Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Showcase - The Riverman by Alex Gray

The Riverman

by Alex Gray

on Tour January 9 - February 15, 2017


The Riverman by Alex Gray
Fans of atmospheric police procedurals will love watching Glasgow vividly come to life with the shocking twists and turns that have made Alex Gray an international bestseller
When a dead body is fished out of Glasgow’s River Clyde the morning after an office celebration, it looks like a case of accidental death. But an anonymous telephone call and a forensic toxicology test give Detective Chief Inspector William Lorimer reason to think otherwise. Probing deeper into the life and business of the deceased accountant, a seemingly upright member of the community, Lorimer finds only more unanswered questions.
What is the secret his widow seems to be concealing? Was the international accounting firm facing financial difficulties? What has become of the dead man’s protégé who has disappeared in New York? And when another employee is found dead in her riverside flat these questions become much more disturbing. Lorimer must cope not only with deceptions from the firm, but also with suspicions from those far closer to home . . .

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659138 (ISBN13: 9780062659132)
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:


The riverman knew all about the Clyde. Its tides and currents were part of his heritage. His father and others before him had launched countless small craft from the banks of the river in response to a cry for help. Nowadays that cry came in the form of a klaxon that could waken him from sleep, the mobile phone ringing with information about where and when. It wouldn’t be the first time that he’d pulled someone from the icy waters with only a hasty oilskin over his pajamas.
This morning, at least, he’d been up and doing when the call came. The body was over by Finnieston, past the weir, so he’d had to drive over the river towing a boat behind him on the trailer. He was always ready. That was what this job was all about: prompt and speedy response in the hope that some poor sod’s life could be saved. And he’d saved hundreds over the years, desperate people who were trying to make up their mind to jump off one of the many bridges that spanned the Clyde or those who had made that leap and been saved before the waters filled their lungs.
George Parsonage had been brought up to respect his river. Once it had been the artery of a great beating heart, traffic thronging its banks, masts thick as brush-wood. The tobacco trade with Virginia had made Glasgow flourish all right, with the preaching of commerce and the praising of a New World that was ripe for plucking. The names of some city streets still recalled those far-off days. Even in his own memory, the Clyde had been a byword for ships. As a wee boy, George had been taken to the launch of some of the finer products of Glasgow’s shipbuilding industry. But even then the river’s grandeur was fading. He’d listened to stories about the grey hulks that grew like monsters from the deep, sliding along the water, destined for battle, and about the cruise liners sporting red funnels that were cheered off their slipways, folk bursting with pride to be part of this city with its great river.
The romance and nostalgia had persisted for decades after the demise of shipbuilding and cross-river ferries. Books written about the Clyde’s heyday still found readers hankering after a time that was long past. The Glasgow Garden Festival in the eighties had prompted some to stage a revival along the river and more recently there had been a flurry of activity as the cranes returned to erect luxury flats and offices on either side of its banks. Still, there was little regular traffic upon its sluggish dark waters: a few oarsmen, a private passenger cruiser and the occasional police launch. Few saw what the river was churning up on a daily basis.
As he pushed the oars against the brown water, the riverman sent up a silent prayer for guidance. He’d seen many victims of despair and violence, and constantly reminded himself that each one was a person like himself with hopes, dreams and duties in different measure. If he could help, he would. That was what the Glasgow Humane Society existed for, after all. The sound of morning traffic roared above him as he made his way downstream. The speed of response was tempered by a need to row slowly and carefully once the body was near. Even the smallest of eddies could tip the body, filling the air pocket with water and sending it down and down to the bottom of the river. So, as George Parsonage approached the spot where the body floated, his oars dipped as lightly as seabirds’ wings, his eyes fixed on the shape that seemed no more than a dirty smudge against the embankment.
The riverman could hear voices above but his eyes never left the half-submerged body as the boat crept nearer and nearer. At last he let the boat drift, oars resting on the rowlocks as he finally drew alongside the river’s latest victim. George stood up slowly and bent over, letting the gunwales of the boat dip towards the water. Resting one foot on the edge, he hauled the body by its shoulders and in one clean movement brought it in. Huge ripples eddied away from the side as the boat rocked upright, its cargo safely aboard.
The victim was a middle-aged man. He’d clearly been in the water for some hours so there was no question of trying to revive him. The riverman turned the head this way and that, but there was no sign of a bullet hole or any wound that might indicate a sudden, violent death. George touched the sodden coat lightly. Its original camel colour was smeared and streaked with the river’s detritus, the velvet collar an oily black. Whoever he had been, his clothes showed signs of wealth. The pale face shone wet against the pearly pink light of morning. For an instant George had the impression that the man would sit up and grasp his hand, expressing his thanks for taking him out of the water, as so many had done before him. But today no words would be spoken.There would be only a silent communion between the two men, one dead and one living, before other hands came to examine the corpse.
George grasped the oars and pulled away from the embankment. Only then did he glance upwards, nodding briefly as he identified the men whose voices had sounded across the water. DCI Lorimer caught his eye and nodded back. Up above the banking a couple of uniformed officers stood looking down. Even as he began rowing away from the shore, the riverman noticed a smaller figure join the others. Dr. Rosie Fergusson had arrived.
‘Meet you at the Finnieston steps, George,’ Lorimer called out.
The riverman nodded briefly, pulling hard on the oars, taking his charge on its final journey down the Clyde.
Excerpt from The Riverman by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins | WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.
Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & on Twitter .


Tour Participants:

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Don't Miss Your Chance in this Giveaway!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and William Morrow. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) PRINT copy of The Riverman by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on January 9th and runs through February 23rd, 2017.
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Review - Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
E-book, 460 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Berkley
Source: Own copy

'Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.'

My Thoughts:
I read this book at such a fitting time in my life. Having a 4 year old son myself who was going through the whole kindergarten orientation thing and about to start his first school year, I really felt like I related to so many parts of this book in a special way, especially Jane and her experiences with the other school mums who all seemed to know what they were doing when I didn't.

I had major trouble putting this book down at times. It is written at a nice, fast pace and in such a real and entertaining way even though it deals with some very serious topics such as domestic violence, marriage and parenting.

One of the main characters, Madeline, seems like the kind of person who would always be fun and exciting to have as a friend. I liked the way she always seemed so put together but still had a vulnerable side as well so she didn't feel too fake as a character. This was the way for most of the characters in this book.

I really enjoyed that there were so many sub-stories within the main story and the way that Moriarty manages to tie everything together in the end. I also can't say enough how much I loved how relatable her characters are and would highly recommend this book to anyone.

I'm pretty sure this book is being made into a movie soon too which is a big exciting and something I will certainly be looking forward to.

I'm definitely going to be checking out more from this author in the future.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review - Written in Hell by Jason Helford

Written in HellWritten in Hell by Jason Helford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Kindle Edition250 pages
Published January 5th 2014
Source: Author for Review

'Written in Hell follows writer Nathanial Blovey on his strange and perilous adventures through Hell. Nathaniel’s book, a collection of lewd tales set in the old west, failed miserably, prematurely ending his career; however, unbeknownst to him, his stories had become a huge success in Hell. The Devil decides to send him a one-way invitation to her realm, to write for her, and to keep his damned fans happy. There is only one problem: he has writer’s block. With a firm deadline imposed by the Devil herself, Nate has to find a way to keep the most terrible of bosses happy, and survive his trip through Hell. While there is no fire and brimstone, and a burgeoning civilization is growing, Hell is still a very dangerous place for a soft man like Nathaniel.

Written in Hell is a creepy, fun and thought-provoking journey through Hell, with a guide who can’t help but anger people everywhere he goes. It takes you through a new and creative re-imagining of Hell.'

My Thoughts:
When I first received this book from the author to review I was kind of excited to read it because the description sounded very intriguing and exactly like my type of book.

Unfortunately, once I started reading it I realised that I wasn't going to be a fan of this book. I really did try to like it and keep an open mind throughout but there were just so many issues I had while reading that I couldn't seem to get past.

My biggest issue was with the main character Nate. He was made out to be such a disgusting and pathetic individual and I think the way he was portrayed really gave me a bad taste from the start. I know that in a way it's probably a smart move by the author to have done this because if he was a nice character it would be a bit hard to justify why he was sent to hell, but I like to relate to or at least have some sort of positive or inquisitive feeling about a character I am reading about in a book and I just couldn't get to this point with Nate.

Also, there were many little regular occurences in the book that literally made me feel disgusted in one way or another. I won't mention them because I don't want to spoil it for someone else but every time it was noted I got more and more sick of reading about it until it really did become too much. If you have already read this book you may be able to guess what bits I am referring to, otherwise I'll just have to leave you guessing.

I do have to admit that the storyline was an interesting concept and definitely different to any I have read before so I do have to give the author credit for his originality.

I really did have to force myself to finish reading this book and found myself not in any way interested in what was actually going to happen in the end. When I did finally finish it I felt a huge sense of relief.

I really do wish I could have liked this book more but I guess not every book is for every person. If they were it would probably be a boring world.

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