Posts Tagged ‘Novel’

A Gift Called Hope by Eva Jordan a review.

Jill who is estranged from her husband, has moved to a seaside town to run a mobile, beachside, vegetarian, snack bar.

She is caring for her young grandson, Jack but grieving for her son, Davey, Jack’s father. As Christmas nears; the anniversary of her son’s death, Jill struggles to cope with her conflicting emotions, trying to give Jack the best possible Christmas she can while dealing with the still rawness of her grief.

I am certain this story will stay with me for a very long time. It moved me in a way that surprised me. It is beautifully written, the characters are believable and well-drawn. The end is satisfying, living up to the title

The only other book that has affected me in the same way as A Gift Called Hope; is “The Catcher in the Rye” by J D Salinger.

That I remember so much of The Catcher in the Rye after reading it just once, fifty years ago, speaks volumes.

Like Catcher in the Rye, this story is about loss and the grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one.

Reaching an accommodation with loss is a bumpy road; this book describes that journey with tenderness and humanity.

It is a truly remarkable book.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner a review.

Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner

I can’t think of a single occasion when I have visited a book event at Huntingdon’s Commemoration Hall and left empty handed.

The Book Bank and similar book related events are hosted by Niche Comics and Books of Huntingdon, it was at a recent event that I came away with “Missing, Presumed”, written by Susie Steiner.

Angela Mackey, of said Niche Comics told me that the book was set in Huntingdon.

I bore my purchase home and have now finally got around to reading it.

I think knowing the area identifying the streets and places adds a little more to the story, it does for me and I have had similar comments from those readers familiar with Cambridge about my book.

Susie Steiner’s story is of a young woman, whose disappearance, is discovered by her boyfriend. An open door a trail of blood, her clothing and mobile phone left behind in their house, prompts fears for her safety. DS Mannon Bradshaw, DI Harriet Harper and their team struggle to make headway in the search for famous surgeon Sir. Ian Hinds’, daughter Edith.

This is a fascinating story, the plot moves in different directions as new threads are woven into its fabric.

All the time the team are coping with their own problems, within their relationships and families.

 A tale of secrets, fragile lives, deception and families under stress, the end is unexpected and satisfying.

Susie Steiner

I learned from Angela that Susie Steiner was no longer with us having died of brain cancer in July 2022 at the tragically young age of 51.

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah, a review.

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

I am grateful to Niche Comics and Book Shop of Huntingdon, in particular to Angela Mackey of the said establishment. Angela regularly organises events in Huntingdon bringing many well-known authors into the town’s Commemoration Hall to discuss their writing and books. The only problem it gives me is trying to sneak the books into our house which I buy at these events without my wife noticing, she thinks that we have far too many books already.

A while back I was at an event where two authors, Alison Bruce and Sophie Hannah; were in discussion with a gentleman whose name escapes me (I’m sorry I should have been taking notes.)

I am familiar with Alison’s work and a great fan, Sophie Hannah was a name I recognised but hadn’t read anything of hers. I enjoyed the evening and came away with a copy of Sophie Hannah’s Monogram Murders; I have copies of all Alison’s novels.

It is a long while since I have read any of Agatha Christie’s books and I must admit I am not a huge fan of hers, so I hesitated and prevaricated about starting to read Ms Hannah’s take on Agatha Christie’s famous Belgium detective.

The story starts when Poirot’s supper is disturbed by a distraught young woman entering the café where he is dining. She is convinced that she is soon be murdered.

Three murders take place at the Bloxham Hotel in London on that very same night. The victim’s bodies are found in separate rooms on different floors. Hercule Poirot assists Catchpool a Scotland Yard detective, who lives at the same lodgings as Poirot; investigate the murders. Before very long Poirot is in charge of the case with Catchpool, the narrator trying to keep up with Poirot’s thought processes.

The plot is engaging; constantly twisting and turning, to wrong-foot the reader.

I prefer Sophie Hannah’s version of a Poirot mystery to any I have read penned by Agatha Christie; I shall read more of Sophie’s books.

Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne, a review.

Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne

Raymond Chandler’s shoes are very difficult to fill. Philip Marlowe, Chandler’s hero is someone who has inhabited the imagination of all those who have read Chandler’s novels. My Marlowe will be different to everyone else’s Marlowe but our own original has its own presence.

‘Poodle Springs’, Chandler’s unfinished novel was completed by Robert B Parker and worked well for me; I have since discovered that Parker wrote another Marlowe novel, ‘Perchance to Dream.’ This is one I will seek out and read.

Marlowe is engaged by The Pacific Mutual Insurance company to investigate the death by drowning of Donald Zinn; before the million dollar payout is made to his widow.

Donald Zinn is an all too easily recognisable pastiche of a contemporary character, one who it appears has followed a similar career path to Zinn’s.

It was a good idea to base the action in Mexico; the location of Zinn’s demise.

Only to sleep didn’t work well for me, perhaps it was taking Marlowe out of his time and place; California’s, the thirties, forties and fifties or maybe at 73 Marlowe just hadn’t aged well. I didn’t recognise him even as an older version of himself

Other Chandler and Marlowe fans may enjoy this book; it just wasn’t a good read for me.

A Bird In The Hand by Ann Cleeves, a review.

A Bird in the Hand by Ann Cleeves

Generally, I only watch a few hours of television a day if at all. Mostly it is crime dramas that attract my attention and they occupy most of my viewing time; my daily ration of dodging the adverts while trying to follow the plot.

I often watch Vera, a series featuring DCI Vera Stanhope as its main character, gradually becoming aware of the name of the Vera books author, Ann Cleeves. Ann is the creator of the programme’s characters. After a recent stint of writing at the local library, (I work better there) I sought out her books happening on her very first; A Bird in the Hand.

It is a very good read, excellent in fact, tightly plotted and populated with well-drawn, interesting characters. The thread that binds both the story and its characters together is bird watching, particularly the community known as “Twitchers”.

When the murdered body of a young twitcher is discovered in the Norfolk coastal marshes; George Palmer-Jones, a retired Home Office investigator is asked to help solve the crime. George is an elderly bird watcher respected by the bird watching community and knowledgeable about the people and their habits. Assisted by his wife Molly, George embarks on discovering the truth behind the brutal killing, we accompany the pair as they tour the country chasing sightings of rare birds while hunting the killer.

It is a brilliant first novel, as it was then. I now know there are many, many more books by Ann Cleeves, for me to read.

I have found a new sweet jar and I will dip into it whenever I can.

Eva Jordan in conversation with writer Philip Cumberland.

A fantastic review from the outstanding author Eva Jordan.

Eva Jordan

This month I’m chatting to local author Philip Cumberland. As one of the founding members of a local writing group, Phil reached out to me several years ago to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing a book the group had put together called Where the Wild Winds Blow: an eclectic mix of fact and fiction, featuring short stories, poems, and memoirs, contributed by the various members of the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. Honoured, I said I’d love to. Since then, Philip has released his own debut novel, Killing Time in Cambridge, which was also my choice for this month’s book review.

Welcome Phil, thanks for being my guest. Can you tell everyone a bit about yourself?

Thank you for inviting me, Eva.

I grew up in Huntingdon and have lived in Cambridgeshire all my life, the last thirty-five years in Whittlesey.

I was originally a motor mechanic, then an…

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Light on Leeds Podcast

Killing Time in Cambridge book cover

I was honoured and delighted to be invited by Hazel to be interviewed for her podcast Light on Leeds.

She wanted to ask me about my writing, my book, the Fens and Cambridge.

Here is the link to her podcast:

https://www.lightonleeds.com/episodes/light-on-episode-4-philip-cumberland-author?fbclid=IwAR0Rqhq61E1ObUfbHK4-Hy2xcySyImPWf4qCk0wfW-HS1UIqFrBSLHzx1VA#

To hear more of Hazel’s podcasts please visit her site.

https://www.lightonleeds.com/

Cambridge Black by Alison Bruce, a review.

Cambridge Black written by Alison Bruce

I find it is always a balancing act when writing reviews, trying not to spoil the plot for would-be readers but giving some sense of what lies between the book’s covers.

Cambridge Black is the seventh in Alison Bruce’s DC Gary Goodhew series. I am sure most readers will like myself have read some, possibly all of the preceding books and have a familiarity with the characters.

The story centres around three quest’s, Amy’s for the truth concerning her father’s conviction for murder, Sue Gully’s search for her father and Gary Goodhew’s hunt for those responsible for his grandfather’s murder.

The story is well-plotted and paced.

Cambridge is as all the Goodhew novels the setting for Cambridge Black. Alison Bruce has a great affection for the city which shows in the writing. I enjoy the familiarity of many places in the story, probably something I share with other fans.

I thoroughly enjoyed the twisting turning story as DC Goodhew and the team pursue the perpetrators of a current and simultaneously two other historic unsolved cases. The writing as always is exceptionally fine, the descriptions and scene-setting excellent. I was racing through the pages towards the end as the story reached its nail-biting climax.

This was retiring DI Marx’s last case; I hope it won’t be the last case for DC Gary Goodhew too.

Meet Me in the Treehouse by Kelly Tink, a review.

Meet Me in the Treehouse

I confess Romantic Fiction is not a genre I would normally read, “Meet me in the tree house” is the first ever book of romantic fiction I have tried.

Kelly’s book is a well written, well crafted novel, exploring Emma’s grief and her accommodation with loss. The grief is for a dead friend. The loss is that of her marriage, itself another form of grieving. Grieving for the hopes, plans and dreams of a future now gone. Emma hesitates to form new relationships or revisit old ones; she is wary; worried that the history of her failed marriage may repeat itself.

We follow Emma as she tries to reconstruct her life and move on from a troubled past, it is an interesting journey and for me an informative one.

Kelly has I understand started on a second book, I can’t wait to read it.

Meet Me in the Treehouse is available on Amazon

Meet Me in the Treehouse

Leaping off

Corpus Christi College Cambridge Grasshopper Chronophage on the cover of Killing Time in Cambridge.
Killing Time in Cambridge

Well, I have leapt off the diving board and published my novel Killing Time in Cambridge. The first printed paperback book arrived on Wednesday and I have had my first review for the Kindle version.

Rather mixed feelings, relief that I have finally done it, a sense of tiredness and anticlimax. I hope that it will not only sell but more importantly those who read it enjoy the story, The feedback so far has been favourable.

My next novel is underway whether it will get finished is always an open question but I am pleased with the opening chapter. It is slightly different from the first, with different characters. However if Killing Time in Cambridge proves popular Arnold Lane may have a second outing.

If you would like to buy it on Amazon click here:

Killing Time in Cmbridgehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Killing-Time-Cambridge-Philip-Cumberland/dp/1916481779/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1606719444&sr=8-1

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