“A Talent For Murder”, by Andrew Wilson

WILSON-Adrew_a-talent-for-murder-Author Andrew Wilson has so well slipped in to merge with Agatha Christie the novel reads as grippingly as any of her works. Meticulously researched, he adopts Mrs Christie’s persona in this tale of her famed missing eleven days.

Anxiety and panic attacks fill Mrs Christie as she relates the events of what is readily plausible in that time and in her world of crime novels.

Wilson teases us with characters she meets; we want to keep reading to know them, to know more about them. We are in suspense as we read on and learn more. How each character involves with and revolves around each other, and the plot, is breath-holding – in the sense of building our feelings of foreboding, and character empathy.

So well written I devoted two evenings to completing it. Christie, as character, reads people, actions and settings, and records them in such detail that it is easy to believe this story is truth. She shares her emotions – bereavement, stress, loss, anger, desperation – in reasoned detail. Her voice builds reader empathy

Wilson’s re-creation of Christie’s work is exceptional; and, what good news – he is working on the next Agatha Christie Adventure, A Different Kind of Evil.

Published by Simon and Schuster, UK Ltd, 2017

Hardback: 978-1-4711-4821-7
Paperback: 978-1-4711-4822-4
eBook: 978-1-4711-4823-1

A Talent For Murder also includes

  • an Editor’s Note, written by John Davison
  • Acknowledgements of the research resources used
  • an Exclusive Extract from A Different Kind of Evil

Teaser video

Andrew Wilson’s website is behind his portraitWILSON_Andrew

Find him also at Simon n Schuster UK
Tweet him … Twitter @andrewwilsonaw

Released  in NZ in July, via Booksellers NZ Distributors


No wonder it’s a marked down price!

Spotted Led Zeppelin – You Shook Me at a knock-off LedZepp cock-up
price, and being a lover of Stairway To Heaven,
grabbed it!

When reading the book, I found my “editor-mind” taking over. There are So Many c**k-ups in the text it is a very poor production. *

Then of course, I looked properly at the cover…
S. O. Dear, me…

Okay, I bought it for the DVDs. But the errors, that a good proof-reader should have found and fixed, Really bugged me. In one section, whole paragraphs (even a part-paragraph) had been repeated. Couldn’t help m’self. I grabbed a pencil and marked up the initial paragraphs…LedZepp 1st sections
…then the repeated paragraphs…
LedZepp 2nd sections
… and all the other, minor proofing slips, which I won’t show here.

What a disappointment for Led Zeppelin fans! But then, many won’t mind as the content contains a host of information which I’d not known. So, you get what you pay for, I guess.

* Publication data:
Author? not mentioned – content possibly lifted from other sources?
© Hurricane International Ltd
First Published by FHE Ltd – but – Date?
Photography? Courtesy of Pictorial Press, Wikimedia Commons, and Getty Images – unless indicated otherwise
ISBN: 978-0-9939170-1

Recommendation? Good if you only want a “potted” summary and the DVDs, and can live with the errors.



Private Paris, by James Patterson

AB-16 Tag ex Private ParrisA piece of tagging, appearing any and everywhere among the streets of Paris, seems innocuous enough…its meaning obtuse, but not overtly offensive; more a puzzle, really, or a code, with no meaning – yet.
Not exactly a top priority for either the Paris La Crim force or the Private Paris agency.

Jack Morgan arrives in Paris from Berlin, but what was Patterson-J_Private Parisa routine office visit becomes a case involving a girl kidnapped or missing, who may or may not want to be found. Rescued yes, but not detained.

While tracing Kimberley, Jack discovers Paris’s hidden world of crime, murder, cultural clashes, arms trading – all among the idolatry of its cultural icons of the arts, fashion and culinary expertise. The missing girl’s case becomes secondary to a world of pseudo terrorism, and Kimberley is pivotal to both.

There are many characters for the reader to keep track of as they come and go, but the plot easily meshes together all the elements of a conspiracy undreamed of. This is the eleventh of the Private series, another I’ll have to pick up on at number one, and was written with Mark Sullivan.

Publishing in 2016 by Century, for Penguin Random House

Paperback – 978-1-780-89279-5
Hardback   – 978-1-780-89278-8

Reviewed for distributors Booksellers NZ

The Gangster, by Clive Cussler

“He heard footsteps. Then labored breathing. The hoboCUSSLER-C_The Gangster_cover
limped into the trees. He saw Bell, plunged a hand into his coat, and whipped out a knife in a blur of starlight on steel. Run? Thought Bell. Not and turn his back on the knife. He grabbed the heavy satchel to block the knife, and formed a fist.”

My first – but definitely not my last — foray into Cusslers’ works, The Gangster, is a well constructed presentation of the early nineteen-hundreds New York world of the wealthy, the poor; exploited immigrant workers and old school family; gangs and victims; the murderous and the law keepers.

It revolves around the ever-growing enterprise of Branco driving his way up from labourer on the run to the top of the criminal killing chain. His scheming is well spread, well executed, all the while working in secret. His final goal? Well, let me just say…someone as high as you could get in 1906 US.

In his way are the city police and the highly respected Van Dorn Detective Agency, whose top agent Isaac Bell had met Branco years earlier when involved in high jinks while at Yale.

Fast paced, the scene shifts turn the tale to something as close to an action movie as any novel can get, while the Prologue allows new readers such as me (or am I the only one?) an effective introduction to both characters.

This is Cussler’s ninth in the Isaac Bell series, co-authored with Justin Scott (as have been all but the first). I would have appreciated seeing the credits for the art work prefacing sections of the book; they are a perfect “match” to the style and setting.

Published by Michael Joseph imprint of Penguin Random house NZ,

Hardback:  978-0-718-18287-8
Paperback: 978-0-718-18286-1

US Release date: March 1st.
NZ Release is scheduled for April
Reviewed for distributors Booksellers NZ

For earlier  titles in the Isaac Bell series, visit the author’ official site…


Reviewing Chains and Memory, by Marie Brennan

‘I turned. I shouldn’t have—I knew that even as I was turning.
BRENNAN-Marie_Chains and Memory
But my skull was full of cotton wool, and the thought came through
too slowly.
The guy who’d been staring at me was just a few feet away. As I turned to face him, he hurled something at me.
It hit me before I could react, square in the chest, and exploded into a burst of powder. I inhaled it, involuntarily—and burning fire traced its way into my mouth, my nose, my throat, my lungs…setting every nerve ending on fire.’

This, the third in Ms Brennan’s futuristic and magical series THE WILDERS – following Welcome To Welton (Book 0) and Lies and Prophecies (Book 1), will be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of her followers and all readers of magical fantasy. I wish I had read the first two in the series before reading Chains and Memories, as it does assume the reader has some familiarity of the world in which it is set—

A world of the far future, in which peoples with magical powers are accepted among the ordinary populace, providing the government has them firmly under control. But parallel to this world is a real magical world, in which those with uncontrolled powers are of two kinds – each with their own agenda.

Our protagonist is Kim, born without powers, but taken by the Otherworld in her teens and turned into a half human, half sidhe.  Her mother has done her best to shield Kim from government control.

Until she is attacked, and changed to one with full magic. This part of her past is hinted at, but lays the base for her suspicions and her fears.

While trying to have government control of Wilders amended (as unlike others, she was fully normal for her childhood, thus never going through the training of wilder children) she comes up against the prejudice of the normals, including her mother’s. She works and takes up independent training in magical skills, and finally is allowed to join the [name it] group of trainee Guardians – Wilders whose skills are used to govern and control forces from the Otherworld.

Julian, another wilder, is driven to have the control device removed from all Wilders, and Kim empathizes with the cause – and with Julian; their relationship develops beyond that of training buddies, infuriating his younger sister, Neeya, only recently released from the wilder children’s training centre.

Events change things, moving rapidly as the political system manipulates the wilder populace, and the two Otherworld peoples seek to take control of the Wilders for their own gain.

Who to trust?
Who to believe – the Seelies or the Unseelies?

And entwined in the magical and political threads of the tale is another, just a s enthralling  – of love and sacrifice.

Published 2015 by
ISBN: 978-1-611381569-0

Cover Art & Design by Averey Liell-Kok and Amy Sterling Canil
(blog followers know I don’t usually mention cover art/design, which  tells you something)

SWANTOWER_For Marie Brennan
Click for Swantower Buy Links



Top Two Sources of “Hearts Of Valor” Authors’ Inspiration –


Hearts of Valor — Authors’ Top Two Sources of Inspiration:
Having had the pleasure of editing three of the stories included in this anthology. I asked every author “What are your top two sources of inspiration?” Here are their responses… 

I did pull some of my hero’s stoic traits from a real life hero.

Danny Walker (played by Josh Hartnett) in Pearl Harbor and …
the New Hampshire man who helped us in that frigid evening (see above story).

Things people say
Personal hopes and expectations for a better/different world

 Museums! You can not beat a curiosity found in the corner of a museum to fire your inspiration.
Magazines, especially those about subjects you would not normally read about. They cheap, and often surprising.

I have always been inspired by the hardships of the family members left behind while mom or dad are deployed into a combat zone. They continue to live their lives with their loved one thousands of miles of away. They deserve a medal for this service.
I am also inspired by the teaching of the prophet Amos who teaches us that the sins of murder, adultery and idolatry can be forgive, but the sine of ignoring the needs of the poor can never be brushed away. Truly wonderful advice for us to have today.

Everyday conversations I experience or hear.
People ‘watching’ and wondering what their story is.

So, there you are – an insight to each writer in this great anthology of tales of valor in the romance world.
Look for the Hearts Of Valour Blog Tour Page here (Having trouble setting it to reveal itself, ratzit!)

Reviewing ‘How To Grow an Addict’ by J A WRIGHT

How to Grow an Addict

From the very first paragraph I found myself feeling an unease for the child, Randall, beginning the tale of her growth. Her casual chatter at the age of seven is real, and reveals how her choices are, for her, natural. Only we can see the causal link between her parents and her actions, her future. It is easy to feel disgust towards her parents and elder brother as they wear away her childhood.

Flashes of innocent and charming family life offer occasional lighter, more pleasant moments–but always there comes the whirl of fear, pain, loneliness and anger, all of which drive her further down her path to a life out of control.

It is an uncomfortable journey we travel with her as she grows older and more addicted. The beginnings of her reluctant recovery offer some hope for her future, yet we know it will be a long path. Only the naive could believe otherwise.

Not a scholarly treatise in drug addiction management, but the truth of where addiction begins, the damage it does, and the need to recognise when it is time to accept and action recovery. Ms Wright’s honesty and simplicity makes this a work of art. The book is one I would see in every secondary school’s library, as it could give some young teen the unease enough to get the strength to say no or to get help, as the ending is hopeful.

Ms Wright approached me directly to review this, and I want to say “Thank you for the chance to help get How To Grow an Addict into more hands.” Best start to the 2016 year of reviews Ever.

Note: How To Grow an Addict was a 2015 USA Best Book Awards Finalist for Literary Fiction

Publisher: SheWritesPress_Longof Berkeley, US; 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63152-991-7

Buy :   Amazon publishing_logog

Please, leave a comment –
Will you investigate it further?
Are you likely to buy it?
When you’ve read it – what’s your opinion?
To whom would you recommend reading it?

Thank you.
“Red Penn”

Athene’s Prophecy, by Ian J MILLER

The first section of Athene’s Prophecy MILLER_E.J-Athene's Prophecy
will appeal greatly to those interested
in the discussion of philosophies
of the ancient Greeks, or in the military
strategies of the ancient Roman armies.

Athene’s Prophecy, delivered to young Gaius, sets the plot for all three books of the trilogy. Gaius is sent for training and education to prepare him for a military position. Eventually he sees the mechanical toy Athene had foreseen, and determines to find a practical development for it. He is challenged to think and analyse, and military gaming develops his preparedness for the expected position–which he finally gains.

The pace really picks up, and Gaius proves he is more than capable of a leading military role, while coming up against more of Athene’s predictions. I found I was fully engaged in the tale, and wish I’d been able to instantly pick up at book 2 as books two and three will be veering off into science fiction and the futuristic worlds–with aliens taking Gaius with them. A more intriguing mix of historic and science fiction I cannot imagine.

This is Book 1 of the trilogy Gaius Claudius Scaevola

Buy Link  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GYL4HGW

Reviewing ‘Soul of Dust’ by Adam Millard

MILLARD_Soul of Dust
So Jack Bridge tells us, as he pauses a moment in a tearing race after a daemon in the opening chapters of this paranormal, magical, fantasy cum horror story; a great mash-up of genres–which, dammit, works.

Jack tells his story as if we are his companion, well used to his mannerisms and vocabulary (occasionally R13 rated). The conversational, sardonic at times tone makes this book pleasantly readable–even through scenes which are not, exactly, pleasant.

I loved it! Millard’s writing turns Jack into a real person – though he’s not,  with real purpose – as he has: to rid the world of daemons, spooks, sidhes, vamps, wolves… He works alone, from a shabby office, and carries only one ‘weapon’–and an effective one at that, and enjoys using it:

“At times … I really enjoy my job.”

This is an “eyes-wide” and at times a “laugh-out-loud” read…well suited to fans of Urban Fantasy, the Paranormal, Sleuthing, Investigators, Wizards, Demons, or Magic.

“…shooting me a smile that could melt hearts. Not mine, though. Mine was made of stone, my soul nothing more than dust. Maybe one day that would change, but not today.”

Reviewed for
Roane Black on White

ISBN:  1519691815
ISBN13: 9781519691811

Amazon Logo--click to buy


Adam Millard’s 10 Favourite Authors in his teen years

Author of Soul Of Dust, Adam was kind enoughMILLARD_Soul of Dust
to reveal his reading preferences when younger

As a young man I read everything I could get my grubby little hands on, from horror to fantasy, sci-fi to westerns. It’s tough to compile a list like this, but I’ll give it a shot. In no particular order, here are the ten authors who kept me company at that most awkward moment in one’s life: the teenage years.

Stephen King
He’s the master of horror for a reason, and when I first read The Stand and IT at the grand old age of thirteen, I was immediately hooked. To this day I anticipate every new release.

Shaun Hutson
Growing up, I loved Shaun Hutson, and not just because he was an ardent Liverpool fan. Hutson’s books, filled with explicit sex and violence, were perfect for me in those formative years.

Richard Laymon
Another author whose work I ploughed through in my teens, Laymon had a way of getting under your skin, or mine, at least. Some of his stuff doesn’t hold up today the way it did back then, but he got me through some tough times.

Terry Pratchett
A slight departure from horror now, but Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels were like sugar to me. I couldn’t get enough of them, and that continued right through to his sad death earlier this year.

James Herbert
Rats was the first Herbert book I took out from the library, and it wasn’t the last. His style was magnificent. I would have read a shopping list if it had come from the pen of James Herbert.

Guy N. Smith
This list would be incomplete without a mention of the Crabmaster himself. Guy N. Smith’s short and pulpy novels were fascinating to me during my teenage years. I still own a lot of Smith’s paperbacks, which I dip into from time to time.

Ramsey Campbell
I picked up The Doll Who Ate His Mother at a car boot sale back in 1993, and I’ve never looked back. Ramsey Campbell is a hero of mine.

Stephen Gallagher
Another fantastic British writer, Gallagher’s work played a huge part in my youth. People like this are the reason I am a writer today (sorry Stephen. It’s not your fault, really).

Clive Barker
What needs to be said about Clive Barker that hasn’t already been said? A genius of all mediums, his Books of Blood, Cabal, and The Hellbound Heart warranted repeat readings for me back in the 90s.

 Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
If you haven’t read the Count of Saint-Germain novels (of which I believe there are now twenty-eight), you’re missing out on some amazing work. Yarbro was a huge inspiration to me in my teens.”