Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Seagull by Ann Cleeves


Reviewer : Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore, False Lights & Sacred Lake. (www.gillianhamer.com)

What we thought: I am a huge fan of both author, Ann Cleeves and the central character in this detective series, Vera Stanhope – so I have been waiting in anticipation for the eighth book of the series to be published.

And it’s another cracker! 

Here we see DCI Stanhope at her formidable best. Always one to acknowledge that she doesn’t look like the most professional DCI in the business, here she uses that to maximum advantage to solve a crime whose roots are buried twenty-seven years in the past.

When convicted former CID officer John Brace offers to do a deal with Vera – she looks after his vulnerable daughter outside in the real world in exchange for the whereabouts of the body of a missing man – her loyalties are tested. But as ever, Vera shows herself to be the shrewdest in the crowd as she investigates his claims about a cold case which seems to have its roots buried in a long-ago demolished nightclub in Whitley Bay called The Seagull. 

When Vera’s past life collides with her current enquiry, she is forced to examine whether her own father might be involved in more than just the dodgy trade of rare birds eggs. Could he have been a murderer too?

It was brilliant to be back in Vera’s world again, interacting with the detective team and immersing ourselves in the North East landscape through the author’s superb descriptive talents. There’s nothing I would change about this series and I hope it continues for many years and many books to come! 

You’ll enjoy this if you like : P.D James, Peter May, Ian Rankin.

Avoid if you don’t like : Cold case investigations.

Ideal accompaniments: Pot of tea and hot buttered teacake.

Genre : Crime.

Available on Amazon

French Collection by Vanessa Couchman




Reviewer: Liza Perrat, author of The Bone Angel trilogy (Spirit of Lost Angels, Wolfsangel, Blood Rose Angel) and latest release, The Silent Kookaburra.

What we thought: For Francophiles, French Collection: Twelve Short Stories is an anthology of short stories from Vanessa Couchman, author of The House at Zaronza, which I immensely enjoyed and reviewed here.

This eclectic collection of twelve short stories is inspired by the history and culture of the author’s adopted country, France. The descriptions, emotions and savoir-faire portray her love for the history, people and traditions of France, and the characters are so well-drawn that the reader comes to know and care about them in a matter of a few short pages.

Not all, but most of the stories are historical, and, as an author of French-based historical fiction novels, I admired and enjoyed all of them. My personal favourite was the 17th century plague story, The Visitation, but there’s something for everyone in this mix: historical, contemporary, romance, art, ghosts, all of them entertaining vignettes of French life across the ages.

Included at the end of the collection is Chapter 1 of the author’s next novel, The Corsican Widow, which whet my appetite. After Vanessa Couchman's most entertaining debut novel, The House at Zaronza, I'm really looking forward to reading this new one!

You’ll like this if you enjoy:
literary historical and contemporary fiction; a touch of the supernatural.

Avoid if you don’t like: historical and modern-day short stories.

Ideal accompaniments: French baguette and camembert, washed down with a glass of sturdy red Bordeaux.

Genre: Short stories. Literary fiction. Historical fiction.

Available on Amazon