#BlogTour #BookReview The Coming Darkness by Greg Mosse

Blog Tour Banner Week 1Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Coming Darkness by Greg Mosse which is published tomorrow. My thanks to Sofia at Midas PR for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Moonflower Books for my proof copy. Do check out the reviews by my tour buddies for today, Jo at JaffaReadsToo and Jackie at Jackie’s Reading Corner.

The Coming DarknessAbout the Book

Paris, 2037. Alexandre Lamarque of the French external security service is hunting for eco-terrorists. Experience has taught him there is no one he can trust – not his secretive lover Mariam, not even his old mentor, Professor Fayard, the man at the centre of the web. He is ready to give up. But he can’t.

In search of the truth, Alex must follow the trail through an ominous spiral of events, from a string of brutal child murders to a chaotic coup in North Africa. He rapidly finds himself in a heart-thumping race against chaos and destruction. He could be the world’s only hope of preventing THE COMING DARKNESS…

Format: Hardback (390 pages)              Publisher: Moonflower Books
Publication date: 10th November 2022 Genre: Thriller

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My Review

The Coming Darkness is set just far enough in the future for things to feel different – the use of advanced technology such as holoscreens and comm-watches – but just close enough to be scary. There’s a dystopian feel to the world we’re introduced to, a world in which surveillence cameras are everywhere, some parents have their children micro-chipped in order to keep tabs on them and there are nightly curfews in some cities. Actually, maybe apocalyptic is a better description. It’s a glimpse into a future where environmental degradation has caused desertification of some areas of the world, resulting in poverty, mass migration and inequality. Add to this the threat of deadly transgenic viruses and you have the stuff of nightmares.

Trying to bring some order to this disordered world is Alexandre Lamarque, a government agent who has becoming increasingly disillusioned with the actions he is asked to carry out. (Like Van Der Valk of the 1970s crime series, he lives on a boat.) But Alex possesses an unique intuitive ability that means his bosses don’t want to let him go. ‘The young man had a kind of sixth sense, an ability to envision possible futures, like a chess Grandmaster anticipating countless iterations of cause and effect.’ Alex can sense that ‘something’ is coming – an absence, a darkness – but he doesn’t know quite what it is, when it will happen or from where it will come.  The thrill of the book is accompanying Alex on the journey to find out. In the process, he will come up against those who embrace a twisted, destructive and nihilistic ideology, and wonder if there’s anyone he can truly rely on.

The short chapters keep the pace and the tension high. The occasional switches to events involving other, sometimes unnamed, characters keep the reader guessing. And there are some terrific action scenes, such as the extraction of an influential political figure from a sealed compound during an attempted coup, that have a real cinematic quality. I also loved that in this high-tech future some of the key breakthroughs depend on the use of ‘outdated’ analogue technology and there’s still a role for an ejector seat.

According to his author biography, Greg has long had an ambition to write ‘a powerful thriller’. Well, it’s job done as far as I’m concerned because The Coming Darkness has everything I look for in a political thriller: interesting characters, an intricate plot, a constant sense of jeopardy and plenty of surprises. And is that a tantalising suggestion at the end of the book that there could be a follow-up? I do hope so.

In three words: Clever, fast-paced, compelling

Try something similar: Sleep When You’re Dead by Jude O’Reilly

Greg MosseAbout the Author

Greg’s first career was in theatre as an actor, director and writer. He has lived and worked in Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Madrid, mostly as a translator and interpreter for a variety of international organisations. In 2015 he returned to theatre, writing and producing 25 plays and musicals, plus four short films. He took advantage of 2020’s lockdown to fulfil a long-term ambition to sit quietly and write a powerful thriller. (Photo: Twitter profile)

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#BlogTour #BookReview Sleep When You’re Dead by Jude O’Reilly

Sleep When You're Dead Blog Tour BannerWelcome to the first day of the blog tour for Sleep When You’re Dead by Jude O’Reilly, which will be published on 13th October and is available for pre-order now. 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 post by my tour buddy for today, Surjit at Surjit Reads And Recommends.

Sleep When You're DeadAbout the Book

In thirty-six hours, thousands of innocent people will die. There’s not a second to waste. And no time for sleep…

Michael North has a bullet lodged in his brain which could kill him any second. That makes him the perfect MI5 asset: he’s ruthless, loyal, brave. And, best of all, disposable.

Teenage computer expert Fangfang Yu does not feel the same way. She’s determined to keep her friend out of danger – however many cyber laws she has to break to keep him alive.

Now North has been sent undercover into a doomsday cult on a remote Scottish island. He has thirty-six hours to stop their charismatic leader from inciting the murder of thousands. He can only do it with Fangfang’s help – but when they uncover a shocking link between the cult and the dark heart of the US defence establishment, it doesn’t just put North’s life at risk… it threatens Fangfang too.

Format: Hardback (416 pages)             Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 13th October 2022   Genre: Thriller

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My Review

Sleep When You’re Dead is the third book in the author’s Michael North series, the follow-up to Killing State and Curse The Day. I haven’t read either of the previous books but I can reassure readers like myself who are new to the series that it won’t affect your enjoyment of Sleep When You’re Dead. The author provides interesting nuggets of information about the back stories of the main characters and the events which have brought them together in order to bring new readers up to date. In view of the latter, start with the first book if you’d like to read the entire series.

Michael North is definitely an all-action hero. ‘Trouble is what he was made for.’ In the course of the book, he survives death by drowning, falls from high places and various other forms of potentially lethal violence, including a close encounter of the poisonous kind. He possesses razor-sharp instincts which is just as well because he finds himself in plenty of perilous situations in the course of the book. In fact, ‘plenty’ is quite possibly an understatement. The reader is frequently reminded of just what North is up against and how little time there is for him to achieve the mission he has been given which really ratchets up the tension.

Although a trained assassin, I liked that North is not a one-dimensional character. He had a difficult start in life, experiencing violence and cruelty as a child, and is no stranger to personal loss. As a result, what has become his ‘family’ – teenage computer whiz, FangFang Yu, Padraig ‘Plug’ Donne, a six-foot-seven ex-cage-fighter turned East End undertaker, and Granny Po – mean a lot to him. ‘Now he had things to live for. People to live for.’ He’s a chronic insomniac, ruefully observing, ‘Sleep was overrated. He figured you could sleep when you were dead’ and at least it cut down on the nightmares. You might expect the fact he has a bullet lodged in his brain which could end his life at any minute might make him a cold-hearted killer but in fact it’s the exact opposite. It makes him want to use whatever time he has left to do good in the world, namely getting rid of bad guys.

North’s boss, Hone, is the exact opposite. He’s a sinister, detached figure – a ‘creature of the shadows’ in the words of one character – who has secured North and FangFang’s services by a combination of threats and manipulation but seems entirely without any sense of responsibility towards them. To him, they are disposable assets, useful partly because of the deniability of their actions. A character you’ll love to hate!

One memorable character is Lucy, a vulnerable woman whose situation is depicted with insight and compassion by the author – never has a Post-It note been so poignant – but whose experiences provide some of the most chilling and unsettling scenes in the book.

The various strands of the plot, which include political and financial corruption, religious fanaticism, a doomsday cult, sex trafficking, drug smuggling and the activities of shadowy government organisations, are skilfully woven together stopping just short of ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ territory.  It’s an explosive cocktail of mind-bending conspiracy theories that question the line between reality and artificiality and give a glimpse into a terrifying potential future.

Sleep When You’re Dead is a fast-moving, imaginative and skilfully plotted action thriller whose pace doesn’t let up until the final page. The book’s conclusion, with a key character in jeopardy, sets up the story neatly for a further instalment.

In three words: Compelling, action-packed, intense

Try something similar: Outcast by Chris Ryan

Jude O'ReillyAbout the Author

Jude O’Reilly is the author of Wife in the North – a top-three Sunday Times bestseller and BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week – A Year of Doing Good and the Michael North action-adventure thrillers. Jude is a former senior journalist with the Sunday Times and a former political producer with BBC 2’s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News. Her Michael North series has been praised by bestselling thriller writers around the world. She currently lives in Durham with her family and a very noisy poodle.

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