Wednesday 30 September 2020
Tuesday 18 August 2020
I simply love ‘DRP’ and am constantly on the look out for more of his depraved tales. I read ‘TDATT’ four years back and was ‘knocked out’ by its authenticity, the grim grit and violence, tinged with at times a pure naivety, of the characters as their overwhelming personalities came flooding out of the book.
This audio version was a perfect accompaniment and reminder of how I felt from my initial reading. The narrator totally nailed it for me and held me captive for two days as I listened to him retelling their stories. At no time did I feel the pace slacken or lose interest. I absolutely loved the book and this audio version.
Now, I just need to see what Netflix does with it ! I’ve booked my sofa seat already and the only way anyone is getting the tv remote will be from my cold dead hand !
Highly recommended for fans of ‘thug lit’, ‘grit lit’ and the like.
A whopping big thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to listen to this phenomenal recording.
Wednesday 15 May 2019
Thursday 29 November 2018
Follows the lives of Thomas Peters and Murphy Steele who are friends, former slaves, fellows-in-arms and leaders of the Black Brigade. Their real-life story is an epic adventure tale as they battle bounty hunters, racism, poverty and epidemic in their adopted country after the war.
'The Long Way Home' has resonated with readers around the world as an unforgettable account of courage, hope and determination triumphing over despair and injustice. Thomas Peters, thoughtful and charismatic, and Murphy Steele, strong and impulsive, lead their followers on an inspirational search for a place where they can be free.
In an impetuous spur of the moment a young Murphy Steele runs with Thomas Peters in an attempt to escape their slave owner. Naivety and lack of planning result in their speedy recapture and sadistic scarring punishment. Quietly seething with resentment and vengeful notions Murphy is obsessed with murder and escape. He has become a frighteningly dangerous, powerfully strong brooding young man. Quite the reverse in attitude has happened to Thomas, now he wants to stay out of trouble and live as safe a life he can, even if that means being an obedient slave...One day circumstances will be right for them to run again.
It is through Murphy’s, at times, rather dry narrative but engaging conversational style that their experiences are shared with us as we follow them in pursuit of regaining freedom. Two runaway slaves, two unsung heroes, with promises of becoming freemen with land of their own, fought bravely alongside the British Army in the American Revolutionary War. As soldiers they led their men in the ‘Black Pioneers’ unit into horrific bloody battle. Victory was not delivered and the men who survived faced a difficult choice, to remain as slaves or leave for an uncertain future with the British.
I’ve read a few different titles, fiction and non fiction about the slave trade but not one which gives such a vivid in-depth enlightening perspective from two men such as Thomas Peters who had an influence on many fellow freed slaves some of whom he persuaded to return to Africa where they founded the state of Freetown; and Murphy Steele who was a key component in rounding up Black volunteers to accompany him to Nova Scotia where, once again promised by the British, they would be supplied with everything needed to build a new free state for themselves. This is where the sequel (currently in progress) will pick up from. I sincerely hope it won’t be too long in coming to publication.
The times they haven’t changed that much !
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
KINTU, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Sugar Money, Jane Harris
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward
Underground Airlines, Ben E Winters
12 Years a Slave, Solomon Northup (memoir)
Black Boy, Richard Wright (non fiction)
The Free State of Jones, Victoria E Bynam (non fiction)
Wednesday 3 October 2018
A kaleidoscopic historical novel based on unpublished material by Anthony Burgess, from the prize-winning author Adam Roberts
‘I’m working on a novel intended to express the feel of England in Edward III’s time ... The fourteenth century of my novel will be mainly evoked in terms of smell and visceral feelings, and it will carry an undertone of general disgust rather than hey-nonny nostalgia’ – Anthony Burgess, Paris Review, 1973
The Black Prince is a brutal historical tale of chivalry, religious belief, obsession, siege and bloody warfare. From disorientating depictions of medieval battles to court intrigues and betrayals, the campaigns of Edward II, the Black Prince, are brought to vivid life by an author in complete control of the novel as a way of making us look at history with fresh eyes, all while staying true to the linguistic pyrotechnics and narrative verve of Burgess’s best work.
Brings to light unpublished material from one of the twentieth century’s literary titans, author of A Clockwork Orange, Inside Mr Enderby and Earthly Powers;
Adam Roberts has worked with the full cooperation of the Burgess Foundation.
Roberts is a celebrated novelist in his own right: Jack Glass (2012) won the British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel and 2015’s The Thing Itself was described by the Guardian as ‘a dazzling philosophical adventure’. Widespread review coverage is expected and the author will be available for events.
For fans of Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake, Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers, His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
My advanced readers copy of Adam Roberts visceral, extremely brutal and bloody book recanting the life of medieval King Edward didn’t arrive in time for me to finish before my scheduled tour slot. Currently 90 pages in I am able to admit that initially it wasn’t an easily immersive book for me.
‘The Black Prince’ is ambitiously different with a unique writing style and several narratives relayed through a medium of diverse voices. Sections are in the third person narrative while other accounts are verbalised in the present tense. Newsreels, ‘camera eye’, and prose inserts all add a modernistic and unusual element to the mix. To begin with, I confess I found it rather confusing but with perseverance I am delighted and thrilled to admit that with speedy polemic swing, I now absolutely love the ingenuity of its distinctive style, and unique (art)form of historical storytelling. I would not be at all surprised if it wasn’t amongst the nominations (and a worthy contender) for one, or even more prestigious book awards!
Brutal, bold, magnificently majestic, ‘The Black Prince’ promises to be a compulsive read for anyone interested in a sensory experience encountering gruesome bloody battle scenes, witness abhorrent behaviour towards victims as ‘spoils of war’, imagine the miserable harsh reality of men, women and children living (surviving), and dying during this brutal medieval period in history, all from a safe distance and comfort and safety of their modern environment.
A more in-depth review will follow at a later date upon completion of reading. In the meantime do read what other bloggers on the tour have to say about this remarkable book. Please stay with us for the duration of the tour.
Thank you to Ann Cater for inviting me to take part in the ‘Random Things Tour’, and to Unbound publishers for sending me a complementary ARC of the book to take part in the tour. I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to read it before the planned publication date of, Thursday, 4th October 2018.
Sunday 30 September 2018
Saturday 25 August 2018
When the corrupt sheriff of Broken Creek, Arkansas detains a young black boy on charges of accidental homicide, his sister asks Hick Blackburn, Sheriff of Cherokee Crossing, to investigate. Hick is reluctant at first. Not only is Broken Creek out of his jurisdiction, but Hick and Sheriff Brewster have a history, and Hick knows Brewster won’t look kindly on his interference. But Hick quickly realizes the boy couldn’t have committed the crime. With the aid of a New York attorney trying to make a name for herself and a shy new deputy who knows the boy’s family, Hick uncovers a conspiracy that goes to the heart of local corruption, nepotism, and racism. But while Hick is working to free an innocent child in Broken Creek, his beloved Maggie, pregnant with their third child, faces challenges of her own back home. This time, will Hick’s dedication to justice extract too high a price?
Heartfelt and poignant, Between the Lies by Cynthia A. Graham handles the complexities of Southern culture and the depths of its racial past with grace and finesse. The character development and plot are deep and complex. This is a novel full of heartbreak, but a story of hope is at its true heart.”–Hunter S. Jones, author of Red Stilleto Strategy
‘Between The Lies’ is book three in a southern mystery series set in Arkansas during the 1950’s about small town sheriff Hickory Blackman. In this instalment we follow Hick over the course of four days in July, in an ongoing mental fight with an influential bully in the nearby county of Broken Creek.
Sheriff Brewster has brought into custody a local black child, Thaddeus for the killing of a white man even though, obvious to any ‘dumbass’, that physically Thad is incapable of committing the crime. Such evidential facts, however, won’t get in the way of Brewster’s objective of obtaining a guilty conviction for such a convenient scapegoat.
A conversation between Hick and Father Grant, pastor of Broken Creek, brings to light the case of George Stinney a 14 year old black boy who was tried for murder, found guilty, and executed. Now I was intrigued and ‘googled’ George Stinney who from the southern state of Carolina was (rightly or wrongly) found guilty of murder in similar circumstances. I was deeply affected, it was incredibly upsetting and heartbreaking to read about such cruelty, inhumane treatment of a minor and ultimately the horrific execution of a child. Was this a warning of what may be in store for young Thad. Not if Hick has anything to do with it. It’s going to be a fight, but with mental ingenuity to outsmart Brewster it’s not something that Hick will easily allow to happen.
Graham’s style of writing, much like our protagonist, is calm, intelligent and measured. In contrast to the languid pace she also manages, without being preachy or altering style or pace of the novel, to manoeuvre into place a powerful, poignant nugget of historical fact for the reader to mull over. Awareness of this event in history added another layer, dimension and understanding of the characters living within a community steeped in racial hatred, and run by a corrupt and bigoted sheriff. I couldn’t help thinking, with the current worldwide political climate, that we appear to be coming full circle and learned very little if anything from the past.
Now that ending ! Wasn’t what I was expecting at all, and it knocked me for six. A very sad unsettling denouement. Just another chapter in Hicks life to be overcome and I am keen to see how his character develops and moves on from it.
‘Beneath Still Waters’ is the first book in the series, and although there is a sense of growth in Hick’s character, ‘Beneath The Lies’ could easily be read out of sequence or as a stand-alone. I havn’t yet gotten around to reading ‘Behind Every Door’ but do intend on doing so before the next book. I highly recommended this series.
““You white folks are something else. You like to pretend you know what’s best for us, that you got our interests at heart. But at the end of the day you get to go home and be safe and white. We don’t get to leave. We always black.”
“We all had the same orders. Plant fear in the hearts of the townsfolk regarding colored people, because fear will always turn to hate. After the hate starts to grow, point out things like desegregation will cause inter-marriage and inter-marriage will create a mongrel race of half-breeds. Tell them their women are in danger and that a black man touching a white woman is an abomination.”
“...and Uncle Earl told me to never mention that man’s name again. He said for me to shut my trap and let him run the town as he sees fit. Told me I ain’t nothing but a dumbass anyway and that he only hired me ’cause my mama begged him to.”