Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Book Finds: October 2016

I have a veritable smorgasbord of books for you this month! It cannot possibly have escaped your attention, but at the start of September, I was at Bloody Scotland as one of twelve new writers that were featured. I thought that this month, I would showcase all of the other Spotlighters' books for you. I'll give you their blurb and then there will be links to as many of them as I can at the end.

So, in alphabetic order, my fellow Spotlighters and their books:

Jackie Baldwin: Dead Man's Prayer

 A dark and gripping crime début, the first in an exciting new series. Eighteen years ago, DI Frank Farrell turned his back on the church. But when an ex-priest is murdered in his hometown, he has no choice but to delve into his past. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.

Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood eighteen years earlier.

With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inexorably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when a pair of twin boys go missing. The Dumfries police force recover one in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?
As Farrell investigates the two cases, he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.

Shelley Day: The Confession of Stella Moon

A timely and intelligent book' - AL Kennedy.
1977: A killer is released from prison and returns ‘home’ – a decaying, deserted boarding house choked with weeds and foreboding. Memories of strange rituals, gruesome secrets and shame hang heavy in the air, exerting a brooding power over young Stella Moon. She is eager to restart her life, but first she must confront the ghosts of her macabre family history and her own shocking crime. Guilt, paranoia and manipulation have woven a tangled web. All is ambiguous. What truth and what lies are behind the chilling confession of Stella Moon?

Michael Grothaus: Epiphany Jones

Jerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God. Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.

A complex, page-turning psychological thriller, riddled with twists and turns, Epiphany Jones is also a superb dark comedy with a powerful emotional core. You'll laugh when you know you shouldn't, be moved when you least expect it and, most importantly, never look at Hollywood, celebrity or sex in the same way again. This is an extraordinary début from a fresh, exceptional new talent.

Eva Holland: The Daughter's Secret

My daughter is a liar. A liar, liar, liar. And I'm starting to see where she gets it from.

When Rosalind's fifteen-year-old daughter, Stephanie, ran away with her teacher, this ordinary family became something it had never asked to be. Their lives held up to scrutiny in the centre of a major police investigation, the Simms were headline news while Stephanie was missing with a man who was risking everything.

Now, six years on, Ros takes a call that will change their lives all over again. He's going to be released from prison. Years too early. In eleven days' time.
As Temperley's release creeps ever closer, Ros is forced to confront the events that led them here, back to a place she thought she'd left behind, to questions she didn't want to answer. Why did she do it? Where does the blame lie? What happens next?

Sandra Ireland: Beneath the Skin

A taxidermist with a secret. A soldier with nothing left to fight for. A mother determined to protect her young son. Together, can they fight a past that doesn't want to let them go?

Taking a job in the studio of an Edinburgh taxidermist is probably not Walt's wisest move. Already suffering from combat stress, and struggling to outrun the horrors of his time on the front line, he finds himself confronted by the undead on a daily basis.

His boss Alys and her sister Mouse are sharing a secret that is threatening to destroy them. When Mouse's eight-year-old son disappears, can Walt find the strength for one more battle and finally lay the past to rest?

This compelling thriller peels back the skin of one modern family to reveal the wounds no one wants to see. It deals with the effects of trauma, and explores how facing up to vulnerability is sometimes the only way to let go of the past.

Tom O. Keenan: The Father

'Excellent dark, disturbing and very compelling, with a hard literary edge that served the tale and the characters within extremely well.' --Liz Wilkins
'Set in an almost futuristic, dystopian Glasgow, The Father s protagonist Sean Rooney is a messed up alcoholic shrink who is dragged into a murder investigation by his ex-wife, DCI Kaminski. Broody and contrarian, Rooney is the sort of person who would cut off his face to spite his nose and makes Tony Black s Gus Dury look like Dr Phil. The mixture of introspective noir and action movie is a tricky balancing act but one that Tom O. Keenan pulls-off and makes The Father a very interesting read indeed.' --Paul D. Brazil
'This is a powerful, well written story that doesn't shy away from facing some difficult issues.' --K. Nixon


Lesley Kelly: A Fine House in Trinity

Longlisted for McIlvanney Prize

Joseph Staines, an unemployed chef, has left Edinburgh with the tallybook of the late debt collector, Isa Stoddart. Her son Lachie thinks Stainsie killed her, but Lachie has apparently committed suicide. To his surprise, Stainsie is the sole beneficiary of Lachie’s will and has inherited a dilapidated mansion. Isa’s debtors and the local priest who paid Stainsie to leave town want him gone. A certain young mum, Marianne (whose uncle, Wheezy, is Stainsie’s drinking buddy) does too, and his old school-friend, Detective Sergeant Jamieson, wants to interrogate him about the deaths. Why are the lawyers lying to him, and who’s the bruiser asking about him down the pub?

Liz Mistry: Unquiet Souls

What is the link between the abduction of a little girl and a dead prostitute?
When the body of a prostitute is found, followed by the discovery of children locked in an attic, DI Gus McGuire is handed the case. But what at first appears to be a simple murder soon turns into an international manhunt for the members of a twisted child trafficking ring.
McGuire who is suffering with his own emotional problems, must pick his way through the web of deceit and uncover the truth in time before the body count rises.
Can McGuire identify The Matchmaker before it’s too late? And can he trust those he is working with?
Unquiet Souls is the first book in a dark and compelling new police series.


Daniel Pembrey: The Harbour Master

Henk van der Pol is a 30 year term policeman, a few months off retirement. When he finds a woman's body in Amsterdam Harbour, his detective instincts take over, even though it's not his jurisdiction. Warned off investigating the case, Henk soon realises he can trust nobody, as his search for the killer leads to the involvement of senior police officers, government corruption in the highest places, Hungarian people traffickers, and a deadly threat to his own family...
For fans of Euro Noir, John Harvey's Charlie Resnick series and Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, The Harbour Master is an action-packed detective investigation set in the evocative locale of Amsterdam. Delivering for Amsterdam what fans of Scandinavian fiction have come to love, this gripping novel shines a fascinating light on the dark side of a famously liberal society, combining vivid characterisation with ice-cold suspense.

Stephen Watt: Optograms

'Stephen Watt's Optograms is full of great poems made from ordinary people. Intimate but universal poems that give a voice to the damaged, the forgotten, the lost, the unravelled. Unsettling, unsentimental entries into a heart of humanity brimming with helplessness and hope, dark and light, and all anchored in place with fluid rhythm and balance, unforeseen twists of phrase and imagery, an agile use of language, and a necessary seam of humour. This ambitious and original collection of beautifully conceived and orchestrated poems haunts the mind and the soul.' - Graham Fulton

'Optograms' - available to buy for just £7.95 (+ £1 P&P). DM @StephenWattSpit on Twitter if you wish to purchase a copy.


Les Wood: Dark Side of the Moon

Boddice, a crime lord looking over his shoulder for good reason, has assembled an unlikely band of misfit crooks. Their job is to steal a famous diamond worth millions, known as The Dark Side of the Moon. Despite the odds, the crew is self-serving squabbles and natural incompetence, the plan progresses. As events build to an explosive climax no one really knows who is playing who. Full of twists and turns and laugh-out-loud moments, this is a hugely enjoyable romp entirely from the criminal's point-of-view.

So go on. Grab yourself a copy. All the links are below, apart from one for Optograms. To get a copy of that, please either DM Stephen on Twitter or contact him via his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StephenWattSpit/