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Friday 29 July 2022

‘No Lift and No’ Stairs by Ian Hay

Published by The Book Guild,
28 May 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-91447169-8 (PB)

Peter Booth is a 38-year-old Hawkwind fan and Stoneway's removal porter.  He is frankly a bit of a nerd.  He has recently split up with his long-time girlfriend Sarah and is now living in a small studio flat rather unhappily, drinking too much and losing any self-confidence he once had. 

The novel dwells on his daily routine at Stoneways and his fellow workers at the Removal Firm.  His interest in the most recent recruit to the firm - an attractive young woman called Emily - promises the likelihood of romance but through his association with her he unwittingly finds himself dragged into an underworld of blackmail, crime and murder.   

This follows the discovery that Emily's ex-partner is Ray Henderson a notorious local crime lord.  The dialogue is both funny and realistic although the characters are frankly rather odd. 

Can Peter eventually succeed in extricating himself from the criminal gang in the rather extraordinary circumstances that he finds himself?  And will his relationship with Emily be all he hoped for?

Anyone involved with the Removal trade would find this story interesting and I certainly found myself smiling at several points during the read.  A worthwhile first novel.

Reviewer: Toni Russell

 Ian Hey started writing in earnest, after his partner mentioned in 2007, that his writing was funny.  Since then, he has had three of his One Act plays performed at The Cornerhouse in Tolworth, Surrey as part of their One Act Festival. No Lift and No Stairs is his debut novel. Ian now lives on the south coast with his partner and Lola, their wire-haired dachshund.

Toni Russell is a retired teacher who has lived in London all her life and loves the City.  She says, ‘I enjoy museums, galleries and the theatre but probably my favourite pastime is reading.  I found myself reading detective fiction almost for the first time during lockdown and have particularly enjoyed old fashioned detective fiction rather than the nordic noir variety.  I am a member of a book club at the local library and have previously attended literature classes at our local Adult Education Centre.  I am married with three children and five grandchildren.  

Wednesday 27 July 2022

‘The Bay’ by Allie Reynolds

Published by Headline,
23 June 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-7027-6 (HB)

A small cove and campground several hours’ drive from anywhere; a hard to negotiate road in and out; no internet or phone access; seven people drawn together by a common interest. Sounds like a modern take on a good old-fashioned country house mystery, doesn’t it?

In many ways that’s exactly what Allie Reynolds’s second novel is – but it has a lot more to offer besides. At times I felt I was learning a whole new language: the one spoken by dedicated surfers, who are so devoted, almost addicted, to their sport that their sole purpose in the off season is to earn enough money to enable them to surf whenever conditions permit.

Kenna arrives in Australia to attend her best friend Mikki’s wedding, and soon finds herself entangled in a situation which throws up one question after another. Along with Jack, Mikki’s fiancé, they travel to remote Sorrow Bay to join a group of surfers who call themselves The Tribe. No one is very forthcoming about family or background, and Kenna soon starts to wonder if something a little sinister lurks behind the camaraderie, especially when she realizes that leaving the Bay at the end of her stay in Oz will be far from straightforward.

Like the best mystery novels, the real mystery lies with the characters, who all come to vivid life as the story unfolds. Jack’s throwaway bonhomie masks physical pain and frustration. Mikki has changed from the cautious teenager Kenna remembers to a young woman who sees risky activities as a challenge. Clemente is hostile, yet vulnerable. Ryan is just hostile. Victor’s ebullience sometime erupts into violence. And Sky, the self-styled group leader, pushes everyone including herself way beyond their comfort zone.

Questions arise and secrets are unravelled against a background of glorious but perilous scenery and waves any surfer would die for – and possibly kill for. The landscape, the sea, the changing weather combine to create a shifting atmosphere which both reflects and enhances the uneasy relationships and emotional see-saw. Eventually most of the questions are answered, though whether justice and resolution prevail as they should in a mystery novel is open to question.

Most important of all, long before the fifty-page landmark, I didn’t want to stop reading, and it became harder and harder to put the book down when real life intervened. And that has to be the mark of a good mystery novel.

Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Allie Reynolds is a former freestyle snowboarder who spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria, and Canada. Her short fiction has been published in women's magazines in the UK, Australia, Sweden, and South Africa. Born and raised in Lincoln, England, she moved to Australia in 2004. She lives on the Gold Coast with her two young boys and a cat who thinks he's a dog. Shiver is her first book.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.  

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Capital Crime Returns in September 2022

Richard Osman, Rev. Richard Coles, Kate Mosse, Robert Harris, Dorothy Koomson, Bella Mackie and Paula Hawkins
are amongst the authors confirmed for
Capital Crime,
London’s only crime and thriller festival,
 which returns
29th September-1st October
after its hugely successful inaugural event in 2019.

 Taking place in London’s stunning Battersea Park, Capital Crime will be hosting over 164 panellists, bringing together readers, authors, industry figures and the local community for the first major literary festival held on the site. With a Goldsboro Books pop-up bookshop in the iconic Pump House Gallery, the first ever Fingerprint Awards ceremony, alongside an array of London’s tastiest local street food vendors and bar area, it promises to be a weekend of fun, innovation and celebration of crime fiction.

On the opening night (Thursday 29th September), Anthony Horowitz, Kim Sherwood and Charlie Higson will be discussing all things Bond, and the role the capital city has played in the fictional spy’s life, and the 007 car from Sherwood’s incredible new novel, Double Or Nothing will be on display at the heart of the festival, in association with Alpine and Ian Fleming Publications.

 Thursday’s programming will comprise of a series of events dedicated to Capital Crime’s social outreach programme, in which two sixth form students and their teachers from schools in and around the capital will be invited to meet with authors and publishing professionals to demystify the industry and attract new and diverse young voices into publishing.

Robert Harris will be in conversation with comedian and podcaster Andrew Hunter Murray, discussing dystopian fiction, and there will also be a very special opportunity for aspiring authors to pitch their novel idea to agents David Headley (DHH), Emily Glenister (DHH), Camilla Bolton (Darley Anderson) or Phillip Patterson (Marjacq).
The first evening will close with the very first Fingerprint Award Ceremony. The winners, selected by readers across five categories Crime Novel of the Year; Thriller Novel of the Year; Historical Crime Novel of the Year; Debut Novel of the Year and Genre-Busting Novel of the Year, will be announced alongside a very special Lifetime Achievement Award and Industry Award of the Year.

Friday’s events include Jeffrey Deaver, Michael Robotham and Mark Billingham interviewed on the theme of ‘Crime Across Continents’ by Victoria Selman, and Mark Edwards, Will Dean, Erin Young and Chris Whitaker speaking to Tariq Ashkanani about setting their thrillers in the US.
In addition, Abir Mukherjee, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Anna Mazzola and Jessica Fellowes will be speaking to Suzy Edge about historical crime writing, and Dorothy Koomson and Kate Mosse will be in conversation about their work with the Women's Prize and the versatility of crime fiction. Claire McGowan, David Beckler, Catriona Ward, Chris Carter, Nicci French, W.C. Ryan, Stuart Neville and Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir will also be taking part in panels on the themes of courtroom dramas, ghost stories, crime set in Brighton and medicine in crime fiction, amongst other topics, throughout the day, and the first two rounds of Capital Crime’s quiz ‘Whose Crime Is It Anyway?’ will take place, featuring teams of debut authors.

Saturday will see Peter James interviewed on his writing career by clinical psychologist Chris Merritt; bestsellers Jeffrey Archer, Lucy Foley and Clare Mackintosh in conversation with Barry Forshaw and a Polari Panel hosted by Paul Burston.
Other events include former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Lady Hale in conversation with Harriet Tyce; bestselling Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson in conversation with the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdottir; Sarah Vaughan, Louise Candlish and Paula Hawkins discussing the experience of screen adaptations, before rounding off the festival with Richard Osman in conversation with Bella Mackie.

The final round of ‘Whose Crime is it Anyway?’ will also take place, as well as panels on the topics of spies, Grand Dames, detectives and comedy crime featuring Vaseem Khan, Robert Thorogood, Antti Tuomainen, Steve Cavanagh, Jane Casey, Catherine Ryan Howard and
Steph Broadribb.

As well as panels and events, there will be exciting public events throughout the weekend, including launch events for Elly Griffiths’ breath-taking new thriller Bleeding Heart Yard, The Perfect Crime anthology, which brings twenty-two bestselling crime writers from across the world together in a razor sharp and deliciously sinister collection of crime stories, and an interactive treasure hunt inspired by Peter James’s latest blockbuster, Picture You Dead (publisher).
There will also be entertainment, including a crime-themed comedy performance from
The Noise Next Door on Thursday.

For the full programme visit:

Monday 25 July 2022

‘Dead Rich’ by G.W. Shaw

Published by riverrun,
26 May 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-52942-002-9 (HB

The book opens with a man plunging to his death from an apartment balcony in Paris. Was it an accident?

We next learn of a once famous musician, Kai, wondering what to do with his life. He is unexpectedly invited by his new Russian girlfriend, Zina aboard her father's yacht for a holiday. He is amazed on learning that her father is a billionaire and they are joining the family on his sumptuous yacht, Zinaida  moored in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and will be sailing around the Caribbean. In a rash moment he agrees to go, a decision which he later comes to regret.

It soon becomes clear that all is not as it should be. Zina’s father, Stepan, is obviously nervous about security. There are armed guards on board and a top security man is arrested and put ashore on one of the islands.

It then transpires that the man who “fell” from the balcony was a friend of the family, and it was Stepan’s apartment from which he fell.

When a seemingly out of control small yacht heads straight for them, it is only the quick thinking action of the First Mate Erin, that saves them from disaster. There is now a sense of panic on board which seems out of proportion to Kai. 

Stepan’s wife is sure her husband has done something to aggravate the Russian hierarchy but cannot get a sensible answer out of him.

It soon becomes clear that there is an imposter on board and someone has interfered with the electrics. Kai is also puzzled as to why there is a need for a “panic room” on board. He soon finds out!

Then there is bloodshed.

Kai wonders what he has let himself in for, and the only person he is sure he can trust is Erin. However, the question is, how can just the two of them overcome such great odds?

If it’s possible things get even worse, when the yacht starts listing and seems to be sinking. Then a storm blows up. How can this end well?

An exciting nail-biting thriller set on a gleaming, beautifully sleek, outwardly seeming innocent yacht sailing the sunny blue Caribbean Sea. A masterpiece of storytelling which I highly recommend.

Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

William Shaw (Aka G W Shaw) was born in Newton abbot, Devon, and grew up in Nigeria and lived for sixteen years in hackney. Starting out as assistant editor of the post-punk magazine ZigZag, he has been a journalist for The Observer, The New York Times, Wired, Arena and The Face and was Amazon UK Music Journalist of the Year in 2003. He is the author of several non-fiction books including Westsiders: Stories of the Boys in the Hood, about a year spent with the young men of South Central Los Angeles, and A Superhero For Hire, a compilation of columns in the Observer Magazine. A Song from Dead Lips was the first in a series of crime fiction books set in London in 1960’s featuring DS Breen and WPC Tozer. His most recent series features DS Alexander Cupidi. He lives in Brighton.

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.