Posts Tagged ‘Homelessness’

513n3hd4btlMonday’s Child by Linda Finlay (ref blog review – 23/11/16)
My first pick is a historical saga. The first of the ‘Ragged School’ series, ‘Monday’s Child is set in Torquay on the Torbay coast an area I often visit. Now, thanks to Linda Finlay’s descriptions and lively characters I can image what life would have been like for those children at the Red Cliffs Ragged School and their sassy teacher Sarah. Number two of the series is out in May 2017.

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Owl Song at Dawn by Emma Claire Sweeney – (ref blog review – 25/6/16)
From a story about children to one of old age. I was sent this book to review by publisher Legend Press and was so glad they had as otherwise I might not have come across it. Short-listed for Amazon’s Rising Star Award of 2016, this lyrical, poignant and funny story about guest house landlady Maeve coming to terms with getting older and opportunities lost takes you back the 1950’s through Maeve’s memories of when she was young. With beautiful descriptions of an era that failed to understand disability or being different, this lovely book makes you realise life in the twenty first century isn’t as bad as we sometimes think.

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Off the Rails by Karen Taylor – (ref blog review – 3/2/16)
I really enjoyed this edgy young adult thriller from my publisher Endeavour Press. With beautifully drawn characters surviving in a London where affluent ‘suits’ collide with and exploit disaffected homeless young people in the subterranean world of London’s disused underground passages.

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Before the Poison – Peter Robinson (ref blog review – 21/4/16)
I’m grateful to Sidmouth Crime Fiction Book Group for suggesting we devote one of our meetings last year to the crime novels of Peter Robinson. Before that I’d only watched DCI Banks on the television. I particularly liked this stand alone mystery novel about a retired musician who becomes obsessed with proving the previous owner of his house was innocent of the crime she was hanged for. The rambling old home on the North Yorkshire Moors becomes a character in its own right.

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The Outcast Dead by Ellie Griffiths – (ref blog review – 28/1/16)
This was the Sidmouth Crime Fiction Book Group’s first book of the year and a welcome return to Dr Ruth Galloway’s adventures. We love her every day struggle with single parenting, controlling her weight, trying not to be jealous of her glamorous friends and her passion for Radio 4’s Archers. Number eight in the series is out on Kindle on the 23rd of February and if you can’t wait there is a lovely free short story ‘Ruth’s First Christmas Tree’ to get you in the mood.

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Tim WeaverWhat RemainsWhat Remains is the 6th book in the David Raker series about a missing person investigator. It is a haunting, intriguingly dark novel. I was lucky enough to attend Tim Weaver’s author talk at the Yeovil Literary Festival in October when he said he was trying something different in this novel, although he didn’t say what it was. I think it’s the fact that Raker who has always been such a loner now has a ‘sidekick’ for much of the early part of the story in the shape of ex-cop ‘Healey’. Yes, this book is big on single second names. But if you are a Raker fan, read it for yourself and see what you think is different.

In What Remains both Raker and Healey are haunted by the horrible murder of two children and their mother, described in the opening pages of the book. It affects both men deeply causing them to skim the depths of depression and as such they are often not best placed to support each other. But this is riveting and disturbing stuff. Raker and Healey’s turmoil is our turmoil as Healey self destructs pulling Raker down with him. The novel has a strong sense of brutal realism as it touches on themes of homelessness, depression and mental illness. With a plot that twists around shocking and surprising events and clever misdirection.

The novel is written in such a way that you don’t need to have read the earlier Raker stories to follow and enjoy it. Weaver drops the back story into the action in a subtle and unobtrusive way. But if you have read the other books in the series, What Remains provides a satisfying resolution to a plot thread that runs throughout the series.

In conclusion, this is a complex satisfying crime novel worthy of a five star review. It won’t disappoint fans of Raker and if you haven’t come across him before then this is as good a place as any to start – then go back and read the earlier books.