Thursday, 22 July 2021

The Beresford by Will Carver

It's always a pleasure (if that's the right word!) to read a Will Carver book because you never know quite what you're going to get! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Beresford, his latest, and it's another dark, twisted offering. Huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Orenda Books for my review copy.



The Blurb

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.

Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate Sythe no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers.

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door. Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings...

The Beresford is out today, published by Orenda Books.



My Review

Oh man, where do I even start with this?! It's the third book I've read of Will's after Nothing Important Happened Today (which blew my socks off) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip and I think I've started each review in the same way! His books do that. 

The Beresford is a majestic old building, slightly out of place in a modern city. Comprised of eight floors, it has some history - some unexplained tragedies. Split into two parts, here we're focusing on the flats on the bottom two floors, owned by Mrs May. The apartments are large and airy, tastefully decorated and furnished and very reasonable to rent. No wonder there is always someone ready to fill an empty flat. The building itself is very much a character here - majestic, imposing and downright creepy. And Mrs May, the sweet, eccentric landlady, pruning flowers that have no need of pruning, always keen to welcome in new tenants, and always keen to tidy the old ones away. And her prayers? Well, they're something else! There is something unsettling about Mrs May. 

The book opens with an obituary, followed by the immediate aftermath of a murder, but not of the person mentioned in the obituary. And with this, we are thrown right into life at The Beresford. Full of exquisitely drawn characters. Sweet, helpful and reliable Abe. Blair, escaping from overly zealous parents. Gail, escaping an abusive relationship. And Mrs May, of course. Each is so beautifully described. Life at The Beresford is leisurely and calm. Until the door bell's due to ring. Then it's not a safe place to be at all. Things turn very dark. 

The Beresford is a dark, twisted and unique piece of work which brought to mind (but is very different from) Hotel California by The Eagles. It's evil and eerie, whilst being beautifully written, populated with fully rounded, engaging characters. Written in Carver's direct style it doesn't pull any punches or waste any words. It looks at the big issues, and perfectly observes the minutiae of everyday life. And it asks us what we want. What we really want. And just how far we'd be willing to go to get it. Hopefully, not as far as the front door of The Beresford! Loved it. 

The Author


Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s previous title published by Orenda Books, Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year and for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell. Good Samaritans was a book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the eBook charts.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

The Witness by John Ryder

Today on the blog we're heading over to the US and into the Witness Protection Program. Or rather, we're heading out of it! It'll all make sense when you read my review of The Witness, the new standalone by John Ryder. It's my stop on the Bookoutre Books-On-Tour blog tour and thanks go to Noelle Holten for the invitation and for my review copy which I received via Netgalley.



The Blurb

"Find my daughter in twenty-four hours. Or she’s dead."

Kyle Roche is a man whose job it is to stay invisible. Dark, mysterious, and only sometimes on the right side of the law, only a lucky few know how to reach him: Kyle can fix their problems, however dangerous.

Now he’s been hired to save a woman in Witness Protection, one who doesn’t officially exist anymore. But before he can keep her safe, he has to find her. And he has less than twenty-four hours to do it…

Savannah Nicholls is in hiding because of a tragic mistake. Her mother insists her daughter is just a nice girl, from a good family, that she’s never gotten in trouble in her life. But she also says someone knows where her daughter is. And they want to kill her.

If he’s going to keep Savannah safe, Roche needs to know who is after her, as well as what she witnessed, who her enemies are, and if they have really been able to find her. But how can he protect a woman who is as invisible as he is?

Because the clock is ticking…

This totally gripping, pulse-pounding thriller is perfect for fans of David Baldacci, JB Turner and Mark Dawson.

The Witness is published by Bookoutre and came out yesterday.


Buy Link

https://geni.us/B096B76TKBsocial



My Review

Savannah Nicholls doesn't exist anymore. She has a new name and a new life after entering Witness Protection and nobody knows where she is. But if nobody knows where she is, how is someone on their way to kill her? Fortunately, her mother receives an anonymous warning and hires Kyle Roche, a man who knows his stuff, to find and protect Savannah and find out who is trying to kill her. But he only has 24 hours to do it. 

Kyle Roche is a fabulous character. He's not your stereotypical handsome, suave young action hero. He's older, battered, gruff, rough and can be downright rude but when you're in a fix, he's the man you want on your side. He follows trouble. Or maybe trouble follows him, it's hard to tell. But you know where you're at with him - no nonsense. I know this is a standalone but I'd love to see more Roche and the author's note at the back of the book gives me a teeny ray of hope. 

Savannah is a whole other story. She comes across as scared and vulnerable but we know there's a strength to her because she testified in a case knowing it would mean the end of her life as she knew it. She's resilient. When we meet her she's scared though, but it's easy to see why. What I love about her is how the author just gives us wee glimpses of her story as we begin to wonder whether she's telling the truth. And I liked that there wasn't an easy relationship between her and Roche. 

The Witness is a full on action thriller. It starts tense and just gets tenser and faster paced. There are explosions, fires, car crashes and plenty of gun fighting - a bit of everything. It's one of those books that's screaming out for a big screen - I'd watch it in a heartbeat! Both the main characters are interesting and engaging and it's that, together with all the action, which I love, which make this story for me. Highly recommend if you like your thrills coming thick and fast and want a strong,  intelligent storyline binding it all together. 


The Author


John Ryder is a former farmworker and joiner. He's turned his hand to many skills to put food on the table and clothes on his back. A life-long bibliophile, he eventually summoned the courage to try writing himself, and his Grant Fletcher novels have drawn inspiration from authors such as Lee Child, Tom Cain, Zoe Sharp and Matt Hilton. When it comes to future novels, he says he has more ideas than time to write them.
When not writing, John enjoys spending time with his son, reading and socialising with friends. A fanatic supporter of his local football team, he can often be found shouting encouragement to men much younger and fitter than he is.

Monday, 19 July 2021

I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood


Thrilled today to be sharing my review of I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for inviting me and to the publisher for my review copy.



The Blurb

I saw it. He smothered her, pressing his hands on her face. The police don't believe me, they say it's impossible – but I know what I saw.

Xander Shute - once a wealthy banker, now living on the streets - shelters for the night in an empty Mayfair flat. When he hears the occupants returning home, he scrambles to hide. Trapped in his hiding place, he hears the couple argue, and he soon finds himself witnessing a vicious murder.

But who was the dead woman, who the police later tell him can't have been there? And why is the man Xander saw her with evading justice?

As Xander searches for answers, his memory of the crime comes under scrutiny, forcing him to confront his long-buried past and the stories he's told about himself.

How much he is willing to risk to understand the brutal truth



My Review

Xander Shute, a formally successful, now homeless man, seeks a doorway to take shelter in following a fight with another homeless man. He finds the door of the house he's chosen is ajar and creeps inside to rest. He is disturbed by people returning to the house and, unable to help without giving himself away,  witnesses a woman's murder. He does the right thing and reports the crime to the police. They are sceptical, despite the level of detail Xander gives them, and as the investigation progresses Xander begins to wish he'd never gone to them in the first place. 

This is Imran Mahmood's second book, following You Don't Know Me which is sitting on my TBR shelf (bookcase!) and which I've heard really good things about. So I was very keen to read this one, another standalone, again told in the first person. 

In Xander Shute, Mahmood has created a complex, multilayered character. Once a hugely successful business man with a nice home, a good income and a happy relationship, Shute has spent the last thirty odd years on the street, having disappeared by choice. This time of living by his wits and the traumas that led to it have dulled the memories of his life before. But certain events, smells (there's a beautiful happy/sad memory evoked by a decent similar to Wotsits) and places in the present jar fragments of thoughts, awakening long buried memories of ealier times in Xander's mind. The reader discovers his former life in this way, bit by bit, little by little. But it becomes clear that Shute is an unreliable narrator and neither he, nor the reader, can be sure his recollections are full or even if his memories are real.  

There is a fully fleshed out cast of backing characters both good and bad. Chief amongst these is Seb, an old friend of Xander's who steps up.when needed without question. Although it becomes clear his reasons for doing so might not be entirely wholesome. But it was Amit who stole my heart. A studious young schoolboy, often to be found in the library, who helps out Xander when he can in return for a favour once done for him. 

The storyline snakes between the present and various key moments in the past as Xander seeks to discover the truth. Mahmood has shaped him into a sympathetic character, I think, and it would take a cold hearted person not to be rooting for him, even whilst we have no idea what the truth is. And when it comes, it hurts. 

I Know What I Saw is a beautifully written tale of loss, brokenness, forgotten memories, remembered truths, a search for redemption, weaved into a story of murder and mystery. I enjoyed the author's style of writing, his descriptions have a lyrical way about them. It's not a fast paced book, especially the first half, but the quality of the writing is such that it doesn't need to be - you'll be hooked anyway. This is one for your TBR pile! 


The Author


Imran Mahmood is a practising barrister with almost 30 years' experience fighting cases in court. He hails from Liverpool but now lives in London with his wife and daughters. His debut novel You Don't Know Me was chosen by Simon Mayo as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club for 2017 and longlisted for Theakston Crime Novel of the Year and for the CWA Gold Dagger, and is currently being adapted for screen in four parts. When not in court or writing novels he can sometimes be found on the Red Hot Chilli Writers' podcast as one of the regular contributors. You can find him on Twitter @imranmahmood777


Thursday, 15 July 2021

The C Word: For some lockdown has been murder by various authors - short story collection

I don't read short stories very often but I do enjoy them for a wee change occasionally. And particularly when they've been written and brought together for a good cause. Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The C Word, a collection of short stories raising money for NHS Charities. Big thanks to Zoé at Zooloo's Book Tours for the invitation and to the publisher for my review copy.

 


The Blurb

So, what do writers do during Lockdown?

They create murder, mystery, death and destruction,
of course!

The C Word is a collection of short stories collated during the COVID-19 pandemic to raise money for NHS Charities Together. A plethora of wonderful stories created by a wide variety of writers, each with their own unique style. Some you will know already and some we’ve yet to introduce you to. However, we’re sure you’ll want to hear from each & every one of them again as we leave 2020 behind us. With contributions from Steve Mosby , Sophie Hannah , Elly Griffiths , Sarah Hilary , Rob Scragg , Trevor Wood and many more.

The C Word is published by Spellbound Books and is available to purchase from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

100% of all royalties from The C Word will be donated to NHS Together Charities.



My Review

I really enjoyed this collection. There is a huge of variety of subjects and styles - something for everyone. Many feature aspects of lockdown, or its consequences. Most of, but not all, the stories are crime, but there's a sprinkling of horror and some tales I found hard to define

The opener, God Moving over the Face of the Waters, by Steve Mosby is terrifically dark and atmospheric. The Haunted Trolley by Nick Jackson is an oddly affecting tale about, yes, you guessed it, a shopping trolley. In a similar vein, One of a Crowd by Paul Finch is heartbreaking. There's gruesome stuff in The Tanzanite Ring by Mark Wilson and domestic violence features in a couple of stories. I found Strength by Andy Hill particularly powerful. 

The great thing about short stories is they are quick read, meaning this is the perfect book to pick up and put down, dip into, come back to later and re-read. 

The C Word is a fab collection of  interesting and enjoyable stories from a wide range of authors both established and new. Covering a wide range of topics there really is something for everyone between its covers. And, as mentioned above, by purchasing this book, not only will you be getting a great collection of original tales, you'll also be raising money for a worthwhile cause. Win win!


Thursday, 8 July 2021

A Rattle of Bones by Douglas Skelton

Four weeks today, August 5th, sees the release of A Rattle of Bones, the third Rebecca Connolly book (after Thunder Bay and The Blood is Still) from Douglas Skelton and I'm so excited about it! I was lucky enough to get an early look and I can't wait for you all to be able to read it. Below you can find all the information and a few of my thoughts on the book. I'll be sharing my full review on publication day.



The Blurb

In 1752, Seamus a’Ghlynne, James of the Glen, was executed for the murder of government man Colin Campbell. He was almost certainly innocent.

When banners are placed at his gravesite claiming that his namesake, James Stewart, is innocent of murder, reporter Rebecca Connolly smells a story. The young Stewart has been in prison for ten years for the brutal murder of his lover, lawyer and politician Murdo Maxwell, in his Appin home. Rebecca soon discovers that Maxwell believed he was being followed prior to his murder and his phones were tapped.

Why is a Glasgow crime boss so interested in the case? As Rebecca keeps digging, she finds herself in the sights of Inverness crime matriarch Mo Burke, who wants payback for the damage caused to her family in a previous case.

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, A Rattle of Bones is a tale of injustice and mystery, and the echo of the past in the present.

A Rattle of Bones is published by Polygon is out in eBook and paperback on August 5th 2021 and in audio on September 1st 2021. It is available for pre-order now from Bookshop.org, Waterstones, Amazon or your preferred bookseller.



My Mini Review

Rebecca Connolly is tired. She's been through a lot and is emotionally battered and bruised but she's not going to let that stop her doing her job. Looking for a story and wanting to uncover the truth, she investigates the case of James Stewart, who some believe was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. 

Skelton's characterisation is right on point, for the whole cast, but it's particularly great to see a story populated by strong women, not least Rebecca herself. Afua Stewart was another standout for me. I was pleased to see returning characters from the previous books - you don't need to have read them to enjoy this one but, go on, you've got time! - alongside some colourful new ones. 

As well as being a tale of injustice this is also a love letter to the beautiful, yet sometimes harsh, Scottish landscape. The first chapter is hauntingly beautiful, I defy you not to shiver. The writing is lyrical in places, the subject matter serious but there are dashes of dark humour shot through the story. 

A Rattle of Bones is a story of murder, wrongdoing, truth seeking and love. It's beautifully written, very atmospheric, weaving Scottish history in with the criminal underworld of today. Skelton has, as always, delivered a well developed plot and a satisfying denouement with a red herring or two thrown in along the way. I devoured it in two days and think it might be my favourite of the series yet. It will be amongst my books of the year. 

The Author


Douglas is the author of twelve non fiction books and nine previous novels. A Rattle of Bones will be his tenth. He often contributes to true crime shows on TV and radio, writes & performs in  comedy shows and is a talented photographer (check out Douglas Skelton Photography on Facebook).

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To find out more of what I thought of A Rattle of Bones check back here on August 5th! 

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Paid in Blood by Susan Handley

Paid in Blood jumped out at me as soon as I read the blurb. I work with deafblind adults - people with a dual sensory impairment - who are all amazing, and I'm always keen to read books which feature disabled characters in a positive light. Paid in Blood is such a book. Thank you to Zoé from Zooloo's Book Tours for the invitation on to the blog tour and to the author for my review copy.



The Blurb

A dead celebrity loved by the nation.
A blind detective with something to prove.

When a well-loved celebrity is found murdered at a glitzy art event, DI Matt Fisher is faced with his first big case since being blinded in an acid-attack. Despite most people thinking his return to his old job is an impossible task, Fisher is determined to prove them wrong.

With his guide dog Luna at his side and the assistance of eager yet inexperienced DC Beth Nightingale, Fisher must find a way to see through the lies and expose a ruthless killer.

He’s had his fair share of bad luck in the past but has always managed to bounce back. Can he do it again, or are his days as a detective numbered?

Paid in Blood was published on 11th March 2021 and can be purchased from Amazon UK or Amazon US.


My Review



DI Matt Fisher is still finding his feet after an attack blinded him some months earlier but has learned to manage with the assistance of his guide dog. When a high profile case lands on his desk, Matt is determined to prove to his team, his boss, his son and, most of all, to himself, that he can not only cope, but can bring this case to a successful conclusion. The storyline follows Matt as he leads his team in the murder investigation and, with the help of partner/assistant DC Nightingale, tries to ensure he doesn't miss anything vital.

Matt Fisher is an engaging lead. Dogged and determined, he is desperately trying to find his way in this new darkness he's found himself in. Whilst Handley rightly shows us how capable Fisher is, we also share his difficulties, whether that be simply banging into a table he hadn't realised was there or the depths of his frequent self doubt. We see his frustration, mostly at himself, but also at his co-workers and boss. Talking of DCI Falcon, she should have been out on her ear. She comes across as an absolute horror who, in the real world, would have been dismissed for her bullying behaviour. But back to Matt. The moments that touched me most were when he doubted his ability to be the father than son Josh deserved, and how Josh proved just how wrong his dad was. I loved how Fisher built images in his head for how people looked. He wasn't always correct, right enough. He did the same with the crime scene, and every location he visited, with the help of his 'eyes', DC Beth Nightingale.

I really liked Beth. She's keen and willing, often working late because she needs to run the DI home - no matter how capable he is, that's one thing he can't do! She does such a good job describing scenes to Fisher. I think it becomes second nature to her. This is a big part of my job and it always surprises me how much I miss, how unobservant I am, when I don't have to make that extra effort for someone else. Generally, Matt and Beth make a good team, along with guide dog Luna, of course.

The plot follows Matt and team as they attempt to solve the murder of a glamorous young woman at a fundraising event. I loved the peak into a world far removed from mine - who doesn't like to be a fly on the wall? There are suspects and red herrings galore, but we see just how dogged and methodical Matt can be. As well as using Beth's eyes, he has to rely heavily on his gut feelings. All of this is well described.

I'm not at all sure that, in the real world, a policeman with a disability such as Matt's would be allowed to take such an active role in an investigation, purely because of his new limitations. I might be wrong, of course, but I needed to suspend belief reading this, however, it didn't stop me enjoying the story. Paid in Blood is a well written police procedural with a twist. An engaging damaged and flawed lead character for whom you can't help rooting, a well written supporting cast and a good storyline. A quick and easy read which I enjoyed. 

The Author

Susan Handley grew up in the Midlands and now lives in a small village in rural Kent with her husband and two rescue cats, Charlie and Porridge (aka Podge).

As a child, Susan devoured anything crime related: books, films, TV shows and even games (anyone remember electronic detective? – a game Susan professes to have been a whizz at). Although she had dreamt of becoming a pathologist like Quincy (one of her favourite shows growing up), Susan went on to study chemistry and went as far as getting her doctorate in it. Soon, however, she came to the conclusion that lab work wasn’t for her and went on to have a successful career in finance.

It was during her time at university, on learning that her mother had finally read the complete collection of Agatha Christie’s classic crime novels, Susan bought a second-hand Olivetti and attempted to write one of her own, intent on giving it to her mother as a Christmas present. Susan readily confesses the end result left a lot to be desired but says it did whet her appetite for crime writing. Over the years that followed, she never stopped dreaming of becoming an author and after many years of writing at night she finally published her debut novel: A Confusion of Crows, the first of her books to feature one-time marine biologist now turned detective Cat McKenzie. She has written a further two novels in the DC Cat McKenzie mystery series. The second, Feather and Claw, sees Cat holidaying with a friend in sunny Cyprus, though things take a sinister turn after a fellow guest is found dead. In the third book of the series, The Body Politic, Cat investigates the murder of a local councillor but it’s the links to a member of her own family that leaves her wondering whether you ever really know anyone at all.

Susan’s most recent novel is Paid in Blood, the first in a new series to feature DI Matt Fisher. DI Fisher was en route to being one of the country’s top scorers in football’s premier league until injury forced him from the pitch and into the police force. And it was working out well, until he put himself between a young woman and a terrorist brandishing a bottle of acid. Now blind, Fisher finds himself fighting to keep his job, so when a beautiful celebrity is found dead at a glitzy art event, he’s determined to figure out who did it and prove he can still hack it as a detective.

In addition to the DC Cat McKenzie series, Susan has published two crime fiction anthologies: Crime Bites (volumes 1 and 2). She has also published a novella set at the height of the Californian gold, The Secret of Snake Pass, which is published under the name S.J. Handley.

When Susan’s not indulging in her love of writing crime fiction she loves walking (the hillier the better), bike riding (the flatter the better) and tending her garden, especially her veggie patch.


Author Social Media Links

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SusanHandleyAuthor/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/shandleyauthor
Website - https://susanhandley.co.uk/


Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen and I'm delighted to share an extract with you. A big thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me and to the author and publisher for providing the extract. 



The Blurb

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss. When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…

Both a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life-affirming and, quite simply, unforgettable read.

Everything Happens for a Reason was published by Orenda as as an eBook on 10th April 2021 and in audio and paperback on 10th June 2021.



Extract

Your chart says your hearing is fully developed now. I wish you could hear Lola’s voice. It’s in my head. ‘You did a good thing. You did a good thing…’ It’s a cross between an airline pilot and a nurse, authority and comfort. She gets it. All those singing Christians, Bristol Liz and the time-will-healers have been belittling you, and don’t even start me on the ‘I had a miscarriage too’ walrus at the hairdressers. But Lola’s different.


I left her to her paddle waving and radioing, and waited by the barriers for her next break. After one of her colleagues asked if I was lost, I moved to the bus stop outside, glad of my new habit of wearing two jumpers under my coat (padding). I went back inside a few minutes before twelve.


Lola smiled, she looked relieved that I hadn’t fled.


‘I thought I could buy you lunch,’ I said. She had thirty minutes but knew somewhere quick, she said. It was a kebab shop where she gets a discount. She ordered wraps with chips for both of us and I paid.


She’s different above ground. Her voice is louder and she laughs her words rather than speaking them. Her tight black curls bounce around when she talks.


It turns out she also has phrasal retentiveness.


‘You said everything happens for a reason,’ she says, as we find a table at the back.


‘I thought you weren’t listening,’ I say.


She gives me a teacher look.


‘He took Luke’s place. I need to know why,’ I say.


‘What would it change?’ ‘I thought you got it. He’s out there living. What’s he doing with it?’


She checks her watch, tries to catch the kebab man’s eye. ‘What would make you feel better?’ she asks me.


It’s a stupid question, hurtful. My answer’s out before I can stop it. ‘I want my baby back.’


A plate clunks down in front of me, chips fall onto the tabletop. He’s slow to retreat.


‘I mean, say you find him, what would make you feel better?’ asks Lola. She pulls her phone from her pocket, checks the time on that and calls across to the waiter, ‘Put it in a takeaway box.’

‘I haven’t had a chance to think it through,’ I say. ‘But say it’s something like this.’ I find a pen and an old envelope in my bag. ‘Say he was a brain surgeon and since last June, he’s saved two people a week. That’s, roughly, seventy-eight lives. And what if half of those people he saved were social workers, police officers or fire fighters, and each of them has so far saved three more people. Now we’re up to one hundred and ninety-five lives. Or if you go back to the start, count him as well, you’re looking at one hundred and ninety-six lives saved. All because I was on that platform. All because of Luke and because everything happens for a reason.’

Her face concentrates hard as she adds it up with me. I finish out of breath, like the underdog in a courtroom drama. It’s unclear whether it’s my delivery or the sheer numbers, but she says she’ll help, she’ll get me the records for that day. She’s going to log in when the office is empty. We’re meeting at six. I said I’d buy her dinner.


I'm sure you'll agree it sounds great. I'm really looking forward to reading it. 

The Author




Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent in Berlin and London. The events in Everything Happens for a Reason are fiction, but the premise is loosely autobiographical. Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to her ‘Everything happens for a reason’.

Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband, children, dog, cat and stick insects. When she’s not writing or walking children and dogs, Katie loves baking, playing the piano, reading news and wishing she had written other people’s brilliant novels.


The Beresford by Will Carver

It's always a pleasure (if that's the right word!) to read a Will Carver book because you never know quite what you're going to ...