Don’t go to exotic islands on honeymoon!

The Honeymoon Book Cover The Honeymoon
Tina Seskis
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Michael Joseph
March 23, 2017

"For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight's retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it's turned into a nightmare. Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they've been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island that Jemma can trust? And above all - where has her husband gone?"

This starts as an almost traditional and well-worn story of a honeymoon couple on an exotic island where one goes missing.

So we think we know where the story is going. There are 2 scenarios: 1. He has deliberately left in the ‘missing drowned’ and walked away staged death; or 2. She has killed him and his body has got washed away and may never be found – shark eaten etc etc.

Except. That as the story develops it seems that what we thought we first knew, was not correct at all. The various characters tell lies – sometimes of omission and sometimes deliberately.

And whilst I’m definitely not going give you a spoiler, I am going to say this, you will never, ever, guess what really happened!

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What is Truth?

Everything But the Truth Book Cover Everything But the Truth
Gillian McAllister
thriller, psychological, women sleuths, romantic suspense
Michael Joseph
March 9, 2017

Everything But the Truth is a brilliantly compelling thriller about how much - or how little - we can trust the ones we love. 'Packed with twists and turns that will make it almost impossible to put down!' Hello! 'Twisty and emotionally charged. Breathlessly brilliant' Heat It all started with the email. Rachel didn't even mean to look. She loves Jack and she's pregnant with their child. She trusts him. But now she's seen it, she can't undo that moment. Or the chain of events it has set in motion. Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn't Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost? 'A gripping, compelling page turner that kept me up half the night' Liz Nugent, bestselling author of Lying in Wait 'You won't be able to put it down!' Hollie Overton, bestselling author of Baby Doll 'Perfection. Intriguing and compelling. An exceptional debut' Clare Mackintosh, bestselling author of I See You 'A beautifully written domestic noir full of secrets and lies' Claire Douglas, bestselling author of Local Girl Missing


When we are witness in a trial we swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

But what is the truth? You can only see the truth through your own eyes and own mental interpretation which is biased by your own previous experiences and your psychological make-up.

So there is the white lie, the grey lie and the very black lie. And of course, the lie you tell to protect others such as when you are asked ‘How are you?’ and although obviously ill, you claim to be fine. And then there is the economical truth too. The partial truth.

So there are many different ways in which we can express the natural inclination of the human being, from childhood onwards, to protect ourselves when the ‘whole’ truth may result in unwelcome consequences.

Trust, according to the Norse from whom we draw the word, is a contract in which we agree to future behaviour, which must be fulfilled in its entirety for that trust to be established. Just one single deviation from that expectation and the contract is broken.

So this book and the story within it, makes us reflect on truth and what it is and how it is not a clear cut but rather a shaded contract of behaviour and expectations.




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The Butterfly flaps

Butterfly On the Storm
Heartland Trilogy
Walter Lucius
psychological, mystery, thriller, political
Michael Joseph
(30 Mar. 2017)

Haunted by a past you can never escape . . .

A young boy is found in woods outside Amsterdam. Broken and bloody, he appears to be the victim of a brutal hit-and-run. When the police at the hospital ask what happened, the one word the boy repeats they don't understand.

But journalist Farah Hafez does. She left Afghanistan as a child and she recognizes her native tongue. As the boy is taken into surgery she finds herself visiting the scene of the crime, seeking to discover how a little Afghan boy came to be so far from home.

Instead, she comes across a burnt-out car with two bodies inside - a sinister clue to something far darker than a simple road accident.

It is just the start of a journey that will lead her from one twisted strand to another in an intricate web of crime and corruption that stretches across Europe and deep into a past that Farah had sought to escape - a past that nearly killed her.

A young injured child is found on the road.

In the middle of a forest.

At night.

With no cars nearby, and only a phone call to say she was there- the police are alerted.

Set in Amsterdam and its immediate surroundings, we find hat police are very much the same wherever they are located within Europe. The only difference being that the laws that govern how they operate vary.

So this story has as its central characters: a young journalist, originally from Afghanistan but after escaping the Russian invasion was brought up in Amsterdam; two policemen, 1 fat and ill-tempered, Moroccan, and eating all the ‘wrong’ food according to his Italian partner, who is smooth and careful of his health; and a young child.

The policemen have their own personal lives to sort out as they try to untangle the mystery of the child.

Now note that the author is  from Holland and that this is a translation as it was originally published in Holland in 2013.

So for me, the translation sometimes got in the way and the writing style was often irritating. I found that the way the characters suddenly started reminiscing without relating apparently to the current context put me off. Such as, why did the Moroccan think about the bus accident that killed his brother when they were discussing theories about the burnt bodies in the car? Was it the burning vehicle that triggered it? If so, it wasn’t clear. Am I, the reader, supposed to feel more sympathetic towards him as a character? If so, it failed, as he really irritated me.

At times these digressions spoilt he flow and pace for me, but thankfully they were not enough to stop me continuing to read. It was for me an uncomfortable style of writing that is not uncommon amongst Europeans especially, but not exclusively, Nordic writers.

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Er, last night?

About Last Night ... Book Cover About Last Night ...
Catherine Alliott
women's fiction, humour, romantic comedy, rural life
Michael Joseph
March 9, 2017

The funny, enthralling and heartwarming story of a woman who gets a second chance in life - but will she have the courage to take it?

Molly has moved from London to rural Herefordshire chasing the Good Life. Swapping the tube for the saddle, she is living the country dream.

Apart from it isn't really her dream. It's her husband David's. And David is, well, rather dead now.

Then a distant relative of her late husband kicks the bucket, leaving a London townhouse in her possession, and Molly dares to consider chucking it all in. Quitting the Good Life and going back to her good life.

But there's a problem. A rather tall, handsome problem. In the shape of a man already living in Molly's new house. And when a face appears from her past, Molly is more confused than ever.

Will Molly's London dream replace her muddy reality? Do any of the men in her life really have honourable intentions? And has she said goodbye to country life too soon?

So David wants to live the ‘Good Life’ and moves his family down to a small holding raising sheep and getting muddy and cold and wet and…

But he dies and leaves his widow without enough means to live on – she learns to be a sheep midwife; she learns to be a rather shady horse dealer; she sells sexy knickers by post and by every possible means tries to keep the bailiffs from her door. Luckily the main bailiff is her friend from the book club!

All the time a rather irritating vet hovers around telling Molly what she is doing wrong.

The main action however happens when Molly receives an unexpected inheritance and thinks about moving back to her old London life. And romance enters her life from an also unexpected source.

A feel good, jolly, amusing, enjoyable story of just how chaotic life a life can be, and how women cope when left in rather sticky circumstances through no fault of their own.

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A New York trip

According to Yes Book Cover According to Yes
Dawn French
women's fiction, humour, romantic comedy
Michael Joseph
May 5, 2016

The Foreign Land of the Very Wealthy - otherwise known as Manhattan's Upper East Side - has its own rigid code of behaviour. It's a code strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family, who live beautifully-displayed, impeccably-edited lives. Thomas Wilder-Bingham is a partner in a prestigious law firm. At least - that's who he is to Glenn, his icy, domineering wife. At least - that's who Glenn is to Kemble, her weak and dissolute son. At least - that's who Kemble is to Natalie, the unhappy mother of his three children. At least - that's who Natalie is to Teddy, her protective teenage son. So when an eccentric thirty-eight-year-old school teacher from England bounces into their lives with a secret sorrow and a heart as big as the city, nobody realises she hasn't read the rule book. And for the Wilder-Bingham family, whose lives begin to unravel thread by thread, the consequences are explosive . . . Dawn French is a wonderful writer - witty, wise and poignant.' Daily Mail 'Dawn tackles the big ones - love, death, grief, childhood, motherhood, parenthood - head on.' Guardian 'Side-splitting, darkly humorous.' Heat

So Rosie bounces – almost literally due to her abundance of everything – into the lives of the Wilder-Binghams, and nothing is ever the same again.

This is, on the surface, a fun book showing up the wealthy and their pretensions, but hidden amongst the chapters are some serious points.

What is the way to bring up children who are, ‘washing machines of continuous energy cycles’? How do you entertain them? And is Rosie’s way the right way? As she encourages them to behave in public in ways that others might not approve of.

And then there is her promiscuity.  Why is she behaving this way? and then we find out her background and what she left behind and thus where her mind is. But was it rape? There is a scene in which she is asleep when intercourse begins and many reviewers class this as rape. But she consented – or did she? And this is one that would be very difficult to argue in court. Not that I approve of the behaviour but, just saying…

And of course there is the latent homosexuality that can be so disapproved of that impacts on all of them.

I did enjoy the book after initially thinking I wouldn’t, as many scenes did make me think deeper as to what is right or correct and what is moral or societal rules. And are we very rigid in what we think is the way to behave?

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