WWW Wednesdays – 30th January ‘19

WWWWednesdays

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too?  Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!


Currently reading

A Killer's AlibiA Killer’s Alibi (Philadelphia Legal #3) by William L. Myers Jr. (eARC, courtesy of the author and NetGalley)

For attorney Mick McFarland, the evidence is damning. And so are the family secrets in this twisty legal thriller from the Amazon Charts bestselling author of A Criminal Defense.

When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.

On the other side of the law, Mick’s wife, Piper, is working to free Darlene Dowd, a young woman sentenced to life in prison for her sexually abusive father’s violent death. But the jury that convicted Darlene heard only part of the truth, and Piper will do anything to reveal the rest and prove Darlene’s innocence.

As Mick finds himself in the middle of a mob war, Piper delves deeper into Darlene’s past. Both will discover dark secrets that link these fathers and daughters – some that protect, some that destroy, and some that can’t stay hidden forever. No matter the risk.

Pre-order A Killer’s Alibi from Amazon UK (links provided for convenience not as part of an affiliate programme)

the sewing machine pbThe Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie (ebook, review copy courtesy of Unbound and Random Things Tours)

It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.

Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her.

More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents. His family history is laid out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams.

He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time.

My Sister, the Serial KillerMy Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (hardcover, review copy courtesy of Atlantic Books and Readers First)

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favourite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that’s as fun as it is frightening.


Recently finished (click on title for review)

Eagle & CraneEagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell (hardcover, review copy courtesy of Allison & Busby)

Louis Thorn and Haruto “Harry” Yamada – Eagle and Crane – are the star attractions of Earl Shaw’s Flying Circus, a daredevil (and not exactly legal) flying act that traverses Depression-era California. The young men have a complicated relationship, thanks to the Thorn family’s belief that the Yamadas – Japanese immigrants – stole land that should have stayed in the Thorn family.

When Louis and Harry become aerial stuntmen, performing death-defying tricks high above audiences, they’re both drawn to Shaw’s smart and appealing stepdaughter, Ava Brooks. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbour and one of Shaw’s planes mysteriously crashes and two charred bodies are discovered in it, authorities conclude that the victims were Harry and his father, Kenichi, who had escaped from a Japanese internment camp they had been sent to by the federal government. To the local sheriff, the situation is open and shut. But to the lone FBI agent assigned to the case, the details don’t add up.

Thus begins an investigation into what really happened to cause the plane crash, who was in the plane when it fell from the sky, and why no one involved seems willing to tell the truth. By turns an absorbing mystery and a fascinating exploration of race, family and loyalty, Eagle and Crane is that rare novel that tells a gripping story as it explores a terrible era of American history.

prester john 1Prester John by John Buchan (hardcover)

Nineteen-year-old David Crawfurd travels from Scotland to South Africa to work as a storekeeper. On the voyage he encounters again John Laputa, the celebrated Zulu minister, of whom he has strange memories.

In his remote store David finds himself with the key to a massive uprising led by the minister, who has taken the title of the mythical priest-king, Prester John. David’s courage and his understanding of this man take him to the heart of the uprising, a secret cave in the Rooirand. (Review to follow)


What Cathy (will) Read Next

The Phoenix of FlorenceThe Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan (proof copy courtesy of Allison & Busby)

16th century Italy, deep in the Tuscan countryside, a long-held feud between two aristocratic families ends in tragedy, leaving only one young girl alive. Having barely escaped with her life, she vows to survive at all costs…

Years later, amidst the winding streets and majestic facades of Florence, two murders are not all they seem. As Onorio Celavini, commander of the Medici police force, investigates, he is horrified to find a personal connection to the crimes, and a conspiracy lurking beyond. The secrets of his past threaten to spill out and Celavini is forced to revisit the traumatic memories hidden deep within him to lay the ghosts of history to rest.

Poignant and compelling, The Phoenix of Florence is a richly told and cleverly crafted tale of a  struggle for identity and a battle for justice in an Italy besieged by war.

Pre-order The Phoenix of Florence from Amazon UK

The Glass WomanThe Glass Woman by Caroline Lea (eARC, courtesy of Michael Joseph and NetGalley)

1686, ICELAND. AN ISOLATED, WINDSWEPT LAND HAUNTED BY WITCH TRIALS AND STEEPED IN THE ANCIENT SAGAS.

Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.

But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.

The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?

Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim . . .

Pre-order The Glass Woman from Amazon UK

Book Review: Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell

Eagle & CraneAbout the Book

Two young stuntmen confront shocking truths and unlock long-held family secrets during the US internment of Japanese citizens in World War II.

Louis Thorn and Haruto “Harry” Yamada are the star attractions of a daredevil aerial stunt team that traverses Depression-era California: Eagle & Crane. The young men have a complicated relationship, due to the Thorn family’s belief that the Yamadas – Japanese immigrants – stole land belonging to them.   This tension is inflamed when Louis and Harry are both drawn to the same woman, Ava Brooks.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbour there are changes and harsh realities to face.  When one of the stunt planes crashes with two charred bodies inside, the authorities conclude that the victims were Harry and his father, Kenichi, escaped from a Japanese internment camp. However, as FBI Agent Bonner is sent to confirm the facts, his ensuing investigation struggles when the details don’t add up and no one seems willing to tell the truth.

Format: Hardcover (384 pp.)    Publisher: Allison & Busby
Published: 3rd July 2018     Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk  ǀ  Amazon.com  ǀ Hive.co.uk (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Eagle & Crane on Goodreads


My Review

I’ve had a copy of this book sitting in my TBR pile for a while, courtesy of the lovely people at Allison & Busby, and I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t get to it earlier because I thought it was absolutely terrific.

Starting with FBI Agent Bonner’s arrival at the home of the Yamada family in 1943, the book moves between his tenacious investigation and scenes from the turbulent events in the years running up to the plane crash.   The reader witnesses Ava’s childhood, the creation of the original Flying Circus by her stepfather, Earl Shaw, and the arrival of Louis Thorn and ‘Harry’ Haruto Yamada.   It’s a story that involves a longstanding family feud involving the Thorns and Yamadas, strained friendships, a love triangle, deceit, betrayal and ghosts of the past.

Harry’s and Louis’s relationship is  particularly complicated.  Harry has the skill and daring when it comes to performing the aerial stunts (emulating his hero Harry Houdini) but it’s Louis who has the imaginative ideas.  He also fits the ideal of an ‘all-American boy’ which Harry, with his Japanese heritage, does not.  Their competitive nature leads them to attempt more and more daring and potentially dangerous stunts.  As it turns out, that’s not the only source of competition between them.  Their success and the fame it generates brings a potentially life-changing opportunity but with conditions attached.  How they each respond to this will test their relationship possibly beyond breaking point.

There are some brilliant scenes depicting the thrill of their daredevil stunts and I particularly loved the section of the book that evoked the glamour of 1940s Hollywood.  I also loved the character of Ava, who’s survived a tough upbringing and itinerant lifestyle with the Flying Circus but is clever, practical and a brilliant organiser.  And how can you not feel drawn to a character for whom books are ‘treasures’.

However, the book also explores more serious themes such as identity and discrimination.  The latter comes particularly under the spotlight following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.  The anti-Japanese sentiment that results and the government decision to intern Japanese living in the US has tragic consequences for the Yamada family, and for others as well.

There is a brilliant final revelation with clever references to earlier events and to clues that were there all along if only you’d had the wits to notice them.  Full disclosure: I didn’t.

I thought Eagle & Crane was a fantastic story, brilliantly told, that combines mystery, action and romance whilst exploring more serious themes and revealing a dark aspect of American history that was certainly new to this reader.  On finishing the book with a satisfied sigh, I immediately added the author’s two previous books – The Other Typist and Three-Martini Lunch – to my wishlist.

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Allison and Busby.  The book is now also available in paperback.

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In three words: Gripping, engrossing, mystery

Try something similar…The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg (read my review here)


suzanne rindellAbout the Author

Suzanne Rindell recently earned her PhD in English literature. Her first novel, The Other Typist, has been translated into 15 languages and optioned for film with Keira Knightley producing and starring.  Rindell has enjoyed subsequent success with Three-Martini Lunch.  Before she turned to writing, she worked at a New York literary agency and lived in a cheap apartment above a funeral home.  She now divides her time between California and New York. (Photo credit: Goodreads author page)

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