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.


This is a debut fantasy novel from author Ray J. Newell.

A young man by the name of Dejon is on ledge on a cliff and he makes a discovery. He finds a sword, which is not just any sword, it is the Sword of Shaftesbury.

This sword once was the property of Bran, a Celtic God. Trapped within the sword Dejon discoverers the father of Merlin, Cadgwith.

Sennen, who is the granddaughter of Cadgwith is in grave danger and upon releasing the wizard from his captivity, Dejon is ready to join the battle to save her.

Dejon is taken back in time to save Sennen from the sea lord Mullion, who is an evil man.

However, by mistake Dejon's sometime adversary Jamie is also transported back in time and he finds himself in the dungeons of the castle where he discovers Mithian, a heroic figure to the local people. Eventually after a number of setbacks and adventures all three are able, together, to escape the castle.

There are many problems that face the kingdom. The King of Tintagel hates Ruth his stepdaughter with a burning passion.

However, she is a skilled and respected military leader in her own right and has control of her own army of rebels within the castle.

The arrival of Dejon in the year 410AD adds to an already simmering cauldron of emotional upheaval as he joins in a growing and simmering battle for her love between her childhood companions Mithian and Delaboe and Dejon, himself.

the ruthless and evil Mullion assembles an army of cutthroats and vicious vagabonds that transcends time itself as he attempts to take the castle and much more besides.

But who will, win in this tumultuous battle? Who will win and what will they win?

This is a tremendously good read for fans of fantasy fiction and at well over 700 pages it will make an excellent Christmas gift for the fantasy fan in your life. Or it'll be a great gift for yourself.

It costs a remarkably reasonable £9.99 from Matador and can by purchased here

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Coullian Cuill Apprentice Ghost Guardian

This is a children's book for older children who like the odd ghost story. And this ghost story by Riti Bridie is, when all is said and done, a bit of an odd ghost story!

Sethallis was an undertaker. Which was a perfect disguise for what he really was, a Grey Ghost who just loved to kill a Ghost Guardian and take just a little trophy from his victim.

The existence of Grey Ghosts like Sethellis with their propensity to murder newly selected Apprentice Ghost Guardians was perhaps something that they should have told the first boy Ghost Guardian, Coullian Cuill about. Given him  fair warning, you might say.

But they didn't, so poor Coullian has not only to contend with learning about what a Ghost Guardian should do, he had the honorous task of trying to keep one step ahead of Sethallis and his assistant and to keep himself from being turned into a ghost!

Coullian manages to gain the assistance of two of his good mates, Rawsy and Killane to help him be a sworn protector of good ghosts.

However, come All Souls' Night and everything seems to become a little Thriller-like, with fiendish ghosts and ghouls rising from their varied graves.

So, what's a boy Apprentice Ghost Guardian to do? Battle against the fiends and to try to remain alive. Which is a tall order.

What happens to Coullian, Rawsy and Killane? Can they defeat Sethallis? And exactly what is Sethallis up to?

If you like scary, well-written stories, this is one for you. It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here

To  learn more visit

The Secret of the Wooden Chest

The Secret of the Wooden Chest is a debut novel from author Catherine Rosevear.

It is set in an environment that is very familiar to Catherine, a nursing home, as she has psent much of her professional life working in nursing homes.

Hannah lives in a small flat on the top floor of a nursing home. She is an only child and shares the flat with her mother who is the matron of the nursing home and her father who does all the maintenance jobs at the nursing home. "Anything but electrics" as he says.

Hannah loves to make friends with the elderly people who live at the home and she is excited by the arrival of a new resident in the middle of the night, after her own house was badly damaged by fire.

This is an Italian lady called Mr Oberto. At first Mrs Oberto seems grumpy, but after a while, she and Hannah become good friends.

But even though they become friends, Hannan just cannot get Mrs Oberto to reveal the secret that is hidden within an old wooden chest that she keeps on the table beside her bed.

One day, Mrs Oberto becomes dangerously ill and as a result, she is hospitalised. She then reveals that she needs the assistance of Hannah to open the old wooden chest.

What is hidden with the mysterious chest?

Then, Hannah's amazing adventure really takes off! She meets with a girl from ancient Roman times and learns that if she really wants to help Mrs Oberto to recover from her debilitating stroke, she must seek out the help of a Roman god!

Can Hannah help Mrs Oberto? Will Mrs Oberto get better?

This is an extremely well-written book and it is heartening to know that it is the first part of a series of stories about Hannah and Mrs Oberto.

It is an ideal book for children of all ages and their parents and grandparents, too. It will make a super Christmas present.

It's published by Matador at £6.99 and can be bought here

Only Human

Only Human is a riveting autobiographical story of what it is like to be a 21st century cop.

Gemma Hines shares what it is really like to be a member of a modern, high tech police force in Britain.

Gemma's start in life was not the easiest, she was stuck in the middle of an ugly custody battle between her warring parents for six very long years.

This brought about a period of purposeless and rebellion, but she was able to turn her life round. She became a personal trainer and at age 18, she chose to serve her community as a Special Constable.

After seeing what being a police officer was really like she decided that she wanted to become a regular officer, so she applied to join the Greater Manchester Police.

Even though she had already been accepted as a Special Constable the process of application and acceptance was still a protracted one and after several months she was accepted as a Police Officer.

Over the next decade she was involved in some fairly major police operations and her book shows what it was like, serving as a female police officer in the early part of the 21st century.

However, Gemma was not a typical police officer, starting out previously as a personal trainer and also becoming a fully trained exponent of martial arts, holding a range of titles in her chosen field of Kick Boxing.

Some of the stories that she tells are humorous, some are horrific, such as rescuing a badly emaciated dog from a flat that was stacked high with rubbish in every room, only to discover that the dog had only survived by feeding on his deceased owner who had died because she had slipped on some of the rubbish in the bedroom and become wedged between the bed and a wardrobe.

There were harrowing tales of suicide, such as a former Macmillan Nurse who, when she developed cancer, decided that she would take her own life and die with dignity.

It was this case that helped Gemma decide to volunteer with dealing with deaths and welfare cases as she wanted to feel as if she could make a difference.

It's a story of highs and lows and I think everyone who is thinking of becoming a police officer or who has a police officer in their family should read this excellent book.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and can be obtained here

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Rose Girl

In her new novel The Rose Girl, author Fay Howison gives younger readers as modern day twist to the more traditional genre of the fairytale.

The Rose Girl is set in Britain, but it is the Britain of the time before our Industrial Revolution.

The story is set in a valley. At one end there is stern and unapproachable nobleman, the Duke of Ashbury who is burdened down with the unspeakable agony of having lost his wife.

He is so grief stricken that he keeps their daughter, Rosalba as a prisoner in their palatial home, fearful to let her out of his sight, in case some dreadful fate should befall her, too.

But at the other end of this sweet and beautiful valley you will find the Paget family. They are a cheerful and happy-go-lucky family who view conventionality as a burden that they simply will not bother to even try and carry!

The three Paget brothers, as soon as they learn of the plight of the fair Rosalba, each decide of their own volition, that they will rescue her for themselves.

However, things do not go quite as they had hoped and after a series of adventures and misadventures, they learn of a terrifying secret from the past that means they must bury their rivalry for her love and work together to overcome a common problem. And what malevolent hold does the dark and vile Lord Jasper Culpepper hold over the future of the Paget family?

Can they defeat the odious lord and rescue Rosabela?

This book is written for young children aged 10 to 14 and it is published by Matador at £8.99 and it can be bought here

A Captain's Ransom

A Captain's Ransom is a terrifying and true account of modern day piracy on the high seas.

It tells the story of Captain Alex "Joe" Westland and what happened on 14th May 2013.

Alex was a retired ship's captain and an ex trawler captain.

Whilst his vessel St Patrick was off the coast of Nigeria it was attacked by pirates and he was taken as a captive from his boat to the Niger Delta Jungle.

Once there he realised that his situation was extremely grave indeed and during his days of captivity he felt that every moment could very well be his last and he feared that he would possibly never see his wife, his family or his friends again.

Captain Westland hales from Arbroath Angus in Scotland and he has written his memoir for a number of reasons. He felt that it might be of assistance to him if he were able to write out these terrible memories of what happened to him and to also serve as a warning to anyone who even considers working in Nigeria, which he deems "the pirate capital of the world."

The incident brought some changes to his life. He suffers from PTSD, experiencing flashbacks and nightmares and he was forced to take early retirement.

The book is an exciting read and costs £8.99 from The Book Guild. You can purchase it at

Academy for Health Superheroes

Childhood obesity is now listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one the most serious worldwide health challenges that face the 21st century. With 19.1% of Year 6 children declared as obese in 2015, Dr Agnes Electra Chlebinska and David W. Evans decided that they should promote a healthy lifestyle with their debut children's book series.

Book 1 in the series covers the heart.

It tells the story of Agnes and her friends who have joined together to form a special Academy for Health Superheroes which aims to train and nurture a generation of Health Superheroes.

You'll meet a whole range of different characters. Humans, animals, body organs and food characters.

Jack and his dad become firm friends with the JFM, the Junk Food Monster. Jack's father becomes ill, having developed heart problems. But fortunately the Health Superheroes are on hand to offer their support and wise advice.

Can they help beat the Junk Food Monster and save Jack's father?

But the book is not merely a fantastic story with wacky and brilliant illustrations from Gilbert Monserrate. It also contains many valuable tips on healthy eating and exercise and there are a range of nutritional snack recipes that children can have a go at making for themselves.  And which should also prove to be very popular with children and adults, too.

This large format book is published by Matador at £16.99 and it is such an important book that council departments and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups should get together to ensure that a copy of this book is issued to every family with children in their area.

It also belongs on the desk of every Medical Doctor and Nutritionist in the UK, especially those that deal with obese children and in every public library in the UK.

You can order as many copies as you wish at

I Hear You Calling

I Hear You Calling is an interesting and highly readable book from author Helen Line.

It tells, in their own voices, the story of a group of people whose lives meet and sometimes clash together in a variety of ways, some expected and some unexpected.

There is Rae, who is an Educational Officer. Her own life has taken a turn  that she wasn't expecting. Her husband had turned out to be a control freak and she is trying to come to terms with the loss of her marriage.

There is young Richard Banks who at nine is struggling as he tries to perform a neat balancing act as he attempts to be a crowd pleaser. Well, to be more accurate, his overbearing father and his headmistress.

The situation is made more fraught because Richard is a communications conduit for people who have passed over to the other side. He is a medium.

Rae is sceptical about Richard and his ability, but she has to cope with his father who is a true believer and the headmistress who is anything but and who knows only two ways of doing things. Her way or the wrong way.

To add to the general concerns Rae's ex-husband turns up and things begin to quickly spiral out of control.

At first Rae thought that she was merely trying to saved Richard's place at the school. But a series of dramatic events soon convince her that the battle she is fighting is a completely different one to the one she had presumed. In fact Rae is actually struggling to save Richard's life. And perhaps Richard will return that favour?

This book is a very interesting novel. It's a love story, or love stories, but it is not, actually, a romance.

It's also a very uplifting story which you will want to read several times, at least. And you'll want to share it, too.

It is published by Matador at £7.99 and is obtainable here

Charlie Green and the Underground Railroad

Charlie Green and the Underground Railroad is another story from the pen of aviation expert and published author Martyn Blunden.

It is a continuation in his series of stories about young Charlie Green and Ben and Olivia, his brother and sister, and their magical aeroplane (not airplane, note!) Jenny which can take them to any destination that they care to select, even back in time.

They travel back to the time of the American Civil War in the year of 1862 and they meet up with Civil Rights campaigner Harriet Tubman and they work with Harriet to attempt to free her sister from slavery.

They learn about the secret network of safe houses (the underground railroad of the story) that Harriet had established to help free slaves.

But things very swiftly go awry. Harriet is arrested and their adult traveling companion, Oliver, is captured and forced to enlist against his will in the Confederate Army.

Can they free Oliver and rescue Harriet before she is shot as a spy? If they do so they'll have to outwith some very savvy, battle hardened Confederate Army officers.

The skillful interweaving of the fantasy of the story with the reality of the amazing work that Harriet Tubman did to rescue slaves works very well and this is a book that is ideal for children who are inquisitive about history and who love a good yarn.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought here

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice is the third book in the Singhing Detective series by author M C Dutton.

In it her protagonist, Detective Sergeant Jaswinder "Jazz" Singh comes face to face with a highly dangerous and murderous gang.

Young lives are at risk as Jazz and his colleagues DS Bloomer, DC Ashiv Kumar and Mad Pete are the only ones who seem to be fully aware of what is happening and the only ones who are willing to take the gang on.

However, it appears that the gang they are attempting to chase down have connections in  high places and it appears that they have some powerful, high level protection.

Or else why would their own police force be hunting for Jazz and his team and why would they have gained the interest of the British Secret Service?

Can Jazz and his colleagues smoke out the baddies? Or will they fall victim to the powerful forces that are set on protecting them?

Will the gang continue to evade justice and continue to do evil whilst under the protection of their corrupt helpers?

Or will they all come tumbling down, with the assistance of some special codes and a less-than-friendly Royal Mail manager?

If they can stay clear of the Secret Service and their own colleagues, they'd be safe. Wouldn't they?

This is an exciting thriller of a crime novel and M D Dutton is a good find. I will look out for more of her novels, especially those concerning DS Jazz Singh!

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available for purchase here

Beijing Smog

This is a novel by former Channel 4 correspondent Ian Williams.

It is set in contemporary China and tells the story of how three entirely different people, a Chinese blogger, a British businessman and an American "diplomat", accidentally meet up, due to the creation and dissemination of an online joke.

Much to the chagrin of the ruling Communist Party of China, the joke quickly goes viral and becomes a powerful symbol of defiance for many people in China.

The novel also reveals a great deal about the history of Communist China, how golf was made illegal, how the rights of ordinary people are commonly smashed and trampled by the authorities and how people are attempting to use the Internet and social media in China to fight back against the government, even though the Internet in China is very heavily censored and controlled by the government.

Ian Williams uses his knowledge of the area and his ability as a writer to craft a fine cyber thriller that takes the reader from the smog-lade streets of Beijing to the grim factories of China and to the glittering casinos of Macau and the crowded streets of Hong Kong, to bring his readers a gripping novel that takes an incisive and satirical novel.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available here for purchase

Kafka, Einstein, Kafeinski and Me

Einstein and Kafka met in the early part of the 20th century. This much is known.

However, physicist and author Kurt Hartmann decides to take their meeting one, or rather, several steps forward.

What if, he speculates, Einstein and Kafka had actually indulged in a range of spirited debates over a period of several months?

Hartman speculates on the contents of these imaginary conversations as they talk about mundane, day-to-day topics and also debate some greater and deeper concepts.

However, the story does not finish there and Hartman  moves the action 100 years inot the future and conjures up his two protagonists in a cafe in Berlin.

There conversation is continually being interrupted by an investigation into a murder that has occurred very close to the cafe. Wsas the murder a racial killing? Perhaps so.

Einstein casts his mind back to the evil days of the Holocaust and as a result, he feels inspired to participate in the investigation and helps to bring a resolution to the case.

There's also a quirky visit to the past where the author re-lives a love story in the Berlin of the Cold War Years.

The book is published by Matador and costs £9.99. It can be bought here

Born Together

Born Together is a truly inspirational account of the struggles of the author, Patricia Gallagher, her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and her sheer determination to be a good mother to new baby boy, Elliot.

Within mere hours of giving birth to Elliot, Patricia's body began to shut down and to deteriorate.

In Born Together Patrica gives a vivid and utterly honest account of what it is like to live with MS and to deal with the contemporaneous struggles of being a mother.

The diagnosis of MS was not arrived at until after Elliot's birth. The medical experts informed her that, following the birth of her baby boy, her body had erroneously triggered its immune system to launch a defensive strike against itself, resulting in the damage caused to her body by MS.

Patricia was basically told that she would face a life of being vulnerable and also of being disabled.

However, it was almost as if Patricia hadn't read the script of how it was meant to be. Because Patrica decided for herself that she was going to be different!

Because Patricia decided that she was going to work out her own pathway and to take an alternative approach to just about everything.

There were a lot of people who, though admiring her determination, just didn't see how she could hope to succeed.

However, Patrica did succeed and she was rewarded with some new and pioneering medical treatment based on research by Medical Research Scotland and funded in part by the Scottish Government Enterprise Scheme.

Read how Patricia became the first person who has MS to be treated with the revolutionary Robo-Physio device.

As the device is expected to be made publically available later this year, you'll probably see more about it (ands about Patricia!) in the media.

This book is published by Matador at £10.99 and you can buy it at

You can also learn more at

Mystery City

A while ago I was delighted to read a novel by Alistair Laver that was set in the fictional Yorkshire seaside town of Whitborough, which is based on Scarborough and Whitby.

Mystery City is the second novel in the series. It is written with a deft and light-hearted touch and features an incredibly large cast of characters, a rhino that seems to be suffering from some kind of depressive ailment and a couple of somewhat naughty dogs.

You'll have come across Whithborough in the novel Treasure Trove (if you haven't, please read that novel, too) and you'll be pleased to know that this Yorkshire coastal town is still just as interesting in this new novel.

Actions are never (well, hardly ever) without consequences and the ramifications of the actions that were undertaken during Treasure Trove are still reverberating through and around Whitborough.

From an unfortunate incident in July 1645 when devilish beasts attack a flock right through to the present day when masked men in black overalls turn up at the local zoo, and whilst there's a race against either time or the local police force when agents from GCHQ attempt to unravel the mysterious events of the terrorist attack that traumatised the inhabitants of the town during Treasure Trove.

Why are their wolves in the area? What is happening at the Valhalla Retirement Home?

And what, exactly, was there beneath the Mystery City?

Be prepared to strap yourself in for one heck of a wild literary ride!

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and is available to purchase here

When Snow Fell

When Snow Fell is a novel that reflects on the Russian October Revolution in 1917.

Author Barbara Kastelin takes her readers through a vivid exploration of the impact of these events upon a family who must flee their native land and seek involuntary exile in Great Britain.

The novel is timely for a variety of reasons, it is the centenary of  the Russian revolution and the world is, again, witnessing another era where mass migrations are taking place with all the resultant problems that such events bring in their wake.

There is a personal dimension to this novel as it relates the story of Barbara Kastelin's father's flight from Russia as a result of the revolution and the sad knowledge that their family would never be able to return to their ancestral homeland.

When Snow Fell tells the story of three generations of a once aristocratic White Russian family and their attempts (barely successful, in truth) to integrate into the Oxfordshire of the 1960s.

Perhaps it was that, compared to their previous lifestyle of opulence, glamour and extravagance amidst Czarist Russia, the England of the 1960s was just a little bit dull, in comparison?

The story is told with insight compassion and with a leavening of humour.

Eventually the family begins to run through their once copious financial resources and, in order to survive, they fin themselves in the situation of having to start selling off items of property.

They are so desperate that they must seek compensation from their old enemies, the Soviet Union.

This leads to interesting confrontations between the old order of Russia and the new order of Russia, with clashes not only if ideologies but also of personalities, too.

The result is that old, long-buried mysteries are brought to the surface and some unexpected results, including murder, are brought about.

This is a fascinating novel in the fine tradition of Russian literature.

It is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be obtained here

Absolutely Galapagos

There was a connection between Brian and Charles Darwin. They were both fascinated by the idea of visiting the Galapagos Islands.

Brian's interest was probably less prosaic than Darwin's,  Brian was inspired to make his journey there because of a boat. Pretty mch.

So Brian and his long-suffering wife Sandra made the trip of a lifetime.

The boat turned out to be absolute dream and the islands were all they could have hoped for and much more, besides.

However, it is probably true that Brian was not quite what the other passengers had expected, or perhaps wanted.

Brian was filled with knowledge on South American countries that was perhaps not as interesting as Brian might have presumed.

And his views on a wide range of many and varied topics would enthrall, bewilder, engage or enrage people, including Sandra. Who was certainly not enthused by the only positive fact that Brian had elicited from the disastrous situation in Venezuela was that it had produced an inordinate number of Miss Universes or Miss Worlds.

And Brian did have a point -of sorts- how were great works of literature created before the advent of creative writing courses?

The worrying thing about Brian is that, no matter how exasperating he might be, he is often right about things, but not perhaps always in an especially useful way.

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available at

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Networking Thoughfully

Networking Thoughtfully is a very valuable new book from networking expert Martin Wheadon.

It is short and to the point. It is designed to be read in thirty minutes and Martin Wheadon is confident that this book could well change your life for the better.

It's a guide for people who need to network and to build relationships but who are not exactly sure where they should start or what they should do.

Readers are taken through a clear and concise step-by-step guide which will help them to achieve good, positive results.

Readers will learn how to begin conversations, plus devise methods by which they can introduce themselves to other people.

Wheadon has written the book based on his many years experience within the banking sector and also from creating and operating his own networking business, the High Tea Club.

This book is both comprehensive and also accessible and at £8.99 is a must purchase for everyone in  business, commerce or employment as everyone will find something of benefit in this short but vitally informative work.

You can purchase it here

Elizabeth, William... and Me

Elizabeth, William and Me... is a novel by S. Lynn Scott.

Ally has a fairly normal life, that was until she finds Elizabeth I in her pantry and later discovers William Shakespeare in her bath.

And that's just the beginning of what would turn out to be an amazing adventure for Ally.

Queen Elizabeth proved to be quite crotchety, an Shakespeare seemed to like gawping at women in modern dress... but how had they travelled forward through hundreds of years to modern day England? And why had they come?

Much confusion abounds. After all, coping with modern England was a major problem for our two Elizabethans and Ally seems equally befuddled by this momentous event.

Queen Elizabeth has a mission that she must complete. And, being an absolute monarch, she is used to getting everything done in exactly the way she wants it to be done.

Ally, too, with her somewhat dysfunctional family, is searching for something, too.

Can the arrival of Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare help her identify what it is and also help her to track it down and recover it?

But if Ally can see Elizabeth and William Shakespeare, surely everyone else can? But what if they can't?

What could this mean?

And can Ally find what she is seeking?

Could Dr Pinch help her?

This is an extremely well-written debut novel from actress and theatrical director S. Lynn Scott.

It is a very moving story with elements of humour, too.

Hopefully we will be seeing many more novels from S. Lynn Scott in the future.

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and can be purchased at

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Wireless in the Corner

The Wireless in the Corner is an autobiography by Alan Palmer, which is based on entries from his contemporary diaries, family letters, photographs taken from family albums and also newspaper cuttings.

It is Alan's highly interesting and entertaining account of growing up in suburban London during the second quarter of the last century.

The author recalls the stresses and strains of living through the years of the Blitz, the later flying bombs and the V Rockets and the times of peace and contentment.

The book also covers the years before and after the Second World War. He reveals that he was named Alan -like so many other babies at that time- in honour of Alan Cobham the World War 1 Veteran who was the first man to fly to and from Australia in 1926.

We learn of the impact of the depression, of Pelican and Ekco radios (which lasted for 34 years and was the best bargain his father ever had.

In the then distinct town of Ilford there were 'pirate' buses competing for business against the "regular" buses, he recalls the local station, the cinema, the shops, the houses that they lived in.

There were secrets that were scandals including the case of the murder of Percy Thomas, stabbed to death by his wife's lover.

Letters in the lover's flat from his wife Edith to the lover revealed that she had attempted to kill him by poisoning him or by putting powdered glass in his porridge.

The lover was charged with murder and the widow with acting as his accomplice.

Alan Palmer is a well known author of historical works and this book has received praise from people such as Antonia Fraser.

The book is published by Matador at £10.99 and can be bought here

Barry and Bev The Big Concert

Barry and Bev The Big Concert is a humorous novel by actress Rita May who has decided to make the crossing over from acting to writing with this, her debut novel.

The novel is set in a town in Northern England

The community of Kenthorpe is home to the Kenthorpe Working Men's Club. At least, it is for the moment, for the club is in dire financial difficulties.

The organising Committee work hard to attempt to address this situation and they come up with a number of corrective measures including booking a to-class act booked for concerts every Saturday night.

As word of this new Saturday night concert spreads, the number of people visiting the club quickly grows.

This brings about problems for the women of Kenthorpe because there are often not enough seats for them all as the club is a stickler for "Rule 57" which bars women from the much larger "Men's Only" room. The rule dates back to the time when the club was founded in 1932.

The brings about a rift between the women and their menfolk. The dispute brings about attention from the local media, but when the story gains the attention of the national press, things start to get even more difficult.

But then when they thought things couldn't get any worse, they did and in a devastating way that nobody could foresee.

As Rita May began her career as a singer in northern workingmen's clubs, the novel is a bird's eye view of a very real lifestyle.

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be purchased at

You will have seen Rital May in a number of roles including films like The Gamekeeper, When Saturday Comes,  Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974. And TV roles in TV roles in
Play for Today (several roles) Fallen Hero, Coronation Street (several roles) Crown Court,
The Gathering Seed, Juliet Bravo, Mitch,  Edge of Darkness, Wish Me Luck, Doctors, (several roles) The Bill, and many more.

She has also written a number of stage plays.

1500 Hotel Nights

This is a described as a black comedy. Unfortunately every word of it is true!

In fact, it might well be subtitled "Analyse This!" as it is a factual book written by top analyst and seasoned business traveller Daniel Tabbush.

He spent four years of his life travelling for leisure and also for business as a business analyst receiving plaudits from and recognition for his work from organisations such as Bloomberg and Asia Money and he made regular appearances on CNBC and being published in the Wall Street Journal.

This is his second book.

As he spent 1500 nights in hotels all over the world he began to realise that it was a very frustrating experience. He observed that once a traveller makes a confirmation and pays for the hotel room, they are, in effect, hostages.

When a traveller finds a problem in their room, there is often no way out and also there is often a lack of honesty and truth. From the traveller! Who when asked often replies, untruthfully: "Oh, everything is fine, thank you."

Too often, David Tabbush noted that the "design characteristics" of hotels and restaurants are deeply flawed, often absurdly so. Even is some of the most luxurious establishments in the world.

There are bedframes that jut out and allow guests to bark their shins on sharp edges, light switches are haphazardly positioned in hot rooms,  air conditioning that thunders throughout the night, making restful sleep an impossibility.

Lighting is often designed for "romance" (sic) rather than to provide illumination, making reading or work almost impossible.

And why, he wonders, if a hotel provides a desk for the convenience of the guest, why is it often cluttered with booklets and folders on the hotel and its amenities, plus a variety of pamphlets and leaflets.

Wouldn't it be wonderful, he feels, if a hotel actually just provided a clean, uncluttered desk?

And another point of contention is a minibar that charges a guest for an item even if they merely took it out, read the label and put it back again.

This book is published by Matador at £9.99 and can br bought at

It should be required reading by every hotelier, restaurateur and designer in the world. And also every business traveller as it contains dozens of ideas that, if implemented, would mean that travellers would beat a path to their door.

Paradise Lost

350 years ago Milton wrote one of the most important works of the ages, Paradise Lost.

To help commemorate this vitally important anniversary, author Duncan Baxter decided to write "Paradise Lost - A Drama of Unintended Consequences."

From an early age Duncan Baxter has much admired the poetry of Milton.

In his book Duncan takes his readers on a journey through Paradise Lost, which was Milton's re-telling of the story within Genesis, telling the account of the Fall of Mankind, showing how Milton explored issues of spiritual yearning that face every generation of mankind.

Duncan employs contemporary and accessible language throughout, reaching out to general readers and students of theology and of the poetry of Milton, guiding them through the words, thoughts and ideas of Milton.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and can be purchased at

Jackson King and the Morpher's Heart

Jackson King is just an ordinary boy. Actually, that's completely wrong, because Jackson King is unlike any other boy you could ever possibly be likely to meet.

He was born with a heart condition which means that he is always frail and is often sickly. As a result he is totally unable to be involved in playing any kinds of sports and he has difficulty making friends.

At 16 there comes a miracle, because Jackson becomes the recipient of a donated heart.

But the miracle is more powerful and more far reaching than he could ever have dreamt of.

Because with the new heart Jackson's life becomes totally changed, because the heart that he received  was a very special heart as it carries with it the special gift of the ability to morph.

Now, Jackson is a morpher. He joins a weird and mystical realm of other morphers as he learns how to use his new powers.

But there are a group of evil criminals who are seeking Jackson and who are hunting him down.

Why? Because he has something they desperately seek and they pledge that they will stop at nothing to wrest it from Jackson's grasp.

This is an interesting and well-written novel from Debbie Hood and will be of interest to readers of all ages.

It is published by the Book Guild at £8.99 and can be bought here

Shake Hands or Die

In his debut crime novel, Michael Northey brings his readers an interesting novel that touches on a wide range of modern issues, the Church, the power of the press and much more besides.

There's a new vicar at St Martha's church in the city of Hillford. Father John is viewed as an amiable eccentric who intends to modernise the church.

He employs a range of somewhat wacky gimmicks, which the parishioners  absolutely adore.

But there is one thing that he steadfastly refuses to do. He will not shake hands at the end of the services.

There is a fly in the ointment of the otherwise perfect city of Hillford. The local newspaper is playing host to Fred Vestal who is on loan to it from a London-based tabloid newspaper.

Vestal aims to shake the newspaper, and the city, up.

He attends a service at the church and watches a play performed by children which he takes exception to.

He interviews Father John and writes an article that is nothing but a vicious and undeserved excoriation of  the vicar.

At their next meeting Vestal attempts to get Father John to shake his hand, but he declines to do so.

A short while after this incident a body is found in the churchyard, covered in compost.

People want answers as to what has happened, none more so than the slightly unusual local police.

Who was the victim? Who is the killer? What is Vestal up to? What does Father John find to be so troublesome about shaking hands?

This is a well-written murder mystery novel which is published by Matador at £8.99. You can purchase it here

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Film review, Thugs Vs Dinosaurs, a "Must Watch" movie

Thugs vs Dinosaurs is a recent "straight to YouTube" release directed and produced by Tripp Tiffany.

It's a film that is humorous, though it does have moments of satire and of genuine pathos, too.

A (heartbroken) young paleontologist, Seth W. Boi gives a lecture to a classroom filled (or not!) with only two people.

He then goes home and changes from his paleontologist clothing to the clothing that he prefers to wear, that of a pimp, complete with a $ medallion.   

He goes to meet his friend Georg to help him celebrate Georg's birthday, but the area has become infested with dinosaurs! All created by Georg's grandfather, a former Nazi scientist!

They meet with a whole host of characters, some odd, some bizarre and some, to be frank, who are oddly bizarre or even bizarrely odd.

The film recording; lighting and sound quality are good, the costumes are innovative and the costumes contain some little jokes that you really should not miss!

The special effects, for a film with a total budget of $3,000 and a fairly large and well chosen cast, are excellent.

There are sassy women, gangland characters, a Nazi scientist, a military veteran and his missing daughter, a dubious police officer, a callus ex and her neandertal boyfriend in this wonderful film.

And the specially composed and specially performed musical score is worth listening to in itself.

I am sure you will enjoy this film.  

Monday, 24 July 2017

Brandfather John Murphy the man who invented branding

"Brandfather John Murphy the man who invented branding" is an very readable book that tells the story of how Interbrand, the company that he, John Murphy, founded, was at the forefront of the branding revolution.

It reveals how many businesses suddenly appeared to realise at roughly the same time, three decades ago, the importance of their brands.

In fact, a new business discipline was coming into existence, Branding.

Some business seemed happy to bumble and bimble along pretty much as they had always done, but this was at their peril and at great risk to the viability and the future existence of their businesses.

John Murphy founded Interbrand in 1974 and he and Interbrand were recognised as being the main force behind this business revolution.

The origin of Interbrand was that of a name creation business. They would create a name, develop a name, test them and take care of any resultant legal clearances.

The business quickly earned an international reputation and was responsible for the creation of some early successful band names: Hob-Nob biscuits, Viagra, Punto, Mondeo and Homebase.

Four years later John Murphy opened an office in New York City, in 1982 he launched offices in both Frankfurt and Paris and a year later, Tokyo.

During this time he began to realise that there was much more to branding than merely coming up with a name for a business or a product, he realised that there were, actually, the creators of 'brands' which was an unknown concept at that time.

Interbrand decided to redefine themselves (rebrand themselves, even?) and also came up with the term branding.

In 1988 Interbrand went one step further and came up with and developed the concept of "brand valuation" which caused a sensation in the branding sector, propelling Interbrand into the world leader.

This is the no holds barred account of what happened by John Murphy. It tells the story of the company and also of the sector, of the successes and also of the disasters and the lessons that he was able to learn from them. Including a disastrous merger between two massive concerns that ultimately lead him to hit upon the idea of striking out on his own and so Interbrand came into being.

The book is an interesting insight into the highs and lows of Interbrand and how a chance meeting with a rival caused him to realise that bad figures in 1990 were not just a blip but a major recession and caused him to take harsh but necessary business decisions that not only saved the company at a time when some others went to the wall, but enabled it to have record successive years.

This book is required reading for businessmen and businesswomen, for brand experts, marketing gurus and those in the advertising industry.

It is published by The Book Guild at £11.99 and can be bought here

Joseph, 1917

Joseph, 1917 tells the story of an ordinary man of his time. He did not want to go to war, but he went to war, all the same.

Joseph's fate ended, sadly, as did many others of his generation, in the confusion, noise and horror of the Western Front during what was then called The Great War.

His story, attests author David Hewitt, is "very much a 'secret history' the history of many ordinary men who fought and died during that terrible conflict.

Not the story of conscientious objectors, or of those garlanded with battle honours, or executed at dawn as deserters, but of the countless other men who fought and often tragically died.

It is revealed that the fate of Joseph was decided by a special tribunal, which resulted in him being sent off to fight and to die.

It touches upon why he, like so many others, signed up for military service and why he then subsequently attempted to put off the day when he would actually be sent off to fight in the Great War.

It tells of his appearances at a local tribunal and a more distant tribunal, of the clashes between the tribunals,  and of his ultimate fate.

The author draws on tribunal records and colourful contemporary newspaper reports to create a compelling and, at time, difficult story.

Anyone who wants to learn about the real history of the Great War should buy this book, which is published by Matador at £8.99. You can purchase it here

Fearless Leadership

How can a manager really manage? How can he or she be a real leader?

If they take the time to purchase and read Fearless Leadership by leadership and business expert Richard M. Varey, they will be able to find out.

In his new book Richard (his company, Fearless Leadership delivers training and leadership consultancy services) shows managers and leaders how they can improve their leadership skills and their effectiveness in no matter what workplace they operate.

He can draw on over a decade of research and practical work and he has nurtured and cultivated "The Fearless Approach" model.

He argues that leaders should create a fear-free workplace culture as this will allow individuals within the company and the organisation to flourish. 

Gone are the old models of "leadership" which were often bullying dressed up in psychobabble.

Because as Richard points out: "Throughout my early years of leadership I found that 'being nice worked'; that a positive approach raised the capacity of others to do better."

His experiences provided the basis for his book.

He also draws upon his long experiences as working as a teacher, sometimes finding himself facing volatile situations within the changing field of education and of working in underperforming schools and turning them around.

The books draws upon a number of different sources, such as neuro-psychology, evolutionary biology and actual practical examples from cases studies of successful businesses and successful leaders, plus anecdotal evidence from a variety of sources such as the armed forces and the world of sports.

Although the book is very carefully researched and cites sources where appropriate, it is not a dry as dust boring academic work. It is written by a real person for real people. It's a book for us ordinary folk who want to do better at work and who want to ensure our businesses not only survive but that they thrive.

The book contains many salutary lessons that we readers should be eager to read and learn. My favourite example is how an underwear manufacturer was destroyed within four months. And apparently the seed of the destruction was rooted in an ambiguous instruction, miscommunication between staff and an eager young woman armed with just a typewriter. 

One point that Richard does make is that fear should have no part in a workplace. That a fearful team will freeze, fight or flee. That you must make sure there is no place for fear, that your staff should be fearless and bold.

The book costs £9.99 and is a must have item for the desk (not the bookcase!) of every employee, business owner and manager. And it makes an ideal gift.

It is published by Matador and can be purchased here

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Zed and Dez 005 Secret Service Agents

Zed and Dez 005 Secret Service Agents is a book that is firmly aimed at all children from ages seven to nine years of age and it is written by author S G Barfield, a former IT guru and teacher.

World wide, there are children who work for the super secret 005 Secret Services Agency. And Zed is one of these secret agents!

Every week he receives top secret instructions (through a secret vending machine carefully hidden at the rear of his bedroom wardrobe, that dispenses secret mission instructions, rather than snacks and drinks) of his latest daring secret operations.

He is aided and abetted by Lorenzo. Lorenzo may by only nine years of age, but Lorenzo is one of the world's top designers and makers of super secret special gadgets that are used by secret agents like Zed in their missions.

But Zed needs some special help to make certain his missions are all undertaken successfully. And his assistant is his best friend Dez, who is also nine years old!

Together they strive to thwart baddies and save a talent show, stop a kidnap plot, save someone from drowning, make sure Mr Ladd is kept safe and construct a youth centre, amongst other tasks!

And will Lorenzo's weird inventions actually help them?

The story is a good, fun read which is illustrated with some well-executed cartoons.

If you are looking for early Christmas presents, this book is a must buy at £7.99. It is published by Matador and is available at

Living to See You

Living to See You is a romantic novel with a very strong foundation of truth.

For in it, author Bee Johnstone tells the story of her own parents and how they met during the dangerous years of World War Two.

Her father was a bomber pilot, became ill with an infection, fell in love with a nurse who was still within her probationary period and survived the depredations and horrors of the Desert War.

This amazing true love wartime story was the basis for Living To See You, Bee Johnstone' debut novel.

The novel relates the long distance courtship between a pilot of Wellington Bombers flying dangerous missions over the skies of Egypt and an equally young probationary nurse who was tending the patients at a fever hospital, in the last days before antibiotics began to help in the fight against infectious diseases.

The story is told through the medium of the love letters that passed between them as each one battles against the problems that they face, enemy action in his case and seriously ill patients in her case.

It is many things, a romantic novel and also a captivating story about the Second World War, detailing the bravery of the Allied pilots who participated in Operation Jostle in 1941, flying in what were described as: "Winston's Wellingtons" a subject which has not been given as much attention as perhaps it deserves.

This is Bee Johnstone's debut novel, let's hope it is the first of many novels from this author.

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought at

Thirty Fifteen

Thirty Fifteen is the last novel in Phil Tomlinson's "Soul Snatcher" trilogy, bringing it to an electric conclusion.

Zoe Marshall is in a jam. She finds herself still on the planet Earth, but it is 1,000 years into the future and it all, from Zoe's perspective, seems to have gone very, very wrong indeed.

People live as tribes in primitive settlements and wild animals roam at will.

The Earth is encircled by artificial planets and these constantly send down armed patrols which attack the settlements and capture their inhabitants.

Zoe wishes to return to her own time. Unfortunately the one person who would almost certainly be able to help her return to her home time is the alien called Kazzaar. But Kazzaar is missing.

Zoe must continue alone in her quest to return home, facing the physical dangers of a very different Earth, but she is also plagued by the horrors of her nightly dreams.

Can Zoe work out a way to return to the safety of her family and friends, back in her own time? Or will she be trapped in the hostile, brutal and dangerous future world forever?

But how can she trust Kazzaar, after all he had done before?

This is an exciting example of juvenile Science Fiction, but it will hold the attention of adult readers too.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and is available from

Paradise Girl

What if the song: "If you were the only girl in the world..." wasn't just a romantic song from a long-distant era?

What if it were your reality? It is the reality for Kerryl Shaw. Aged just seventeen, she lives with her family on an idyllic and remote farm in the heart of the Pennine Mountains.

But then comes the devastating plague. But wouldn't the Shaw family be safe in their farm? Sadly, even they family succumb to the plague, one-by-one until only Kerry is left.

She knows that it is only a matter of time until she, too, falls victim to the mystery plague that has destroyed humanity.

So she decides to write a diary to a notional person she has dubbed Adam.

As all services start to breakdown the loneliness of her dreadful situation begins to weigh very heavily on her and her mind begins to crack.

She hears her name being called in the darkness of the night, animals attack her, she visits town and is assaulted, strangers outside the farm suddenly vanish and things appear and disappear. And to her, Adam becomes a real, rather than an imaginary person.

She finds text messages on her phone. But how can this be, when there is, apparently, nobody left to text her?

The she gets an invitation to meet a mystery person. Should she? What would happen if she did? But then again, what would happen if she didn't?

Paradise Girl is written by Phil Featherstone and it is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought at

Tender is the Scalpel's Edge

Tender is the Scalpel's Edge is a new non-fiction work by consultant NHS surgeon Gautam Das.

He draws on his over four decades of work at the forefront of medical care involved with healthcare within busy NHS hospitals.

He touches on all aspects of  his professional life from his time as a medical student, right through to working as a vital part of a highly disciplined team of healthcare workers working together to save the life of a patient and what happens when the patient cannot be saved.

Although a detailed account, the author is extremely sensitive in how he tells the various stories that he covers.

From self-doubts if he is even suitable to be training as a medical doctor to learning that not only did he have what it took to become a medical doctor, he was also capable of continuing his training, this time as a surgical trainee, until he eventually was at the peak of his profession, a consultant surgeon.

From the moment I opened the book I was immediately drawn into a world of urgent surgical procedures, of patients in need of urgent, lifesaving urological surgery by Mr Das and his team of highly trained professional medical staff.

We also read of Mr Das' early days learning his surgical skills in India -he was the winner of a gold medal for surgery at Medical College- and of how he had to fight off the bed bugs that infected the rooftop hostel shared by the hospital's surgical residents, charmingly described as a "doctor's chummery" by Gautam Das.

We follow Gautam Das through his career in India and also in Britain, when, following his Master of Surgery qualification, he left India in 1979.

In 1981 he was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and he was awarded the Surgeon-in Training Medal of the College in 1988, before continuing on to obtain the Specialist (FRCS (Urology).

He was appointed Consultant Urological Surgeon in Croydon in 1990, a prestigious post he held until his retirement in June last year, 2016.

From 2005 to 2010 he also worked as a Pelvic Cancer Surgeon at St George's Hospital, London.

He has not fully retired, however, as he remains a Trustee-Director of the South East England Cancer Help Centre.

The book is a very human and humane account of his life as a surgeon and anyone with even a passing interest in this subject will benefit from this book. It would probably make a welcome addition to the bookshelves of any medical student or surgeon.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is obtainable at

A LIfe Untold

Zara Heart wakes up in a hospital.

She is bewildered and totally disorientated. Utterly discombobulated, as one might say.

Why is she there? What happened to her? Who, actually, is she?

Who is the woman she sees linked to the life support equipment? Who is the worried man who is sitting at her bedside?

All will be revealed when she meets the Head Assistant to the Angel of Death, AKA the D. A.

He is a surprisingly charismatic fellow who tells her that she has seven days left to live, but first he will show her the previous seven days of her life.

But is her death inevitable? Will she journey to the Hereafter or is her time on earth not yet over?

And who will decide? And why did the angel visit her?

The book is by Dallaa Moussallati and costs £8.99 from Matador and is available for purchase at

The Silent Partner and other stories of truth

This is an interesting collection of short stories from author Juliet Castle, with illustrations from Jaye Gray.

The stories are obviously written out of great compassion and wisdom and love, there are stories of love, of devotion of loss and of redemption.

They are all written in a style that touches on the poetic and they speak directly from the soul of the author to the soul of the reader.

From the story of The Silent Partner (he is always there, but always silent) to stories of heartbreak and of pure love, every aspect of human life and emotion is to be found within these short stories.

And they are short. Very short in some instances, yet and yet... the truth is that even these stories, the shortest of these short stories, contains more wisdom and truths than is to be found in many much, much longer works.

You will read and re-read these stories over and over, always learning something new from them.

It's published by Matador at £8.99 (£12.99 hardback) and you can purchase it here at

A Life Between Us

A Life Between Us is a new novel from author Louise Walters.

It tells the story of two sisters, one who has been dead for 40 years.

Due to a childhood accident, Meg, twin to Tina Thornton, dies. 

And for the next four decades, Meg carried a devastating secret, the fact that she blames herself for the death of he twin sister.

Until one day, one fateful day, during a visit to her elderly Uncle Edward and his sister, Lucia, hard, bitter, Lucia, she makes a discovery that completely shatters all that she thought she knew of the day that her sister dies.

She knows how her sister died. But does she? Does she really remember what happened, or are her memories not true?

And Tina is not the only member of her family who harbours some fairly dark secrets of their own.

Exactly how did Meg die? Did anyone kill her? Or was it a tragic accident that took her life?

Tina also examiners her relationships with the rest of her family, Uncle Edward, Simone, her French aunt and her estranged parents.

It is a compelling novel of family rivalries, dysfunction, loss and pain.

It's published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought here


Condition is one of those thriller novels that grabs the reader by the throat and will not let go.

The story begins in 1966 and RAF Flying Officer Dan Stewart is in trouble, he has been involved in a 'plane crash and he is literally watching his body being consumed by the fire that is raging through the cockpit of his plane.

He awakes from a coma in hospital some six months later, to be greeted by his wife and his daughter, Claire.

But where is his daughter Lucy? And is it his imagination or is there something going on between his wife and Doctor Adams, the medic in charge of his case?

And why can he not recall the mission that he was taking part in when his plane crashed?

And there was the puzzle of his injuries. He had suffered almost 100% burns in the fire. And had survived. How was that even possible?

 And how was it that when he saw his utterly horrific injuries in the hospital, the medical staff, apparently, could not?

And if he had been in a coma for six months, how come his accident had only occurred two weeks before he came out of his coma?

And what of the second accident, whilst he was under the care of the hospital that had, apparently, taken place?

He seems to be hallucinating, but which of the events that are taking place are real and which are the hallucinations?

Who can he trust? His wife? The Doctor? His nurse?

And what medical treatment do they want him to take? What is it? What is the purpose of it?

Dan doesn't want to take it. Is this due to paranoia caused by an injury to his brain? Or does he have a genuine reason for not wanting to take them?

Are his hallucinations and weird dreams a product of his illness, whatever that is, or are they trying to convey some sort of a message to him?

It's said that the truth will set you free, but what if the truth that is, apparently, being hidden from Dan, was so monstrous that it would kill him?

And what were the red pills prescribed by Doctor Adams actually designed to treat?

And what, exactly, is this hospital for? What conditions do they deal with? Burns and severe physical traumas, or is it a facility for treating neurological conditions?

Are the staff, or some of them, lying to Dan and his family?  

And why are all the other patients, including a child, called Alice, all suffering from almost exactly the same devastating burn injuries that are, apparently, afflicting Dan? And how was it that the sarcastic patient Gary knew which patients, including Dan, were not taking their red pills?

And why can't Dan's family see his horrific injuries?

If he just started taking the red pill again, all would be well, he has been assured. But if that were so, why had he stopped taking them in the first place?

The basis for this novel (the first in a series of three) are some rather unpleasant medical experiments undertaken by the military, those experiments are still very highly classified, so classified that the author can only allow a hint of them to be shared.

The novel is, according to Alec Birri, "disturbing science fiction based on disturbing science fact."

This has got to be one of the best science fiction books that I have read in 40 years, in fact it reads like a book written at the height of the British Science Fiction explosion. Maybe this is the start of a new renaissance for British SF?

But don't take my word for it, buy this book at for £7.99.

It is published by Matador and I am eagerly awaiting the subsequent books in the series.

Whiter Than White

Whiter Than White is a novel by veteran Pakistani police officer and writer J. J. Baloch.

It tells the compelling story of Hoor who is a faithful, Pakistani woman who lives her life within the confines of the society in which she exists.

It tells of her personal journey through life, how she protects her honour and her womanhood, bit J. J. Baloch also uses the story of Hoor who make penetrating observations on the issues of how women are treated within Pakistan.

The author takes several themes and deals with them all extremely well, women's rights, or lack thereof, how women are often treated badly by the legal system and society in general, even to the point of being punished when they have actually not committed any crime.

The book is interesting as it looks at the problems that women face in Pakistan (a place where misogyny is real and very dangerous) and is written by an insider.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought at

Unto the Skies

This is a biography of Amy Johnson, the pioneering English aviatrix who was the first femlae pilot to fly, solo, from Britain to Australia.

The daughter of Danish born, but naturalised British, Hull fish merchant, it might seem that Amy was an unlikely candidate for aviation history, but this was exactly what happened.

Author K. A. Lalani has undertaken meticulous research into the life and background of Amy Johnson from her very early life right through to her tragic and early death when he plane she was flying in crashed into the Thames Estuary. Her body was never recovered.

As well as being a pilot, Amy became the first British woman to qualify as a ground engineer, defying those who told her that she would never become a pilot to qualify as a pilot, eventually performing her heroic 1930 solo flight from Britain to Australia.

The sad story of her death by drowning in the Thames Estuary has never properly been explained and her remains were never recovered, even though she had been mere seconds away from being rescued. Indeed, one of the people who attempted to rescue her, died as a result.

The book does a great deal to take the reader into the whole life of Amy Johnson, flying ace and woman and it is very well illustrated with a well-selected range of photographs.

It will be welcomed by lovers of biography, of aviation history and of the history of modern British women and her story remains an inspiration to all, males and females.

It is published by The Book Guild at £9.99 and can be purchased here

The Yellow Bills

The Yellow Bills is a very well written book for children, but it will also be enjoyed by adults, too, so it is an ideal book to be read by and to children.

Michelle McKenna has crafted an exceedingly wonderful story (with superb illustrations from Steven Johnson) that tells the story of Mya.

Mya is eight years old and she wants to be just like her uncle, she wants to be a pilot.

She finds a local flying school, which has a 100% success rate in teaching its pupils to fly, enabling them to wear the coveted pilot's hat. But there is a fairly major problem that might block Mya from joining the flying school, she is a little girl, a human little girl, and the flying school is for ducklings only!

The flying instructor Lieutenant Drake chases her away, but when he sees how upset Mya is, one of the duckling pupils decides to help Mya to achieve her dream.

She learns a great deal from her new friend, that birds as well as humans have Control Towers to help make sure there are no crashes, she also learns of the story of Officer Peacock, the first duck who was taught to fly, even though she was only born with one leg.

But there were problems that My encountered, after all, humans aren't supposed to be able to fly and there was also the obstacle of Mr Sour the teacher, the only duck without the coveted pilot's hat.

But with the help of her mum, can Mya defy the odds and Mr Sour? Can she learn to fly?

The book is a fun and exciting read, but it also teaches some very important life lessons, but in a way that is not over-worthy or preachy. Including the most valuable lesson in disability awareness that I have seen in many years.

Your children will love this book, you will love this book.

It is published at £5.99 by Matador Books and it is a must buy book. In fact, there should be several copies of this book in every library and junior school in the country.

You can purchase it here at