Review: Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell



Spellslinger

Book One of Spellslinger

by Sebastien de Castell

Fantasy | 416 Pages | Published by Hot Key Books in 2017


| Rating |


With powerful mages, card-throwing wanderers and an unseen enemy, Sebastien de Castell’s first foray into young adult fantasy is an undeniable success. In a world defined by magic and a person’s ability to wield it, Spellslinger takes the reader on an exciting journey which blurs the lines between those who would be friends, those who are family and those who may become enemies.

Witty and absorbing, this novel tells the tale of a boy whose steady loss of power culminates in a dangerous confrontation with his own people and, through a series of unpredictable twists and turns, exhibits an extraordinary flare for adventure from beginning to end.

There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is simply to reach the age of sixteen. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things.

MAGIC IS A CON GAME…

Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone.

As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path. 

Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope… 

At the age of sixteen, all young Jan’Tep must face their greatest trial: the mage’s trial. The outcome of which will determine those that will assume ultimate power, wielding great magic and respected from afar, and those that will become Sha’Tep, the serving underclass of Jan’Tep society.

Kellen’s magic has dwindled over the years to next to nothing. He hasn’t broken any of his mage’s bands, he can barely perform a simple spell, and to make matters worse his little sister is likely to become one of the most powerful mages of all time.

Bullied by those who think him beneath them, abandoned by those he would have considered friends, Kellen is left with only his meagre powers, a dash of cunning, and sheer dumb luck to get him through his trials.

But when a strange frontierswoman turns up to help Kellen out of his trouble, he finds his path taking an altogether unexpected turn… for better or worse, only time will tell.

De Castell has created a vivid and ruthless society whose own sense of superiority has rendered them an isolated state. The world of the Jan’Tep is a world where a person’s magical ability defines their very place in the social order. A people who consider their own culture and society as the pinnacle of refinement and power, the Jan’Tep see those beyond their borders as outsiders, whose weakness is made apparent by their lack of power.

Those within Jan’Tep society who fail to display any magical prowess are doomed to become Sha’Tep. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters; all are parted when the magic in one fails to appear in the other. Those who are lucky may take a serving position in what was once their home. Those who are not are forced to work in the mines.

As skilfully as Jan’Tep society is wrought; where the arrogance that permeates their culture, even amongst Kellen’s own family and friends, threatens to make them all appear as an unreasonable and tyrannical culture, the characterisation of the principle cast is where the novel and the overarching plot truly excels. De Castell has created a cast of true and varied characters whose humour and apparent deficiencies carry the story to its dramatic conclusion.

As both protagonist and narrator, Kellen is a witty and self-deprecating companion throughout the novel. What he lacks in magical proficiency he more than makes up for in cunning, wit and in his ability for getting the backs up of almost every person he comes across. And though he drives the other Jan’Tep mages to distraction, and perhaps even his friends half the time, he is an instantly likeable character which makes the injustice of his situation all the more potent.

His companions, Ferius Parfax, an Argosi wanderer whose proficiency in both playing cards and using them as a deadly weapon is more than a little disconcerting, and Reichis, a squirrel cat who has a penchant for thievery, violence and eating his enemies eyeballs, are arguably my two favourite characters, creating a strange and humorous sense of camaraderie which only becomes more interesting as the novel develops.

Spellslinger succeeds in combining this interesting cast of characters with an exciting and unpredictable plot-line, whose twists and turns never fail to turn up a surprise or two. Skilfully plotted and wonderfully executed, de Castell writes in a personable, almost conversational tone which creates a distinct connection with Kellen and emphasises the injustices which permeate Jan’Tep society.

The first in the Spellslinger series is a thoroughly enjoyable read which leaves me eager to join Kellen in future adventures. Brimming with magic, humour and more than a little danger, de Castell has created another novel which never fails to leave a lasting impression.

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Review: The Hit by Nadia Dalbuono



The Hit

Book Three of the Leone Scamarcio Series

by Nadia Dalbuono

Crime | 320 Pages | Published by Scribe UK in 2016


| Rating |


Under the heady lights of showbusiness, where money, sex and drugs fuel an atmosphere of disquiet, Nadia Dalbuono kicks off her return to the Leone Scamarcio series at a relentless pace. With media moguls, mafia dons and politicos battling to call the shots, The Hit is a gripping crime thriller which certainly equals its predecessors in atmosphere, tension and plot.

The investigation of an apparent hit-and-run unravels a tangled web in modern Rome.

When the family of Micky Proietti, a top television executive, goes missing, Leone Scamarcio is called to investigate. Everyone, it seems — from Premier League footballers to jilted starlets and cabinet ministers — has an axe to grind with Proietti. What starts out as an investigation into his countless affairs soon becomes an inquiry into how Proietti does business and the people he has discarded along the way. Finally, Proietti’s finances attract Scamarcio’s attention, and he discovers that the drama commissioner has been granting favours to some very shadowy sponsors.

Like a swimmer trying to escape a riptide, Scamarcio comes to realise that this new inquiry threatens to bring him head to head with his father’s old lieutenant, Piero Piocosta. If he’s to survive in the police force, Scamarcio knows that he must find a way to get Piocosta off his back, once and for all. And find it quickly.

Reluctantly, he travels home to Calabria in an attempt to understand how powerful Piocosta has really become and whether he might ever be silenced. It’s a perilous journey, but one Scamarcio has to make if he’s to finally banish the ghosts of his past.

With countless enemies and numerous false friends, a leading figure in the television game, Micky Proietti, is caught in a terrible accident with his wife and child. But when his family fail to arrive at the hospital following the incident, kidnapping seems the only likely explanation – and one which Leone Scamarcio must solve quickly.

But Scamarcio has problems of his own. With his father’s old mafia connections vying to control him, Scamarcio is threatened with losing everything he’s worked so hard to build, and is in danger of falling back into a world he fought to leave behind.

If the scene setting and character development of the opening chapter starts a little slowly, the vast majority of the novel more than makes up for it as a wealth of hardened criminals and suspicious characters vie to to make themselves the most likely suspect in the unfolding drama. And with two interwoven storylines running side by side, the seamless transition between the overriding criminal investigation and Scamarcio’s own storyline of Calabrian mafiosos, familial struggle and his past escape to Rome, makes this a complex and engaging crime thriller.

Through an absorbing narrative and meticulous attention to detail, the dark underbelly of Rome and the toxic, sweltering atmosphere of Catanzaro spring into life as both criminals and politicians come to the fore. As in the preceding novels, the depiction of Rome appears both beautiful and unflinchingly realistic; Dalbuono never shies away from thrusting the grit and grime of locations into her novels yet her love of the country is at all times apparent. This is an almost photographic portrait of two very different locations.

But while both Rome and Catanzaro provide the perfect backdrop to the unfolding drama, it is the interplay of characters that truly weaves this tangled web of villainy. With intoxicating showgirls vying for attention, and actors, directors and errand boys seeking centre stage, Dalbuono manages to build the necessary depth and background to the crime through a series of fleeting interactions and intelligent distractions which work to make Scamarcio’s task an increasingly difficult one.

And these novels cannot be read without becoming thoroughly invested in Leone Scamarcio. The troubled, chain smoking son of a former mafioso has a storyline equally as tantalising as the overriding crime itself, and it is in The Hit that we truly get to grips with the impact of his past action and inaction. The thrill of the crime is, as always, tantamount to the novel, yet it is the ever-mired Scamarcio who provides the familiar backdrop in an ever-growing sea of troubles. This is a character who has you coming back for more.

Dalbuono offers more than just a fast paced thriller with this release. Her prose is descriptive and beautiful where necessary, her protagonist is complex and absorbing, and her plot is dynamic and unpredictable. From the heart of Rome, to the glare of the spotlight, Dalbuono paints a scene which could only have come from experience or the most thorough research; her attention to detail is capable of transporting the reader in an instant onto the busy streets of Rome, under the heavy sun of Catanzaro, or into the path of ever present danger.

Utterly absorbing and vivid in its detail, The Hit is the perfect action packed follow up to The Few and The American. And with the release of its sequel, The Extremist, this month, it won’t be long before Scamarcio makes a very welcome return to my bookshelf.

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Teaser Tuesdays: May 10


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by Books and a Beat. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: May 10 |

And Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie

Crime | Thriller | 250 Pages | Published by Harper Collins in 2015


He could hear sounds everywhere now, cracks, rustles, mysterious whispers – but his dogged, realistic brain knew them for what they were – the creations of his own heated imagination. And then suddenly he heard something that was not imagination.

~ p. 194, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie


| Synopsis |

Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock off the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous host mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. 

Then one of the party dies suddenly, and they realise there amy be a murderer in their midst – a murderer who might strike again… and again…

And all the time, copies of a macabre nursery rhyme hand in each room, a nursery rhyme with an omen of death for all ten of them.

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| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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Review: Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart




Girl Waits With Gun

by Amy Stewart

Historical Fiction | Crime | 416 Pages | Published by Scribe in 2016


| Rating |


Welcome to the next stop in the ‘Girl Waits With Gun’ Blog Tour. Please check out the other fantastic blogs along the way!


The eye-catching cover and the headline title – Girl Waits With Gun – may have drawn me to Amy Stewart’s new novel, a work of fiction based on the life of the first female deputy sheriff in the US, but its contents have proven to be just as enchanting as its wrappings as Stewart recounts a vivid and decidedly captivating tale.

In this charming tale of the early twentieth century, feisty and formidable heroines are pitched against furtive criminal elements in the pursuit of reparations, peace and justice as three sisters are dragged into events which soon spiral out of control. In a narrative which skilfully captures the nuances of the time, an endearing historic figure is pulled out of obscurity and put into play on this marvellous fictional stage; a stage which echoes with a resounding and remarkable truth.

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten, true story of one of the USA’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mould. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters from the city to the country fifteen years before. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their farm. The sheriff enlists her help, and it turns out that Constance has a knack for outwitting (and disarming) the criminal element, which might just take her back out into the world and onto a new path in life.

Through Amy Stewart’s exuberant storytelling, Constance Kopp catapults from a forgotten historical anecdote to an unforgettable historical-fiction heroine — an outsized woman not only ahead of her time, but sometimes even ahead of ours.

1914, New Jersey -Whilst travelling into town, the horse drawn buggy driven by the Kopp sisters is hit broadside by a belligerent man in an automobile. But when Constance, the eldest of the Kopp sisters, seeks reparations for the damages, she soon realises that not everyone is driven by the same sense of honour and justice as her and her siblings.

As a case of simple payment turns into a battle of wills, threats and gun fights in the night, Constance Kopp is determined to do all she can to protect her home and her family, even if it means going after the criminals herself. With the aid of the Sheriff, and armed with a revolver, Kopp is one woman even the gangsters will be loath to cross.

Early twentieth century America is brought to life in this exciting depiction of Constance Kopp, a woman who continually questions the stereotypes forced upon her and shows the hidden strength and determination of a generation raised under a cloud of gender inequality and strict social etiquette. This is a novel which surprises with its storyline and spins a wonderful tale of one woman’s unrelenting pursuit of justice.

Amy Stewart creates a vivid stage on which to play her spirited cast of characters; from the rural farm in Hackensack, to the silk dyeing mills of Paterson and the crowded streets of New York City, each setting is brought to life with eloquence and humour, and the depth of history which inextricably goes before it. This is a novel which, despite the ever-present danger and foreboding potential, retains its quaint and charming outlook and benefits because of it.

The driving force behind the plot, however, are the three Kopp sisters and their consistently complicated relationship with their deceased mother, a woman whose strict upbringing still has an overbearing presence in their household, and their cloistered existence on the farm in Hackensack. Whether by poverty, the unwelcome attention of criminal gangs or by unpredictable change in circumstance, their lives are destined to change, but the determination and independence of these three women will see them fight for their continued survival no matter the obstacle.

Constance Kopp, our narrator and heroine, is a woman who brings a great deal of wit and vivacity to the role. Her personality is conflicted by both her modern ideals and her strict upbringing, but her inner strength shows that her lifestyle and unmarried status are a strength to her, fuelling her determination when faced with injustice. Her thought and observations maintain a steady balance of humour throughout the narrative and the revelations of her past injects a considerable amount of surprise and intrigue into the storyline.

Constance’s resolute personality is balanced by that of her younger sister Norma, a stern and direct character whose subtle eccentricities are full of dry wit. With a penchant for carrier pigeons and newspaper clippings which bear ill tidings, her steadfast and determined personality brings a solid dimension to a household which is in an almost constant state of flux and excitement.

Fleurette, the youngest of the three sisters, is responsible for a considerable amount of said excitement. A girl prone to wild bouts of imagination and with a remarkable capacity for exaggeration, she brings out a protective side in her sisters which would make them risk everything to keep her safe. Together, the three Kopp sisters are strong, wilful personalities and remain the most captivating and endearing element of a novel which also retains a flair for excitement and a good sense of humour throughout.Amy Stewart has brought early twentieth century America to life with her charming narrative and wonderfully depicted characters. Whilst aspects of the novel remain entirely fictional, the strength and determination of Constance Kopp remains without question. Girl Waits With Gun is exciting, endearing,  and altogether a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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Book Haul: February 24




| Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart |

This eye-catching tome arrived on my doorstep just in time for the Girl Waits With Gun Official Blog Tour which commences on 7th March – an event I’m very much looking forward to! With a gun-toting, law-wielding, feisty female heroine, this is one novel I cannot wait to get lost in. So join me on the 9th March as the Blog Tour takes an official diversion to Books by Proxy for my scoop on Girl Waits With Gun.


Girl Waits With Gun - Cover


Girl Waits With Gun

Book One of the Kopp Sisters

by Amy Stewart

Historical Crime Fiction | 416 Pages | To be published by Scribe UK on 10th March 2016


Girl Waits With Gun - Blog Tour


| Synopsis |

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten, true story of one of the USA’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mould. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters from the city to the country fifteen years before. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their farm. The sheriff enlists her help, and it turns out that Constance has a knack for outwitting (and disarming) the criminal element, which might just take her back out into the world and onto a new path in life.

Through Amy Stewart’s exuberant storytelling, Constance Kopp catapults from a forgotten historical anecdote to an unforgettable historical-fiction heroine — an outsized woman not only ahead of her time, but sometimes even ahead of ours.

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Book Haul: February 23




| The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland |

I’ve been a huge fan of Karen Maitland for a while now – if you haven’t read Company of Liars I urge you to do so – and having had The Raven’s Head on my to read list for far too long I thought it was about time to pick up a copy. I fully expect this to be a literary delight full of disturbing history and superstition.


| Synopsis |

Vincent is an apprentice librarian who stumbles upon a secret powerful enough to destroy his master. With the foolish arrogance of youth, he attempts blackmail but the attempt fails and Vincent finds himself on the run and in possession of an intricately carved silver raven’s head.

Any attempt to sell the head fails … until Vincent tries to palm it off on the intimidating Lord Sylvain – unbeknown to Vincent, a powerful Alchemist with an all-consuming quest. Once more Vincent’s life is in danger because Sylvain and his neighbours, the menacing White Canons, consider him a predestined sacrifice in their shocking experiment.

Chilling and with compelling hints of the supernatural, The Raven’s Head is a triumph for Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages.

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| And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie |

And Then There Were None needs no introduction. As soon as I saw this book I knew it belonged on my bookshelf – the one Christie I’d definitely be remiss to miss!


| Synopsis |

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

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| Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine |

I’ve never read any Rachel Caine or even heard much about this book before I bought it, though general opinion seemed to be favourable. This was definitely an impulse purchase… but who could resist such a gorgeous cover!


| Synopsis |

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

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Teaser Tuesdays: February 23


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: February 23 |

A Fever of the Blood

Book Two of the Frey and McGray Series

by Oscar de Muriel

Crime | Historical Fiction | 417 Pages | Published by Penguin in 2016


“For a ghastly moment their bodies writhed like worms on a fishing line, as the mob cheered wildly. Then, even as they convulsed in agony the witches’ arms rose slowly, straight like masts, all six pointing at the same spot, somewhere in the crowd.”

~ p. 03, A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel


| Synopsis |

New Year’s Day, 1889. In Edinburgh’s lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey. Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient – a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won’t she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition? McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill – home of the Lancashire witches – where unimaginable danger awaits..

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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Book Haul: February 08



Drake 2


| Drake by Peter McLean |

Thanks to Tammy from Books, Bones and Buffy, I now have Peter McLean’s novel Drake to hand! This book has a fantastic premise and, had I not been fortunate to win it in a giveaway, I imagine it would have ended up on my bookshelf sooner or later! With a cast of hitmen, angels and demons, this is one book I cannot wait to start.


| Synopsis |

Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself.

Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice The Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician.

Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads



| Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard |

Following on from her beautiful novel The House of Shattered Wings, it was about time I hunted out some of de Bodard’s other writing. When I saw Servant of the Underworld, the first in her Obsidian and Blood series, I couldn’t resist! With its premise of murder, magic, Aztec priests and the underworld, this novel couldn’t seem more different to The House of Shattered Wings – but one I fully expect to enjoy!


| Synopsis |

Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, High Priest of the Dead must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead.

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TheCrimsonRibbonThe Crimson Ribbon 2


| The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements |

It was the small endorsement from Karen Maitland on the spine of this book which made me pick it up off the sale pile – a piece of historical fiction full of obsession and superstition? That sounds just like my cup of tea. After doing a little bit of research I’m now convinced I made the right decision… now all I need to do is read it!


| Synopsis |

England 1646. The Civil War is raging and society turned upside down.

What should be a rare moment of blessing for the town of Ely takes a brutal turn and Ruth Flowers is left with little choice but to flee the household of Oliver Cromwell, the only home she has ever known. On the road to London, Ruth sparks an uneasy alliance with a deserting soldier, the battle-scarred and troubled Joseph. But when she reaches the city, it’s in the Poole household that she finds refuge.

Lizzie Poole, beautiful and charismatic, enthrals the vulnerable Ruth, who binds herself inextricably to Lizzie’s world. But in these troubled times, Ruth is haunted by fears of her past catching up with her. And as Lizzie’s radical ideas escalate, Ruth finds herself carried to the heart of the country’s conflict, to the trial of a king.

Based on the real figure of the extraordinary Elizabeth Poole, The Crimson Ribbon conjures a mesmerising story of two women’s obsession, superstition and hope.

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Book Haul: February 06



| Book Haul: February 06 |

Welcome to my first book haul post! To avoid the inevitable crazy long list at the start of every month I’ve decided to create a separate post which will give a little more information on some of the amazing books which have made their way onto my bookshelves. Obviously this plan is a little flawed as I still have all of January’s finds to post… but instead of including an overwhelming number of books, I’m breaking them up and they’ll be cropping up in chunks over the coming month!


Frey and McGrayOdM2


| The Strings of Murder & A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel |

I won this lovely set of books in a Goodreads giveaway and they couldn’t have come at a better time! A week or so ago I had bought and read The Strings of Murder on Kindle and, after absolutely loving the first novel (review to come!) and in anticipation of the release of A Fever of the Blood, had planned to go to the book launch on 27th February at Waterstones in Manchester. Luckily for me, I happened to notice this giveaway on Goodreads and now I have a full set to get signed! And after my fantastic introduction to Frey and McGray, two highly entertaining and eccentric characters, I am in no doubt that I will thoroughly enjoy A Fever of the Blood.


The Strings of Murder


| Synopsis: The Strings of Murder |

A spellbinding concoction of crime, history and horror – perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes and Jonathan Creek.

Edinburgh, 1888. A virtuoso violinist is brutally killed in his home. Black magic symbols cover the walls. The dead man’s maid swears she heard three musicians playing before the murder.

But with no way in or out of the locked practice room, the puzzle makes no sense…

Fearing a national panic over a copycat Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate under the cover of a fake department specializing in the occult. However, Frey’s new boss – Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray – actually believes in such nonsense.

McGray’s tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond reason. And once someone loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next…

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Fever of the Blood


| Synopsis: A Fever of the Blood |

New Year’s Day, 1889. In Edinburgh’s lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey. Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient – a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won’t she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition? McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill – home of the Lancashire witches – where unimaginable danger awaits…

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


OdM3


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