Sunday, 3 December 2017

Come Sweet Sexton, Tend My Grave

Come Sweet Sexton, Tend My Grave is a black comedy written by Eleanor Berry.

Professor Isaac Stone is in his mid thirties. He is an American (Bostonian by birth) professor of psychiatry.

He is an expert in a range of severe mental health disorders and is known to possess an incredibly short temper. He also declines to tolerate any nonsense whatsoever.

He is called upon to visit a female patient called Esmerelda Harris. who is currently incarcerated within the Rudyard Kipling Hospital where she is receiving treatment for a severe nervous breakdown. Which is, apparently, the result of her witnessing a particularly harrowing  and shocking event.

It will be the professor's job to help her to recover from this traumatic event and to regain her mental equilibrium.

But what did Esmeralda Harris witness that was so distressing that it caused such a dreadful breakdown?

Can the professor help her? Does he want to?

The story is told from the point of view of Charlie Yates, described as "a delightful raconteur" who has a large fund of anecdotes which are sure to keep the reader captivated and enthralled.

The climax of this novel is hideous and dramatic and very tragic.

It is published by the Book Guild at £8.99 and is available here

Here Eleanor Berry talks about her own novel

When the Unacceptable Becomes the Norm

When the Unacceptable Becomes the Norm is subtitled "choosing a care home in the 21st century."

In this book author Bill Lawrence acts as an expert guide and takes the reader along a clear path, avoiding a variety of pitfalls from misinformation, lies and misunderstandings surrounding the selection of a care home for a loved one.

It is based on his own experiences of seeking out a suitable care home facility for his own mother and also on hour after hour of detailed, meticulous research into the shortcomings and problems of care homes that provide accommodation for the elderly.

Bill discovered that annually, there are tens of thousands of reports of complaints about the care of the elderly in such facilities.

Malpractice, deliberate abuse and neglect, both willful and as a result of ignorance or poor training or inadequate staffing levels.

The 2011 census figures showed that there were 320,000 people aged 65 and over in the UK who are residents in care homes. 190,000 of these people were over the age of 85. Which is the fastest growing age group in the UK, currently.

Estimates are that, by the year 2030 the number of care home places will have to grow by 80%.

The book is a concisely written work and should be required reading for everyone who works the the residential care home profession from the owners of the smallest care homes to the largest and to every care worker and nurse in the industry.

And everyone who has a relative in such a care home or who might need such a facility, let this book serve as your guide.

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and can be bought here

William the Hedgehog Boy

In William the Hedgehog Boy author Robert A. Brown presents a children's novel that is an entertaining read but which also brings to their attention the plight of one of our best-loved animals, the Hedgehog.

William is out for a walk and he finds a gang of boys who are throwing sticks at a poor, defenceless hedgehog. 

With considerable bravery and daring, William rushes at the gang and chases them away from the injured hedgehog.

He takes the animal to a veterinary clinic and he help the hedgehog, who is now named "Lucky" back to health.

William is, understandably, upset when the vet tells William that Lucky must be released back into the wild.

Lucky makes the journey back to her den, yet she is confronted by a monster with sharp fangs! And a monster of a hedgehog!

Injured and bewildered Lucky manages to crawl away and finds herself a large pile of wood which she decides will make an ideal home for her to hibernate in.

William is searching for Lucky, but he is miserable. He is also in trouble with his stepfather because of his continued attempts to find his hedgehog friend.

But suddenly everything is changed for William by a dramatic phone call. William is compelled to launch himself into desperate and heroic action.

Can he save the life of both a boy and his best friend, Lucky?

This is a very good read and will make a wonderful Christmas present for both children and the adults who will buy it!

It's to be hoped this will be the first of many books from wild-life photographer Robert A. Brown.

It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here

The Tall Tale of Maxwell Anderson

In the novel The Tall Tale of Maxwell Anderson, the plot came in a dream, author Steve Joyce brings his debut novel to the reader.

It tells the story of Maxwell Anderson. Maxwell is a growing lad. And that is the problem, for Maxwell cannot stop growing.

His birth had been difficult and he was fighting for his life. Under the desperate circumstances it was not a surprise that his father leapt at the opportunity to allow a new gene therapy treatment to be used on his son. Even though it was relatively untested, not authorised for use and not licenced.

The new therapy seemed to work on Maxwell, yet this did not come without dire and dreadful consequences. For Maxwell could not stop growing!

His father Mark had suffered the tragic death of his wife during the birth and had to battle against betrayal and heartbreaks as he finds new romance and attempts to provide something like an ordinary life for his extraordinary child.

Mark is not without friends and his friends, long-established friends and new friends he meets along the way offer him love, support and help.

But unbeknown to Mark, all is not as it seems, and he is kept blissfully unaware that some of them are not quite what the appear to be.

As Maxwell continues to grow and his condition becomes even stranger, rival groups attempt to become involved in his case, some even attempt to wrest control of the boy.

But Mark's fierce love for his son and his need to protect him come to the fore and Mark will do anything to protect Maxwell. Anything, no matter how extreme, no matter at what personal cost.

This book is an emotionally charged book which is a truly stunning first novel. Be prepared for some tears when you read this novel.

It's available at £8.99 from Matador and can be bought here

Zombie Park

Set in the mid 1980s in a rundown psychiatric hospital facility against a backdrop of the massive socio-political changes that were washing through Britain this debut novel from author Simon Marlowe, Zombie Park tells the story of a young, idealistic and somewhat naive student psychiatric nurse Roland Cauldron as he commences work at the aging and fairly grim Wellington Park Hospital.

But what happens when the lunatics really are in charge of the asylum?

Eager to please and equally eager to learn, the young and very earnest Roland suddenly finds himself plunged into a bewildering maelstrom rather than a place of healing and nurturing.

He meets a range of characters such as the temporary Chief Executive Officer Morten Slaney who is an out-and-out psychopath, Fitzpatrick, the martinet of a nursing manager and the medical doctor who was the third part of the management team, Doctor Caldwell who was oleaginous and self-serving.

They have one concern, the preservation of the reputation of Wellington Park Hospital, at almost any cost.

One of those costs might be nurse Annie Buchanan who, after challenging Morton Slaney somehow ended up stripped of her job and trapped within the hospital as an inpatient. 

Already feeling under pressure and facing his own difficulties with the management, this ramps up his anxiety.

As if things weren't complex enough, Roland meets and falls in love with fellow student Sophie Smith. Who issues Roland with a challenge. Prove his mettle by teaming up with her and battling the management and taking them on.

It's not easy and the day-to-day tragicomedic events at the hospital do nothing to help Roland.

What should he do? Battle against the management or join the doped out Pothead Pixies, colleagues who have decided that the best thing to do was to self-medicate themselves into oblivion?

Ultimately Roland finds himself endangered and defeated in both love and his professional life, betrayed and bereft.

However, when all looks hopeless for Roland a mysterious patient at the facility, Alan Starr steps forward and acts as a guide for Roland to help save him from himself.

It's a somewhat dark and disturbing novel written from the point of view of someone who has seen such a facility from the insides.

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and will make an interesting Christmas gift for the reader who likes their fiction gritty and realistic.

You can buy it here

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Footsteps in the Dew

Footsteps in the Dew is a new novel from Irish novelist Edward Forde Hickey.

The author spent his early childhood living in the community of Dolla which is in Tipperary.

This is the third novel in his trilogy, the other titles in it include The Early Morning Light and A New Day Dawning.

In many ways this book continues in the fine tradition of Irish storytelling, with his ability to evoke an Ireland of former, less technologically damaged times between the two World Wars.

You'll read of the relationships between Catholicism and other denominations such as Protestantism and Quakerism, of the changes in society, of the changing roles of men and women, even in those distant times, as Ireland was subjected to the changes that were sweeping over the world in one way or another.

The story deals with issues that were a part of the dichotomy of life in  Ireland, including Nationalism, the commoners and the gentry, illegitimacy, the malign influence of the nuns and their "laundries" and tales of family relationships, of adventures, murders and also of love and romance.

It is a gently humorous and deeply humane novel and will make a great Christmas gift for lovers of the works of this author.

It is published by Matador at £12.99 and can be bought here

A Season in the sun

A Season in the Sun is a debut crime novel from Robert Rees.

It tells the tale of Henry Fanshawe who is following in his family's tradition of trading in commodities, in his case, spices.

He is the last member of the once considerable established firm of Fanshawe's Commodities, in the City of London.

He leads a fairly unremarkable and rather quiet life, but he finds the new version of the city of London not to his liking. Especially after he loses his position after he is dismissed on trumpeds up allegations of financial impropriety.

However, all is not lost. A legacy from a wealthy aunt means that Henry will be able to live in the Seychelles. However, there is one caveat, he must take over the management of her Village Cricket Club.

And also push it and its team hard enough for them to attain fame and renown in the nascent Seychelles Cricket League. Not that much of a problem, one might think?

But although his amateur team are willing, in general, and talented, things do not always go according to plan. This is not helped by the fact the the team is home to a very senior police officer, a former ex-county level player and a drug using fast bowler.

But those problems are small potatoes when the team and its manager find they are facing the dark forces of organised crime and gambling.

How does this team of plucky, but determined amateurs make out against the forces of Cricketing darkness? For a modest £8.99 you can find out! Purchase your copy at

It is published by Matador.