#BlogTour #Review : The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks #TheCourier #NordicNoir

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for this amazing book. Although I like historical fiction, the 1940’s is not a time period I would usually read, however this book appealed to me and was getting such good feedback that I couldn’t resist. So, read on and find out if it lived up to my expectations.

courier blog poster 2019

Blurb:   In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden whilst the rest of her family is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, Ester’s childhood best friend. A relationship develops between them, but ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire.

And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter Turid. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…


The Courier aw.indd


My Review:  I’m typing this in my kitchen, perhaps an odd location to type a review but it means I have to stand which is good when I sit a lot at work everyday. While standing here I can here road noise, traffic from the street at the end of mine. My street is quiet save for distant sounds of children playing and birdsong and, having read this book I realise, listening to these sounds how lucky I am to be able to do this without fear of any kind. I can travel to work and not worry about being locked out of work or home or having my possessions taken from me. The anniversaries of both World Wars, Remembrance Sunday and the other commemorations are hugely important but mostly they focus on those who fought, they don’t really tell us about the people who had to live in occupied cities.

From television, school lessons and general discussions I know a lot about the events of the second World War but what I know less about is how people, ordinary people, lived during that time.  While the characters in this book are not entirely ordinary they are not military either and the story is crafted in such a way that you can feel the tension in the pages, in those set in 1942, but also in the ones set in 1967. You can feel the lies, deceit and subterfuge that seems to still exist between those characters from 1942, even though the war is long since over. I spent a lot of time while reading this book, deeply concerned for the characters, particularly Ester as she tries to live some kind of life in a world in which she has no control over what happens and doesn’t know who she can trust.

This is a profound story, it shows how upheaval, loss and plotting can impact someone’s life. Can Ester trust those around her? in the scenes set in 1967 will she ever find out the truth? and, for that matter, will we?

The writing in the book is outstanding. The characters are brilliantly written but the stand out one is Ester, she is so real that I keep wondering how she would feel about certain things before I realise she’s fictional and can’t answer me. This isn’t one of those stories that feels it has to make everything larger than life, there are subtleties her, words that are so heavy with meaning they make you want to stop reading and look outside and remind yourself that the world has changed and you aren’t living in the book.

This is a book that everyone should read, whether you are interested in historical fiction or not. Read it and then truly appreciate what you have, look outside and be amazed at the sunshine as I am doing in pauses in between typing. I know the sun shines because of the Earth’s rotation but I always find it hard to believe that it could ever have been sunny in the 1940’s while the war was on, for how could there be sunshine when so much horror and cruelty existed. Read this book, and then appreciate simple things like the sun shining because these are the things we take for granted and we really shouldn’t. And now that I’ve said all of that I’m going to stand outside and enjoy the sun and the breeze because I can.



About the author:

Kjell Ola Dahl-Rolf-M-Aagaard


One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.












#BlogTour #Review : Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk. @FlameTreePress @Brian_Kirk #RandomThingsTours #willhauntyou

Today I’m on the blog tour for Will Haunt You, a most unusual book and definitely a change from my normal reading.

Will Haunt You Blog Tour Poster


You don’t read the book. It reads you.
Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror.
Jesse Wheeler―former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead―was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son’s future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean.
But Jesse is wrong. The legend is real―and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past.
Jesse is not the only one in danger, however. By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare. The real horror doesn’t begin until you reach the end.
That’s when the evil comes for you.

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-Haunt-Fiction-Without-Frontiers/dp/1787581373/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1551890615&sr=1-1&keywords=will+haunt+you

Will Haunt You Cover

My Review: I have struggled to review this book, to find the words to describe what I’ve been reading and to properly do it justice.

Unsurprisingly this book messes with your head, I had to stop reading a few times to remind myself that it is a book and my reality is not what I was reading. The descriptions are truly vivid and, while I have no personal experience of this, I would liken some of it to being on drugs, it genuinely was that bizzarely random and I absolutely loved it.

I’ve never had a book mess with my head as much as this one did and it was quite an experience. I didn’t know who or what to believe and was wary of reading when I was home alone at night because it was that creepy. I’m not a horror fan, I never have been but I may dabble with it a bit having read this book. One of the things I wanted to do with my reading and the blog was to try new authors and new books and this is definitely something I’ve achieved with this book.

If this book interests you then go for it, but be warned, it won’t let you go easily, I’m still recovering from reading it.

About the author:

Brian Kirk Author Picture

Brian Kirk is an author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, We Are Monsters, was released in July 2015 and was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.
His short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and anthologies. Most recently, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, where his work appears alongside multiple New York Times bestselling authors, and received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year compilation.
During the day, Brian works as a freelance marketing and creative consultant. His experience working on large, integrated advertising campaigns for international companies has helped him build an effective author platform, and makes him a strong marketing ally for his publishing partners. In addition, Brian has an eye for emerging media trends and an ability to integrate storytelling into new technologies and platforms.
While he’s worked to make this bio sound as impressive as possible, he’s actually a rather humble guy who believes in hard work and big dreams. Feel free to connect with him through one of the following channels. Don’t worry, he only kills his characters.

Twitter : @Brian_Kirk

Website : http://www.briankirkblog.com/

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

#BlogTour # Review : The Silver Moon Storybook by Elaine Gunn. @Elaine_Gunn #LoveBooksGroupsTours

Today I’m on a more unusual blog tour, this one is for a storybook of fairy tales, quite different from my usual and the book being reviewed tomorrow. So read on and find out more about the book and what I thought of it.


Blurb: What darkness lies in the past of a little witch, cursed into the shape of a giant? Who will save a magical unicorn, imprisoned for generations in the castle of a tyrant? As the silver moon rises in the sky, an enormous clown and a powerful siren join a humble weaver and other enchanting characters in these haunting tales of illusion, discovery and love.
An exquisitely illustrated bedtime story for the age of #MeToo, The Silver Moon Storybook transforms themes of modern feminism into touching fables full of the magic and shadows of traditional fairy tales.

The Silver Moon Storybook

My Review: I’m a huge Disney fan and loved fairy tales when I was younger so this book seemed like a no brainer for me. I really enjoyed it, the illustrations are great and while I read the stories myself I could also see that they would be really easy to read aloud and also have the fow that you expect from a fairy tale.

Visually it’s a gorgeous book and having the option of colouring in the illustrations is perfect. The stories themselves are a good variety and have lessons built in so you learn without feeling like you’re learning, which is ideal.

This is an ideal book if you’re looking for different fairy tales for a small child, whether yours or a friends, but also works well for older children and adults who still enjoy fairy tales.

About the author:

Author Pic
Elaine Gunn has been writing more or less constantly since she first picked up a pencil in primary school. Years of unpublished literary genius languish in handwritten journals, high school English portfolios, corporate banking reports and various awful pitch documents full of impeccably-written digital marketing jargon. Her first published work, The Silver Moon Storybook, is a collection of feminist fairy tales, written as an antidote to the passive princess culture that she became horribly aware of when her children started watching telly. Elaine is also a reiki practitioner and Dr. Hauschka esthetician; you can check out her website at http://somethinglovely.scot.

#BlogTour #Extract : Time Will Tell by Eva Jordan. @EvaJordanWriter @UrbaneBooks #LoveBooksGroupTours

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Time Will Tell, especially as I’ve reviewed and been on a blog tour for Eva’s previous two books. Huge thanks to her for inviting me on to the tour and to Love Books Group for having me.

I have an extract for you today and it’s certainly grabbed my attention so read on and see what you think.


Blurb:  Writer, Lizzie Lemalf, and her loving but somewhat dysfunctional family are still grieving over the loss of a much-loved family member. Lizzie is doing her best to keep her family together but why does the recent death of a well-known celebrity have them all in a spin? The police suspect foul play; Lizzie and other family members suspect one another. Lizzie begins searching for answers only to find herself being dragged back to the past, to 1960’s London to be exact, and to the former life of her father, that up until now she has never been privy to. Every family has its secrets but how can the past hold the key to a present day celebrity death?

They say the past comes back to haunt you. Surely the truth will out? Maybe, but only time will tell…




Chapter 3 Present Day



DI Kate Stewart, ‘Kat’ to her friends, ‘Boss’ to her subordinates, enters the house. It’s the smell that hits her first, despite the protective mask covering her nose and mouth. Using one hand to keep the mask in place, she uses the other to cradle her stomach, now constricting like a tightly wound coil, and holds her breath, closes her eyes. It’s all she can to stop herself gagging. The smell permeating the house of the deceased is almost as wretched as the man himself. Rancid. Quite unlike anything else she has ever come across – and after thirty-odd years on the force that’s saying something. Puke, blood, faeces, rotting corpses, burnt flesh; she has seen and smelled the lot. She saw her first corpse just months after starting the job. A drowning. A man, swollen and blued by the water, had fallen in the Thames and was washed up a week later, some of the flesh on his face having fallen away in strips. It had quite turned her stomach at the time. She soon hardened up though; it was a case of having too.

This however, whatever the fuck this rotten, putrid stench is, is something else entirely. She breathes out again and braces herself as the loathsome scent clings to her flaring nostrils. A wave of nausea washes over her. She puts her hand out, steadies herself; the two cups of black coffee she’d necked on the way over now sloshing around in her otherwise empty stomach. Lowering her head, Kat concentrates on keeping her breathing slow but shallow, desperate to temper the black sea whipping up a storm inside her.

Fat chance she’ll feel like eating Christmas dinner after this. Then again, who the hell is she trying to kid? She knows, despite the early hour, she’ll never make it back on time. Not with this individual: his money, his celebrity status, his connections. She’s already had the Home Office on the phone. They wouldn’t have dragged her from her bed at this godforsaken hour on Christmas Day if it had been some junkie in a council flat. Sickening. Even in death money talks. Fuck! Why today, though? Why Christmas Day? She lifts her head, imagines Hannah’s sulky, surly face floating in front of her like a balloon, only, like a lead balloon, Kat Stewart’s heart sinks. Is Hannah even awake yet? Does she know her mother has abandoned her… again?

She sighs. How is it possible, despite having fought, apprehended and arrested some of society’s worst individuals, that one word, one cursory glance, one angst-ridden flick of her daughter’s shiny, long hair (straightened to within an inch of its life) can bring her out in a cold sweat? Running for the hills. Kat grins, shakes her head. Teenagers! On her head be it if she doesn’t make it back for dinner today. And rightly so. It is Christmas Day after all. And for once, her absence would justify Hannah’s creased brow and permanently painted pout. ‘I don’t know why you bothered having me.’ she hears Hannah say, her verbose, high-pitched whining reverberating inside Kat’s head like a finely-tuned pitching fork. ‘You care waaaaay more for your job than you do me.’

It’s not true, of course. And besides, it’s still early – 5am to be precise – and while excited children all over the country are undoubtedly waking up their exhausted parents, it would be at least another couple of hours before sunrise. Everyone knows teenagers never rise before the sun. If Kat gets her shit together, she might, by the skin of her teeth, be able to slip back home, dive in the shower – god knows she’ll need to wash away the foul smell that seems to cling to every fibre of her being, never mind her clothes – and all before her moody daughter realises she has gone.

‘Like fuck!’ she says out loud. The brief seconds spent thinking about her daughter have given Kat enough time for her stomach to settle a little. Protective mask in place, she steps further into the sprawling hallway. Whatever the hell is causing the terrible smell, it seems to have filled the entire house.

‘Fuck me,’ she mumbles, more bemused than reviled when her stomach, like an agitated washing machine, whirrs and churns. What the hell is wrong with her? Is she really going to heave? She can’t remember the last time she’d puked on the job – years ago, when she first started out? It’s surprising how, over time, Kat has adjusted to the rotten smells that are part and parcel of the job. Never pleasant, some smells, she quickly discovered, linger in the memory as much as the visuals do, apt to blindside you on a rainy Tuesday afternoon when a vague whiff of something familiar stirs something deep within you. Reminders of some of the worst cases you’d worked on, or the ones never solved – the young woman raped and murdered, the missing child never found. Nonetheless, for the most part, when it came to odious odours, nothing much affected her these days.

But this is bad. Really fucking bad. Clearing her throat, Kat straightens up and glances over her shoulder to see how DS York is doing. Hunched forward, his hand protecting his mouth, she sees his retreating back, and the front door slam behind him. Clearly DS York’s gag reflex is working as well as hers. She feels relieved, had thought, for a moment, she was going soft. Turning back again, she walks towards the body splayed across the polished floor at the foot of the stairs.

Nice floor. Oak, I reckon. Must have cost a bloody fortune. Forensic pathologist, George Martin, who is standing next to the body, greets DI Stewart with a cursory nod.

‘How long has he been dead?’ She leans forward to peer at the halo of blood surrounding the deceased’s head. ‘Hard to tell at the moment. At least two days.’ ‘Cause of death?’ ‘We’ll know more when we get him back to the lab but his neck is broken and there’s a deep wound to the back of his head. Most likely caused when he hit it on that–’ He points to the second blood covered step at the foot of the stairs ‘–after a fall.’

‘From the top of the stairs?’ The pathologist nods. ‘Judging by the trauma caused by the injury, yes.’

‘A fall? Or would you say he was pushed?’ ‘Again, it’s hard to say. He could have been pushed, or he could have lost his footing and tripped.’

‘But you suspect foul play?’ ‘Like I said, I’ll know more later, but we can’t rule it out.’ Somewhat deflated, DI Stewart rolls her eyes. Why couldn’t it be cut and dry? An obvious accident? Suicide, even? Would make life a damn sight fucking easier. Now though, the shit really will hit the fan. Hannah and her lead balloon once again drift into her thoughts as any hope of spending Christmas Day with her only daughter floats further away.

‘And that smell?’ Kat points to the body. ‘Is that coming from him?’

‘Ah… yes. Interesting, isn’t it?’ ‘That’s one way of putting it.’ ‘Sort of like a rotten corpse that’s been stewing in a stagnant sewer for a few weeks. Pugnacious and nauseating.’

Hmm… not unlike the man himself. DI Stewart’s hand flies to her mouth. Did she really say that out loud? She coughs, clears her throat. ‘Allegedly, of course,’ she adds.

Pathologist George Martin stares at her. Like her, he is covered head to foot in protective clothing. Only his eyes, bright green, fringed by enviably long, dark lashes, are visible. It’s hard to tell whether her sudden outburst has irritated him or if he is just indifferent. Regardless, he merely nods.

Kat has read and heard a lot about Hunter Black over the last year. Most of it vile and most of it concerning his alleged misconduct against at least ten young women, mainly while in his employment. A powerful man by all accounts; rich too, with friends in high places and low morals. American, apparently, he was one of two sons born into wealth and privilege who finished his private education by reading History at Oxford University before going on to earn a separate fortune of his own in the music industry as some bigshot record producer. It also looked, up until this point anyway, as though he was going get away with his alleged crimes. Which didn’t surprise DI Stewart. Rape cases are notoriously difficult to prove, especially against rich, self-aggrandising sociopaths like Black. And if the rumours were true, Black had been using every trick in the book, including bribery, threat and intimidation, to make sure he would not be held accountable for his actions.

‘Alleged actions,’ George Martin says. Surprised, DI Kat Stewart looks up. Shit, I really must stop talking to myself out loud.

‘First sign of madness,’ the pathologist with the nice eyes, continues.

George Martin doesn’t see it but Kat clamps her top lip over her bottom one. On a personal level, this is hard for her. The world, she believes is a better place without men like Black. However, on a professional level she has a job to do. If this was foul play it’s up to her to understand why. God knows they won’t be short of suspects though. Ten at least – for starters. She throws her head back, stares at the ceiling, and sighs. This was going to take a while.

‘I’m getting too old for this shit,’ she says, looking down again.

George Martin stares at her for a few seconds. She’s pretty convinced he is grinning under that mask. He kneels down next to the lifeless body and Kat hears the front door open behind her. She glances over her shoulder, spots DS York who, red-eyed, his hand pressed so hard against the mask covering his mouth his knuckles have turned white, is now walking towards her.

‘Boss.’ He clears his throat and refuses to make eye contact with her. ‘Sorry about that.’

DI Kat Stewart nods then introduces the pathologist. ‘So, as I was saying, that smell – is it coming from his body? Black’s body?’

George Martin shakes his head. ‘No, I don’t believe it is.’ He points towards a large oak-panelled door, which blends perfectly with the expensive-looking polished floor. It is half open and a shaft of white light shines through from the room behind it.

‘Take a look in there,’ he says.



About the author:

Eva Jordan Profile Pic


Eva Jordan is a published writer of several short stories and Time Will Tell is her third novel. Eva lives in a small town in Cambridgeshire with partner Steve and three of our four children, who are a constant source of inspiration – they are all teenagers, need I say more! Eva’s career has been varied, including working in a Women’s Refuge and more recently at the city library. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her true passion.















#BlogTour #Review : Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz. @OrendaBooks @ohneKlippo #BetonRouge

Thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for having me on the tour and giving me a copy of the book to review.

Blurb: On a warm September morning, a man is found unconscious
and tortured in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. He’s soon identified as a manager of the company. Three days later, another manager appears in a similar way.
The magazine staff were facing significant layoffs, so sympathy
for the two men is in short supply. Chastity Riley and her new
colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect, to the dubious past shared by both
victims. Travelling to the south of Germany, they step into the hothouse world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred…monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.

My Review: This is the first Simone Buchholz book I’ve read and I loved it. It grabbed me from the first few paragraphs and wouldn’t let me go. Chastity Riley is a new heroine of mine, I love her attitude to life and everything and the way she sees the world is unique and fabulous.

I thought about what to say in this review and struggled to work out how to explain my feelings towards this book. The characters and location came off the page really well for me, everything was clear and the story flowed so well I lost track of everything else (not recommended while at work!).

As mentioned, I’ve not read Blue Night but this book is now firmly on my reading list and I can’t wait to read more in this series. If you’ve not discovered this unique writing yet, I would recommend you do very soon it’s not to be missed. Fabulous!

About the author:

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied
Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award, and second place in the German Crime Fiction Prize, for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in
the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

#BlogTour #Review : Death Comes to Call by Claire Chase. @bookouture


Frost sparkles on the bare winter branches, as night falls over the quiet country lanes bordering the fens. But nestled beneath an ivy-covered bough, a body lies pale in the bright moonlight…

When a promising local artist disappears, the victim’s brother begs Detective Tara Thorpe to take the case. It seems there’s no evidence of foul play… he simply disappeared without a trace.

Tara agrees to do some digging… never mind that her unorthodox approach to policing has got a few of her colleagues’ backs up. Amongst them is her former supervisor Detective Patrick Wilkins… he’s had enough of Tara calling the shots and will do anything to knock her down. She must be careful.

At least she has an ally in their boss, Detective Garstin Blake. He’ll always back her hunches. If anything, they work together too well… at least, that’s the rumour around the station these days.

When a body of a young woman is found frozen near the fens, Tara’s evidence suddenly becomes key to solving a high-profile murder. Is their missing artist still a victim… or in fact a clever murderer with a deadly plan?

An unputdownable page-turner that will keep you hooked until the very last page!

My Review: I’ve visited Cambridge a few times and loved it and was excited to read a book set there so when the option of being on this tour appeared I jumped at the chance.

It took me a little while to get into the story, whether that is because I haven’t read the previous ones in the series I’m not sure, however once I got into it I really enjoyed it. It moved along at a good pace with lots of leads for the police to follow and therefore lots of information that keeps the reader guessing.

Despite where it is set I didn’t get a strong sense of location which is something I like in the books I read. However, I did get a good sense of the characters, they were well formed and their feelings and emotions came across clearly, even those who were only in it for a page or two. This is definitely a police procedural and it gave me a good idea of the amount of leg work involved in an investigation, particularly one with many lines of enquiry as this one.

This is a good story and one that will keep you interested and wanting to know more but I think it works better if you read the others in the series first to get more of the character and relationship development.

About the author:

Clare Chase writes women sleuth mysteries and recently signed a three-book deal with Bookouture for a new crime series set in Cambridge. The opening book, Murder on the Marshes, is available for pre-order and will publish in July 2018. The mystery follows investigative journalist Tara Thorpe as she teams up with Detective Garstin Blake to solve the murder of a young female professor at Cambridge University. The case takes them through the dark underbelly of Cambridge and in to the murky fens that surround the centuries-old city. The second and third books in the series are scheduled for publication in late 2018/early 2019.
After graduating from London University with a degree in English Literature, Clare moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies, with her husband and teenage children, presents a good happy medium.
As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.
Clare’s debut novel, You Think You Know Me, was shortlisted for the Novelicious Undiscovered Award 2012, and an EPIC award in 2015. It was also chosen as a debut of the month by Lovereading.
You can find Clare’s website and blog at


Author Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClareChase_

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10204574.Clare_Chase

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

#BlogTour #Review : Material Remains by Richard Bray. @RWHBray @Unbounders #MaterialRemains #RandomThingsTours

Today I’m thrilled to be on the Material Remains blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Unbound for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Material Remains Blog Tour Poster

Blurb: On a hungover Friday morning, archeology student Mike McEwan’s life of tea, pints, late mornings and the occasional essay comes to an abrupt halt. Consumed with guilt, grief and confusion, Mike haunts the ruins of St Andrews, rebuilding them in his mind and obsessing about the loss of someone he barely knew, unsure of his place in her life, or her death.

The discovery of an ancient plague burial site drags Mike back into contact with those around him. But life has changed, both for himself and others, and the burial ground holds more than the bones of those long dead. As university life continues around him, Mike peels back the layers of earth and its dark history, trying desperately to connect the victims of the past to the tumult of his present.

Material Remains Cover

My Review: I loved this book. That may seem an odd this to say given it’s not the cheeriest of reads but I genuinely enjoyed it. Mike is the main focus and the story shows how he is impacted by a sudden tragedy and how he deals with the aftermath of this. Everyone will go through a loss in their lives but how do you deal with the loss of someone you barely knew. This is what Mike has to figure out.

He has to deal with this impact and work out how he moves on from something that has affected him badly but equally something that he feels he has no right to be so affected by. The writing is brilliant, it shows perfectly the turmoil that comes with the situation that Mike is in and how he deals with it. The portrayal of the student life is also spot on, the mixture of essays, pub visits and general student life is perfectly portrayed.

This book blew me away with the writing and the story itself. The characters leap off the page and come to life with the minimum of description. I got immersed in the story and just flew through the pages. This is definitely an author to watch out for in the future!

About the author:

Richard Bray Author Picture

Richard W. H. Bray is a writer and winemaker. His first book, Salt and Old Vines, won Best French Wine Book at the 2015 Gourmand Awards. He lives in London.