book reviews, books, romance, women

The Executioners Song by Norman Mailer

I’ve started a reading list, of great books and although this was absent, I went with my gut and picked it up.

Gary Gilmore made decisions about the lives of two men. What made him of interest was he extended his decision to the matter of his punishment. He chose execution by firing squad.

The book is in two parts, with the first being about Gilmore and the second about the courts and media, alongside showing the strain on the people who fall prey to such times.

The prose is crisp, and structurally, Mailer knows when we need to stay with a character or a setting and when we need to move on.

I don’t know how I feel about Gilmore. There is something that repells me but also draws some admiration for the manner in which he sometimes articulates himself.

A challenging book, but you won’t be same person once you’ve finished it.

My book Until She Sings is out now.



My Mailing List for announcements and news with a free short story as a thank you.

book reviews, books, fiction, romance, Uncategorized, women

Until She Sings – Beta Readers Wanted

I am looking for beta readers for this project.



You cannot stay silent if you want to be heard.

Caitlin Ross, a young singer-songwriter, makes her debut at an open mic night playing and singing her own songs for the first time. Struggling in her relationship with her once, nearly famous boyfriend Luke, Caitlin’s performance lends a new spotlight for him to pirate. But Caitlin has grown weary of life in Luke’s shadow.
When a handsome stranger, Daniel, ¬†introduces himself after her set, the attraction is immediate and all consuming. His pursuit quickly throws Luke’s failings as a partner into stark relief. And she quickly finds herself caught between the past and the future, chained to the former by her guilt over Luke’s dependence upon her.

I am looking for beta readers, so please get in touch if you are interested in providing me with feedback on the book.


beauty, book reviews, love, poetry, women, writing

Weekend Omnibus

Here, here, here

She loves as we love

Sweet prayers

A Song For A Beast


Filed under silence

Some book reviews – for disclosure, they do contain Amazon Affiliate links, which I get a small amount for each click, so please do so.

The Book of Joan by Lydia Yuknavitch

Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Headhunters by Jo Nesbo (review)

I also consult on stories and scripts, if you’re interested, then this post talks about what I offer:

Want to finish the story you started?


book reviews, books, reading

The Book of Joan by Lydia Yuknavitch


A group of rebels have united to save a world ravaged by war, violence and greed. Joan is their leader. Jean de Men is their foe. The future of humanity is being rewritten . . .

Lidia Yuknavitch’s mesmerising novel sees Joan of Arc’s story reborn for the near future. It is a genre-defying masterpiece that may very well rewire your brain.

Gorgeous language

Passionate and fierce willingness to transgress and disgust in the service of the story

Unique biological science fiction, but it serves the story.

Fascinating characters and points of view

Perfect blend of literary and genre conventions.

This has an operatic feel to it and it took delight in the celebration of queer identity.

book reviews, books, fiction, reading, Uncategorized

Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless – people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumoured healing powers.

Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again – but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realisation about a horrifying future.

What I liked

Lots of provocative and clever ideas but nothing at the expense of the story

Well-realised history and back story

Different time periods don’t jar the flow of narrative

Comic book energy and invention.

Exciting and considered extrapolation of Nigeria in 2066.

What I didn’t like


It’s a heady cocktail of ideas, poured over a careful story. I’m looking forward to the next one.

book reviews, books

Headhunters by Jo Nesbo (review)

Roger Brown has it all: clever and wealthy, he’s at the very top of his game. And if his job as a headhunter ever gets dull, he has his sideline as an art thief to keep him busy.

At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for a position that Brown is recruiting for; he is also in possession of one of the most sought-after paintings in modern art history.

Roger sees his chance to become rich beyond his wildest dreams, and starts planning his biggest theft ever. But soon, he runs into trouble – and it’s not long before the hunter becomes the hunted…

The crime fiction of Western Europe has proven to be a recent discovery for me. They have a unique set of obsessions and themes, a degree of technical rigour and manage to carry a delicate balance between background exposition, back story and detailed scenes of torture and murder.

Jo Nesbo is one of the biggest names and this was my first book of his. I’ve dipped into other writers, Lars Keppler and Erik Axl Sund are two recent additions to my lexicon of the genre and now I have another writer with an extensive back catalogue to explore.

A quality problem to have.

Roger, the protagonist manages to defend his actions with a paean to domestic and romantic patronage. His wife, a beautiful and forthright woman, inspires his criminal enterprises so he can fund her tastes and hobbies. This reason, slight as it is, is well presented and makes him a fun character. It becomes important as the situation demands he carries out an escalating series of betrayals, crimes and evasions in order to stay one step ahead of the situation he finds himself involved in. Nesbo uses a crisp, well-observed tone for Roger, which makes his descent into horror all the more involving and enjoyable.

The cultural differences are organic and add a sense of place which made it all the more enjoyable for me. I may not have visited the places Roger has, but Nesbo’s skill makes it part of the palate and it adds depth and warmth to the story.

Some detachment and artifice in the use of minor characters does detract from the book to a small degree but otherwise this was cerebral, entertaining and moves like a bastard throughout.

(Amazon Affiliates links included to offset some of the costs of producing this emanation)

book reviews, books

2018 in books.


I’ve made recent, tentative inroads into Nordic Noir, which has been a surprise. There is an economy of plot and craft and a willingness to go into some dark psychological areas which manage to make them long, but compelling stories.

Erik Axl Sund and Lars Keppler are two authors who have captured my interest. The former, are a writing partnership, which is something which fascinates me when I work so much alone. Their book, The Crow Girl, was a powerful, engine of story with deep, relentless plotting and some crisp, observations alongside a melancholic, beautiful sense of scene and character which kept me engaged throughout.

Keppler is a more commercial approach, but the books (The Hypnotist and The Nightmare) are irresistible. The murders are inventive and gross, the motivations are realistic but also have a grand, operatic madness to them and despite their page count, whip along at a rate of knots.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent was raw, entrancing and beautiful work. It is one I will read again. It has a wounded muscular beauty to it which captures the struggle of adolescence in a depraved, exploitative yet tender perversion of parental responsibilities and individual struggles to find oneself.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I’ve never read much in the way of Russian literature. I came to him curious and nervous but I read them and was moved by the insights and powers on display. 

The literature of wrestling with deep thoughts and issues, here isn’t ponderous or affected. There’s a masterful display of empathy, observations and human nature. Our brains and concerns haven’t evolved much since these were written so the insights remain fresh and compelling. Dense prose is essential not an affectation here and although there were points of mild endurance, I read four of his books with increasing awe and appreciation. 

Crime and Punishment is genuinely haunting and wrenching. Notes From Underground speaks to a misanthropic envy and need which is discomfort itself. I recommend him to anyone. 

Stephen King, in Sleeping Beauties, co written with his son Owen, and Elevation did solid work but the former felt like a greatest hits compilation and the latter was a vaguely patronising paean to acceptance and had a strange bigotry of low expectations attached to it. Shame, but he still captures the essence of human nature and how it is illuminated by the impersonal and bizarre forces around it.