My February Bookish Wrap Up!

Please note: if you don’t have the time to read through the post, the pics link to the reviews! Enjoy:)

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So it’s been a good February, reading wise, maybe better writing-wise, as I finally put aside something I’ve been working on for a long time, that has been giving me no joy, and have started on a new story instead. I felt better the second I made the decision, as it was like pulling teeth, and although I’ve been set back a few months I’m really excited to see where the new story takes me:)

In terms of books, Valentines was very much in the air, with me finding myself very happy on reading the next of The Star and Sixpence series by Holly Hepburn, Valentine’s Day at the Star and Sixpence, which was really good, although it didn’t quite beat Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence, one of my top Christmas reads, and continuing with me finding a short gem from Fiona Gibson, author of As Good as it Gets called The Valentine-Free Zone. I was honoured to be part of Samantha Tonge’s ‘How to Get Hitched in 10 days’ blog tour. How to Get Hitched in 10 days was the perfect short story for those who are fans of their rom coms that have multiple characters and many misunderstandings and was beyond enjoyable, although in a different way to Game of Scones, which I had read last year.

 

As you can see from above it was a month where I mostly back to a few fave authors, with The Girl You Lost by Kathryn Croft being almost as enjoyable as The Girl With No Past, which was a five out of five read for me. I also rediscovered Virginia Macgregor, whose second book ‘The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells‘ was as unputdownable as ‘What Milo Saw.

I was very taken with the bewitching Smart Girl by Rachel Hollis, although I decided it might be for a different age-group to myself. I became a fan for life of Erin Lawless, as I wrote my review for ‘Somewhere only we know,’ a rom com that visits the emigration office to see if the vibrant Nadia will be deported, got to meet a group of zany friends that made me laugh out loud in ‘Friends Like These,’ jumped out of my comfort zone to investigate the 7/7 bombings in The Theseus paradox by David Videcette(I also posted an excerpt), and finally, but perhaps most excitingly, I had a blogger interview with the beyond lovely Sharon, from the brilliant Shaz’s Book blog. Not a bad month, actually!;)

Extract: The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

The Theseus Paradox Facebook HEADER

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Following my review yesterday (see it here), I hope you enjoy this extract from The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette. Remember the Kindle edition is only 99p at Amazon UK from Friday 26th Feb 2016 at 8.00am to Monday 29th Feb 2016 at 11.00pm. Sales are supporting a charity called The Police Dependants’ Trust – which helps police officers with their mental wellbeing after experiencing a major national event such as a mass shooting, plane crash or as in DI Jake Flannagan’s case – a terrorist attack.

Excerpt: Jake had picked the easy route this morning; the good old-fashioned way: get in, have a look around… and get out.

He was inside. He moved to the front of the house and stood in the small kitchen, surveying the jaundiced Formica units. What had Wasim been doing in here before he left? Jake had a quick scout around; everything looked normal – neat and tidy, nothing out of place.

As he bent down to begin scrabbling around in the kitchen cupboards, he saw it: two brown marks on the white linoleum floor in front of the washing machine.

All washing machines leaked water after a certain amount of time. It would run down and collect on the legs and feet, turning them rusty. When you pulled a unit out from the wall, the feet would inevitably leave marks on the floor, as per Dr Edmond Locard’s exchange principle: ‘Every contact leaves a trace’.

Jake touched the marks on the lino. They were wet. The machine had definitely been moved that morning. Before 0300 hours? Why?

He wrestled the machine away from the wall. A pipe was loose at the back. Taking out a kit from his pocket, he wiped the inside of the pipe with a cotton bud, then placed the cotton bud inside the vial.

He shook it. The entire vial turned brown instantly.

It was positive for HMTD. Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine – a highly explosive organic compound that lent itself well to acting as an initiator.

Wasim had a bomb.

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

THE THESEUS PARADOX KINDLE COVER

Amazon UK

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What they say:

“I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…”

How much is real and how much is fiction, only YOU can decide!

July 2005: in the midst of Operation Theseus, the largest police investigation that the UK has ever known, Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan begins to ask difficult questions that lead to the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend and his sudden suspension from the Metropolitan Police.

    • Who masterminded London’s summer of terror?
    • Why can’t Flannagan make headway in the sprawling investigation?
    • Is Jake’s absent girlfriend really who she claims to be?

While hunting for the answers to the most complex case in British history, one man will uncover the greatest criminal deception of our time.

The Review. First off thanks so much to the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review. When I first heard of this book I was very interested to find where the line would be drawn between fiction and fact, as the author is a former detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch who worked on the 7/7 London bombings.  I have to say that there were times I read as fiction, which made it a more enjoyable read, and then, in the more nostalgic parts of the book, the parts that really reminded you that this was something that happened, a day I remember watching on Sky News, repulsed by it all. It is, to a certain extent, difficult to review something based on such an event, as I have to curb any wish I may have to be glib, but saying that, the author was good as to allow some lighter moments, nicely put in to ease some of the tension. Oh and there is tension, delicious, eyes stuck to the screen nervousness that causes your eyes to swallow every single word.

The story is one with twists and turns, clues and dead-ends, car chases and chases on foot, interrogations and deals and I was right there from the start as DI Jake Flannagan followed a hunch on a group of suspects and gave chase. I suppose here is where I should bring up the matter of DI Flannagan himself, an interesting character who is on a bit of a downhill spiral in terms of his personal life. I won’t lie, all of the reviews I read really liked him, while initially I found him a little too weak at times but then liked that there was development in terms of his character. There was also what I call ‘The Horatio aspect,’ as in he seemed to solve a lot himself, while he had a colleague, Lenny, with him at times, more often Jake was stumbling onto the answers (maybe this happens in real life, I’m not sure!). Saying that I loved some of the other characters, and they were all very real. I especially liked Helen, his boss who packed a punch and the fact that his girlfriend, Claire, was in the Security Service, who called all the shots and was so intrinsically important in divulging information (I know, totally sexist, but anyhoo …)

The book contains many revelations for people who have no criminal background; on methodologies used, chain of commands to be followed, technical tidbits, the use of microbiological and food agents to cause damage (of particular interest to me as I used to work in the biopharma area), interviewing, and autopsies, as well as how people can be inducted into extremist ways of living. It was easier to read knowing the author himself had experience of it all, too often you feel that an author may have fallen short in terms of research, and you’d have a lot of moments you weren’t sure were believable, but here you just went about your business, looking over Jake’s shoulder as you both rode the rollarcoaster.

I read this book over two evenings and one morning and if I had been left to it, could easily have read it in one day. I also stopped highlighting mid-book, always a sign for me that I’m engrossed. It’s a long book at well over 400 pages, but the chapters are so short that you have to have ‘just one more,’ which I am such a fan of! I’ve read people say they’d like a sequel/ series with DI Flannagan, which I’m torn about, while I’d be interested to see Jake continue to solve crimes and also see him and his girlfriend, Claire (I’d love to see them happy). I think it might be hard to follow up based on the fact that this is based on real events. By the way, there is a chapter at the end telling you what happened in real life, it’s heart rending to re-live it, and is also interesting to see how close or not the truth is to The Theseus Paradox. All in all, so highly recommended, and will definitely check out more from this author, plus at the moment it is only 99p and sales support The Police Dependants’ Trust charity 

Rating: 4.5/5

About David Videcette

Hi Res - David_Videcette_Head WITH smile
David Videcette, former detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch who worked on the 7/7 London bombings. He has written a novel – a thriller, set in 2005 against the backdrop of the attacks. He is launching his self-published book in October so as not to be seen to be cashing in on the 10th Anniversary of the attack on London.

CRIME FIGHTER TURNED CRIME WRITER

As a Met detective, David worked on a wealth of infamous cases.  He has placed bugs on scores of vehicles, searched hundreds of properties, chased numerous dangerous criminals and interviewed thousands of witnesses.

David is a former Scotland Yard Investigator with twenty years’ policing experience, including counter-terror operations and organised crime.  David was a key investigator on the July 2005 London bombings and has been awarded several police commendations, including one for outstanding detective work and perseverance which led to his discovery of a bomb factory during Operation Theseus.

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