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Friday 29 June 2018

‘Historical Noir’ by Barry Forshaw

Published by Pocket Essentials,
28 April 2018. 
ISBN 978-1-78563061-3

This, the 5th in the Noir series, takes a wide-ranging look at ‘one of the most successful ….of phenomena in the entire crime fiction genre’ - historical crime fiction.  In just over 200 pages the reader is taken on a journey through crime fiction time zones from the ancient world to the 1960s and 1970s.  Barry Forshaw introduces a wide selection of authors (both well established and new) and their sleuths.  Each section includes interviews with individual authors, a selection of books, and information about TV series and films.

The book provides an eminently readable, interesting and informative overview of this hugely popular and varied branch of crime fiction.  It will interest those readers who are already fans as well as the mildly curious and, indeed, the absolute beginner – they should all be aware that they are likely to end up with more books on the ‘to read’ list.
Reviewer: Jo Hesslewood
Other books by this author:  Euro Noir, Nordic Noir, Brit Noir, American Noir, British Crime Writing:  An Encyclopaedia

Barry Forshaw's latest books are Nordic Noir and British Crime Film. Other work includes Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction, The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction and British Crime Writing: An Encyclopedia, along with books on Italian cinema, film noir and the first biography of Stieg Larsson; he also writes on classical music. His next books are British Gothic Cinema and a study of Thomas Harris and The Silence of the Lambs. He writes for various national newspapers and magazines, edits Classical CD Choice, DVD Choice and Crime Time, and broadcasts for ITV and BBC TV documentaries. He has been Vice Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, and has taught an MA course at City University on the history of crime fiction.

Jo Hesslewood.  Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop.  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

‘Killer Intent’ by Tony Kent

Published by Elliott & Thompson,
25 January 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78396-326-3 (HB)
12 July 2018.
ISBN:978-1-78396-382-9 (PB)

During a ceremony in Trafalgar Square honouring the British heroes of the recent Middle East wars, ex United States President Thompson, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mattewson are shot at close range by McGale, in spite of secret service agent Sam Regis trying to stop him. She is shot and killed by a sharpshooter from a distance as she tries to do so. Her boss, agent Joe Dempsey knocks McGale to the ground.

It is obvious Sam's killer is stationed high up on one of the surrounding buildings. Dempsey is at a loss to understand who it could be as all the sharpshooters place up there to guard the proceedings have been handpicked.

A solicitor, Daniel Lawrence, is appointed McGale's lawyer and on being interviewed, he tells Daniel he blames Mattewson for the loss of his family in Northern Ireland. Mysteriously on the way home, Daniel is forced off the road by another car and has a serious crash.

Dempsey is now given the task of not only finding the killer of Sam Regis, but who is behind Daniel's accident. There also seems to be more than a personal reason why McGale shot the two men, is there someone else behind the shootings?

Together with C.N.N reporter Sarah Truman and a close friend of Daniel's, barrister Michael Devlin, Dempsey is determined to find the truth.  Enquiries reveal facts that lead them to Northern Ireland where they enlist the reluctant help of Michael's brother Liam, a well-known gangster. They uncover corruption that extends to members high up in the British government but how do they prove it? Who is the mysterious “Stanton” giving instructions to someone called Joshua to get rid of anyone making enquiries about the shootings.

Dempsey, Sarah and Michael have many narrow escapes until an exciting conclusion reveals the truth, but not without more casualties.

Whew, what an exciting book full of intrigue and corruption in high places. Written with great verve and insight as to what extreme lengths people with ambition will go to reach their goal.

I see Tony Kent is a barrister, no wonder he writes with such conviction about the criminal mind and how devious people can be.
Highly recommended, nonstop, fast moving action with plenty of shocks and surprises at every turn of the page.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Tony Kent grew up in a close-knit Irish family in London and studied law in Scotland. He is a top-ranking barrister and former champion boxer who brings a wealth of detail and personal insight to this unputdownable thriller. A regular at London's Old Bailey, Tony's case history includes prosecuting and defending many high-profile, nationally reported trials. Before his legal career, Tony boxed internationally as a heavyweight and won a host of national amateur titles. He is based in London.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

‘The Hunt’ by Bear Grylls

Published by Orion Fiction,
31 May 2018.  ISBN: 978-1-4091-5689-5 (HB)

In Austria 1945 just as the war is ending in defeat for the Germans, SS General Hans Kammler oversees the blowing up of a mountainside. In so doing he hides from the rest of the world a Wunderwaffe - a wonder weapon unheard of before. The intention is later to forge a Fourth Reich even if it takes decades and to use the weapon to achieve it.

During the war years an informal band of Nazi hunters was formed calling themselves the “Secret Hunters”. In the present day the group is still in existence continuing to hunt down Nazi sympathisers.

One of the band Irana Narov uncovers proof that one of Kammler's descendants is still alive and seems determined to carry on forming a Fourth Reich. The group had believed him to be dead.

Meanwhile a Will Jaeger another member, is staying in Austria when he hears that old Nazi tunnels have been discovered. Out of interest he goes to investigate and is horrified to discover a number of bodies, but not skeletons, they had all recently been shot!

It soon becomes apparent that Kammler is intent on recovering the “wonder weapon” from the tunnels to bring about the Fourth Reich. Kammler heads a team calling itself The Kameraden, all descendants of high profile Nazis during the War.  They intend attacking seven different countries with Improvised Nuclear Devices. This they believe will cleanse the world and enable them to create a “pure race”.

The Secret Hunters are given the task to find out where the INDs are being made and where exactly they will be detonated. As they learn the attacks will be carried out on 30th April, the anniversary of Hitler's death, they are under huge pressure to find and destroy the INDs. Where on earth do they start looking? It becomes a frantic race against time to literally save the world.

A really fast-moving plot made all the more realistic by Bear Gryll's description of the skills and covert operations of Jaeger and his team. These were obviously learnt when Bear was in the SAS and definitely make the action more believable. Recommended.
Reviewer:  Tricia Chappell
Bear Grylls has become known around the world as one of the most recognised faces of survival and outdoor adventure. His journey to this acclaim started in the UK, where his late father taught him to climb and sail. Trained from a young age in martial arts, Bear went on to spend three years as a soldier in the British Special Forces, serving with 21 SAS. It was here that he perfected many of the skills that his fans all over the world enjoy, watching him pit himself against Mother Nature.  His TV show, Man Vs Wild/Born Survivor, became one of the most watched programmes on the planet with an estimated audience of 1.2 billion. He also hosts the hit adventure show RUNNING WILD on NBC in America, as well As THE ISLAND WITH BEAR GRYLLS for Channel 4 and Mission Survive With Bear Grylls for ITV in the UK. He is currently the youngest ever Chief Scout to the UK Scout Association and is an honorary Colonel to the Royal Marines Commandos. He has authored a number of fiction and non-fiction books. Find out more at or follow him on Twitter @BearGrylls

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.