Wednesday, 2 December 2020

All Down The Line by Andrew Field

Today I'm helping to open the blog blitz for All Down The Line by Andrew Field with a mini review. Thanks to Emma Welton at damppebbles tours for the invitation and to the publisher for my review copy.

The Blurb:

MANCHESTER: Cain Bell thought he had closure over the hit and run death of his daughter. Ted Blake had confessed he was the behind the wheel just before he died. Twenty years on and Cain’s world is thrown upside down when his fiancé claims the driver was lying. Before she says more, a savage attack leaves her in a coma fighting for her life. To find out why Cain must uncover why four friends swore blind to never tell the truth about his daughter’s death. Now, he must persuade Manchester’s most terrifying gangster to reveal the secrets that kept hidden for two decades. And Billy McGinty is in no mood to break his own wall of silence. Unless Cain can persuade him to talk, even if it means putting his own life on the line.

All Down The Line is published by Boomslang Books on 7th December 2020 and is available to pre-order now on Amazon UK and Amazon US

My Mini Review:

PR man Cain Bell publicly proposed to girlfriend April Sands who accepts but whispers she must share secrets before they can marry. Secrets he won't like. But before she gets a chance to tell him, something happens to change their lives forever. Cain has already experienced one tragedy in his life - the death of his daughter, and he thought he knew what happened. But April has made him question everything he thought he knew. 

I enjoyed Field's writing, he has a great turn of phrase. The characterisation is really good, and it's a very colourful cast. He puts protagonist Cain through the emotional wringer in this book as things around him fall apart. The action takes place over a short period of time giving the whole thing a sense of immediacy. The author clearly has a love for Manchester, where the story is set, and that shines though the writing. The same goes for the music coming out of Manchester. It's footballing fame is also acknowledged. 

This was a quick and easy read for me, one I could fit into my week easily. All Down The Line is a characterful thriller featuring a fair few larger than life characters and more than one dirty secret. 

The Author:

Andrew Field has spent most of his working life as a PR consultant raising the profiles of others. Now the roles are reversed as he steps into the spotlight with All Down The Line (published in 2020). 

He handled Boddingtons Bitter during its “Cream of Manchester” heyday, developing innovative sports and cultural partnerships with TV and media platforms. Clients have also included a convicted armed bank robber and another who did eighteen months prison time for blackmail, although he didn’t know about their colourful backstories at the time. “I’d quizzed them more about their experiences. After all, hard-boiled grimness all adds to the mix, even if it is anecdotal.”

“Authors are by definition are relatively introverted. They work in isolation and inhabit imaginary world of their own creation. They can spend years staring at a computer screen bringing their characters to life. Then they have to become a different person to promote their work and market themselves.”  

“Fiction is a great way to write about how you feel personally about this great thing we do called living. We disguise it by calling it crime fiction, but behind the genre there is a world view being expressed. In my eyes, the memorable books, films and music, good or bad, are the ones you’re still thinking about 24 or 48 hours after you finished reading, watching or listening.”

What can readers expect from Andrew’s work? “If you’re into noir from the likes of James Lee Burke, James Cain, James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, Ted Lewis, Ed McBain and Jim Thompson, you’ll see where I am coming from.”

Andrew lives, works and plays in Northumberland, England, Europe, with his wife Catherine. A novella, Wicked Games was published in 2014. Without Rules in 2018 by Boomslang. All Down The Line will be published in December 2020. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Lucky Larry by Pat Feehan

I'm delighted to be shining a wee spotlight on Lucky Larry by Pat Feehan which is officially out today. Pat's debut novel, Snap Judgement (available here), was a choice of my real life book group early last year and everyone really enjoyed it. Pat came to speak to us about all things writing and had us all thoroughly entertained. I had the pleasure of beta reading Lucky Larry and had a lot of fun doing so - you're in for a treat. I'll be reviewing it in the new year but in the meantime you can find out all the details below. And the cover is just perfect for the story!


The Blurb:


Larry McAllister has never had much luck. He can’t hold down a job, he’s been in trouble with the cops - and long-suffering wife, Sharon, is constantly on his case.

So he cuts corners and bends the rules – nothing serious, just enough to get some extra cash and keep Sharon happy.

But he’s taken too many chances and been caught too many times – so Sharon’s put him on a final warning – divorce with no access to the kids. Now he’s stuck in a job from hell, in a pet shop owned by Sharon’s brother. Larry hates animals - and he’s not too keen on the brother-in-law either.

Things get worse when Larry becomes a reluctant witness in a murder enquiry. While the cops put the squeeze on him to testify, the criminals threaten his family.

As the stakes mount and Larry’s options are whittled away, he’s faced with an impossible choice. Can he make the right decision? Can Larry finally get lucky?

Lucky Larry is out now and you can buy it here.

The Author:

Pat Feehan is a native of Glasgow. He was an editor at Collins Publishers before joining HMRC as an investigator and senior manager until retiring a few years ago.

He reads all sorts but these days it’s mainly crime. Favourite authors include Michael Connelly, Thomas Harris, Elmore Leonard and Mark Billingham.

A few years ago he took a Creative Writing class at Strathclyde University and later joined two writing groups, all of which have been a great help with his writing.

‘Lucky Larry’ is his second novel. He published his first, ‘Snap Judgement’, two years ago. He also enjoys writing short fiction. His story, ‘The Kill’, appears in the Scottish Arts Trust anthology ‘Life on the Margins and Other Stories’. 

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Kill a Stranger by Simon Kernick. Whilst not a new author to me it's been a while since I read any of Kernick's work so it's been great to reacquaint myself. My thanks to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for inviting me and to the publisher for my review copy.

The Blurb:


'Simon Kernick writes with his foot pressed hard on the pedal' Harlan Coben

They took your fiancée.
They framed you for murder.

You're given one chance to save her. To clear your name.
You must kill someone for them.

They give you the time and place.
The weapon. The target.

You have less than 24 hours.
You only know that no-one can be trusted...and nothing is what it seems.

'That thud you hear is Kernick whipping the rug from under your feet again.' The Times Best thrillers of the month

'An absolute master of the adrenaline-fuelled ride' Peter James

Kill A Stranger was published on 26th November 2020 by Headline as an ebook, audio book and in hardback. You can purchase it from Bookshop, Hive, Waterstones, Amazon or your usual bookseller. The paperback will be released in June next year. 

My Review:

Matt and Kate have recently returned to the UK for a few months from Sri Lanka, where they run a boutique hotel. They've rented a wee out of the way cottage and Matt is returning late after a night out in London with old friends. Not wanting to wake Kate he creeps into bed without turning any lights on, but is worried that, although he can feel her lying next to him, he can't hear his fiancée breathing. Turning on the light he is horrified to find the woman in his bed is not Kate. And she's dead. So begins Matt's nightmare... And Kate's not having the best night either...

The story is told in the first person from the points of view of the four main characters, so that kept me in my toes. The chapters are short, which I like (perfect for late at night 'just one more chapter' reading), and they keep things moving apace. And there's a wee hook at the end of each of them which just pulls you into the next chapters. The story moves backwards and forwards between events following on from Matt turning on his bedroom light and those at the police station a couple of days later with a couple of throwbacks to older events.

The storyline is tense and exciting, picking us up and tossing us around like a whirlwind as it moves between characters and timeframe. Each chapter reveals a little bit more about our main characters and most of it is not good - there are a lot of secrets in this group! I had an issue in that I didn't really like, or dislike, the main players enough to care about what happened to them. DCI Doyle would be the exception to this, as he seems to be a straight up guy, although we don't learn too much about him. From the others, I had the most sympathy for Matt, although that waned a little as time went on. I liked one or two of the supporting characters, Geeta especially, who provided me with a heart stopping moment later in the book. But the story, whilst a little outrageous, compensated for the lack of love I felt for the characters, as it fair licks along and easily kept me turning the pages. And I really wasn't expecting the reveals at the end. 

All in all, this is a face paced, tense and excting thriller with secrets revealed on almost every page. A fun way to spend a few hours. 

The Author:

'Well where do I start? I wanted to be a writer ever since I was old enough to pick up a pen. I started with one page stories that I illustrated myself (badly) and, as I grew older, the stories got longer. For a long time I just wrote for myself, enjoying the process of disappearing off to new, imaginative worlds, but eventually, while working as a salesman in London I experienced this desperate desire to get published.

'I've always been a huge crime fiction and thriller fan so I wrote a crime novel that, unfortunately, pretty much every literary agent and publisher in the land rejected. So I wrote another one with exactly the same result. I have enough rejection letters to decorate a whole house- three hundred in all-but finally I struck gold with my first novel, The Business of Dying, about a cop who moonlights as a hit man named Dennis Milne. It was released in 2002 (seven years after I first tried to get published!) and was described as 'the crime debut of the year' by The Independent, which was a very nice compliment.

'Since then I've written a book a year (fifteen in all now) as well as a total of three novellas. I specialise in very fast-paced thrillers set over a short space of time which I like to think grab the reader from the very first page and don't let go. My fifth novel, Relentless, was a Richard and Judy summer read, and the ninth and tenth, The Last Ten Seconds and The Payback, both reached number 1 in the UK book charts, so they're good, I promise!

'I don't have a series as such and most of the books can be read as standalones, but I do have recurring characters. Dennis Milne, my vigilante cop, returns in A Good Day to Die and The Payback, and my female detective, Tina Boyd - a woman who finds herself in dangerous situations seemingly at every turn - appears in the vast majority of the recent books.'

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden

Oh, I have been looking forward to this day for so long! Sins of the Father, the debut novel by crime fiction fanatic, blogger extraordinaire and all round lovely person Sharon Bairden was published yesterday and today I get to share my thoughts on it with you all. Huge thanks to Meggy at Red Dog Press for inviting me onto the tour and for sending my review copy. I've  since bought my own paperback copy. 

The Blurb:

Lucas Findlay thinks he has struck gold when he marries Rebecca, but she married him for one reason only - to destroy him.

Trauma runs deep

When her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity ... and her life.

Truth will out

With her world unravelling around her, Rebecca clings to her determination to make Lucas pay, whatever the cost.

Forgive his sins

But someone must pay for the sins of the father...

Sins of the Father was published yesterday as an ebook and in paperback by Red Dog Press and is available to buy from Red Dog, Bookshop, Hive, Waterstones and Amazon

My Review

Now I knew Sharon liked her crime fiction dark. And I heard her read the prologue of Sins of the Father at Bute Noir last year (remember real life book festivals... missing them hugely) and it was... dark. But that didn't prepare me for just how dark things were going to get. Please don't be put off by this - Sins of the Father is an amazing book which I absolutely loved, but it's not an easy read and covers some difficult issues. 

At the centre of the story is Rebecca who we meet at various different ages, starting when she is ten years old. Her father is absent and in recent years her mother's care of her has declined to the point of neglect as she brings a trail of unsavoury 'uncles' into their now filthy home. During this time Rebecca can turn to no one except the voices emerging in her head, particularly the loudest of these, Samantha. After a particularly awful incident Rebecca enters the care system but life doesn't get much easier for her. 

But we meet Rebecca some years later, grown up and successful, working in a charity for victims of abuse in the East end of Glasgow and married to Lucas who works elsewhere in the third sector. On the outside they appear to have a perfect marriage but all is definitely not as it seems. Rebecca has plans but can't shake the feeling that someone is watching her...

I mentioned the prologue above. We're in Rebecca's head and it's a wild, vivid and terrifying ride. The descriptive writing grabs you and pull you right in and it ends with a total OMG moment. 

The early part of the book is written entirely from Rebecca's point of view and it's utterly heartbreaking. The storytelling is detailed and descriptive and it was easy to imagine the terrible conditions in which Rebecca finds herself, the things she has to do and the damage they cause her. 

The second part of the book is told from several points of view, mainly Rebecca's but also from husband Lucas's and one or two others, and it seems all of them have secrets. We learn more about all the central characters as the story moves on and, to be honest, none of them are terribly likeable, but they are all wonderfully drawn. I could picture them all. And there is a vulnerability, about Rebecca that makes it impossible for the reader not to care about her. The tension rises as the story progresses and things start to unravel with a couple of big surprises along the way. 

As I may have already mentioned Sins of the Father is very dark and touches on some difficult subjects which might mean this isn't for everyone. But I would encourage you to try it as it's also descriptive, vivid, heartbreaking, haunting and beautifully written. A bold, confident and stunning debut. 

The Author:

Sharon Bairden is the Services Manager in a small, local independent advocacy service and has a passion for human rights; by night she has a passion for all things criminal. She blogs about books at Chapterinmylife and is delighted to be crossing over to the other side of the fence to become a writer. Sharon lives on the outskirts of Glasgow, has two grown up children, a grandson, a Golden Labrador and a cat. She spends most of her spare time doing all things bookish, from reading to attending as many book festivals and launches as she can. She has been known to step out of her comfort zone on the odd occasion and has walked over burning coals and broken glass – but not at the same time!

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Whispers in the Dark by Chris McDonald

Good morning all and happy Saturday! Excited to be on my first blog tour for Red Dog Press with the fab Whispers in the Dark by Chris McDonald. Huge thanks to the lovely Meggy at Red Dog for inviting me and for my review copy. 

The Blurb:

Who will heed the call when Death comes whispering? 

Small time drug dealer, Marcus Stone and DCI Clive Burston had never met until one night in August. By the end of that night, both had been shot dead in a small bedroom in the heart of gang territory. DI Erika Piper is called to the scene but is at a loss to explain what's happened. How did these two even meet, let alone end up dead in what appears to be a strange murder-suicide? 

As Erika leads the investigation, another two bodies are found, killed in a similar fashion. One murder, one suicide. But who is controlling this macabre puppet show? As Erika delves deeper into the lives of the dead, the pieces begin to fit together and a number of nefarious characters crawl out of the woodwork - one of whom is almost certainly pulling the strings. 

A catastrophic event and a personal miracle threaten to derail the investigation. Erika must find the strength to continue, before the whispers catch up with her too...

Whispers in the Dark was published by Red Dog Press and is available to purchase from Red Dog or Amazon

My Review:

In preparation for today's tour stop I also read the first DI Erika Piper novel, A Wash of Black, to get to know the main characters etc. I really enjoyed it and my review will be up on Amazon and Goodreads shortly. You don't need to have read that before coming to Whispers in the Dark, which works perfectly as a standalone, but you may have a richer reading experience if you did. 

Erika's home life is settling down with Tom, a security guard, but her work life is as busy as ever. She is baffled by a strange double death which looks very much like a murder-suicide, except that it involves two people who shouldn't be anywhere near each other in a million years. Whilst she and the team try to get to grips with the mystery, another odd-matched pair of bodies turn up and things take a turn which is both confusing and sinister....

Erika is a cracking character. She's been through a couple of fairly traumatic events in the past but remains a very dedicated police officer. She works long hours and never really switches off. But she is ably supported by the men in her life - boyfriend Tom, boss Bob, partner Liam and new team member Andy. I got to know her a bit in a Wash of Black but this further cemented her in my mind - she's someone I'd like to share a bottle of wine with! McDonald writes very descriptively so the reader is given a good idea of what every character looks like  but it is never cumbersome. Likewise the scene setting is also very vivid. Again McDonald's descriptions are perfect and he manages to convey the whole scene in a few short sentences, sometimes just a few words, so it never knocks the story off kilter, never interferes with the flow. Sorry, I'm not doing a very good job at explaining what I mean! Basically, Chris writes well, and I loved meeting the wide variety of characters from police officers to grieving family members, from vicars to gang members - all have an air of authenticity which I appreciated. 

The story itself is original. And dark. I hate to imagine where the idea sprang up from! The author deals with a difficult, perhaps controversial, idea, as he himself notes in the acknowledgements, but I feel he handles it well and from a fresh angle. He seems to have done his research, notably in respect to the dark web, which enriches the story. It moves along at a good pace and there are some very tense moments, including the denouement. McDonald doesn't shy away from describing fear and violence.  There are some happier moments although even these are tinged with sadness. I might have had a tear in my eye at the very end...

Whispers in the Dark is a robust, original and well written police procedural with an engaging protagonist, a colourful cast off supporting characters and an unexpected antagonist. I really enjoyed McDonald's writing and look forward to seeing what he comes up with next. It's hard to know whether that will be more Erika, but I'd love to see more of her. A quick and very entertaining read.

The Author:

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime. A Wash of Black was his first attempt at writing a book. He came up with the initial idea whilst feeding his baby in the middle of the night, which may not be the best thing to admit, considering the content. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs. Whispers in the Dark is the second installment in the DI Erika Piper series, and Chris is currently working on his latest series, The Stonebridge Mysteries, to be published by Red Dog Press in 2021. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

The Boy Between by Amanda Prowse & Josiah Hartley

I am delighted to share my review of The Boy Between for my stop on the blog tour. Huge thanks to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Tours for the invitation and to the authors for my review copy. I have tried to put my thoughts down but I'm worried they've come out as one huge nonsensical jumble! I certainly haven't done the book justice, but I've tried.  This is a powerful, personal book with touched me and moved me to tears more than once. I would encourage everyone to read it. 

The Blurb

Bestselling novelist Amanda Prowse knew how to resolve a fictional family crisis. But then her son came to her with a real one… 

Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, bestselling author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. This is the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times. 

Josiah’s situation is not unusual: the statistics on student mental health are terrifying. And he was not the only one suffering; his family was also hijacked by his illness, watching him struggle and fearing the day he might succeed in taking his life. 

In this book, Josiah and Amanda hope to give a voice to those who suffer, and to show them that help can be found. It is Josiah’s raw, at times bleak, sometimes humorous, but always honest account of what it is like to live with depression. It is Amanda’s heart-rending account of her pain at watching him suffer, speaking from the heart about a mother’s love for her child. 

For anyone with depression and anyone who loves someone with depression, Amanda and Josiah have a clear message—you are not alone, and there is hope. 

The Boy Between was published by Little A on 1st November 2020. You can purchase it from Bookshop (supporting indie bookshops) Hive (supporting indie bookshops), Waterstones and Amazon or your usual bookseller. 

My Review: 

Oh my word, my emotions went right through the wringer with this book - it has all the feels! 

Josh is a young man from a close, loving family, achieving well at school, predicted great grades with conditional offers from brilliant universities when he is suddenly hit by depression. Depression which gets so bad he makes plans to escape it. Permanently. This is his story, and the story of his mum Amanda as she comes to terms with Josh's depression,  tries to under it and work out how she can best support her son. There are some tough times for her, husband Simeon and other son Ben, but Josh has the hardest time of all. 

I was keen to read this book for two reasons. I live with anxiety based depression. I am fortunate never to have felt as low as Josh (there but by the grace...) but I know what it's like to feel empty, or to cry at everything. Or nothing. Secondly, I am the mother of two boys in their late teens who've both had their struggles (not depression). And I have often lay awake wondering if their dad and I had done the best we could for them, made the right choices, consulted the right people, etc. So I could relate in some small way to the words of both Josh and Amanda. 

The opening sentence of the prologue is 'The decision to end my life was one that came easily.' This book is very open,  honest and raw. Josh is unflinching about his moods, his frustration, his shame and his use of alcohol for self medication. He is also clear about why he felt that suicide was the way out. I can only imagine how hard it was for him to revisit that time for the writing of this book, it was difficult to read in places. For Amanda, to see her child deteriorating in front of her, and not knowing how to reach him must have been heartbreaking for her. Especially knowing that he wanted to end his life. It was certainly heartbreaking to read. There is a moment in the book when Amanda is trying to make Christmas jolly and fun in the hope it will lift Josh's mood. The extended family are hugely supportive but the joy doesn't get through to Josh. She writes 'Their words slid from his sadness and pooled on the floor for us to slip in.' I found that sentence both beautiful and heartbreaking. 

But there are two other people deeply affected by Josh's illness. Theirs is a blended family - Josh's friend Ben becomes his brother when Simeon marries Amanda. Simeon is incredibly supportive of Josh. And Amanda, of course. Arguably, he takes on more than most stepdads but he never once shirks his responsibility. Josh clearly appreciates Simeon and the way he speaks about him in an early chapter is just lovely. I had tears in my eyes. In a later chapter the stress of it all hits Simeon and it proves to be a turning point for the family. I was in tears reading it but so pleased they all opened up to each other. 

There were so, so many moments that touched me. It shows the power of an inspiring teacher and the damage caused by bad ones. When Josh takes part, very successfully, in a public speaking event, the head teacher says to him something like 'Well I never, who knew you could do that?' and Josh replies 'I did, Sir, I knew.' I cried that Josh had to say it but was so proud of him for doing it! 

This is a very personal story which Josh and Amanda been brave enough to share, and I know it will touch many people. Whilst more people are talking openly about depression, it's still not enough, and I really hope this will encourage more people to open up. Particularly young men. The suicide rate of men under  is very high and part of that is because men feel unable to open up. Josh was brave enough to open up to his family and then to the world via this book, so I hope any struggling young man who reads his story will reach out to someone close.  

Josh, thank you for sharing your story. I hope that you are very proud about how far you've come and how well you're doing. I'm so happy you're hopeful about the future. Thank you for your honesty. Amanda, I felt your pain. Thank you for being so open. The Boy Between is heartbreaking, heartfelt, honest, raw, beautiful and hopeful and will stay with me for a long time. Please read it. 

The Authors: 

Josiah (Josh) Hartley lives in an isolated farmhouse in the West Country, but close enough to Bristol to enjoy its music scene. He is an animal lover and servant to two French Bulldogs. Equally happy at a music festival or watching rugby with his mates, he likes the outdoor life and with Devon only a short drive away often heads to the sea to surf and sit on the beach watching the sun go down. After a stint at the University of Southampton and another at the University of Bristol and one unsuccessful suicide attempt, Josh decided to write about his descent into mental illness and the depression that has held him in its grip for the past few years. The Boy Between carries the overriding message that things can and often do get better. It’s a book of reflection, raw, honest and full of hope: the proof being that Josh is still here and now excited about what comes next. He is ready to catch any opportunities that life throws his way, quite a thing for someone who only three years ago was living in a world gone grey, ready to disappear from the face of the earth… 

Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author twenty-five novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world. Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments. Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio but her first love is, and will always be, writing. This is her first work of non-fiction. 

You can find her online at, on Twitter or Instagram @MrsAmandaProwse, and on Facebook at

The Heat by Sean O'Leary

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Heat, a novella by Australian author Sean O'Leary. My thanks to Emma Welton at for the invitation and to the author and publisher for my review copy. 

The Blurb:

Jake is a loner who works nights in a Darwin motel and lives at the YMCA. He’s in love with Angel, a Thai prostitute who works out of the low-rent Shark Motel.

A vicious murder turns Jake’s life into a nightmare. He must fight for his life on the heat-soaked streets of Darwin and Bangkok in the wet season to get revenge, and to get his life back

The Heat was published by Busybird Publishing in paperback and digital formats on 15th August 2019

Purchase Links:

Australian Bookseller 
Amazon AU 
Amazon UK 
Amazon US 

My Review

The Heat is certainly hot. The weather plays a huge part in this story - you can feel the heat and damp oozing through the pages. It's a short, relatively quick and easy read. But there is a lot going on in these pages. 

It was a surprise to find the book is written in the present tense and in the first person, narrated by our protagonist Jake. Jake's a complicated young guy. Now living in Darwin after troubles in his previous home of Alice Springs he works as a night porter in a motel. He's on medication for schizophrenia but also self medicates with dope and booze. And he gambles too much. His relationship with prostitute Angel is hard to categorise - more than a punter, but not quite a boyfriend. But he is in love with her and says 'my life is stagnant when Angel isn't in it' and she clearly has feelings for him. When she is brutally murdered his world is turned upside down and he decides to head to Bangkok to find Angel's family and to seek out the man he believes murdered her. 

I couldn't decide whether I liked Jake or not. He certainly frustrated me wasting his days smoking pot and wasting his money on bad bets. But he's a reader, so he has that going for him. And he reads our very own Ian Rankin, no less. O'Leary says, via Jake 'Great books, great films and all kinds of art, they can make the troubles of the world seem less harsh, sometimes they disappear altogether.' Couldn't agree more. Whilst Angel's death devastates Jake, his search for revenge begins a journey of growth for him. A turning point. 

This is a character driven story, and whilst Jake is the main player there are plenty of colourful supporting characters, and the police don't come out very favourably. Cooper is particularly vile. It's not a pretty read - O'Leary doesn't waste words and we see Jake's despair, fear and anger. And his sweat There's plenty of violence and bad language. It's raw.  But I enjoyed his journey. Because, for me, The Heat, as well as being a crime thriller, is also a story of a young man finding himself. A thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

The Author:

Sean O’Leary has published two short story collections, ‘My Town’ and ‘Walking’. His novella ‘Drifting’ was the winner of the ‘Great Novella Search 2016’ and published in September 2017. He has published over thirty individual short stories and is a regular contributor of short fiction to Quadrant, FourW, Sudo, Close to the Bone (UK) and other literary and crime magazines. His crime novella ‘The Heat’, set in Darwin and Bangkok, was published in August 2019. Drifting and The Heat are both available on Amazon. His interviews with crime writers appear online in Crime Time magazine.

He has worked in a variety of jobs including motel receptionist, rubbish removalist/tree lopper, farm hand, short-order cook and night manager in various hotels in Sydney’s notorious, Kings Cross. He has lived in: Melbourne; Naracoorte; Sydney; Adelaide; Perth; Fremantle; Norseman; Geraldton; Carnarvon; Broome; Yulara; Alice Springs; Kakadu; Darwin and on Elcho Island-Galiwinku. He now lives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, thinks that test cricket is the greatest game of all and supports Melbourne Football Club (a life sentence). He writes every day, likes travelling and tries to walk everywhere.

Author Social Media Links:


All Down The Line by Andrew Field

Today I'm helping to open the blog blitz for All Down The Line by Andrew Field with a mini review. Thanks to Emma Welton at damppebbles ...