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The Wild Roses by D.B. Carter

The Wild Roses ‘The Wild Roses’ is the latest book by D.B. Carter.

By autumn 1984 Sharon and Pip are in their final years of school and on the verge of adulthood. Best friends for as long as they can remember, the two young women befriend their badly bullied schoolmate, Gavin. Their futures are bright until a chance meeting leads to a path of corruption, anger and malicious betrayal. Sometimes, when we can’t rely on those we love, our only hope is in the kindness of strangers.All three teens are driven from their homes to follow very different paths. They face dark times of heartbreak and new temptations. But there may be ways out and better futures, if they are willing to take risks. What will they choose, and will they ever see each other again?

Set in the 80’s, this book is a story of friendship that spans decades.

Pip and Sharon are best friends, Pip is more stable and set in her ways whilst Sharon is more of a wildcard. One day, Sharon’s head is turned by Sam, the front man in a band and she disappears to London hoping to find fame and fortune leaving chaos and despair behind her, leaving her best friends life in tatters and everyone wondering where she has gone.

The story spans over a number of years as Pip tries to recover her life from the web of lies that Sharon spread about her with the help of another friend called Gavin. A quiet, bookish character that the girls took under their shoulder, he never understood Sharon’s disappearance and helped her father with the search.

Seen from the perspective of both Pip and Gavin, we see how their lives have changed over the years and the single connection of knowing Sharon brings them together. Set in the 80’s, the story is vividly written and descriptive with music and fashion of the era as well as the treatment of women during that time.

The story has strong, relatable characters as well as focusing on social issues such as bullying, harassment and poverty and writes about such issues with care and precision. ‘The Wild Roses’ is a compassionate and well written coming of age story about the importance of friendship and its strong bond.

You can buy ‘The Wild Roses’ from Amazon and is avaialble to buy from good bookshops.

The Silent House By Nell Pattison

The Silent House‘The Silent House’ is the latest book by Nell Pattison.

If someone was in your house, you’d know … Wouldn’t you? But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare: the murder of their daughter. The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something. One by one, people from Paige’s community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl? Was it an intruder? Or was the murderer closer to home?

The Silent House is an intriguing story of suspense as a deaf interpreter is caught up in the middle of an investigation when a little deaf girl is tragically murdered.

Paige accidentally becomes an interpreter when she’s the only hearing person in her family, even though her heart belongs to creativity. When a little girl of a close friend is brutally murdered, she finds herself embroiled in a case not only as an interpreter but as a target.

This is the first book written by Nell and it’s an extremely interesting and strong debut. Atmospheric from the first page, it tells the story of a close community united in grief. As the story is primarily seen through the narrative of the deaf characters and their signing and it really does make for interesting reading, reading about life in the deaf community.

As Paige begins to investigate the case along with her little sister, they find themselves the target of unwanted attention. I found it fascinating reading about life in the deaf community and really found it to be an addictive story.

Cleverly plotted with an intriguing hook, ‘The Silent House’ is a fascinating story they really gripped my attention. Riddled with drama, suspense and unreliable and dislikable characters, this book is a unique and unsettling story that made for eerie and addictive reading.

You can buy ‘The Silent House’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Towards The Vanishing Point by Jan Turk Petrie

Towards The Vanishing Point‘Towards The Vanishing Point’ is the latest book by Jan Turk Petrie.

In the North of England in1938, two ten-year-old girls, Lily Hetherington and Stella Marsden, form a close if unlikely friendship that endures despite their wartime experiences. After the war, the two women are working as nursing auxiliaries when Lily meets male nurse Will Bagshaw. Stella begins to hear sinister rumours about the man, but the besotted Lily won’t listen to a word said against him. Can Stella make her see sense before it’s too late?

I don’t often read historical fiction so ‘The Vanishing Point’ was a nice change. The story is primarily seen through the perspective of childhood friends Stella and Lilly, as they grow up together experience love and loss as well an unexpected additions in their lives.

Set against the dark times of the Second World War, this story focuses on friendship and the hardships that women had to go through at these times. Both women are strong and fierce characters that make for interesting reading. Spanning over 30 years, the story is well researched with the dialect and language that was used in that name. There are many angles to the story, but the main one is suspense when a charismatic man called Will enters Lily’s life and put her and Stella’s friendship into question. He’s a complex man who many people are suspicious off when Lily turns out to be his third wife.

The story primarily focuses on friendship and relationships but it does delve into the poverty and the sexism towards women during that era and I did find the story to be vividly written with descriptions of the bomb shelters and the impact they had on people’s lives.

A creative story that follows the ups and downs of life when men and life become in the way of friendships, ‘Towards The Vanishing Point’ is a compelling story that was a nice distraction from the usual genre I read.

You can buy ‘Towards The Vanishing Point’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A Body In The Bookshop by Helen Cox

A Body In The Bookshop‘A Body In The Bookshop’ is the second book in ‘The Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries’ by Helen Cox.

When DS Charlotte Banks is suspended from the police on suspicion of assaulting a suspect in the burglary of a local bookshop, librarian Kitt Harley and her friend Evie Bowes refuse to believe she is guilty. But why is she being framed? With Charlotte’s boss DI Malcolm Halloran unable to help, Evie decides to take matters into her own hands. Kitt takes little persuading to get involved too – after all, as well as Charlotte’s career to save, there are missing books to be found! From the tightknit community of York’s booksellers, to the most gossipy bus route in the country, Kitt and Evie leave no stone unturned to get at the truth behind the burglary. Then the discovery of a body raises the stakes even higher. For Evie, and now Kitt, this case is as personal as it gets. Can they catch the murderer in time to turn a bleak midwinter into something merry and bright?

Kitt and Evie are back with another dramatic story as the investigative duo look into the burglary of a local bookshop. With their inquisitive nature and knowledge of books, the pair delve into the case of murder and burglary whilst putting their lives in danger for a second time.

I really enjoy the Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mystery books, they’re not terribly gruesome like other books and they are the type of story that the reader can just sink into. They’re filled with charm and warmth, set in a small bustling village against the backdrop of books, so it’s hard not to be carried away by the story.

Kitt and her best friend Evie are two great characters, they’re a bit like the Cagney and Lacey of the book world, unable to stop at something unless they’ve solved. Their friendship and banter with each other makes for lighthearted and entertaining reading. Kitt’s boyfriend DI Halloran adds an injection of charisma into the story as he battles with being professional with his job as well as helping Kitt with her own unofficial investigation.

A captivating story from start to finish, ‘A Body in the Bookshop’ is a fantastic follow up book to the debut in the series. Atmospheric and suspenseful, this murder mystery book is a must for Agatha Christie fans.

You can buy ‘A Body In The Bookshop’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Trevor Wood

Trevor WoodTrevor Wood has lived in Newcastle for 25 years and considers himself an adopted Geordie, though he still can’t speak the language. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for 16 years joining, presciently, as a Writer. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. His first novel, The Man on the Street, which is set in his home city, will be published by Quercus in Spring 2020

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing
    I joined the Royal Navy at 18. When I left 16 years later I retrained as a journalist. One of my fellow journalism students, Ed Waugh, was interested in writing, comedy in particular, and as we car-shared for the whole course we talked about that a lot. Several years later we decided to give it try and wrote a comedy play called Good to Firm which did very well. Our next play, Dirty Dusting, was a huge success. It ended up touring all over the world and is still being produced some seventeen years later. Eleven professionally-produced plays later I decided to take a break from theatre and try to write a crime novel, the genre I had been reading since I was a kid. I signed up for the inaugural MA in Crime Writing at UEA, which was even better than I had hoped it might be, and the novel I developed as part of that course became my debut novel The Man on the Street.
  2. Tell us about your new book called ‘The Man On The Street’
    The Man on the Street centres on Jimmy, a homeless veteran, grappling with PTSD, and living on the streets of Newcastle, who witnesses a murder. Initially no-one believes him and even he hopes it’s another one of his vivid hallucinations but then a newspaper headline catches his eye: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. He believes the missing man might be the victim of the crime he witnessed. It’s time for him to stop hiding from the world. But telling the girl, Carrie, what he saw puts him at risk from enemies, both old and new. Jimmy has one big advantage though; when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.
  3. What made you decide crime?
    It’s always been my first love as a reader. Like most people my age I blame Enid Blyton for everything. The Secret Seven, Famous Five and the ‘Adventure’ series were undoubtedly my gateway drugs to a lifelong love of crime fiction. It’s no coincidence that The Man on the Street features a dog. He’s a direct descendant of Timmy.

    Once I’d put on my big boy pants it was difficult to know where to go next – YA fiction was barely a thing back in the day. The solution came to me on a terribly dull barge holiday on the Norfolk Broads with my cousin. These days I’d love that kind of holiday – a glorified pub crawl on a boat being my kind of thing – but for a 14-year-old boy it was stupefyingly boring. The solution was galloping through the shelf full of books on the barge – all written by Agatha Christie. From that moment on it was crime all the way and it’s all due to Enid and Agatha (and maybe Scooby Doo)

  4. What do you find the most challenging about writing a book?
    The length of time it takes! 90,000 words is huge, especially as I used to write plays which come in at around 25k – and I had a co-writer. I know that some writers can breeze through a book in a couple of months but I can’t, something around nine months is optimum for me as I like to edit as I go along and maintaining focus and staying in the right zone to ensure I keep the voice and character consistent for that long is difficult.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there” from L.P Hartley’s ‘The Go Between’
  6. The Man on the Street

  7. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    How many can I have? Dennis Lehane, because he’s a genius, Dominic Nolan, great writer, funny man and the next big thing; Harriet Tyce, my best writing pal, fellow UEA MA graduate and a font of knowledge on crime writing; Olivia Kiernan, because she never stops talking; and maybe James Ellroy for the touch of madness he would bring to the party.
  8. Has there ever been a film that’s been better than the book?
    Yes. Unequivocably. ‘Nocturnal Animals’ is a thousand times better than the book it’s based upon, Tony and Susan. I really didn’t like the book at all and didn’t even finish it. When I saw the movie trailer in the cinema I realised it was from that book but it looked fantastic so I went to see it and it was superb. One of my favourite movies of the last ten years.
  9. Who’s your favourite villain or hero?
    I’ve always liked Alex in ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (which probably makes me a bad person)
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess (again) – not only a great book but a lot of it is written in an invented foreign language – Nadsat – which means you can fill hours working out the words and maybe inventing new ones.

    ‘Different Seasons’ by Stephen King. Bit of a cheat as it’s four novellas in one book but as three of them became excellent movies, Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil it’s well worth reading time and again

    ‘My Absolute Darling by’ Gabriel Tallent – not just because it’s a brilliant if brutal book but, from memory, it also includes a lot of survival skills that may prove very useful on the island.

  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Think carefully about the decisions you make about how to tell your story. Whose perspective works best? Highsmith suggested that a single perspective increases intensity which I think is true but it also fences you in as a writer – your protagonist has to ‘see’ everything.

    Concentrate on character – how does your protagonist think, talk, interact with other people? What words does he use? Don’t show off by using ten-dollar words if your character wouldn’t use them.

    If you’re trying to write a thriller, focus on pace. Short chapters, short sentences, chapter endings that make the reader keep going. Be careful about too much description – Elmore Leonard’s advice to ‘leave out the bits people tend to skip’ is very sound.

  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A cup of strong, black coffee. Or even better, a whole cafetierre.
  13. And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    The Man on the Street is the first in a series of crime novels with the homeless community at the centre. I’m currently working on book 2 in the series which is provisionally called One Way Street. There’s an outbreak of bizarre drug-related deaths amongst runaway teenagers and, when one of his friends becomes involved, Jimmy is compelled to try and find out what’s really going on.

    Follow Trevor Wood on Twitter and his Facebook Page website for updates.

You can buy ‘The Man on the Street’ from Amazon