I rarely read science fiction before my friend and fellow author, Louis K Lowy gave me an opportunity to read his intriguing novel To Dream – Anatomy of a Humachine reviewed here: https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/02/24/to-dream-anatomy-of-a-humachine-by-louis-k-lowy/. I very much enjoyed that novel so when Outsiders by Jeremy Mills was book of the month at my book group, I was interested to read it.
I found this book a really gripping read. It is set decades in the future after a virus infected the population of earth and a group moved to the moon to keep the species alive.
The hero, of Outsiders is David Carder, lived his whole life in the quarantine provided by the moon. However, he is a trusted member of that community and is sent to the Earth to assess whether it is safe enough for all of the group to move back to earth.
Carder soon finds trouble and he makes a promise to a dying old man to find his daughter and warn her that her peaceful existence is about to be shattered. Carder eventually finds the daughter but is unable to stop her father’s warning from coming true.
I enjoyed Outsiders very much, it is a gripping thriller.
I very much enjoy Mark Billingham novels. It is no surprise to me his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His debut novel, Sleepyhead was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. Each of his novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. It is reviewed here: https://bookreviewstoday.info/2013/06/16/sleepyhead-by-mark-billingham/.
A television series based on the Thorne novels was screened in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne and series based on the standalone thrillers In the Dark and Rush of Blood are currently in development with the BBC.
In Love like Blood, his fourteenth novel with his character Tom Thorne, Billingham tackles the difficult subject of honour killings. Here Thorne pairs up with perfectionist detective inspector Nicola Tanner of Die of Shame on an investigation that ventures into politically sensitive territory. Die of Shame is reviewed here: https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/12/08/die-of-shame-by-mark-billingham/.
Tanner needs Tom Thorne’s help because her partner, Susan, has been brutally murdered but Tanner is convinced that she, personally, was the real target. The murderer’s motive might have something to do with Tanner’s recent work on a string of cold-case honour killings she believes to be related.
Although Tanner is now on compassionate leave, she insists on pursuing the case off the books and knows Thorne is just the man to jump into the fire with her. He agrees but quickly finds that working in such controversial territory is dangerous in more ways than one. Then a young couple goes missing and Thorne and Tanner a chance to investigate a case that is anything but cold.
This is an excellent and finely written book. Love Like Blood is tense, exciting and provocative. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy crime thrillers.
I have enjoyed each book I have read by Linda Huber and when I treated myself to Death Wish, I was looking forward to it. I was not disappointed! It is an excellent pyschological thriller.
The story revolves around two neighbouring households, each has their own issues. Their problems become increasingly interwoven througout the book until the shocking conclusion is revealed.
I make a point of not revealing spoilers in my reviews. Death Wish revolve ab=round two families. The first household comprises of Stu, Martine and their daughter Joda. Their family life is thrown into turmoil when Martine’s mother, Vee, who is suffering from Huntington’s Disease, comes to live with them. Vee wants to die with dignity. Huntington’s is a hereditary disease and Martine struggles with the thought that she may have the disease and could have passed it on the Joda.
The young couple who move in next door, Ashley and Leo find their relationship strained when Leo agrees to Ashley’s mother can move into the annex of their house, without fully understanding the depth of the issues between mother and daughter.
Death Wish is a gripping novel, published by Bloodhound Books. it would make an excellent book group read and, for those who enjoy books by Sophie Hannah, Betsy Reavley and Erin Kelly, I highly recommend it.
Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Not to mention several years spent as a full-time mum to two boys, a rescue dog, and a large collection of goldfish and guinea pigs. Linda now lives in Switzerland, in a little town on the banks of beautiful Lake Constance.
Today, I am delighted that my friend and fellow author, Tim Chant, has made time to visit the blog and discuss his writing. It is an interesting journey. Thank you for taking time to stop by today, Tim. Now, over to you.
Starting a blog entry, it turns out, can be harder than starting a new novel! Normally, getting started isn’t a problem for me – the problem comes with having so many ideas rattling around and started but not having time to finish them.
I’ve got a few finished pieces under my belt, under the name T Q Chant. Science fiction is my usual genre, both for reading and writing, and I’ve self-published four novellas (the Sam Cane Trilogy and the first book of the ‘Cane’s Laws’ series that follows on). I went straight to self-publishing with these. I’ve been writing for a while, and really wanted to get something out there to see what would happen. Self-publishing has been an interesting experience – it’s a lot harder work than I first thought, between getting the formatting right and sorting out the cover, not to mention the marketing. I’ve found it rewarding, though – particularly when I get the occasional review.
The next step has been getting a contract with Unbound, a sort of hybrid between crowdfunding and traditional publishing – I’m working on achieving the funding target for the book to be published. I’m very excited about this project. ‘The Frost Fair’ is a sort-of-steampunk novel set in an alternate timeline (https://unbound.com/books/the-frost-fair/) in which technology has evolved to the point where skyships are plying the skies over a world dominated by the Habsburg Empire in the 18th century. I’ve always liked steampunk (I have a think for airships) but feel that it can sometimes focus too much on the upper echelons of a society. I’ve gone the other way with this – it’s dark and gritty, filled with complex characters, and focuses on the clash of superstition and science.
One of my favourite things about reading, writing and roleplaying is the world building that goes into any setting – not just to make the story work, but as an exercise in its own right. I quite often find it slightly disappointing when I come across some little nugget in the backstory of something I’m reading or a game I’m playing in, but it’s set dressing and doesn’t get expanded on or used further. Similarly, I’ve always been interested in how events in a story will affect the world that comes after. Possibly because of my interest in history, I want to know how a fictional world came to be and what happens after the ‘happily ever after’. That’s why all of my science fiction is set in the same universe, quite often just at different points in the timeline. ‘The Frost Fair’ is also part of this timeline, and I’m looking forward to developing the events from my alternate 18th Century further and seeing how they’ll influence the societies and worlds of the future I’ve imagined.
I’m also working on some straight historical fiction (as T J Chant – it’s good to have spare initials!) – that’s a whole other ballgame and a discussion for another time…
About T Q Chant
Tim Chant grew up (mostly), went to school in East Anglia and university in Scotland. He took his History degree and did the only thing he could with it – joined the civil service. When not shackled to his desk he writes science fiction, alternative historical fiction, historical fiction and any other fiction that takes his fancy. When not doing that, he’s an inveterate roleplayer and wargamer (and getting back into historical fencing). He lives in Edinburgh with his partner and their two rabbits.
Follow me on Twitter for the occasional update, ramblings about my other interests and publication news: https://twitter.com/ReaverRedemptor
I also have a Patreon page, where I share samples of works in progress and am publishing The Contact War, set a couple of centuries before Sam Cane’s adventures, in serial form: https://www.patreon.com/tqchant
It had been far too long since I had read a Peter Robinson novel so I treated myself to the 23rd DCI Banks novel, When the Music’s Over. It is marvellous.
In When the Music’s Over Alan Banks has been promoted to Superintendent and is senior investigating officer in two important cases. The first is a historical sex crimes case that comes to light after the victim finds courage after the Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris cases amongst others. I found it interesting that there was reference to the real historic cases throughout the book.
The victim, Laura, a celebrated poet, was raped whenshe was fourteen years old by a famous entertainer, Danny Caxton and another man. Banks and Winsome Jackson work tirelessly to unravel what happened and who was involved over fifty years ago during that attack.
Meanwhile, Cabbot and Masterton investigate a day of present day grooming when the corpse of a fourteen year old girl is found. The girl was naked and has been raped, beaten and stamped on and left dead on a country road.
There are the usual twists and turns the reader has come to expect from Peter Robinson and the reflection of the historic case in the modern one is beautifully crafted. Needless to say, the end is not predictable.
When the Music’s Over is a fine crime thriller: an excellent police procedural. It would be a great read for a book group as well as for anybody who enjoys the crime thriller genre. I highly recommend it.
Peter Robinson was born in Yorkshire. After getting his BA Honours Degree in English Literature at the University of Leeds, he came to Canada and took his MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor, with Joyce Carol Oates as his tutor, then a PhD in English at York University. He has taught at a number of Toronto community colleges and universities and served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor, 1992-93.
It is many years since I was first introduced to John Rebus, the detective created by Ian Rankin in his novels set in Edinburgh. It was just as long since I had first read Knots and Crosses the first of the series. It recently came up my back to read it again and, like all good fiction, it has stood the test of time.
In Knots and Crosses, Rebus is confronted by the brutal abduction and murder of two young girls. He then hits John Rebus particularly hard as his own young daughter has been spirited away south by his estranged wife.
Rebus, heavy smoking and drinking too much, is one of many policemen hunting the killer. However, when messages begin to arrive: knotted string and matchstick crosses these taunt Rebus and he becomes aware that this is a puzzle only he can solve.
It is a tautly written thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you enjoy this genre, I recommend Knots and Crosses.