Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | November 30, 2013

Ahlberg, Janet and Allan: The Jolly Postman and Other People’s Letters

This is a delightful, rhyming, beautifully illustrated story for children of all ages, since it is frequently punctuated with a variety of deliveries by the jolly postman to various characters of fairy-story fame, all part of the tale. Whilst the story will have positive appeal to younger children, for those older, the interest lies in the developing concepts contained in the correspondence some of which is sufficiently complex to challenge older children’s thinking and reading skills. The work, therefore, is highly unusual and the Ahlbergs have produced an extremely clever piece of work not to be missed.

All of these well-known stories, including Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood etc., form the base of the book and issues arising in these traditional tales are superbly addressed in the form of correspondence to the various characters. Thus creating awareness of outcomes for children which present a moral balance often lacking in such tales.

But this is no ordinary book for intermittent pages are regularly turned into a variety of envelopes each containing surprising, differing paper items which children will love to take from the pockets themselves, to be returned again and again.

The envelopes and their contents are authentic enough to hold adults fascinated. The attention to detail is amazing and I can honestly say in this genre, it is the most unusual, cleverly produced work for children I have ever come across.

If you are looking for something different in children’s books then this is well worth considering. I can very highly recommend the purchase of  it to the point where I shall certainly buy the sequel ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’ by the same authors, from nothing more than the title.

You will find an excellent, detailed review of ‘The Jolly Postman’ at

www.hillesqueblogspot.co.uk

I would like to thank the Author of the above mentioned site RLJ Hill for first introducing me to this wonderful work.

ISBN  9780316126441                 Library of Congress Control No.  8680044

Publisher:   William Heinemann  1986 GB

Publisher:   Hachette Book Group, Inc.  Rev.ed  2001 US

Reviewer:  Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright – all rights reserved

Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | October 2, 2013

Carter, David: The Sound of Sirens NEW RELEASE

006David Carter has triumphed again with yet another Walter Darriteau murder mystery. Believe you me this is not my favourite genre given the gory bits, which won’t disappoint here if you are into that kind of thing but having said that I like a good puzzle and boy does this one deliver!

Carter sets the scene, two guys, the young one awaiting the old one,  clandestine meeting, packet exchanged, opened, the moon setting the newly acquired handgun alight resting in the young guy’s hand, the distant beat of soft rock resonating from the nearby pub. Luke Flowers has a job to do but can he be trusted? From its horrific inception this story cleverly pulls in characters, their background, their raison d’être. Carter is a master of this, drawing on all the senses until we can hear, see, smell, taste and touch all that impinges on their variety of existence, from local to far flung places giving ethnic and cultural prominence, all successfully geared to creating substantial, believable characters the reader can’t fail to bond with.

I’ve already met Inspector Walter Darriteau in ‘The Murder Diaries Seven Times Over’ (well reviewed here). He’s a solid, dependable, ordinary kind of guy that’s never done thinking. His mind’s sharp, very sharp but is he going to crack this one, or two, or three? Yes this story moves along quickly, it’s a cliché I know but I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, for this story plays with the reader, minute diversions, false starts, Inspector Darriteau sharp as the family heirloom securely displayed inside a cabinet on the wall in The State of Kerala Restaurant, Chester. He likes dining Indian, here, it’s his favourite restaurant. He knows the family well but how well? He’s 58 and lives alone, though from choice he’d rather be sharing his house with someone young and attractive like Galina his Eastern European cleaner. There’s not much spare brain space for dreaming but he lets his fancy for her slip through his thinking, never does it cross his mind that there could be another out there, duplicating thoughts, fancying him.

This book is simply packed with plots and subplots given such coherence in the smooth running of the mystery as to be absolutely astounding. Carter’s an astute observer, too, capturing the non-verbal interaction with skill, drawing out differing characters’ thinking, be it humorous, scathing, suspicious, capricious, just to mention a few of the character traits responsible and piling in to make this book such a credible read. David Carter does indeed possess a remarkable talent, he knows just how to hook his readers and keep them.

This work is action packed, exciting, thrilling, scary, with a twist to the dénouement which can only be described as brilliant. You certainly don’t have to be a fan of the genre to enjoy this one. It’s high calibre writing but then one wouldn’t expect anything less from David Carter. It’s meticulously researched giving substantial historical background particularly to immigrant life and present day cultural integration, which is worth mentioning, though it does not constitute the main focus. Indeed this sense of insight in all its variety permeates and enhances the whole story leaving the reader with a sense of satisfaction from time enjoyed and very well spent in the reading of this book. I congratulate David Carter on yet another superb tale and can but very highly recommend this book to all.

ISBN  9781482307726

Publisher: (TrackerDog Media 2013)   Create Space Independent Publishing Platform 2014

Reviewer: Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright – all rights reserved

Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | September 19, 2013

Mair, John, Editor: After Leveson? The Future for British Journalism

008This book follows from the latest edition of ‘The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial’ first published in February 2012 during the associated hearings presided over by  Lord Justice Leveson which John Mair, citing Richard Keeble as co-editor, says to his great satisfaction, informed and impacted upon the debate. John Mair, Head of Journalism at the University of Northampton and a former TV Producer (Factual), again delivers a very readable account offering differing perspectives from both academics and journalists. In this work he calls on the leading media experts, twenty from each discipline, some names the reader will be familiar with.

This comprehensive book is broadly divided into eight sections each headed by John Mair, covering many aspects from the historical and reflective, leading to a multi-perspective view of the whys and wherefores the current position is presumed to be contingent upon. It seeks to answer the diversity of questions raised by Lord Justice Leveson in light of the responses to his enquiry. Thus Section A., headed by John Mair asks the question ‘After Leveson: What now?’ Here contributors focus on varying topics with cases made both for and against statutory underpinning. Section B. again lead by Mair who asks the question ‘Will anything Change?’. The following contributions provide interesting reading, raising issues of stereotypical perpetuation and the influence the press could have in massively contributing to a fairer society. Section C. ‘Lap Dogs and Lamp-posts?’ (Mair) considers the age old question of the relationship between the press and politicians, whilst Section D. lead by Mair’s ‘Regulation before and After The Good Lord’ looks at differing aspects of the feasibility of press regulation. Section E. is lead by Mair’s ‘The Chilling Effect’ which focuses the debate on privacy implications after Leveson, both positive and negative. The question of the future importance of ethics is considered in Section F., ‘What do We Tell the Kids? Ethical Education After Leveson’ (Mair) and Section G. ‘Suffering for the Sins of Others: the regional and local press’ (Mair) discusses the likely impact all this will have on the local press as to whether regional and local journalists will be curtailed as a result of the misbehaviour of journalists and editors of the daily nationals. Finally Mair leads Section H. with ‘Do they mean us? The View from Elsewhere’ with contributors taking a look, outside in, to consider world reaction to the Leveson enquiry and the implications of this.

In editing and compiling this work, John Mair has produced an eminently readable account for all and not only for those with a professional interest in the subject. The work is full of recognisable personalities and where they present as the subject matter, the context in which they are placed gives one a fair and fuller understanding of positions, not subject to any idiosyncratic reporting as may possibly arise from the media. Mair in his selection, for the most part, ensures all shades of opinion are represented providing sufficiently diverse debate to enable the reader to draw his own conclusions from a compilation appearing to lack a general consensus. Although highly topical and certainly entertaining I found this book somewhat challenging as there are many opinions to carry, many threads to hold if one is to retain a coherent view of the debate in order to be able to formulate an opinion. It is possible to dip in and out for inevitably there are subject areas which will be more appealing to some individuals than others. Each contributor contextualises to varying degree the content of their relatively short dissertation which inevitably gives some useful overlap serving to reinforce one’s understanding of events regardless of individual perspectives.  In the interests of understanding the influences on the democratic machine and the necessity to safeguard it, this book is an important work. John Mair proves a superb architect of this vital debate and presents it in such a way as to appeal to a lay person such as myself.  I do highly recommend the reading of it.

ISBN  9781845495763

Publisher:  Abramis academic publishing   2013   (imprint of arima publishing)

Reviewer: Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright – all rights reserved

Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | July 26, 2013

Mattocks, Charles and Grimm, Kristi: Diabetes and Healthy Eating

Charles Marrocks 009Celebrity Chef, Charles Mattocks in conjunction with Kristi Grimm (Co-author) and Dave Grimm (Illustrator), have produced a most attractive book for children, designed to educate whilst entertain. Upon learning he himself had type 2 diabetes, Charles Mattocks decided to channel his knowledge and skills to helping others and in particular younger children to understand not only the diabetic condition but the importance of managing it by means of diet and exercise.

Charles Mattocks cleverly places himself in the supporting role of visiting Celebrity Chef to the school of the main protagonist, Little Mar, a lovable bear who has undergone tests and needs to understand the resulting diabetes diagnosis, as it now affects his life. He struggles to understand his condition needs careful management but when he learns the real Celebrity Chef he’s seen on TV is to visit his school to give a very special talk he’s very excited as this TV star has diabetes just like him and so lines up the questions he wishes to ask with great enthusiasm! This is a wonderful story for children which one feels will be readily understood as there is much that will inevitably be easy to identify with in the home, school and medical centre settings. Beautifully illustrated in full colour, children will be able to identify food familiar to them at the same time as being introduced to products both natural and manufactured which they may not yet have encountered. There is plenty of scope for discussion here and I envisage simple identity games emerging from the meticulous illustrations which will serve to reinforce children’s understanding of the concepts involved. Packed with serving suggestions young children will love to ‘match’ their own plates to the pictures and know they are eating just right!

A thoughtful inclusion is the glossary of terms children are likely to encounter in relation to the diabetic condition, which is fully explained in a special section written for adults. There are delicious, simple, recipes which are fun and designed to tempt children and a section comprising pictures to colour, reflecting the theme of the book.
All in all this 52 page book with its very attractive cover and clever, rhyming story line achieves a brilliant balance both children and their parents/carers will love. Its healthy eating message is relevant to us all and presents an awareness of possible health consequences should we consistently eat the wrong things.

Celebrity Chef, Charles Mattocks and Kristi Grimm have between them produced a very valuable, well-considered work in the writing of this book; the story and related content of which, one feels would engage most young children, regardless of whether or not they had diabetes.

One has nothing but admiration for Charles Mattocks, as not only has he truly given of himself in sharing his own circumstance, but in the doing of this he has given of his celebrity status both generously and wisely in recognising he is, by virtue of his own condition, uniquely placed to influence eating habits for better health. I can but very highly recommend this book and I am confident of its continued success in serving this vital cause.

ISBN 13: 978-0-9892884-0-8 (Hardcover)
ISBN 13: 978-0-9892884-46 (Paperback Premium)
ISBN 13: 978-0-9892884-5-3 (Paperback Standard)

Publisher: RICHER Publications 1st Ed: 2013

Reviewer:   Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright – all rights reserved

Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | June 7, 2013

Burton, Phyllis J: A Passing Storm

This is a contemporary tale of a well-to-do family and we first meet Jennifer Redmond, the main protagonist, in intensive care, suffering from concussion. Through the gradual return of her memory the reader learns of her work-focussed husband, Peter and his overriding ambition to reach the top, whatever the price.

It’s a bad time for Jennifer Redmond, in her mid-forties and suffering the ‘empty nest syndrome’, for she’s finding no consolation in her husband whose driving ambition is all-consuming to the point where he is totally switched off to her. She longs for the happy, fulfilled early years of their marriage and unable to stand her lonely existence any more she decides her marriage has finally ended.

Jennifer Redmond summons the courage to sort her life out and makes one tremendous effort to leave her husband for good, nervously driving herself to Invergrosgie, a place of many happy memories, in Scotland. She meets with Angus Cameron the Scottish hotelier with his own sad turn of events only partially revealed during the course of her stay. They are immediately attracted to each other but a catastrophe sets a course of events against the development of this new relationship. The story unfolds with interesting twists as we learn of her grown-up children, parents and her special friend and confidant, Anna. All the while and certainly keeping the pages turning, Peter Redmond’s working life filters through, building momentum to eventually place the reader in New York where the tension escalates rapidly as Jennifer discovers there’s far more to her husband‘s ambitions than she had ever realised.

This tale is rather more convoluted than one might expect from an eternal triangle situation, though it’s simplistically drawn and undemanding. There is an easy switch between all characters which are well formed and very believable. Burton likes detail and provides meticulously described settings which gives substance and makes, for the most part, an enjoyable read. One does feel, however, the story would have benefited from further editing and could have been comfortably shorter as one felt the second part lost momentum in the driving of the story to its conclusion.

However, for those who like romantic modern fiction and a good moral twist to the tale, I would highly recommend this book. It is well produced and has an attractive cover.

Reviewed for    ‘The Self Publishing Magazine’  published by Troubador Ltd

ISBN  9781780884097

Publisher:   Troubador Publishing Ltd  2012

Reviewer:   Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright  -  all rights reserved

 

 

Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | May 10, 2013

Moore, Alison The Lighthouse (shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2012)

003Having reached the final short list for The Man Booker Prize 2012, I was particularly keen to read this first novel by Alison Moore and am very pleased I did. Strange as it may seem it wasn’t particularly for the subject matter of the story, though it was compelling and raised a whole batch of negative emotion in me. No, the reason is the brilliance of the writing, in the judging of the pathos and the methods used to achieve this. For the most part the reader is presented with short, direct, simple sentences which continuously reinforces the perception one rapidly acquires of Futh the main protagonist and his almost simplistic way of thinking.

This story reflects a slice of everyday life. A middle-aged guy, on his own, crossing the English Channel on a typical car ferry. He’s taking a circular walking holiday, part around the Rhine in Germany, over-nighting in differing establishments along the way, his suitcase always going forward of him. This is a holiday he does not want to return from, just separated, he’ll be going back to a single flat still unpacked. He thinks a lot and we very quickly become privy to his thoughts which focus a great deal on his parents and in particular his father whose marriage also broke. We learn of his childhood and growing awareness of his father’s relationships. In as much as his mother found his father totally boring, so this reflects in his own broken relationship. Moore’s protagonist is rapidly rooted in the mind as are all of the characters. This author engages all of the reader’s senses to achieve this. It’s all everyday stuff, some of it not particularly pleasant to envisage but it’s life and Moore captures the relatively insignificant which can occupy a disproportionately large space in the mind, superbly, in the telling of the tale.

We get to know Futh pretty well as he clings to the tiny silver lighthouse that was his mother’s. For me, I was getting to know this guy too well. He was inflicting too much of his pain on me, associated with his growing-up. It’s subtle, very subtle for he’s dealing with stuff not far from the ordinary but it’s the impact Moore achieves on the reader that’s so amazing. As I was reading, I’m finding this guy is irritating me no end and I’m thinking no wonder his wife left him! Then one’s getting the guilt-rush for he’s a decent bloke, the victim of ongoing circumstances largely beyond his control. But herein lies the frustration! He’s well into adulthood now so why, oh why doesn’t he grasp the nettle? I decide I have a choice. I can put the book down or continue. I’m compelled to go with the latter for I need to know if there’s a good result for this guy. Besides there are clever parallels going on and a definite sub-plot to escape into and I really want to know how it impinges on the outcome. In spite of this frustrating character, I’m driven to continue, eager to turn every last page to see how it all pans out.

Granted, I see this novel as an exploration of failed relationships and the impact resulting selfishness can have on a young boy who wrestles in adulthood with not only the props he’s created to survive whilst young but the real psychological harm unintentionally inflicted by significant others in his young life resulting in a phobic caution, to which others less sensitive might not have succumbed. Totally devoid of humour, this sad tale achieves as it draws the whole gambit of negative emotion into play. I am not sure too many authors could create such a compelling read out of what seems to me to be such miserable everyday subject matter. It’s the sheer genius of Alison Moore that keeps the reader hooked for she never takes her eye off the plot which unfolds purposefully, progressively drawing the threads together to culminate in a very tense, exciting climax prior to the denouement all of which had me totally hooked to the very last line and left me wanting more.
This is a reading experience no one should miss and for that reason I highly recommend it.

ISBN   978197773174

Publisher:   Salt Publishing  2012

Reviewer:  Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright  – all rights reserved

002In the reviewing of these books, I have to be honest in saying science fiction is a genre never contemplated. But the growing success of the author had me intrigued to read his work, for by all accounts, he is well accomplished to write in this field having studied philosophy and theology at university, to branch into engineering, becoming a fully qualified ROV pilot. Indeed, one can see Anthony Fucilla has a very sound base from which to let his imagination soar, which he does, but wisely so, to generate excitement precisely at the time of his choosing. These stories don’t run away with themselves, one feels every word has been well considered, every sentence well structured, each plot carefully generated to create a credible futuristic platform which is completely believable.
In the first of this series, Anthony Fucilla writes a collection of six short stories each exploring differing aspects of the human condition as it interacts with the results of rapidly advanced scientific progress which man himself has engineered. The first tale ‘Metallic Cosmos’ explores the concept of robots dominating and controlling the last remains of human life and Fucilla cleverly sets the scene where the protagonist Mr.Willis, up for his review, seizes his opportunity to stand his ground with the robotic interviewer, producing not a little entertainment for the reader as it works through to an unexpected conclusion. It would seem all possible events are explored in these differing stories producing adventurous tales relating to space and time travel, ‘what if?’ scenarios, and other dream fulfilment propositions made possible by this  new space age.

The second of the series, consisting of eleven short stories, continues the theme, exploring, one feels, more deeply the moral, philosophical and religious implications of exactly what makes us human, for however sophisticated the robotic structure is, Fucilla so eloquently and intelligently generates in his human characters that ability to reduce and rationalise the long running debate of whether or not man is merely a machine. Fucilla is unafraid to tackle the concept, his thinking is big, deep and massively intelligent. His final story ‘Memoirs of Time’ neatly concludes the work for here he draws out the human spirit in its quest for meaning. Though forbidden by the authorities, the creation of a time machine is set to test the space/time continuum theorem but it is high risk for one of the protagonists who does his utmost to keep it grounded. But will fear negate its use? This very brief but fantastic tale is truly thought provoking.  This second work is a ‘must’ for those interested in exploring not only the complexities but the wonders of life.  Fucilla sets these questions in the most viable context they could possibly have. His illuminating, exciting narrative takes the reader out of the norm in both time and space while the dialogue ensures a firm root in life as we know it.

If you are a sci-fi fan, you’ll love the breadth of possibilities explored in these exceptionally well-written tales. If the genre is new to you then why not try it? I did and enjoyed mulling over the moral, ethical and metaphysical questions they raised. I’m sure we all think them, it’s part of the human condition but Anthony Fucilla, in presenting these issues, creates the paradigm whereby we are able to set them against science and its logical progression, whilst at the same time brilliantly entertaining us. There is so much more to Fucilla’s work than mere space adventure for those who wish to engage with a philosopher and theologist who so very evidently knows and loves his discipline. His knowledge is brilliantly woven into the fabric of the work with great clarity and simplicity. In allowing his well formed characters their individuality, there is something for everyone to identify with here. The questions are posed, the viewpoints are implicit and the reader is left to make his own decisions.  I do indeed feel privileged to have had the opportunity to read Anthony Fucilla’s work which I can very confidently highly recommend.

ISBN   9781845493127  Quantum Chronicles 1

Publisher:   arima publishing 2008
ISBN  9781845495077    Quantum Chronicles 2

Publisher:   arima publishing 2011

Reviewer:   Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright  -   all rights reserved

Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | May 3, 2013

Barrett, Patrick: Cuthbert: How Mean Is My Valley?

006Yet again Patrick Barrett entertains us with the lovable Cuthbert, undertaker, theatre impressario and supposed farmer of the Valley, an idyllic, rural backwater as yet untouched by modern life. Thus when progress dumps itself in the grounds of former Mandrake Hall, whose misfortune it was to be burned to the ground, all hell’s let loose in the village; but not before Percy the hearsay gardener gets caught up in the earth mover then lands at Cuthbert’s door seeking shelter since the shed that was his home also fell victim to the flames. Of course our protagonist is well ahead of the game for he’s already received the letter from his old family firm of solicitors warning him the Mandrake Hall site had been sold. Time for action, a plan must be hatched to stop this evil development which will change the place forever. Cuthbert is soon wrong-footed in his mission to resist change when someone all too familiar comes crashing through his house on four wheels. Thus it turn out the enemy is strengthened by a pair of female antagonists, cleverly used by Barrett to draw out the naivety and vulnerability of Cuthbert and Percy, becoming a vehicle for some great humour at the same time as as adding tension to the plot. As the plans emerge so do the familiar characters from Barrett’s first book ‘Shakespeare’s Cuthbert’, each quirky and well drawn, each adding their own particular slant to the humorous development of the story as it progresses in a well defined battle which though totally ludicrous is almost coherent in its planning and truly born of the simple rationalisations of the main protagonists. With well-executed humour the story twists and turns producing not a few surprises and certainly for me the conclusion was unexpected.

I enjoyed this book, which, whilst it allowed for some characters to indulge in very funny retrospective tales enabling further character development, this was fairly incidental and didn’t obscure the plot in any way. I found it to be less frenetic than the first tale, though still slap-stick and very funny. It is brilliantly constructed, though still concentrated and it’s well worth giving some time to ponder the events to allow for the full appreciation of the happenings. Barrett is an astute observer and cleverly uses many angles to generate humour, not least of which is to humanise not only animals (Cuthbert’s crow is a hoot!) but in this story also the machinery. It’s sheer slapstick, which, if you love, like me, you can’t fail to enjoy. I can but highly recommend this book.

ISBN   147762127X         EAN    978-1477621271

Publisher:   Taylor Street Publishing   2012

Reviewer: Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright – all rights reserved

Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | April 18, 2013

Carter David: Grist Vergette’s Curious Clock (Pre-release review)

002David Carter presents a clever, almost credible well-crafted tale for in this work we are taken into the realms of science fiction which for those who prefer this genre well-rooted in reality, provides a very interesting story with an undoubted moral twist.

The main protagonist, fifteen year old Johnny Vergette was always vaguely amused by his grandfather, Grist who was considered by the family to be a little on the eccentric side and his passing on the two hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, was somewhat apposite and would have pleased him no end since he was an undisputed navy man. It was with some amusement his will revealed the strangest of bequests to Johnny, a key to his old allotment shed; for, upon entering, Johnny and his German neighbour and school mate Seri, contrary to expectation, felt they’d entered a museum dedicated to World War II. Johnny after rooting around and tossing an old clock-like thing to one side as useless was totally unprepared for what came next. It is at this point Johnny and Seri experience the strangest of happenings.

Carter slips us into a sharply contrasting world exploring the historic differences arising between cultures and between times, giving Johnny Vergette a moral mission which keeps the reader curious and fearful for his and Seri’s safety to the very end. Carter, as in all his work, creates solid three dimensional believable characters and these protagonists are no exception as with those less attractive characters they meet during their adventure. One feels an instant empathy with their youthful curiosity yet Carter generates a fear which cleverly puts the reader one step ahead as this story moves from the seemingly benign merging with a gathering plot gaining rapid nail-biting momentum towards the end. This work has been accurately researched and presents a well documented view of the period giving substance to an unusual, very interesting perspective and makes for an exciting, entertaining tale which nicely rationalises itself back to reality.

David Carter is a gifted writer who can switch genres with ease. He has the ability to create context, devise sound characters and clever plots which keep the momentum going. This story reflects all that is excellent about his work and I can highly recommend it.

ISBN:  978-1481072915

Publisher:   TrackerDog Media

Reviewer:   Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright – all rights reserved

Posted by: quicksandtimerbookreviews | April 4, 2013

West, Mira: A Dead Game

Mira West has written with considerable sensitivity, an excellent story based around the protagonist Jasmine Woods who is a casino croupier, dependent on her job being a single parent with two children to support. It would seem there’s always a heavy price tag attached to divorced Jaz’s relationships and West plunders her reader’s emotions as the story unfolds. This it does well with coherence and clarity, not to mention mystery, intrigue, tension, excitement and love. Jaz is not alone in being attracted to the hotel manager of Paradise Palace housing the casino where she works. He is one, slick, charming, Frank Pazzarelli, the epitome of female desire and knows every good and bad trick in the book when it comes to using women to his own advantage, but would it be any different for Jasmine? She’s drawn to him, though this popular, sweet natured girl is nobody’s fool. She’s constantly struggling with her emotions and we see her frequently on the brink of letting her heart rule her head creating an ongoing tension for the reader particularly when Jerome enters her life. This doctor is refreshingly different from the men she’s been used to and the inevitable attraction begins. The plot is clever and complex and so we are not surprised Jaz, once emotionally embroiled, unwittingly becomes a target and we fear for her safety. There are scores to be settled, deals to be dealt, drug-running to be made for the very last time. Murders for freedom, revenge, fear; this story will have you on edge, page after page whilst all the time feeling for Jasmine, caring what happens, desperate for her to make the right decisions, fearing for the inevitability of grief she would seemingly face whichever way she turns.

This work is well informed, West has set the scene with conviction so a reader unfamiliar with the context quickly becomes involved. She knows hers subject, sometimes shocks and spares no detail when it comes to the darker side of the gambling world. This talented Author has the ability to draw the reader in with believable contrasting characters creating a clever, fast moving, well considered work which I didn’t want to put down.  It’s well written which makes for an easy read and a great book to relax with I can confidently highly recommend.

ISBN-10:  1457512780

ISBN-13:   9781457512780

Publisher:   Dog Ear Publishing LLC 2012

Reviewer:  Margaret Henderson Smith

Copyright  -   all rights reserved

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