#BlogTour #BookReview Don’t Get Involved by F J Curlew @fjcurlew


Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Don’t Get Involved by F J Curlew. My thanks to the author for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy.

Dont Get InvolvedAbout the Book

A missing shipment of cocaine. Three street-kids fighting for their lives. A mafia hit-man intent on killing them. A naive expat who gets in their way.

Who would you bet on?

Ukraine, 2001. A time of lawlessness and corruption. Three street-kids stumble upon a holdall full of cocaine belonging to the Mafia. Mafia hitman, Leonid, is given the job of retrieving the cocaine and disposing of the street-kids. To do so he is forced to step back into his old life and he doesn’t like it. The children run on their wits. Leonid hunts them down.

Nadia, a young woman with her own dark past, arrives in Ukraine looking for a fresh start. She wasn’t expecting this! “She had no idea of what, or who, she was supposed to be running from. Right now everything was a threat. Definitely militsiya, but who else? Everyone. Right now it felt like everyone.”

Format: ebook (255 pp.)                       Publisher:
Publication date: 7th October 2019  Genre: Thriller

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Don’t Get Involved on Goodreads

My Review

Having read and reviewed the author’s previous book, Dan Knew, I was pleased to receive her invitation to read her latest book, Don’t Get Involved, and take part in the blog tour.

The events in Don’t Get Involved unfold over the course of a year with the book frequently switching points of view and timeline, the latter in sections entitled ‘Winter’, ‘Summer’ and ‘Autumn’. I’ll confess it took me a while to get to grips with the narrative structure and work out the order in which events were occurring.

The street-kids – Dima, and brother and sister, Sasha and Alyona – eke out a hand to mouth existence on the edge of Ukrainian society, living in dilapidated buildings and being drawn into illicit activities that bring them into contact with unsavoury individuals. Just how unsavoury becomes increasingly apparent as the book progresses. The streetwise Dima is the de facto leader of the trio. Sasha is very protective of his sister, Alyona, who possesses a sixth sense for danger and has a curious affinity with animals. Alyona’s instincts will prove pivotal in events towards the end of the book.

The reader gradually learns about the traumatic events in Nadia’s life that have caused her to seek a new start in Kiev. There she meets Artem and we see their relationship gradually develop. One very moving episode – a detour from the main storyline – is when Artem takes Nadia to visit his grandfather, Bogdan. The story Bogdan tells is a harrowing insight into Ukraine’s troubled history during Stalin’s rule. I did think it would make superb material for a book in its own right.

The author has a distinctive writing style characterised by the use of short sentences, often only a few words long. This certainly helps to create a sense of urgency and tension in some of the action scenes and to emphasise the confused thought processes of key characters.

The book provides a fascinating insight into Ukraine – its culture, food, music – and the city of Kiev in particular with its streets full of cafes, bars and street kiosks. I do think a glossary would be a useful addition to the book.

Don’t Get Involved combines elements of a thriller with an insight into the history and culture of Ukraine…and a dash of magical realism. You can find out more about the inspiration for the book in the author’s guest post hosted by Mairead at Swirl and Thread earlier in the blog tour.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of the author.

In three words: Intriguing, dramatic, atmospheric

Try something similar: The Good Father by S. R. Wilsher (read my review here)

brockie-on-my-shoulderAbout the Author

Fiona spent fifteen years working as an international school teacher, predominantly in Eastern Europe. Much of her inspiration comes from her travels. Her writing has been described as, “Human experience impacted upon by political situation, interwoven with a love of nature.”

She now lives on the East Coast of Scotland with Brockie the Springer and Fingal the rescued Portuguese street-cat. Her days are divided between dog-walking in beautiful places and working on her stories. Not a bad life! Don’t Get Involved is her third book.

Connect with Fiona
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#BlogTour #BookReview Rivals (Georgina Garrett 2) by Sam Michaels @Aria_Fiction

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Rivals by Sam Michaels, the follow-up to Trickster and the book that introduced readers to Georgina Garrett.

Thanks to Vicky at Aria for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy. I hope you’ve been following the reviews and content posts by the other fabulous book bloggers taking part in the tour and will continue to do so next week.

cover173287-mediumAbout the Book

The streets of Battersea are about to get a new leader, one who will rule with an iron fist.

It’s the 1930s and Georgina Garrett has risen up from her tough beginnings to become the new boss of the Battersea gang. But not everyone is pleased with a female taking charge…

With rival gangs trying to steal her turf, untrustworthy men in her midst and her dad lost deep in the bottle, Georgina has a lot to tackle. With her friends and family in constant danger and those closest to her questioning her leadership Georgina must use her wits to show that she’s made for this job.

The Garrett name is one to be feared and Georgina will begin to change the face of Battersea forever…

Format: ebook (418 pp)                       Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 3rd October 2019 Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Rivals on Goodreads

My Review

Rivals follows on from events in the first Georgina Garrett book, Trickster, and in order to bring new readers up-to-date there are by necessity references to key events in the previous book.  Therefore, although Rivals can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend readers who might want to follow the series to start with the first book.  I haven’t read Trickster and I’ll confess it took me a bit of time to work out the different relationships and who did what to whom in the first book.

In Georgina Garrett the author has created a powerful woman who is ruthless towards her enemies and will do whatever it takes to protect her family.  She’s certainly not afraid to take on the men at their own game. In fact, at times she feels the need to go beyond what they might be prepared to do to counteract the prejudice she experiences.

The world Georgina inhabits contains some distinctly unsavoury characters and even some of the more likable characters have secrets they will protect at all costs.  It’s a world of rival gangs out to protect their patches and involved in activities such as extortion, prostitution, illegal gambling, drugs, alcohol and weapons smuggling…and more besides.  Although Georgina reins in some of the more distasteful elements of the Wilcox operation, she’s still up to her neck in some pretty nasty stuff.  And she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty when necessary.

With all the twists and turns of the plot and the action-packed confrontations between rival gangs, there isn’t much space for the reader to get a sense of the period (the 1930s), aside from a few mentions of the depression, the rise of Hitler and German rearmament.  However, I guess murder, extortion and protection rackets go on regardless of the political backdrop.

Described by the publishers as ‘perfect for fans of Peaky Blinders, Martina Cole and Lesley Pearse’, Rivals will appeal to readers who like their crime thrillers dark, violent and populated with ruthless individuals.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of Aria Fiction, via NetGalley.

In three words: Gritty, dark, twisty

Try something similar: Five Days of Fog by Anna Freeman

Sam MichaelsAbout the Author

Sam Michaels writes gritty gangland sagas set in Battersea, South London, which is where she was born and bred, the council estates being her playground.

After leaving school at sixteen with no qualifications, Sam married soon after and had a son. The marriage ended quickly, and as a single mother, she worked in various retail positions until undertaking an Open University degree. This led to Sam becoming an analytical scientist and then into technical sales where she met her husband.

A few years later, they moved from Hampshire to Spain. It was then that her mother, the Sunday Times best-selling author, Kitty Neale, inspired Sam to put pen to paper. She now writes her novels in sunnier climates with the company of her husband, four dogs and six cats.

Connect with Sam
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