Wednesday, January 27, 2021
By Victoria Scott
Published 5th August 2021
by Aria Fiction/Head of Zeus
including the BBC, Al Jazeera, Time Out, Doha News and the Telegraph. Alongside her love of
telling real-life stories, she has also always written fiction, penning plays, stories and poems ever
since she first worked out how to use her parents' electric typewriter.
When she's not writing, Victoria enjoys running incredibly slowly, singing loudly, baking badly and
travelling the world extensively.
Victoria is a Faber Academy graduate. She has a degree in English from King's College, London
and a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from City University, London. She lives near
London with her husband and two children, and works as a freelance journalist, media trainer and
Published 19th January 2021 by Flame Tree Press.
From the cover of the book:You’re next...
Carol and Nessa are strangers but not for much longer.
In a luxury apartment and in the walls of a modern hospital, the evil that was done continues to thrive.
"In darkness, shadows breatheThough the earth be still, with graves,The mourning yearn for solaceAnd the dead shall hear their cry,Sending spirits on winged flight,To comfort and console,But one among them bides behind,Her soul of ebony and granite,The fires of life long since quenched,Replaced with voids of emptiness.In darkness, shadows breathe,And death their only reward."Lydia Warren Carmody, 1856-1891
The set-up in this novel is quite complex, and relies heavily on the premise that "time is not linear", which allows the characters to move back and forth between dimensions - so the modern day players find themselves frequently in settings that exist in another time, but the same place. This does mess with your head, just as it messes with the heads of Carol and Nessa, and it is also, quite frankly, terrifying. No one from the modern age wants to suddenly find themselves in a creepy Victorian asylum, especially one in which the staff indulge in some particularly doubtful practices, and an asylum setting is always wonderful for a horror tale.
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Published 21st January 2021 by Raven Books.
From the cover of the book:As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat.
Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.
But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back...
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Published 21st January 2021 by Viking Books/Penguin Paperback.
From the cover of the book:
Three brothers. One in a coffin. Which brother put him there? And why?Three brothers are at the funeral. One lies in the coffin.
Will, Brian and Luke grow up competing for their mother's unequal love. As men, the competition continues - for status, money, fame, women...
They each betray each other, over and over, until one of them is dead.
But which brother killed him?
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Cockfight by Maria Fernanda Ampuero.
Translated from the Spanish by Frances Riddle.
Published in paperback 21st January 2021 by Influx Press.
From the cover of the book:Named one of the ten best fiction books of 2018 by the New York Times en Espanol, Cockfight is the debut work by Ecuadorian writer and journalist Maria Fernanda Ampuero.
Much of what lies within these pages will fill you with horror, revulsion and indignant rage, with imagery so vivid that is likely to haunt your nightmares for some considerable time after reading. The raw and detailed descriptions of abuse are very difficult to read, and for the most part they follow a similar distressing theme of violence under the guise of misplaced love.
Ampuero's narrative pulls no punches, and she is unflinching and unapologetic in her choices of subject matter and language, as she ensures her message is driven home to the hilt. And yet, there is something so compelling about the characters she gives voice to here and the secrets that are so often hidden behind closed doors. Many of these tales expose an underlying essence of strength and survival under the most horrendous of circumstances that is like a thread of gold in a mire of filth, and this is what makes the emotional toll bearable.
My favourite story of the collection is Passion, which stands out for me as the most intriguing of them all with is apocryphal biblical feel and reflection of the subversion of the power of women, but there is plenty to get your teeth into and pull apart in every single story.
This is not going to be an anthology for everyone, but sometimes a book which gives you a gut-wrenching, visceral experience can let you know you are alive and kicking, and as a translation it is impressive that the weight and import of these stories is so powerful even though they are not in their native language - this displays fine work from the translator, Frances Riddle. It certainly gives you a lot to think about, so if you like a walk on the wild side, and are not afraid to push your boundaries, then this is definitely going to give you an interesting time!
Cockfight is available to buy from your preferred retailer from 21st January 2021, of direct from Influx Press HERE.
Thank you to Jordan Taylor-Jones and Influx Press for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
About the author:María Fernanda Ampuero is a writer and journalist, born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1976. She has published articles in newspapers and magazines around the world, as well as two nonfiction books: Lo que aprendí en la peluquería y Permiso de residencia. Cockfight is her first short story collection, and her first book to be translated into English.
About the translator:
Frances Riddle is a writer and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her recent book-length translations include Not One Less by María Pía López (forthcoming, Polity Press); Plebeian Prose by Néstor Perlongher (Polity Press 2019); The German Room by Carla Maliandi (Charco Press 2018). Her short story translations, essays, and reviews have been published in the White Review, Electric Literature, the Short Story Project, and Words Without Borders, among others.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Published 21st January 2021 by Penguin Michael Joseph.
From the cover of the book:500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide
Welcome to Chapel Croft.
For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it's supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn't easily forgotten.
And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft's history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.
Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.
Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who's sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?
Chapel Croft's secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn't touch them if not for Flo - anything to protect Flo.
But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft - and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.
Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in thirty-nine territories.
Monday, January 18, 2021
Published in e-book and hardback 10th December 2020 and paperback 21st January 2021 by Orenda Books.
Translated by David Warriner.
From the cover of the book:Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.
Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.
Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death...
As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth... one that will leave no one unscathed.
Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill marks the startling conclusion to the million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Published 2nd December 2020.
From the cover of the book:Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara.
“A fantastic and original premise...flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.”
Tom Witcomb“A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.”
Amanda Rutter“Not just a page-turner–all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.”
When The Children Come, the first in a new series by Barry Kirwan, was a bit of a departure from my usual kind of sci-fi read, which normally comprises something about time travel, a full on space opera, a post-apocalyptic Dystopian nightmare, or a Black Mirror type mindbender.
There is a space element, as you can tell from the cover, but this is more of drop you in at the beginning of a terrifying apocalyptic scenario - and what a scenario it is! I am not ashamed to say that this is just the kind of plot I find particularly disturbing actually, so there was an extra big dollop of the chills for me in this book.
It's pretty difficult to talk much about this one without giving away spoilers. Suffice to say, things get pretty bad for Nathan, Lara and Earth's children, along with the mixed bag of helpmates they pick up along the way, as they unexpectedly find themselves having to take on the role of saviours of humanity.
There is action aplenty here, a nice bit of science and speculation, and a great theme of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", which I really enjoyed. It was also very pleasing to have a bevy of smart female characters in this book, rather than consigning them to the 'weak and wishy-washy/always needing to be rescued category', which sometimes happens in a sci-fi adventure - good work Mr Kirwan! The story is nicely paced with lots of suspense, and it kept my interest all the way through to the very end - with an intriguing hook into the next book too.
For me, there was a real feel of Scott Sigler about this one, and there are definite echoes of some well received sci-fi books and action films/TV series in these pages too, with an intriguing underlying premise that is very thought provoking. I can't wait to see what happens next!
When The Children Come is available to buy now using the following links:
About the author:Barry Kirwan was born in Farnborough and grew up watching the Red Arrow jet fighters paint the sky at air shows.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Published in paperback 7th January 2021 by Black Thorn.
From the cover of the book:A gripping historical novel of medicine and murder from bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist Dr Marisa Haetzman, set in nineteenth-century Edinburgh.
Edinburgh, 1849: Hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. And a campaign seeks to paint Dr James Simpson, pioneer of medical chloroform, as a murderer.
Determined to clear Simpson’s name, his protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher must plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets and find out who or what is behind the deaths.
The Art of Dying is the second book in the series.