Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen #FridayReads #BookReview

Old friends

The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron was looking for.

But it wasn’t a stranger.

Suddenly, a routine missing persons investigation becomes a fight for survival. As Charlie is dragged deeper into Glasgow’s underbelly he goes up against notorious gangster Jimmy Rafferty and discovers what fear really is.

Rafferty is so ruthless even his own sons are terrified of him.

Now he wants Charlie to find something. And Jimmy Rafferty always gets what he wants.

There is only one problem… Charlie doesn’t know where it is.

My Review

I chose to read the second book about Charlie Cameron because it is partly set in the village of Luss which I know well, but I didn’t feel as if I had missed background knowledge by not reading the first in the series.  The reader soon learns that Charlie has rejected the values of his “Tory” father, who had owned a famous whisky business and that he had also given up on a law degree in which he had no interest.

Starting with a violent scene involving one of the infamous Rafferty family, Charlie finds himself involved in the misdeeds of his former friend Ian Selkirk, whom he had last seen in Thailand several years earlier.  Soon he is reunited with his former girlfriend, Fiona but he is inextricably drawn into great danger.  He should be concentrating on his latest commission to find the husband of the gracious Cecelia McNeil, whose son had recently committed suicide, but he cannot concentrate on the investigation despite the help of his sidekick, Pat Logue and friend, DS Andrew Geddes.

The story builds up to a thrilling conclusion with a dramatic scene in Edinburgh castle, eminently suited to a film scenario.  The characters are vividly painted and believable and the plot is followed in a spare style which keeps up the momentum.  I shall certainly be downloading “Games People Play” the first Charlie Mullen book.

 

Owen Mullen

Owen Mullen

When he was ten, Owen Mullen won a short story competition and didn’t write anything else for almost forty years. In between he graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Tourism and a degree in Marketing, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; on occasion he still performs. He returned to Scotland to run a management consultancy and a marketing agency. He is an Arsenal supporter and a serious foodie. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow – where the Charlie Cameron books are set – and their villa in the Greek Islands.

 

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Michel and Henry Go to War by Avan Judd Stallard #bookreview #RBRT

Michel

Book Description

A Frenchman in the British Army fighting Germans on the Western Front? That’d be a bastard—the illegitimate son of the French President, forbidden by father to join the fray. Under an assumed name, Michel joins anyway. Except now he cannot escape the war that follows every step of the way as he and Henry—his comrade in arms—seek rest and recuperation in the mountains. Instead of wine and women, they find Germans and a secret plot to destroy France’s hub of munitions production. Cut off and outnumbered, they recruit a motley army comprising a women’s auxiliary and an old farmer with a big rifle and bad attitude. There’ll be no rest for these soldiers, not until Michel and Henry go to war. A cracking action–adventure story for fans of Flashman and The Guns of Navarone.

My Review

This first book of The French Bastard Series is set in France during the First World War.  We are plunged straight into the horror and detritus of trench warfare where Michel and Henry drop into, “a trench filled with a mix of blood, shit and dead men.”  Not content to die needlessly in no man’s land, Michel leads Henry into a dangerous attack on the German gunners.  As a result of their success they are granted R & R, which they choose to take in the mountains Michel knew from his youth.

Along the way we encounter other characters including Emile, a French soldier bound for the hell-hole of Verdun, Ernie a tall Australian truck driver whom everyone likes and Kranz, a German killing machine with a mission, who treats enemy warriors with respect.  Initially Michel and Henry spend their time drinking, fornicating and using foul language, but soon they are embroiled in more perilous adventures after a breakout by German prisoners of war.  Michel is always bold and courageous, Henry, a reluctant soldier but a faithful friend.  They move from one battle to another and the book is littered with carnage including intricate detail of the anatomical damage caused to bodies by each bullet or weapon.

Their final escapade runs in parallel to the completion of Franz’s mission and it is at this stage that the plot gains pace and excitement.  There is a satisfactory denouement to a tragic story.  If you want to read about the terror and inhumanity of World War One, described vividly and realistically then this is the book for you.  If you prefer your adventures to be more sanitised then look elsewhere.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Codename Lazarus: The Spy who came back from the dead by A P Martin #bookreview

Lazarus

Codename Lazarus takes us first to Germany in the mid-1930s as Hitler and the Nazis rise to power. We see the unpleasant changes through the eyes of John King, an English academic, whose friends include a Jewish family, the Bernsteins and a young German, Joachim Brandt, who has decided to join the SS.

Moving to 1938, King is recruited by his former professor to the world of espionage, in an attempt to foil the efforts of Nazi sympathisers in England. This requires him to cut off all ties with his former life and after another visit to Germany, he must disappear. However his under-cover activities take place in London, where he has to cultivate relationships with British nationals who wish to aid Germany. A significant relationship with a young German nurse is suspended, but old friends from the past will take a dramatic part in the denouement.

This is an exciting plot-driven story and although we gain knowledge of King’s feelings early in the story, he becomes increasingly more distant as other protagonists take a more active part in the storyline. One of the Nazi sympathisers gains our sympathy and we realise that she has trapped herself in a web of deceit. I was especially interested in the vivid description of pre-war Germany and in the realistic account of the evacuation scene at Dunkirk. The final scenes intensify in excitement and are real page-turners, but I was disappointed at the sudden conclusion which left questions about other threads in the book.

This debut novel is a fluent tale set in a fascinating time. Plotting and descriptions are sound but the earlier parts of the book lead me to expect greater knowledge of the hero’s emotions and confusion at his use of subterfuge and his abandonment of his friends and family. I look forward to reading the next book by this promising author.

The Poisoned Rock by Robert Daws #bookreview

poisoned-rock

The Poisoned Rock, though set mainly in present day Gibraltar, also takes us back to events in 1942 and the repercussions of the murder of a young prostitute.  Chief Inspector Gus Broderick and Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan are embroiled in a complex investigation of murder and abduction which takes them over the border into Spain, exploring the background to the film, “Queen of Diamonds,” currently in production on the streets of Gibraltar.

 

The film set and the relationships of director, producer and Hollywood star are described with veracity and interest, as you would expect from the author, Robert Daws, and the increasingly mysterious story of espionage and heartless murder is difficult to put down.  The varied characters make guessing the culprit or culprits almost impossible and you will be intrigued by the final denouement.

 

Although complete in itself, this is the second book about the investigations of Broderick and Sullivan and as I learnt more about them, I looked forward to further developments at the office of the Royal Gibraltar Police Department, in the next book, to be published in 2017.

daws

As an actor, Robert Daws has appeared in leading roles in a number of award-winning and long-running British television series, including Jeeves and Wooster, Casualty, The House of Eliott, Outside Edge, Roger Roger, Sword of Honour, Take A Girl Like You,Doc Martin, New Tricks, Midsomer Murders, Rock and Chips, The Royal, Death in Paradise, Father Brown and Poldark.

His recent work for the stage includes the national tours of Michael Frayn’s Alarms and Excursions, and David Harrower’sBlackbird. In the West End, he has recently appeared as Dr John Watson in The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, Geoffrey Hammond inPublic Property, Jim Hacker in Yes, Prime Minister and John Betjeman in Summoned by Betjeman.

His many BBC radio performances include Arthur Lowe in Dear Arthur, Love John, Ronnie Barker in Goodnight from Him and Chief Inspector Trueman in Trueman and Riley, the long-running police detective series he co-created with writer Brian B Thompson.

Robert’s second and third Sullivan and Broderick novels – Poisoned Rock and Killing Rock – will be published in September 2016 and early 2017, respectively. His first novella, The Rock, has been optioned and is being developed for television.

The Poisoned Rock can be found on Amazon UK

On a Wing and a Prayer by Helen Carey #FridayBookShare @ShelleyWilson72

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

ON A WING AND A PRAYER by Helen Carey is a nostalgic and heart-warming novel of south London during the Second World War.  It is the third of Helen Carey’s Lavender Road series, but the only one I have read.

First Line    “So?” Angus McNaughton closed the interview room door, nodded at the military police  corporal waiting outside, then glanced at his assistant as they began to walk away down the long, grey-walled War Office Passage.  “What do you think, Helen?  A possibility?”     

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

October 1941. London has been ravaged by war for two years now and life couldn’t be tougher for those living on Lavender Road. Many loved ones have been lost and sacrifices made, but Lady Helen de Burrel is about to take the biggest risk yet.

Inspired by the courage of her friends on this south London street, Helen volunteers to join the Special Operations Executive and puts her life in jeopardy for the sake of her country. But it’s hard to know who to trust, and when her heart is on the line even love becomes dangerous.

The war has changed everything, but one thing is certain; the women of Lavender Road will rally together, no matter what the future has in store…

Introduce the main character –Helen is courageous, independent and considerate.

Delightful Design

lavender-three

Audience appeal  For those who enjoy reading about twentieth century social history especially the role of women during wartime and also for its humour and romance.

Your favourite line/scene

It was only when she read the word Capotes scrawled on the fallen lid of the box that it dawned on her what the packets must contain.  What the English called French letters.  To her dismay she felt colour flood her cheeks.  She felt she had been standing there for hours when one of the men took pity on her.  Stepping forward from the doorway, he cupped his own hands under hers.

“Donnez-les moi, mademoiselle,” he murmured.  Then as she opened her hands and let the beastly things fall into his, he smiled.  “Ah yes, these should just about see me through the weekend.”

…………………………………………………………………..

One quick glance into his face had rendered her utterly tongue-tied.  She couldn’t look at him again.  The best she could manage was a gruff, “Merci,” as she edged away from him towards the door.

……………………………………………………………………

And then, as he glanced back at her, she knew at once.  It was his eyes.  Behind those dark lashes his gaze was self-possessed and direct.  She had never seen such strength of purpose reflected in someone’s eyes before.  He was clearly quite unfazed that she had seen him pocket some of the contraceptives.  He simply smiled faintly and nodded her a courteous, “Au revoir.”

Find the book on Amazon UK  and  US

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) in, so she can read what you have added, too.

#FridayBookShare The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

07-_-10-_-2014-2

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

The Eyre Affair is the first of a series of books by Jasper Fforde about Thursday Next

First Line  My father had a face that could stop a clock.  I don’t mean that he was ugly or anything; it was just a phrase the ChronoGuard used to describe someone who had the power to reduce time to an ultra-slow tickle.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where the Crimean war still rages, dodos are regenerated in home-cloning kits and everyone is deeply disappointed by the ending of ‘Jane Eyre’. In this world there are no jet-liners or computers, but there are policemen who can travel across time, a Welsh republic, a great interest in all things literary – and a woman called Thursday Next.

In this utterly original and wonderfully funny first novel, Fforde has created a fiesty, loveable heroine and a plot of such richness and ingenuity that it will take your breath away.

Introduce the main character –Zany, fearless, detective.

Delightful Design

Eyre Aff

 

Audience appeal  Anyone with an interest in literature and who likes the absurd combined with surprising exciting events.

Your favourite line/scene

I pushed open the front gate with some difficulty because of the assortment of dodos who had gathered eagerly around to see who it was and then plocked excitedly when they realised it was someone vaguely familiar.

“Hello Mordecai,” I said to the oldest, who dipped and bobbed in greeting.

Find the book on Amazon UK or US

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) in, so she can read what you have added, too.

#FridayBookShare The Ares File by Andrew French

07-_-10-_-2014-2

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

The Ares File is the second of the Michael Prentiss series by Andrew French

First Line  Fiona Mabbitt was usually a heavy sleeper and quite accustomed to being in the house on her own at night.  After all she had been an army officer’s wife all her married life and had long since accepted that she would sometimes have to spend long periods apart from her husband.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

When the wife of the commanding officer of a secret intelligence unit is murdered at home during a burglary to steal a top secret file, a chain of events is set in motion to hide one man’s guilty secret. Michael Prentiss is once again unwillingly drawn into the dark world of murder and deceit. He must discover who has taken the file and recover it before becoming an assassin’s next target.

Introduce the main character – Secretive, trustworthy, lonely

Delightful Design

Ares

Audience appeal   Men and women who enjoy action adventure without too much gore and with a human touch.

Your favourite line/scene

Two minutes later the door opened and two familiar faces entered the interview room.  Chief Inspector Gallagher and Sergeant Lyle pulled out the chairs opposite and sat down.  Jordan forced a smile,   “Well if it’s not Simon and Garfunkel.  No, it’s Peters and Lee.”  Gallagher didn’t respond to Jordan’s sarcastic attempt at humour.

Find the book on Amazon UK or US

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) in, so she can read what you have added, too.