London – The Ship – Antonia Honeywell

SHIP

Why a booktrail?

TIME – In the Future. While London burns, and its people live in poverty, a ship holds the only hope for escape…or does it?

Story in a nutshell

London as you know it no longer exists. Civilsation is coming to an end. Oxford Street is burning, Regent’s Street has been bombed and those people who can’t produce an ID card, well you might as well not exist.

The only place which remains remotely recognisable is the British Museum. Well that’s if you can see past the crowds of survivors and disappearing displays from the once grand museum. The Nazareth Act has come into force. All those who can board the ship should do so.

Because the ship is  a floating salvation from this living nightmare….isn’t it?Only the worthy will be chosen but who decides and what kind of world lies on board this ship? 500 people are about to find out.

Place and setting

It's London but not as you know it. The British  Museum is at the centre of this dystopian world www.britishmuseum.org/
It’s London but not as you know it. The British Museum is at the centre of this dystopian world
www.britishmuseum.org/

Set in the not-too-distant future, the setting of a London under siege, burning, fraught with danger, poverty and disease is nevertheless largely recognisable as the city we know today. Minus the dystopian setting obviously but this recognition of present day places and events makes for a chilling and uncomfortable scene.

London is now somewhat changed – the crowds, the comfortable life which Lalla shares with her parents in Central London, the parks, the British Museum and familiar streets such as Oxford Street and Gower Street in a very different light and they become terrifying places.

This is London but not as we know it. Lalla is cut off from most of the horror since her only trips out are to the British Museum where she looks at the exhibits, notices the homeless who have not been registered and so are not entitled to food or supplies. Regents park for example has become a refugee camp of sorts. Bombs fall on those not registered.

The ship comes into dock as being the one place which could save humanity. Lalla’s father has bought it and equipped it for the hundreds of people he has selected to go on board. A human Noah’s ark if you will. Lalla believes with the others that as this is the end of civilsation then the ship is the only way out. But life on the ship is not what is seems. Everything they do on board is controlled, from the food they eat to the news they hear. But who is controlling what and why?

And what has happened to London and the outside world?

REview

Quick someone head over to the British Museum and check it’s still there? And Regent’s Park….and London now you think about it. I live near the sea and I swear if I look out and see a ship, I don’t know what I’ll do. 

The setting for this was so recongisable as was the language and coming of age feel to it all then I really saw London in a new light. Blimey, I’ll certainly take a new look at life now. It was thrilling to see how Lalla was so protective in her world but then how she came to realise what else was just yards from her own door.

I don’t know what other dystopian worlds are like but this was chilling yet also normal which made it even more chilling. Like Lalla, I was unsettled with the idea of the ship but intrigued to board. It did sound a marvellous place in some respects with its blue velvet benches and chandeliers but in a very creepy way. I really was looking over my shoulder reading this such was the feeling that I was being led astray and knew I shouldn’t be going there.

Can’t really say much more without giving spoilers but this was good. Very very good and I really feel as if I’ve read something I have never read before. I’m going on a ferry in few weeks and am getting nervous sweats already…..

England and French Riviera – The Mystery of the Blue Train Agatha Christie

the-mystery-of-the-blue-train

Why a booktrail?

Not the infamous Orient Express maybe, but when a woman is found murdered on the train, Poirot comes on board.

Story in a nutshell

When the luxurious Blue Train pulls into the station at Nice, a guard attempts to wake Ruth Kettering who is still sleeping in her compartment. He is shocked to discover that she is dead and has been felled by a heavy blow  – her features almost unrecognizable. Ruth Kettering was the daughter of an American millionaire and her rubies appear to be missing…

Poirot is called to investigate but he’s not sure that the prime suspect – Ruth’s estranged husband, Derek is the murderer, so he stages an exact and chilling re-enactment of the journey, complete with the murderer on board…

Place and setting

LONDON - Victoria Station Where the train departs from Paris - Place de la Concorde A little man with a face like a  rat crosses the Place de la Concorde France - South of France - France Riviera - Cannes When they arrived at Cannes, Katherine got out and walked up and down the platform France - South of France - France Riviera - Nice The final destination of the train
LONDON – Victoria Station
Where the train departs from
FRANCE – Paris – Place de la Concorde
A little man with a face like a rat crosses the Place de la Concorde
France – South of France – France Riviera – Cannes
When they arrived at Cannes, Katherine got out and walked up and down the platform
France – South of France – France Riviera – Nice
The final destination of the train

Train travel Agatha Christie style? Maybe keep one eye open when you sleep and always look over your shoulder when awake as murders appear to take place on her trains. This might not be the famous Orient Express but it’s a journey which ends in murder all the same.

A leisurely journey by train to the French Riviera might sound nice but poor Ruth is found dead – strangled in her carriage with her ruby “Heart of fire’ missing. This valuable stone had been given to her by her father. Ruth’s husband was on the train but he claims not to have seen Ruth. Others say he did.

Ruth’s maid is another strange character on the train, mixed up in the events of that day. In fact there are a range of strange characters with dubious backgrounds that Poirot finds it hard to understand at first.

The reenactment – like a reconstruction of the crime and the events is eerily evoked. Taking place just after the real crime and in such a closed space, the atmosphere is eerily evoked.

Old fashioned murder investigations resume  – with a potential jewel thief, a rich woman dead on a train and a cigarette case with the letter K engraved on it.

The plot of this novel is based on the 1923 Poirot short story  ‘The Plymouth Express’ and features the first mention and description of the fictional village St Mary Mead where Christie’s later Miss Marple stories would be set.

Paris, St Petersburg, London, The Amazon Rainforest – The Last Kiss Goodbye – Tasmina Perry

last kiss goodbye

Why a booktrail?

A faded photograph starts a search for the love lost across the years

Story in a nutshell

1961.

Rosamund Bailey is ready to change the world. She is young, wants to fight for what she believes in and meets her match in Dominic Blake. He is an explorer and also wants to break down boundaries and to leave his mark on the world. When tragedy strikes however, a faded photo of their last kiss is all that remains

2014.

Deep in the vaults of a museum, A faded photo of a lingering kiss is found by archivist Abby Morgan. Fascinated by this one moment frozen in time, she sets out to find out who this couple were and what happened all those years ago.

Place and setting

From London, to Paris, to St Petersburg and the Amazon Rainforest...
From London, to Paris, to St Petersburg and the Amazon Rainforest…

A story set in Paris, London, and deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle, time and places separated by years and decades of a lost love. Lost in every sense of the world.

London

he British Cartographic Society c/o Royal Geographical Society 1 Kensington Gore London SW7 2AR Could this be where Abby works?  Egerton Crescent - where Victoria lives Highgate Cemetery - Rosamund lives close to here Waterloo Bridge Waterloo Bridge - an iconic spot in Rosamund and Dominic’s story Kew Gardens - Elliot gives Abby a tour around here http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens
The British Cartographic Society
c/o Royal Geographical Society
1 Kensington Gore
Could this be where Abby works?
Egerton Crescent – where Victoria lives
Highgate Cemetery – Rosamund lives close to here
Waterloo Bridge – an iconic spot in Rosamund and Dominic’s story
Kew Gardens – Elliot gives Abby a tour around here
http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens

The story of the photograph first comes to light in the vaults of the Royal Cartography Institute where it is featured in an exhibition and christened ‘The Last Kiss Goodbye’.

This is the London where Dominic and Rosamund start their love affair. From Waterloo Bridge, to the parties of Eaton Square, their London is one of a whirlwind love affair

The world is changing, women are fighting for their rights and for what they deserve, sexual liberation is being mixed up faster than the cocktails in the swinging jazz clubs.

St Petersburg

“Back in the sixties, most of the Russian newspapers were state controlled”

These were dangerous times for the world is changing on the international stage too. The Cold War is in full swing and the murky world of espionage and diplomatic manoeuvres is a a world that is not as far away as young, free couples might imagine. Abby’s research soon takes her into the dark world of the KGB and Soviet spies for Dominic was an influential man who hob-nobed in his job as editor of Capital magazine. This world however is one which evokes the secrecy, uncertainty and duality of the times.

“The Russians wanted us to believe that there were traitors in every sector of our ruling elite. They wanted to destabilise us”

Paris

The sixties were just as swinging in Paris as they were elsewhere. Rosamund and Dominic spend time here with each other enjoying each other as well as the city’s literary heritage with visits to Les Deux Magots where Sartre and his contemporaries would sit and talk. The world here is an exciting one on the edge of something big. Times are a changing and the memories created here are some that Rosamund will savour for years to come.

The  Amazon

However three such disparate and seemingly unconnected locations link up a story that twists and turns with one photo at its centre. Dominic, lost on an expedition to the far flung Amazon jungle with its humidity, the pitiless sun coupled with the biblical downpours.

Lost and never found, his whereabouts a ghostly imprint. Abby, assisted by Rosamund search for what went so terribly wrong all those years and miles away.

Bookish musings

What a  story! From one photo I was transported not just via locations but through many different emotions as I followed Dominic’s and Rosamund’s story with anticipation. Going back to the 1960s with a story of love and subterfuge was an exciting literary journey and the contrast of the troubled times with the Cold war in the background was a fascinating insight into the period.

I loved Dominic’s and Rosamund’s story, the challenges they faced, the struggles they had to endure and the cloud of suspicion that has hung over both of them ever since. What did happen to Dominic in that jungle? I was dying to find out. Having Rosamund help Abby in the present day was a great way to discover things together with the characters.

The love story is at the centre of course but what a twisting and turning story of hope, secrets and a changing world. So many contrasts which fitted so well together. And it all started with one frozen moment captured on film. A shocking secret buried in time is revealed and the journey  to find it is one of the most fascinating I’ve been on in a long while.

The Milliner’s Secret – London and Paris – WW2 – Natalie Meg Evans

Milliner

Why a booktrail?

Natalie Meg Evans has transported us to Paris of haute couture with The Dress Thief, now she takes us to the dark days of the occupation in Paris through the eyes of a young milliner…A milliner with a secret…

Story in a hatbox…

What cost the price of fame?

Cora Masson is a young, poor and  disenchanted young girl working in London. Her life is not a happy one for various reasons and one day is given an opportunity to change her life. She dreams of becoming someone and making something of herself.  A dressmaker to the elite. So she changes her name to Coralie de Lirac, moves to Paris and invents a past to push her to the front of the chicest Parisian circles. She lives with her German lover whose influence gets her noticed.

Working as a Milliner, she becomes a success but then German soldiers invade the city. War has arrived and life is going to change.

However, with such a mixed background, what is real and what isn’t and can Coralie survive the biggest challenge of her life?

The World of the Milliner….

Boulevard Raspail - Hotel de Lutetia One of the most iconic hotels on the Left bank (due to reopen 2017) and where Coralie goes. This is a lush hotel where the signs of Nazism can be seen in the novel. Boulevard de la Madeleine Where the Passierinette is located Rue de Vaugirard Dietrich’s flat is here Rue de Seine Where Coralie lives Boulevard Haussmann  where the posh department stores are such as Printemps
Boulevard Raspail – Hotel de Lutetia
One of the most iconic hotels on the Left bank (due to reopen 2017) and where Coralie goes. This is a lush hotel where the signs of Nazism can be seen in the novel.
Boulevard de la Madeleine
Where the Passierinette is located
Rue de Vaugirard
Dietrich’s flat is here
Rue de Seine
Where Coralie lives
Boulevard Haussmann
where the posh department stores are such as Printemps

The World of Paris fashion is both a sumptuous and difficult place to be. At first Coralie’s world is one filled with love, expectation, fashion and new hats. Her German lover Dietrich takes her the famous milliners La Passierinette on Boulevard de la Madeleine for the first time, a hat emporium that will be the focus of her life in Paris –

She studied the shop, likening tis pink walls and the overblown chandeliers that cast reflections on the hats in the window.

Grey and pink hatboxes caught her eye

The shop opens Coralie’s eyes to Parisian life and to the secret life of Dietrich. There is something about the shop, the hats and the women who work there that entices and frightens her. She is a frightened gazelle in a new world that she is determined to conquer.

This is the world of the French Expo, so the city is abuzz with new fashions, new faces and a new sense of excitement. At the same time the Nazis are encroaching on the city – even the German pavillion is floodlit with an eagle dominating its roof. Coralie’s sense of wonderment is tempered with the knowledge that her secret identity could be unmasked at any time.

The city is changing and fast. Coralie’s determination gets her a job at Henriette Junot’s milliners shop catapults her into the fashion milieu of the city of lights. Women clamour for her designs and style but her facade feels as fragile as the delicate butterflies which adorn the hats.

When the war comes, alliances and friendships start to unravel like the silken threads of the milliner’s hand.

Friendship was dangerous and human sympathy was rationed.

War is like the ultimate veil which descends dangerously on the city, and identities become blurred and something to dress over rather than display proudly. Coralie’s work continues but the war takes her friends, changes her life and questions her reasons for being there.

Coralie’s Paris turns into a network of shadowy alliances, dark corners, shady characters. Hitler has plans for the Jews of the city, whilst others have plans to stop his torment. Life in the Resistance becomes increasingly possible but Cora/Coralie is trapped not only in Paris but between her conscience and reality. In the lush hotel Lutetia in Boulevard Raspail –

In the marble foyer, icons of Nazism were everywhere, superimposed on the lush decor

Paris now is caught between two worlds, just like Coralie and her  dreams. Friends disappear and Coralie is all alone.

Bookish musings – Susan

A sumptuous world of hats, milliners secrets, styles and a woman trying to find her way in a dangerous world.

Cora/Coralie is living a dangerous life. She escapes one world to enter another but the war shows her the fripperies of life can be dangerous. Oh and the trouble she had masking her identity almost getting caught several times!

The thrill of being in Paris fashion circles (mentions of characters of the author’s first book The Dress Thief really added to the atmosphere of this very real world) only to find war encroaching on every aspect of life was fascinating and Coralie ran into danger so often it was scary. The way she coped with Dietrich, their shady friends, friends going missing, violence and scare tactics made her grow as a character and what I at first thought was going to be a romance in war time Paris was soon a great deal more.

The deportation of Jews contrasted with the Paris elite’s need for a fine hat and it was this which really evoked the irony of war. Not being allowed to wear the colours of the Marsellaise, or speak freely was vividly portrayed as Coralie learned to find her way in the dark.

From start to finish, an enthralling and captivating tale of war time Paris. The risk and then reality of your friends going missing must have been horrendous and Coralie was tenacious and determined. I’d already read and loved The Dress Thief so to see these characters mentioned and have them involved in the plot really added to the overall sense of being involved and immersed in their world.

So many issues in this book that I think it needs a sequel  – I’ve not seen Paris painted like this before. Fascinating.

The Book of Lost and Found – Paris- London- Corsica – Lucy Foley

lost and found

Why a booktrail?

From Cornwall to London, Paris and Corsica in the 1920s where the a love story spans the decades and the ages until war changes everything

Story in a nutshell

London 1986

Kate starts to sort through her grandmother’s belongings  when she finds a painting of a woman Celia, drawn by the famous artist Thomas Stafford. Wanting to know more, she starts to look into her family’s past. She’s always known she was adopted but the search takes her down roads and via stories she never could have imagined

Paris 1939

Alice Everly and Thomas Stafford meet again after having met in 1913 Cornwall and meet over the years as war tries to intervene once again. Tom is now a world-famous artist, Alice is a different person too. Can they rekindle what they once had and what they once dreamed of?

Place and setting

*Silk street where she works in a solicitors office *Upper street Where Alice lives *Royal Academy of Arts Burlington House Piccadilly Mayfair, London Kate goes to see Stafford here *Claridge's Brook St - http://www.claridges.co.uk/ A special meeting takes place here Paris PARIS Rue de seine An address of note in the city Gare du Lyon She arrives here with Oliver Ile de Cite Where he and Kate walk one evening after supper on the way back to the apartment
*Silk street
where she works in a solicitors office
*Upper street
Where Alice lives
*Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House
Piccadilly
Mayfair, London
Kate goes to see Stafford here
*Claridge’s
Brook St
http://www.claridges.co.uk/
A special meeting takes place here

PARIS
Rue de seine
An address of note in the city
Gare du Lyon
She arrives here with Oliver
Ile de Cite
Where he and Kate walk one evening after supper on the way back to the apartment

Two interweaving love stories take you on a journey from Cornwall to London, Paris to Corsica as the trails of life and love interweave across the decades.

London

Kate Darling finds a painting of a mysterious woman called Celia. Who this woman is and wanting to know more of her mother June’s past, who was a famous ballerina, she sets off on a trail of discovery. Evie, the grandmother who gives her the painting is hiding many secrets. Her trail follows that of Alice and Tom many years before her as she experiences their story too.

Cornwall and Paris

Meeting for the first time when on holiday in Winnard Cove, Cornwall, Tom and Alice are from different sides of the track – Alice is almost of aristocratic stock while Tom is middle class.

Love knows no boundaries however and the two fall in love. War intervenes and they meet again years later at a house party. The world is changing around them

From this party, Alice’s story unfolds as she travels across Europe during one of the most dangerous times in history. The year is 1938 and war is everywhere. Small details show how people saw the occupation –

And it is strange because the German soldiers don’t look like men of war. Most of them look like boys, sunburnt and flushed with excitement.

Corsica

Corsica *Bonifacio Kate explores the old town looking for secrets. She has dinner here with someone. The St Marie Majeure de Bonifacio Church is here *Bonifacio harbour The couple go on a boat to see the famous ‘ Grain du sable’ out at sea *Église Saint-Dominique de Bonifacio La citadelle A church in the old town where Kate explores with Oliver. Escalier du Roi d'Aragon The city is one of fantasy for Kate, built on rock and fortress like
Corsica
*Bonifacio
Kate explores the old town looking for secrets. She has dinner here with someone. The St Marie Majeure de Bonifacio Church is here
*Bonifacio harbour
The couple go on a boat to see the famous ‘ Grain du sable’ out at sea
*Église Saint-Dominique de Bonifacio
La citadelle
A church in the old town where Kate explores with Oliver.
Escalier du Roi d’Aragon
The city is one of fantasy for Kate, built on rock and fortress like

Artist Tom is now an elderly man living on the island of Corsica and when Kate visits him, he tells the tale of a beautiful yet bitter sweet love story which takes them back to England and then Paris during the war and the time of occupation

Corsica is evoked with passion –

“The heat was heavy, tangible and the air shimmered above the dry earth..”

“Corsica is sun and dirt and herbs”

Three  main time periods, each explores the life and lifestyle of the times,

how people acted and made decisions during times such as war. How one decision made one day could have an effect on the future.

What things are lost and which are found…..a story of life itself.

Booktrail review – Susan

Totally and utterly loved this book.  A story which takes  you from the present day to the past and back again. The mystery of a painting found after so many years. And a link to an old Corsican house where secrets unfold and the past slowly comes to light…

I love a good story with a secret which unravels across time and place but this one took on so many emotions such as heartache, regret, nostalgia and sacrifice that I was absolutely engrossed. Kate was an interesting character and I felt I was right beside her every step of the way as she searched for the truth. My heart was in my mouth if I’m honest as I wasn’t sure what she was going to find.

Oh the locations were evocative and mesmerizing – like a treasure trail as one clue led to another. Corsica was a magical place and ideal for the denouement of this story with the history and emotions it involved. I can‘t say much more without giving a clue to the plot but to read this and see it revealed is a joy that I don’t want to spoil for anyone.

Oh and Tom! The story of Alice -the roaring twenties!  I need this to be a film. Right now. That’s how it played out in my mind’s eye after all. I’m still dancing to the music which played in my head.

Sumptuous and delectable in every way.

The Other Me – Leeds, London, Germany – Saskia Sarginson

the other me

Why a booktrail?

The trauma of war and the search for identity and one girl living two lives in Germany and England…

Story in a nutshell

Klaudia – London

An only child who lives with her parents.With a religious mother and a German father, she is teased at school and so retreats in to her shell and a new identity – Eliza. A girl who desperately wants to escape from beyond the shadows and constrains of her life.

Otto and Ernst – pre War Germany

Otto and Ernst are brothers and both members of the Hitler Youth Movement. Otto is keen to belong whilst Ernest is in love with a Jewish girl.

A search for identity and belonging

Place and setting

 Leeds university Where she goes to university and then to study drama and dance. She goes to a fireworks display in Roundhay park London Croydon Where Klaudia grows up, goes to school and is bullied Brixton This is the real thing, the edge, urban bustle and grime of a city. There will all sorts of possibilities here. MAP 2 Germany  *Berlin - Topography of Terror.  Niederkirchnerstrasse 8, +49 30 2545 0950, topographie.de. Be aware that this outdoor museum, built on the site of the former headquarters of the SS and Gestapo, is not for the fainthearted *Jewish museum Lindenstrasse 9-14, +49 30 2599 3300, jmberlin.de.  *The Allied Museum • Clayallee 135, +49 30 818 1990, alliiertenmuseum.de.

Leeds university
Where she goes to university and then to study drama and dance. She goes to a fireworks display in Roundhay park
London
Croydon
Where Klaudia grows up, goes to school and is bullied
Brixton
“This is the real thing, the edge, urban bustle and grime of a city. There will all sorts of possibilities here.”

Germany
*Berlin – Topography of Terror.
Niederkirchnerstrasse 8
Be aware that this outdoor museum, built on the site of the former headquarters of the SS and Gestapo, is not for the fainthearted
*Jewish museum
Lindenstrasse 9-14, jmberlin.de.
*The Allied Museum
• Clayallee 135, +49 30 818 1990, alliiertenmuseum.de.

Croydon 1980s and Leeds 1990s

Klaudia lives in Croydon, South London with her parents and has a sad lonely life. Bullied at school when the kids find out that not only is her father the caretaker but a German as well ( or Nazi according to them) her life becomes unbearable.

There are three of us at home. Well four if you count Jesus

In the 1990s, Klaudia has now abandoned her Identity and has effectively ran away to Leeds to university where her life starts over. But then this world runs into trouble when her old life follows her and the lies she’s told come back to haunt her. This running away from her story and from the place she grew up is poignant as she realises that here she can be anyone she wants to be, have new friends, start over and erase her London past. Her father has a past that she knows little about and what she does find out haunts her.

Germany

The story weaves once again back to the past as the brothers Ernst and Otto, 1930s Germany are being primed for war. Ernst is a poignant narrator as he looks back at what happened during those war years and how his brother Otto changed so much before his eyes. This was a dark dark time and the harrowing descriptions of the German campaign, in Ukraine, in Russia are brutal in their detail. But it was this line, this ideology which chilled us the most –

The Fuhrer tells everyone that the future of Germany is in the hands of its youth. There is strength in numbers. We have a new and giddy power.

How the legacy of war haunts every one of us. How memories of the past come back to haunt us, how past and present merge and how misunderstandings of human emotions and reasons can linger, fester, and damage.

Booktrail Review – Susan

This is a story about the search for identity. Klaudia who has problems in the UK with her religious mother and German father. Then with Otto and Ernst who grow up very different during the Hitler regime. although Klaudia’s story was interesting, it was the Otto and Ernst story which really capture my attention – for it raised questions that I’d never really thought of before. Just what must it have been like to have been a young man during Hitler’s rise to power. How easy was it to follow that way of thinking or try to stand out and follow your own convictions?

Both Klaudia and the brothers both feel different, the isolation and difficult choices are very hard to bear. But to see not only their lives but 1930s Germany in general through their eyes was a real insight into the time and place. These boys as with others like them are rounded characters, individuals despite the Nazi ideal of ‘collectivism’.

Ernst was the man I wanted to learn about the most and his story is very intriguing indeed.

Redemption Road – Scottish Highlands to Penzance – Lisa Ballantyne

redemption road

Why a booktrail ?

A gritty read about the bonds between parent and child and the threads which can unravel as well as bound us together. From the tip of Scotland to the southern most point of the British Isles

Story in a nutshell

A story of questions and right and wrong

Margaret, a school teacher, is rescued from a burning car. Who was the scared stranger who rescued her and then ran off?

Her life has been full of secrets and she’s determined not to let this be another one. She has to find the man who rescued her in more ways than one.

Meanwhile up in Scotland, a young girl has been abducted and local reporter Angus is keen to find out more. His investigations take him to some dark places and he is soon on the trail of something much bigger.

Over in Glasgow, George belongs to a notorious gangster family. George is looking for a better life and to escape the mistakes of the past.

Three very different lives about to clash.

Place and setting

Thurso - the river Big George feels taller here than he does in Glasgow and feels as if he is dressed wrong and that everyone speaks funny here. Molly and her family live here. Rose Street Where Molly and her family live Dounreay The (in)famous nuclear plant which stands just outside of Thurso and is where Molly’s stepfather works Wick The newspaper offices are here where Angus files his story on the missing school girl Glasgow - Glasgow Park Where George goes to propose to Kat
Thurso – the river
Big George feels taller here than he does in Glasgow and feels as if he is dressed wrong and that everyone speaks funny here. Molly and her family live here.
Rose Street
Where Molly and her family live
Dounreay
The (in)famous nuclear plant which stands just outside of Thurso and is where Molly’s stepfather works
Wick
The newspaper offices are here where Angus files his story on the missing school girl
Glasgow – Glasgow Park
Where George goes to propose to Kat

The story has three main settings – London, Glasgow and Wick in the Scottish Highlands where the threads of the story start separately. We move back and forward in time to see the build up to current day events.

London

Where the novel opens and where the main action of the novel takes place. Margaret is driving along Willis Street when we meet her. But it’s then that the accident happens on the M11 and she’s taken to the Royal London Hospital.

Margaret’s story unfolds her and her story is a search which takes her across London in search of that scarred man who found her. She wants to know more about him and her childhood which has always been a mystery.

Scotland – Glasgow and Thurso

The main setting of the story – George is part of a crime family which harasses the city of Glasgow. He’s easy to like as he’s a rogue rather than a hardened criminal. But the weak link in a gangster chain is vulnerable and when something doesn’t go to plan, events turn sinister and his life spirals down a new and dangerous path.

This is Glasgow circa 1985 where you still need coins to operate a call box, and where the life of a criminal is both violent and not for the faint hearted!

Wick

Meanwhile there is a keen journalist, Angus, on the search of his biggest story yet and when he discovers the story of a missing little girl, he thinks he spots something which needs further investigation. He’s  a Scottish lad through and through – hardy – as was brought up in North Bay on the Isle of Barra (Isle of Hebrides) When he visits the parents of abducted Molly Kathleen and John, his curiosity is peaked.

Booktrail review – Clare

Two, well three different stories where the threads become even more entangled and although you can more or less tell where they are going, it’s still a good ride to get there.

Three people with three very different backgrounds and goals in life, from Scotland to Penzance makes for a story which builds from the 1970s to the present day and jumps from one location to another but these threads get tighter until a picture forms.

Margaret’s story of her rescue by the scarred man was intriguing and I was keen to know what happened here. George I felt less for since he was from a criminal family but it was still interesting to see why he did what he did.

The flaws present in all of us and the will to carry on is strong and this was an interesting way to examine those thoughts. Characters are not black and white and I enjoyed reading the three very different opinions of Margaret, George and Angus.

I was very keen to find out like Margaret who the scarred man was and made for a nice twist!

The Killer Next Door – London – Alex Marwood

Killer nd

Why a booktrail?

A bedsit in London might not sound like the scariest place in the world, but do you know your neighbours?

Story

No. 23 has a secret.

All six residents have something to hide. Even the rather lecherous landlord.When secrets are buried, however deep and where ever they are, they tend to find a way of being found.

So who does live at no 23? There’s quite the mix, no two people alike and no two people with the same set of morals or background it would seem. Each of them an entity into themselves, lonely and living very separate lives.

Until one night, when something happens to bring them all together, tie them all together in more ways than one.

Place and setting

Beulah Grove the street where there could be a killer living next door Balham High Rd, London, UK Where the lover is spotted buying something of interest... Clapham Junction “When the train lets out there, its like a scene from 28 days later” Beechcroft Road The road which is full of skips Selhurst The nearest train station to this Beulah Grove and there is a lot of mention of tracks and train journeys in the novel
Beulah Grove
the street where there could be a killer living next door? 
Balham High Rd, London, UK
Where the lover is spotted buying something of interest…
Clapham Junction
“When the train lets out there, its like a scene from 28 days later”
Beechcroft Road
The road which is full of skips
Selhurst
The nearest train station to the Beulah Grove in real life and there is a lot of mention of tracks and train journeys in the novel

Twenty six residents have passed through the house on Beulah Grove since he took up residence, and he has never gone hungry enough to move on himself. He has had many names and for now it’s Psycho

And that’s just the cat who lives here never mind the residents. So when the cat is called Psycho, you have to wonder….

Beulah Grove is a quiet place to live. Situated in London, this is just one street in a city that is often anonymous, where no one knows each other and where no one really knows anyone else. Despite the number of people living in such proximity to each other, loneliness and suspicion of others can result instead.

Looking back from the present time, the killer next door is established and we are taken back in time to see what led to this moment. The journey is a slice of London life, life in a bedsit, life with people you don’t know

And you know, you come back and realise that you don’t know anybody any more. You know how people move around, in London.

So who lives in this place?  There’s Gerard Bright who’s a music teacher, Thomas Dunbar who works part time, Teenage Cher, who has fled from the care system, Iranian asylum seeker Hossein Zanjani and the new addition to the house, Collette.

And two people  – elderly Vesta Collins who has been there since time began, and the creepy, creepy, landlord Roy Preece should be two people who keep an eye on things.

The same all over London, the anonymity we all cherish: it’s a sure road to oblivion

How does such a disparate group of people get to this stage and end up living like this?

And just who has been living next door?

Review – Susan

You might not want to read this if you’re about to move in to a flat in London or anywhere else for that matter. It really makes you think and wonder about a lot of things and because it is all so horrifically possible – how would you know if there was a killer next door? There have been many famous cases on the television over the years of real life cases where someone has murdered someone and they are described as ‘ nice and quiet’…

This novel gives a glimpse of a nice slice of life in London with such a range of characters I got to know, not always liked, but enjoyed getting into their heads and seeing what made them tick.

Hats off to you Ms Marwood – creepy and chilling and a fantastic read!

No other darkness – Snaresbrook, Greater London – Sarah Hilary

no other darkness

Why a booktrail?

Sarah Hilary is a master at taking you to the darkest recesses of the human mind and to places you would never think evil existed…

Story in a nutshell

Two young boys have been found in a bunker and DI Marnie is both saddened and sickened at this latest case The boys went missing five years previous and she is determined to find answers as to who they are and how they ended up there.

For DI Marnie, there is no other darkness than this. She leads the team and there are a lot of leads to follow.

The gardener who found the bunker is moved to a safe house and investigations start up with a vengeance.

Just what other secrets are buried underground?

Place and setting

Snaresbrook Bodies found in Snaresbrook Epping Forest A gloriously green and beautiful part of Snaresbrook Snaresbrook crown court a building with an interesting past. According to London Gardens Online, it used to be the former ‘Infant Orphan Asylum’, opened in 1843.  Snaresbrook tube
Snaresbrook
Bodies found in Snaresbrook
Epping Forest
A gloriously green and beautiful part of Snaresbrook
Snaresbrook crown court
A building with an interesting past. According to London Gardens Online, it used to be the former ‘Infant Orphan Asylum’, opened in 1843.
Snaresbrook tube

Snaresbrook, North London

One of the most haunting and dark opening chapters takes you to the heart of this book’s darkness. The most harrowing of places – a bunker where two children are as yet still alive before the horrific end. Five years later and the bunker is discovered but there is no light which enters this tale, only more darkness.

Two dead children, identities unknown found huddled together in a bunker….

The investigations which follow take DI Marnie and her team to some very dark places. Leads take her and the team to crimes oast and personal hells for the families involved as they come to terms with the true meaning of torture.

DS Noah Jakes works with Marnie to delve into the case which soon becomes a lot more complicated and widespread than first thought. The area of Snaresbrook, a relatively nice and quiet residential part of London soon becomes the hunting ground for the police and the setting for some very chilling scenes. Just who does live there and how well do you know your neighbour?

The bunker reveals a lot more secrets than just the bodies of the children. Violence is hidden there – the soil from the garden is trod all through the house and the floor is  “bruised by damp.”

But sometimes the real isolation we feel, the real darkness all around us, is that from within.

And that’s the darkest recess of them all – the human mind.

Due to the nature of this book, the booktrail merely picks out some nice places in and around Snaresbrook and not individual streets, many of which are obviously fictional anyway.

Booktrail review – Susan

A unique subject for a crime novel – a psychological  thriller and this was a very disturbing read. Having said that the language and the skill of Sarah Hilary makes this an intriguing read and although heartbreaking, it was a new and unique approach for a thriller of this kind.

Its a novel where the language is the real star – the floor ‘ bruised by the damp’ really left an impression on me for the myriad of emotions it portrays in so few words.

Those poor boys. There’s an image I’ll never forget. As for the finale, Sarah spares no punches and my gut is still reeling from the visceral raw feeling I was left with.

The characters were complicated, mixed and as the book progresses each one becomes more rounded and their backgrounds come to light, revealing a new and disturbing reality of the present.

Sarah Hilary has really done her research and then some.