Blog Tour/Book Review: The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes

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I’m pleased to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes, due to be published by Endeavour Quill in ebook and paperback on 18th March 2019.  The book is described by the publishers as ‘an epic, compelling, edge-of-the-seat drama that sweeps the reader from twentieth century Europe to modern-day New York’. Thanks to Hannah Groves at Endeavour for inviting me to take part in the tour.

WinFor readers in the US, there’s a Goodreads giveaway with a chance to win a copy of the book.

To enter, follow this link but don’t hang about as entries close on 1st March 2019.

The Blameless DeadAbout the Book

In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the carnage and detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them…

As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.  And so it is, as post-war Europe tries desperately to drag itself back onto its feet, and soldiers attempt a return to normality, that retribution continues to ferment in the Gulags of the Soviet Union and beneath the surface of apparently ordinary lives.

Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past – even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.

Format: ebook, paperback (463 pp.)    Publisher: Endeavour Quill
Published: 18th March 2019          Genre: Thriller, Historical Fiction

Pre-order/Purchase Links*  ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Blameless Dead on Goodreads

My Review

Switching frequently between Berlin in 1945 and New York in 2015, the author has taken a story of wartime atrocities and combined it with a contemporary crime mystery to create an action-packed thriller which, at time, explores some dark places and features some pretty depraved individuals.

Man’s inhumanity to man is a key theme of the book and how that can result in a desire for revenge and retribution lasting for years and which may be passed down through generations.   I was reminded of a quote from a book I recently read – Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson – about the effect of the horrors of the slave trade on those who participated in that evil practice. ‘It’s the trade that does it to them.  Deadens the goodness in the soul’.   There’s certainly little goodness in the soul of many of the characters in The Blameless Dead.  Just the opposite, in fact.

From the scenes set in 1945 Berlin, it’s clear the author has been meticulous in his research with detailed descriptions of weaponry, uniforms and military units.  The turbulent history of Kalmykia in southern Russia and its distinctive culture, which is so pivotal to events in The Blameless Dead, was new to me.  In fact, I’ll admit I’d never heard of the region before reading this book.

In the book description, the publishers mention that the book exposes events of modern history in ‘honest and unflinching terms’. I won’t disagree.  Readers should be aware that the book contains references to wartime atrocities and to torture and abuse, including that of women and children.  There are brief descriptions of violence and torture.

Part crime mystery, part historical novel, The Blameless Dead is a skilfully constructed thriller that nevertheless delves into some dark and, at times, disturbing subject matter.  As the publishers say, the book demonstrates that, while hostilities may cease, the horror of  war is never really over and that it leaves a lasting legacy on those involved.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of publishers, Endeavour Quill.

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In three words: Dark, intense, suspenseful

Try something similar…A Quiet Genocide by Glenn Bryant (read my review here)

Gary Haynes author imageAbout the Author

Gary Haynes studied law at university before becoming a commercial litigator. He is interested in history, philosophy and international relations. When he’s not writing or reading, he enjoys watching European films, travelling, hill-walking and spending time with his family. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization. (Photo credit: Goodreads author page)

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The Blameless Dead Blog Tour Schedule

Blog Tour/Book Review: The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

the story keeper blog tour poster

I’m delighted to be co-hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola alongside my tour buddy, Clair at Always Need More BooksThe Story Keeper was published in paperback by Tinder Press on 10th January 2019 and you can read my review below.

Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour.

the story keeper coverAbout the Book

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the word-of-mouth folk tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857, the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and the crofters are suspicious and hostile, claiming they no longer know their stories.

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters tell her that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl has disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the spirits of the unforgiven dead.

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but then she is reminded of her own mother, a Skye woman who disappeared in mysterious circumstances. It seems there is a link to be explored, and Audrey may uncover just what her family have been hiding from her all these years.

Format: Paperback (pp.)    Publisher: Tinder Press
Published: 10th January 2019        Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase Links*  ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Story Keeper on Goodreads

My Review

The Story Keeper has all the ingredients for an atmospheric read: a mysterious house (Lanerly Hall) partly shut up and furnished with cabinets full of ghoulish looking objects and curios; a family in which there are secrets and things that can’t be spoken of; a sinister factor/land agent; the puzzle of why Audrey’s employer, Miss Buchanan, is confined to the house; and villagers fearful that evil stalks their communities.  It’s all set against the backdrop of the wind and waves that pound the shores of the island.   ‘A dank mist had settled over the island and the sea was steel-grey, angry.’

The remote and windswept location creates an atmosphere where stories of fairies, ‘the little people’ and changelings seem credible.  The privation experienced by the islanders, the legacy of clearances and the decline of crafting as a viable livelihood, mean that not only are the stories Audrey is tasked with collecting coming to an end but a way of life as well.

I really enjoyed the sense of mystery and claustrophobia the author creates as Audrey’s fears seem in danger of being realised.  ‘No matter how much she tried to remain rational, she could feel things closing in, growing nearer.  The day after tomorrow, Samhein would begin, the festival that marked the beginning of the dark months.  It was the luminal time, the people said, the time when the boundary between this world and the other-world could more easily be crossed.’  Spooky, eh?

Who can Audrey trust when those in positions of authority refuse to believe her, perhaps for their own reasons?  I found myself compelled to keep reading in order to find out the resolution of the mystery of the missing girls and will happily admit the author sent me in the wrong direction when it came to identifying the culprit.

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Tinder Press, and NetGalley.

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In three words: Atmospheric, haunting, compelling

Try something similar… Secrets of the Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford (read my review here)

anna picture credit lou abercrombie.About the Author

Anna Mazzola is a writer of historical crime fiction. Her debut novel, The Unseeing, won an Edgar Award in the US and was nominated for the Historical Writers Association Debut Crown in the UK. The Times called it ‘sizzling’. The Mirror described it as ‘a brilliant debut.’ Her second novel, a dark fairy tale about a collector of folklore and missing girls on the Isle of Skye, was published by Headline in July.

Anna studied English at Pembroke College, Oxford, before accidentally becoming a criminal justice solicitor. She lives in Camberwell, London, with two small children, two cats and one husband. She loves to hear from readers, so do get in touch on Goodreads or on social media. (Photo credit: Lou Abercrombie)

Connect with Anna

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