worry about our place in the world and Little Snowflake is no different.  When the day comes for him to fall to Earth for the very first time, he’s filled with worry and wonder.  Guided by Mama Snowflake, Little Snowflake and the others anticipate their destination. He knows the possibilities are endless and wishes he could do them all.  There are so many things he could be, but will any of it be meaningful? Will he be satisfied with his destiny?

Snowflake’s Big Adventure is a fun and engaging picture book that helps children grapple with the age old question: “What is my purpose?” It teaches, them how to overcome anxiety and trust the wisdom of those around them. Combining beautiful pictures with powerful life lessons, this book could be your child’s next lifelong favourite.

The Author 

Helping kids to love reading one book at a time.  Erin Mackey writes in various children’s genres, including picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade fiction, and Young Adult fiction.  She has more than 40 completed picture book manuscripts and she continues to develop new story ideas on a regular basis.  So far, Erin has published picture books, middle grade fiction, and Young Adult books.  She enjoys spending time with her husband, family, friends, church family, and her crazy cats who constantly entertain her and get into trouble.

The Links

https://www.erinmackeyauthor.com

https://www.erinmackeyauthor.com/blog/

Facebook-        https://facebook.com/ErinMackeyBooks/

Twitter-           @erinmackeybooks

Instagram-      @erinmackeyauthor

LinkedIn-        https://linkedin.com/in/erinmackeyauthor/

The Granville Legacy by Patricia M. Osborne

The Granville Legacy is the third book in the House of Grace Trilogy by Patricia M. Osborne. It is not a genre I would normally choose, but I am so glad that I made an exception in this case. Each of the novels is excellent and the trilogy should be read in order. As the story progresses the Granville family grows and the characters are beautifully drawn and developed.

The Blurb
Can George step into his grandfather’s shoes?
Assuming his title as Lord Granville is no easy task for coal miner’s son, George Gilmore.George doesn’t possess the late Lord Granville’s ruthless streak but what happens if his loved ones are threatened? How can he support his mother, Grace, through her devasting loss? Will the family rally round? Can George step into his grandfather’s shoes?
Journey through the 80s in this family saga unravelling heartbreak, family conflict, romance, fashion, and much more.
‘The Granville Legacy’ is the final book in the House of Grace trilogy.

The Review
This third and final part of the House of Grace trilogy is beautifully written. In The Granville Legacy, author Patricia M. Osborne completes a literary triumphwith the finesse and aplomb her readers have come to expect.
As always, life does not go smoothly for the family and not only Grace but also George and Alice have struggles to overcome as well as happy times to enjoy.
The characters are beautifully drawn and eminently believable. However, I did find the deeply close relationship between George and his former teacher a slight stretch of the imagination and the speed with which George’s relationship with Mandy developed was surprising, although it did contrast well with Alice’s marriage. To be honest, these are extremely small niggles with a such marvellous novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Granville Legacy. it provides a most satisfying conclusion to The House of Grace trilogy and I highly recommend it. I am sure it would appeal not only to those who enjoy family sagas, but also those who enjoy romance novels, historical novels and everybody who enjoys a great story.

The Author
Patricia M Osborne is married with three grown-up children and six grandchildren. She was born in Liverpool but now lives in West Sussex. In February 2019, she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing (Merit) via the University of Brighton. She is a novelist, poet, and short story writer. When she’s not working on her own writing, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and acts as a mentor to fellow writers.
In 2017 she was a Poet in Residence at a local Victorian Park in Crawley and her poetry was exhibited throughout the park. In 2019 her poetry was on display at Crawley Museum.Patricia has had numerous poems and short stories published in various literary magazines and anthologies.
Val Penny

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell

Lone Survivor is a nonfiction book. It tells the true story co-authored by the man who lived it, US Nayv SEAL, Marcus Luttrell. It was recommended to me by someone who wanted me to understand the mentality and tasks undertaken by Special Forces. This is not a read for the faint-hearted.

The Blurb

This is the story of fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, and the desperate battle in the mountains that led, ultimately, to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history. But it is also, more than anything, the story of his teammates, who fought ferociously beside him until he was the last one left-blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade, blown over a cliff, but still armed and still breathing. Over the next four days, badly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell fought off six al Qaeda assassins who were sent to finish him, then crawled for seven miles through the mountains before he was taken in by a Pashtun tribe, who risked everything to protect him from the encircling Taliban killers.

A six-foot-five-inch Texan, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell takes us, blow-by-blow, through the brutal training of America’s warrior elite and the relentless rites of passage required by the Navy SEALs. He transports us to a monstrous battle fought in the desolate peaks of Afghanistan, where the beleaguered American team plummeted headlong a thousand feet down a mountain as they fought back through flying shale and rocks. In this rich , moving chronicle of courage, honor, and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers one of the most powerful narratives ever written about modern warfare-and a tribute to his teammates, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. 

The Review

The first half of Lone Survivor, I found to be really slow. The author narrates the story of giving the news of his comrades deaths to their loved ones. I appreciate that would have been traumatic both for them and for him, however, it added nothing to the progress of the story for me and the loved ones of the dead SEALs were not relevant or important to the story.

The rest of the first half of the book told of the authors background, his youth and how he came to join the SEALs. Again, this was turgid stuff, but did set the background for the determination and mindset of the author. That is important when he becomes the Lone Survivor.

The second half of the book begins with the travel to the scene of the attack in Afghanistan. Again, I do not need to know this, indeed, the author was not appraised of the exact route taken therefore I cannot see that it was worth the ink to appraise the reader.

The story really starts when the group of four SEALs are overcome by the Taliban forces but fight bravely on, each for as long as is possible, even after sustaining injuries severe and eventually life-threatening in nature. It is then that much of the background the author gave about the SEAL training, determination and loyalty to each other became relevant. The author details the ambush he and his comrades encountered vividly. He then goes on to describe the injuries sustained by his comrades in gruesome detail. This is necessary to accomplish his desire to explain to the reader the outstanding bravery of his comrades. He achieves this. Luttrell is much less forceful when detailing his own bravery. he emphasises the heroism of those Afghanis who sheltered him and cared for him in the face of Taliban threats. he commends his US military colleagues who rescue him, and those who died trying.

Nevertheless, Luttrell suffered horrendous injuries, all of which he down plays. When he is finally able to return home to his family’s horse ranch in Texas, it is clear that the author still felt it an honour as well as a duty to have served his country and the President, his commander-in-chief.

This is definitely a book of two halves. On balance, Lone Survivor achieved what my friend hoped it would. I understand the mindset of Special Forces much better now, To that end, it is a fascinating book. However, I would be careful to whom I recommended Lone Survivor, but personally, I found it more useful than enjoyable.

The Author

Born and raised in Texas, Luttrell and his twin brother, Morgan, attended Sam Houston State University. They began training for the SEALs at age 14 with former United States Army soldier, Billy Shelton, who lived nearby. As kids they loved to hunt and fish and wrestle alligators! Martial arts training has been an important role in Marcus’ life from the time he was a child.

I will never quit. My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down i will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.”

Luttrell joined the United States Navy in March 1999. He began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training with Class 226 in Coronado, California. He graduated with Class 228 after suffering a fractured femur early in his training. Marcus graduated 18 Delta in 2001, making him a team Medic.

On June 28, 2005, Luttrell and SEAL Team 10 were assigned to a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah (nom de guerre Mohammad Ismail), a high-ranking Taliban leader responsible for killings in eastern Afghanistan and the Hindu-Kush mountains.

Val Penny

The Guardians by John Grisham

I hadn’t read anything by John Grisham for a while. so when I saw this book on sale, I picked it up and was looking forward to reading.

The Blurb

22 years ago Quincy Miller was sentenced to life without parole. He was accused of killing Keith Russo, a lawyer in a small Florida town. But there were no reliable witnesses and little motive. Just the fact that Russo had botched Quincy’s divorce case, that Quincy was black in a largely all-white town and that a blood-splattered torch was found in the boot of Quincy’s car. A torch he swore was planted. A torch that was conveniently destroyed in a fire just before his trial.

The lack of evidence made no difference to judge or jury. In the eyes of the law Quincy was guilty and, no matter how often he protested his innocence, his punishment was life in prison.

Finally, after 22 years, comes Quincy’s one and only chance of freedom. An innocence lawyer and minister, Cullen Post, takes on his case. Post has exonerated eight men in the last ten years. He intends to make Quincy the next.

But there were powerful and ruthless people behind Russo’s murder. They prefer that an innocent man dies in jail rather than one of them. There’s one way to guarantee that. They killed one lawyer 22 years ago, and they’ll kill another without a second thought.

The Review

The premise of this novel is fascinating. It follows the work of Cullen Post, a lawyer turned preacher who joins an organisation that works to get those wrongly convicted of major crimes released. It is even more interesting that the fictional organisation is based one that really exists.

Post is an interesting character who doesn’t like to fly, lives on a shoestring and drives a decrepit old car as he travels the country interviewing clients and witnesses.

The blurb for this book made it sound really exciting as the convict Quincy Miller was found guilty of murdering his lawyer 22 years previously and sentenced to life in prison. Post discovers witnesses who lied in court, local police officers on the take and a town hierarchy immersed in the drug trade and crimes.

Unfortunately there were no surprises (except for a rather gruesome trip to the West Indies that was incredible, even in terms of a work of fiction). I do not want to spoil the story for those who plan to read it, but suffice to say that the story progresses in a most pedestrian way and borders on boring. I have read many John Grisham books, but this one was a great disappointment.

While I could not recommend The Guardians, it might make a good book for discussion in a book group, because of the subject matter.

The Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby–writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career–and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written at least one book a year (his other works are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, The Associate, The Confession, The Litigators, Calico Joe, The Racketeer, Sycamore Row, Gray Mountain, Rogue Lawyer, The Whistler, Camino Island, The Rooster Bar, The Reckoning, and The Guardians) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently more than 350 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 45 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection. In addition, Grisham has written seven novels for young adults, all in the Theodore Boone series: Kid Lawyer, The Abduction, The Accused, The Activist, The Fugitive, The Scandal, and The Accomplice.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books’ protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients’ case, earning them a jury award of $683,500–the biggest verdict of his career.

When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Val Penny

I Can Make You Rich by Paul McKenna

I bought this book many years ago in a charity shop and during a clear out of my bookcases it dawned on me that maybe I should read it. So, at last, I Can Make You Rich by Paul McKenna left my book shelves and made it to the top of my TBR pile.

The Blurb

If you’ve ever wondered why it is that some people find it easy to make money while others struggle, it’s not because they are more intelligent, work harder or have better luck – it’s simply because they think and act differently.

Do you want to make more money? Do you want to improve the quality of your life? Do you believe you can be rich? What if it was easier than you think?

Over the past decade, Paul McKenna PhD has made a unique study of the mindset of people rich not only in money but also in happiness and quality of life. In this ground breaking new book, he makes use of proven psychological techniques to help you install that same rich mind-set inside yourself. Soon, you will be seeing the world in an entirely new way, thinking and living richer than ever before!

The Review

Oh Dear! The book has a hypnosis cd which apparently assists in making the most of the scheme promoted by the book. I did not want to be hypnotised by a cd and so I did not use it.

I did read the book and study the exercises. I regret to say that the experience has not made me any richer, nor more content with my lot. I am pleased that I bought the book in a charity shop and to a charity shop it has returned.

I cannot recommend this book, and I’m sure it helped improve the author’s finances more than it did mine.

The Author

Over the past twenty years, Paul McKenna, Ph.D. has helped millions of people successfully lose weight, quit smoking, overcome insomnia, eliminate stress, and increase self-confidence. Paul has famously worked his unique brand of personal transformation with Hollywood movie stars, Olympic gold medallists, rock stars, top business achievers, and royalty. He has consistently astounded his audiences and clients by proving how small changes in people’s lives can yield huge results, whether it’s curing someone of a lifelong phobia, an addiction or clearing up deep-seated issues in a matter of days… He is Britain’s bestselling non-fiction author, having sold 3 million books in 3 years, and his TV shows and live appearances have been watched and attended by hundreds of millions of people in 42 countries around the world.

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

My elder daughter introduced me to Linwood Barclays’ books when we were on vacation on the island of Mallorca. I have read, enjoyed and reviewed several of his novels since then. I even had the pleasure of meeting him once, he is a delightful man. When I saw Elevator Pitch, the title amused me, I was looking forward to reading it.

The Blurb

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its Friday night ribbon-cutting. 

The Review

I started this novel with great expectations because I have enjoyed every book of Linwood Barclay’s that I have read. Elevator Pitch certainly got off to a gripping start when a budding author follows a woman into a lift with a view to pitching his work to her before she get out of the elevator. Two other people get in, but the elevator doesn’t stop at any of the chosen floors. It crashes to the ground and all four are killed.

The Mayor of the city Richard Headley is being investigated by a journalist, Barbara Mathieson and is looking to his team for help to draw that to a close while police officers Bourque and Delgado are called to the scene of a murder and find the fingertips of the corpse have been removed.

The elevator crash seems to be a tragic accident until several similar emergencies occur around New York. This is an orchestrated attack, but it is not clear who is behind it nor who is the target as the victims have no links.

The story then weaves its way through Barbara’s investigation, the police officers’ case and Headley’s corruption. True to his roots, Barclay explains his characters backgrounds, and the reader gets to know them and understand why they act as they do.

Unfortunately, this author’s usual humour was lacking from Elevator Pitch and the number of strands to the story were interwoven quite late in the book and I did not warm to the characters. I was bitterly disappointed, because I had expected to enjoy the book, but regret that I did not.

The Author

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.

After spending his formative years helping run a cottage resort and trailer park after his father died when he was 16, Barclay got his first newspaper job at the Peterborough Examiner, a small Ontario daily. In 1981, he joined the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper.

He held such positions as assistant city editor, chief copy editor, news editor, and Life section editor, before becoming the paper’s humour columnist in 1993. He was one of the paper’s most popular columnists before retiring from the position in 2008 to work exclusively on books.

Barclay was born in the United States but moved to Canada just before turning four years old when his father, a commercial artist whose illustrations of cars appeared in Life, Look and Saturday Evening Post (before photography took over), accepted a position with an advertising agency north of the border. Barclay, who graduated with an English literature degree from Trent University, in Peterborough, Ontario, was fortunate to have some very fine mentors; in particular, the celebrated Canadian author Margaret Laurence, whom Linwood first met when she served as writer-in-residence at Trent, and Kenneth Millar, who, under the name Ross Macdonald, wrote the acclaimed series of mystery novels featuring detective Lew Archer. It was at Trent that he met Neetha, the woman who would become his wife. They have two grown children, Spencer and Paige.

Val Penny

The Time Detective – Discovery by Mark Carnelley

I had had this book on my radar for some time, the title was so intriguing, so I shuffled my ‘to be read’ pile and The Time Detective Discovery by Mark Carnelley came to the top. I am glad it did.

The Blurb

Marshall Bellows is a present day crime fighter and Allan Besley his alter ego in 1956 (after the discovery of a wormhole during the chase of a sick, perverted serial killer). Can Marshall/Allan survive this double life in two times, two seemingly different worlds and two loves or will one the worlds pull him in deeper, where he finds it harder and harder to leave? This first book, Discovery, begins the fight for Marshall in both worlds. A man with strong convictions with no qualms about “getting his hands dirty” if that is what’s required. Is he judge, jury and executioner? Strange and desperate times require certain measures and Marshall is the man for the job, in both times.

The Review

The Time DetectiveDiscovery has a gruesome and explosive start however, I’m glad I persevered. This is an gripping time shift story that deserves more recognition than it has had to date.

The story is set in England and main protagonist, Marshall Bellows is a most attractive character. The reader learns not only about him but also about the relationship he has for his dog and with his neighbours as well as his love story. He sets about leading the investigation into the crimes of a serial killer who has discovered a worm hole in time and space that he uses to his advantage,

Marshall stumbles across the worm hole too and devises a way that he can pursue the killer in the present day and 1956. It is a cleverly conceived plot that leads to a satisfying conclusion.

I really enjoyed The Time DetectiveDiscovery and am think that it is a fine crossover novel.

The Author

My name is Mark Carnelley. I am a 58yo 1st (soon to be 2nd) time author. I have been married for nearly 35 years and have 5 children (4 boys & 1 girl) and 1 granddaughter.
My 1st published book is “The Time Detective- Discovery”. The story of Marshall Bellows, a Police Officer here in the present who, during the chase for a sick, serial killer, discovers a wormhole that allows him to travel back into 1956, where he takes on the persona of Allan Besley. He is a crime fighter in two times, two different worlds. Book #2 is currently being written and will be titled “Between Two World” and is the continuing saga of Marshall/Allan and their fight across he times and the internal conflict he is facing regarding which time and world to live in.
My second book, “The Omega Chronicles” will be released on 31/1/18 and is the story of one mans struggle after he miraculously survives a situation that kills on life on earth.

Val Penny

Boy Soldier by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby

I recently set one of my tutor groups to read Boy Soldier by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby. To make sense of the challenge and allow me to set questions, I read the book too.

The Blurb

Danny Watts’s grandfather, Fergus, was a traitor. One of the worst sort. An SAS explosives expert who betrayed his country and his Regiment for money. Drug money. He was arrested and left to rot and die in a Colombian jail.

At least, that’s what seventeen-year-old Danny is told when his hopes of becoming a soldier are destroyed for ever.

But he knows something the army doesn’t seem to know. Fergus Watts is alive and in the UK, living in secret under an assumed name – but where? Fergus is Danny’s only living relative.

Burning with fury and desire for revenge, Danny sets out to track down his grandfather and expose him. In doing so he sets in train an explosive sequence of events which throw Danny and Fergus together on the run from the people who want Fergus, and now Danny, dead.

The Review

I usually try to avoid books with more that one attributed author. However, as I had set Boy Soldier for a tutor group, I could not avoid this one, and I’m glad I didn’t. The book is a gripping, action-packed SAS thriller. It is ideal for adventure-seeking readers.

Boy Soldier commences in Colombia in 1997 where a former SAS soldier, Fergus Watts, is shown to be training members of the illegal guerrilla force FARC but quickly moves to England in 2006 where a promising recruit, Danny Watts, fails to be accepted for the army that he dearly wants to join.

The reader learns more about the youngster, Danny, and his friend Elena when he returns home to the hostel where he lives since being orphaned in a tragic accident. The connection between the two men and Danny’s search for Fergus develops into an exciting adventure that requires Danny to learn fast and stay safe.

Boy Soldier is packed with breathtaking action, SAS procedures and surveillance and survival techniques, this is a fast-moving, action-packed thriller for teenagers. I highly recommend this book.

The Authors

Andy McNab

Andy McNab joined the infantry in 1976 as a boy soldier. In 1984 he was badged as a member of 22 SAS Regiment. He served in B Squadron 22 SAS for ten years and worked on both covert and overt special operations worldwide, including anti-terrorist and anti-drug operations in the Middle and Far East, South and Central America and Northern Ireland.

Trained as a specialist in counter terrorism, prime target elimination, demolitions, weapons and tactics, covert surveillance and information gathering in hostile environments, and VIP protection, McNab worked on cooperative operations with police forces, prison services, anti-drug forces and western backed guerrilla movements as well as on conventional special operations. In Northern Ireland he spent two years working as an undercover operator with 14th Intelligence Group, going on to become an instructor.

McNab also worked as an instructor on the SAS selection and training team and instructed foreign special forces in counter terrorism, hostage rescue and survival training.

Robert Rigby

Robert Rigby began his career as a journalist, then spent several years in the music business as a songwriter and session musician. He turned to writing for radio, television, and the theatre, and has also directed and performed in children’s theatre throughout the country. He has become an established young people’s playwright, and his award-winning work with youth theatre companies has been seen in Britain, Europe, the USA, and Africa. He wrote the novelizations of the movies Goal! and Goal II, and his scripts for television include the long-running BBC children’s drama series, Byker Grove.

Val Penny