#BlogTour #BookReview Betrayal by David Gilman @HoZ_Books @DavidGilmanUK

Gilman_BETRAYAL_Blog tour banner (1)-2Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Betrayal by David Gilman. My thanks to Sophie at Ransom PR for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Head of Zeus for my review copy. Do check out the review by my tour buddy for today, Jo at Murder, Jo Wrote.

BetrayalAbout the Book

Someone’s trying to start a war. And Raglan’s just walked into the kill zone.

It has been many years since Dan Raglan served in the French Foreign Legion, but the bonds forged in adversity are unbreakable and when one of his comrades calls for help, Raglan is duty-bound to answer. An ex-legionnaire, now an intelligence officer at the Pentagon, disappears. He leaves only this message: should he ever go missing, contact Raglan. But Raglan’s not the only one looking for the missing man.

From the backstreets of Marseilles, Raglan finds himself following a trail of death that will lead him to Florida, to the camaraderie of a Vietnam vet in Washington D.C., and into the heart of a bitter battle in the upper echelons of the US intelligence community.

Pursued by both the CIA and a rogue female FBI agent, Raglan’s search will place him in the cross hairs of an altogether more lethal organisation. Tracking his old comrade, he finds himself in the midst of deadly conspiracy, and on a journey to a fatal confrontation deep in the Honduran rainforest

Format: Hardcover (544 pages)       Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 6th January 2022 Genre: Thriller

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My Review

I absolutely loved The Englishman, the book that first introduced the world to ex-French Foreign Legion soldier and all-round action man, Dan Raglan, so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that a follow-up was on the way.

The description of Betrayal as a ‘high-octane international thriller’ is spot-on. The action comes thick and fast. If Raglan’s not engaged in deadly combat, he’s either preparing for it or recovering from it.  Raglan is seemingly indomitable; the ‘kill zone’ being a place he knows all too well.  As one character remarks to him, ‘Dead people appear on a regular basis when you’re around’. He’s also clever, tech-savvy, super-fit, has eyes in the back of his head and is adept at using any sort of weaponry you care to imagine. A man of many talents, he can pilot a plane, speak any number of languages, spot a security camera a mile off, find his way through a crocodile-infested mangrove swamp and even perform minor surgery on himself.  And who else do you know who stores bullet fragments in his tooth mug?

In the hands of the author, Raglan is not some sort of robotic killing machine. He’s also mortal and carries traumatic memories of things he’s seen – and done.  He’s a steadfast friend and demonstrates an unbreakable loyalty to the comrades who served alongside him in the French Foreign Legion. As he says, ‘the Legion was family’ and their motto ‘the mission is sacred’ is one he lives by. There are occasional glimpses of a softer side too even if he admits ‘I don’t have anybody tearing themselves apart over me’.

At this point I have a confession to make: I’ve developed rather a crush on Raglan. I know it’s unlikely, and I’m aware I might have formidable competition, but if there’s ever a vacancy for a Mrs. Raglan, count me in. (I hope my husband isn’t reading this.) Apart from anything else, I’d make sure he had a good supply of his favourite dark blue T-shirts and I’d even tend to a wound on his upper thigh. (I really hope my husband isn’t reading this.)

The pace of the book is intense and, despite being over 500 pages, the short chapters help the story move along like a whirlwind. A plot that involves people in positions of power engaging in activity that circumvents government oversight in order to achieve their own political ends, well that could never happen could it? Although, wait a minute… And don’t worry if you don’t know your DIA from your FBI or your CIA, all you really need to know is that there are bad guys out there – really, really bad guys – planning to do all sorts of unspeakable things and Raglan is out to stop them.

Those not completely obsessed by the thought of Raglan stripped to the waist or all sweaty after a punishing two mile run (I know, divorce papers arriving in the post any day) need not worry, your thirst for all-out action scenes will be fully quenched. The author serves up one bone-crunching, brutal and bloody scene after another making you wonder just how Raglan has survived so long. But has he met his match when he encounters a deadly opponent just as driven and ruthless as he is? I’m afraid you’re going to have to read the book to find out.

If you’ve survived reading this Raglan love-fest, I think it will be apparent that I absolutely loved Betrayal. To my mind, it’s everything you could wish for in an action thriller.  (By the way, check out the author’s website to see a photograph taken during a private tour of the Pentagon that formed part of his research for the book.)

In three words: Gripping, action-packed, pacy

Try something similarNo Way To Die by Tony Kent

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David GilmanAbout the Author

David Gilman has enjoyed many careers  – including firefighter, being in the Paras and as a photographer – before turning to writing full-time. He is an award-winning author, is published in several languages and was also the screenwriter for A Touch of Frost.

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#BlogTour #BookReview Wahala by Nikki May @RandomTTours @DoubledayUK

Wahala BT Poster TwitterWelcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Wahala by Nikki May, a book you’re going to hear plenty about in the coming months. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Doubleday for my review copy via NetGalley. Do check out the posts by my tour buddies for today, bookstagrammers Elizabeth at libcreads and Anita at booksinherhands.

WahalaAbout the Book

See me, see trouble…

Ronke, Simi, and Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English, though they don’t all choose to see it like that.

Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they look to the future – Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Simi supposedly wants a child (well, her husband does); Boo is frustrated and unfulfilled, caught in a whirl of school runs and lustful dreams. When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.

As cracks in their friendship begin to appear, it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may have just repeated itself.

Format: Hardcover (384 pages)       Publisher: Doubleday
Publication date: 6th January 2022 Genre: Contemporary Fiction

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My Review

Described as ‘a sharp, modern take on friendship, ambition, culture, and betrayal’, Wahala certainly lives up to its title which means ‘trouble’ in Yoruba.

There’s a Sex and the City vibe to the get-togethers of Simi, Boo and Ronke in bars and restaurants around London in the first part of the book. Being a low maintenance girl myself and the opposite of a social butterfly, I couldn’t quite relate to the obsession with fashion, the gossip over cocktails and the boozy lunches. I guess Ronke was the character I found most engaging perhaps because she seemed more down-to-earth. Her cookery skills helped and the inclusion of some of her recipes for traditional Nigerian food at the back of the book was a nice touch.  I liked the way the author explored the dynamics between the three friends and the pressures on those friendships that arise as the book progresses.

The ups and downs of Simi’s, Boo’s and Ronke’s relationships and the dilemmas they face – in some cases of their own making – are ones that could happen in any partnership, not just between couples of different ethnicity: competing career aspirations, different attitudes towards parenthood or simply feeling weighed down by domestic responsibilities. I have to say what follows seemed to me a case of ‘women behaving badly’ – Ronke being the honourable exception. The men in their lives were positive saints in comparison, especially the lovely Didier. I even had sympathy for Ronke’s boyfriend, Kayode, he of the poor time-keeping, obsessive support for Arsenal football club and fridge stocked only with beer and past its use-by date milk.

As soon as Isobel arrives on the scene with her demand ‘I want to know everything’ it becomes pretty clear her motive is not a genuine desire for friendship. ‘Isobel was good at collecting secrets, not so great at keeping them.’ She becomes an insidious presence in the friends’ lives and the catalyst for the trouble referred to in the title. This was the strongest part of the book for me. The reader sees, although Boo, Simi and Ronke do not, that for reasons of her own, Isobel is an expert in playing on their insecurities, doubts and frustrations – and, at times, their naivety – encouraging them to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have; the equivalent of waking up with a hangover and wishing you hadn’t drunk so much the night before, except with much, much more serious consequences.  As the fallout from Isobel’s actions play out, the book builds to an unexpectedly dramatic and explosive finish, one of those conclusions to a book that forces you to go back and re-read the prologue.

Wahala is a deft exploration of the fragile nature of friendship and how easily people can be manipulated.

In three words: Vibrant, insightful, quirky

Try something similar: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

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Nikki May Author picAbout the Author

Born in Bristol and raised in Lagos, Nikki May is Nigerian-British. At twenty, she dropped out of medical school, moved to London, and began a career in advertising, going on to run a successful agency. Nikki lives in Dorset with her husband and two standard Schnauzers.

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