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Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog #Bookreview Hope by Terry Tyler(@TerryTyler4) A compelling dystopia that feels too close for comfort

Hi all:

I bring you a novel by an independent author who has become a firm favourite of mine in recent years. You’ll love this one.

Hope by Terry Tyler
Hope by Terry Tyler

Hope by Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller set in a dystopian near future – the UK, Year 2028.

Blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer live and work online, seeing life through soundbites, news TV and social media. Keeping the outside world at bay in their cosy flat, they observe the ruthless activities of the new PM and his celebrity fitness guru wife, Mona (hashtag MoMo), with the mild outrage that can be quelled simply by writing another blog post.

Meanwhile, in the outside world, multinational conglomerate Nutricorp is busy buying up supermarket chains, controlling the media, and financing the new compounds for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Lita and Nick suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, until the outside world catches up with them – and Lita is forced to discover a strength she never knew she possessed.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hope-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B07S89DK54/

https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B07S89DK54/

https://www.amazon.es/Hope-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B07S89DK54/

Author Terry Tyler
Author Terry Tyler

About the author:

Terry Tyler is the author of nineteen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Hope’, a dystopian, psychological drama set in the UK, a decade into the future. She is currently at work on ‘Blackthorn’, a post-apocalyptic stand-alone story set in her fictional city of the same name. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM/

My review:

I received an ARC copy of this novel prior to its publication, and I freely chose to review it.

I have read some of Terry Tyler’s work before (I’ve read her dystopian Project Renova series and I cannot recommend it enough, you can check my review of the last novel in the series, Legacy, here), and I was keen to read her new novel, which also fits into that genre.

This story, set in the UK in the near future, felt even more prescient than Renova, and it perfectly captures some of the realities of today’s society (the increased reliance on AI and machines to replace many jobs, the dominance of social media, fake news, and the near impossibility of living a truly private life, the increase in populist politics, the problems of housing and homelessness in a society averse to welfare…), creating a mirror effect that reflects back to the reader some very ugly truths about today’s world. The rise to power of a politician supported (?) by a huge corporation, whose spouse is a media darling, the doctoring of social media news, hashtags, blog posts and reviews, a “new” (read “final” for a historical parallel that this novel will bring to mind as well) solution to deal with homelessness (very akin to “out of sight, out of mind”), the lack of funding for volunteer and charitable organisations, all sound far too real, and a more than likely scenario illustrating what fascism might look like now or in the near future. And the novel also makes readers realise that something like this could be the rule, rather than the exception. What would it take for many of us to lose everything and not be able to afford a roof over our heads or food on our tables? The author points out, loud and clear, that it is a likelier scenario than we’d like to believe.

Tyler always manages to combine gripping plots with engaging characters. Here, Lita, a blogger with a sad and unhappy childhood, tells most of the story in the first person, and although she is very private (understandably so, due to her circumstances), it is easy to identify with her (well, in my case I also blog and review books, so I felt particularly close to her), her friends and co-workers, and the people she meets. There are some fragments of the story that are narrated in the third person from the point of view of the people in charge, and that allows readers to get a wider picture of what is going on (and to fear even more what might be coming).

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about the plot, to avoid spoilers, but the ending is great (creepy, worrying, but not totally black), the writing is of great quality, as usual, and I challenge anybody to read this novel and not feel chills down their spine.

The author includes two short-stories that, according to her notes, had initially been written as part of the novel but she later decided to remove, to improve the flow of the story even further. They provide background information about Lita and Mona, and they enhance the novel, in my opinion. Mona’s story, in particular, should serve as a warning to parents (fat shaming and lack of true affection will have enduring negative consequences) and feels psychologically so true… I advise readers to make sure they don’t miss them, as they give a more rounded picture of the characters, and particularly in Mona’s case, an insight into a character that otherwise we only see from outside and feels totally unsympathetic (not that I loved her after reading the story, but I gained some understanding of how she got to be her, and also as to who might be behind it).

Another great novel by Terry Tyler. Do read it and take the warning about our future to heart. I will keep reading her novels, for sure, and I just hope she is wrong.

Thanks to the author for another great book, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and always keep smiling! (And be prepared!)

Categories
Book review Book reviews

#TuesdayBookBlog #Bookreview TIPPING POINT. (Project Renova Book 1) by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) A #post-apocalyptic story of a Britain that is so familiar it is truly scary.

Hi all:

Today I share the review for a book by one of my fellow reviewers at Rosie’s Book Review Team. She is not only an excellent reviewer but as I suspected, she can write as well!

Tipping Point (Project Renova Book 1) by Terry Tyler
Tipping Point (Project Renova Book 1) by Terry Tyler

Tipping Point (Project Renova Book 1) by Terry Tyler

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

This is the first book in the Project Renova series; the second, Lindisfarne, is due to be published in September 2017, with the final instalment in the middle of 2018. A collection of outtake short stories, Patient Zero, is in progress, and should be available around December 2017.

https://www.amazon.com/Tipping-Point-Project-Renova-Book-ebook/dp/B074LSCX5M/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tipping-Point-Project-Renova-Book-ebook/dp/B074LSCX5M/

Author Terry Tyler
Author Terry Tyler

About the author:

Terry Tyler is the author of fourteen books on Amazon, the latest being ‘Tipping Point’, the first book in her new post apocalyptic series. She is proud to be self-published, is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Her next book, ‘Lindisfarne’, the sequel to ‘Tipping Point’, should be available in September 2017. She would love to have a list of fascinating and unusual hobbies to include in her bio, but is too busy writing to do much apart from read and flop in front of Netflix when the document is saved for the day. Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and writes for one of their main fansites. She lives in the north east of England with her husband, and is still trying to learn Geordie.

My review:

Thanks to the author who kindly offered me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

I’ve known Terry Tyler, the author of this book, for a while, mostly through her reviews of other writer’s books (we seem to share a similar taste in novels and she’s partly responsible for my starting to read more historical fiction), but although I’ve been aware of her books for some time, and I’ve read very good reviews of them, I found it difficult to decide which one of them to read first. When she offered me a copy of her new novel, the first in a trilogy (and there is a story arc that develops through it, so no, you should not expect a conventional ending if you read this novel, and you should read the series in order if you want to fully understand the story), I took her up on the offer, as I could kill two birds with one stone. I’d read a novel that sounded very intriguing and I would also have read a work by an author I’d wanted to check out for quite a while.

This book is a post-apocalyptic novel set in the near future (2024 to be precise) in the UK. Although some of the specific locations are fictional, the author explains in a note at the end where the original inspiration for some of them came from, and indeed, some are real. The setting is one of the great achievements of the novel. For those of us who live in the UK, it is all too real and familiar (with the shops, facilities, political and social organisation, TV programmes, food, language, and even typical behaviours of the population) and that makes it, in many ways, scarier than novels that are set either in imaginary locations, or in vague settings, that in their attempt at representing everywhere sometimes become too unfamiliar and alienating. Another one of the things that differentiate this novel from others in the genre (and I’m aware that the author writes in many different genres and is mostly interested in the stories rather than the labels attached to them) is its attention to characters. Whilst many post-apocalyptic novels spend a lot of the time, either on the cause and the development of the said apocalypse or on descriptions of the new world and post-apocalyptic society, sometimes the characters are little more than superheroes that had not discovered yet they had special survival skills, and spend most of the novel demonstrating us their awesomeness. Although I am not an expert in post-apocalyptic novels, I have read some (the one I best remember in recent times is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel) and I’d dare to say that some readers who might not usually read novels in this genre would enjoy this one.

The time frame of the story is somewhat fragmented. The novel starts plunging us in the middle of the action, as the two main characters, Vicky and her teenage daughter Lottie, are escaping from their town and the enforced isolation and transportation its inhabitants face due to the epidemic. The novel (mostly narrated in the first person by Vicky) then goes back to explain how the situation reached the ‘tipping point’ of the title. The first person narration makes us experience the story close and personal, whilst at the same time limiting the amount of information we get to what Vicky can get hold of. Although her partner, Dex, was well-informed and had been warning her about the world governments attempts at gathering information about the population through social media with shady intent, she always dismissed his concerns and now realises he might have been right all along. (As I have included the description of the novel and want to avoid spoilers, I won’t discuss the whole plot in detail, but let’s say population control is taken to the extreme).

As I have commented more than once regarding first-person narrations, there are readers who like them more than others, and often it depends on how we feel about the narrator. I must confess that on many occasions I found Vicky very annoying, especially at the beginning of the story. She refuses to believe anything that falls outside of her comfort zone, as if she was wearing blinkers; she is uncritical of official versions of the truth, despite her partner’s attempts at enlightening her. She has little confidence in herself (even when she acknowledges that she has brought up her daughter alone and has achieved much despite her difficult circumstances), and places a lot of responsibility and trust in Dex (although she does not share his ideas or even listen to him at times), her partner for the last six years. He is a fair bit older than her, savvier, and seems to be the one who has to make the decisions and who is expected to come up with answers and solutions to all the problems. (I thought the fact that when they moved they only kept a car, and now he’s the only one to drive and she has lost confidence in her driving seems to encapsulate their relationship). Of course, we do not know him directly, as we only have Vicky’s memories of him, and we learn later those might have been rose-tinted. From the little snippets we get, I found their relationship a bit difficult to understand, as they don’t seem to have much in common (as some of the other characters note, including her daughter) and we learn that she was quite naïve about him.  But she grows and matures through the novel, and although, thankfully, she does not become Wonder Woman, she proves herself resourceful and capable, she dares to try new things and does whatever is necessary to ensure her survival and that of her daughter. I am curious to see how the character will develop in the coming books and also to find out what role she will ultimately end up playing (as the narration seems to be addressed at the readers at times, rather than just being something she is writing exclusively for herself).

I really liked Lottie. She is a credible teenager, determined where her mother is hesitant, flexible and adaptable while remaining a teenager, naïve at times, eager to discover who she is and what she likes, and to fight for her individuality and independence. She brings much of the humour to the story and the relationship mother-daughter is a joy to read (apocalypse or not).

There are some chapters told in the third-person by an omniscient narrator who gets into the head of different characters, some that will evidently play a part in future instalments of the series, and others that provide a clearer background and explanation of how and why everything developed.

The writing is fluid and flows well. The first-person narration is convincing and the reported speech patterns of the different characters are distinctive and help create a clear picture in the reader’s mind. The pacing is steady, at times faster (especially when there is an acute threat to deal with) but at others it slows down to allow for some moments of contemplation and reflection.

Although I said before that the story is not focused on the science behind the illness or on a blow-by-blow account of the spread of the epidemic, that does not mean we do not gain insight into the destruction the virus causes or how it results in a collapse of the usual niceties of civilisation, but rather that we see these on a small scale and from a human-sized perspective, that, if anything, makes it scarier, as it is easier to visualise how this could happen around us. And, as quite a few readers have commented, one feels very tempted to withdraw completely from social media after reading this book, so convincing its plot is.

This first novel in the Renova trilogy sets up the characters and the background situation for the rest of the series. I am intrigued by the number of diverse characters who are set to come together at Lindisfarne. Holy Island, a place I have visited, is fascinating, but not very large for such a crew of people, and it is not somewhere where one can easily hide or even escape from. The confluence of so many people with such different expectations and agendas is bound to be explosive, and I can’t wait for the next book, that luckily should be out in September 2017.

I recommend this novel not only to readers of post-apocalyptic literature, but also to those who enjoy stories that question our beliefs, our society, our values, and that are interested in people, their relationships, and the way they see themselves and others.  I am sure this series will go from strength to strength and I look forward to the next two books.

Thanks very much to Terry for the book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, and of course, if you read any books, REVIEW!

[amazon_link asins=’B075WDTK9L,B01LXQISIY,B00M17PHGW,B01CXA2K8E,B006423HGW,B016WNEEQO’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’wwwauthortran-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f02d6a83-b316-11e7-9945-c73f8b1d2bf0′]

Categories
New books

#Newbook THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) Because serial killers have families too

Hi all:

Today is Friday and usually (although I’m not sure anything is usual anymore) I bring you new books on Friday. Today, I bring you a thriller by a writer I know better as a reviewer (very sharp and I follow her recommendations to the letter), Terry Tyler. Although I’m very intrigued by her work, so far I haven’t managed to read any of her books, but when I read about her new novel, I was sure you’d be interested. Here it is:

The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler
The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler

The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.
One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks all the boxes.

Maisie thinks her mum’s new boyfriend seems too good to be true. Is she the only person who can see through Gary’s friendly, sensitive façade?

Tamsin is besotted with her office crush, Jake. Then love turns to suspicion…

Steve is used to his childhood friend, Dan, being a loud mouthed Lothario with little respect for the truth. But is a new influence in his life leading him down a more sinister path?

Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her—a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

Here I had to share some of the reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars Five people know who the killer is—only one of them is right

By Barb Taub on 13 Oct. 2016

When you read a new Terry Tyler novel, the only thing you can count on is that you can’t count on anything. I can think of very few other authors who change and mix genres so regularly that it’s become their definition. Her latest novel, The Devil You Know, is no exception.

The book opens with a prologue as a young woman named Dora flashes back to the heartbreaking steps leading to her realization that she’s about to be murdered. Chapter One then goes back in time to a year earlier, as the news breaks of a body—the third one in six months—found in the local river Lynden in South Lincolnshire, England. Slowly, local residents realize that one of them, perhaps someone they know, is a murderer, one who will most probably strike again.

At this point in the usual detective series, the search for a serial killer would belong to a damaged detective (probably Swedish, with a drinking problem and a history of failed personal relationships). Or perhaps it would be a beautiful young woman, torn between two love interests as she’s stalked by the killer. Or the detective could even be an old lady (bonus points if she knits), or a quirky heroine with a quirky best friend (probably gay)—but either way, cupcakes and cats would certainly be involved.

Oh, wait—this is a Terry Tyler book. That means that there are only two things you can be sure of: it will be character driven, and those characters will steadfastly refuse to be trapped in genre tropes. She starts with the premise: what if there are several reasonable people who have looked at the evidence—the generic composite drawing, the opportunity, the motive—and realize that it all points to someone in their own life? How long will they resist that knowledge, knowing that delay might mean more deaths?

One thing many detective stories have in common—a staple, in fact, of the police procedural—is the bit where they talk about all the nut cases who call in “tips” after hearing about the crime. But in fact, the reality is that many crimes are solved by those closest to the criminal. Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was a brilliant murderer who successfully eluded police until named by his brother David, who later wrote: “It was a feeling of being trapped – trapped in this brother relationship, trapped in this dilemma in which people’s lives were at stake either way. One way, if we did nothing, another bomb might go off and more people might die. The other way, I turned Ted in and he would be executed.”—David Kaczynski for The Guardian

Thus the book’s chapters will each be owned by a specific character. Juliet is a middle-aged housewife whose bullying husband beats and demeans her, even as she tries to hide her shame from her sons and the world. Steve is a shy young man who has always depended on his best friend, Dan, despite his growing concern about Dan’s new friends and their criminal ties. Tamsin is a young professional in love with a colleague who she realizes has taken advantage of her. Dorothy is an older woman, a single mother who has raised her beloved son with humor and grace, but who discovers he’s keeping a big part of his life secret from her. Maisie is the teenager who is so close to real life girls I’ve known (and been) that it’s almost eerie. She’s a mix of self-centered, generous, loving, selfish, wildly imaginative, and naive—convinced that she knows so much about the world, but mystified about the way it really works.

And in between, we get glimpses of the other two main groups of actors: the victims, and the baffled police. But the story doesn’t belong to them; it actually lives inside the heads of each of the amateur detectives. And that’s where Terry Tyler shines. As we share each of their chapters, we see the logic building to each one of their conclusions that the killer is the person so central to their lives. And, in a unique touch, we see the aftermath of that decision for each character.

One of the most difficult things a writer can do is convincingly switch point of view, changing voice and pace and world view for each character. To then show each and every one of these characters—as they change and develop, as they fight the realization of what speaking up might mean, and as they grow toward their own personal moment of truth—is the sign of a master writer. To do it with flawless command and ownership—inviting the reader to try to guess which door hides a killer and which is just a mirror of the character’s own fears—is a unique and incredible feat. And even more, to make all that seem so natural that the reader doesn’t really question each character’s chain of logic or stop to second guess the plot? That is Terry Tyler’s particular brand of genius.

5.0 out of 5 stars Devilishly Delightful

By Mandyflyme on 9 Oct. 2016

Oh my! I just don’t know where to start. I suppose at the beginning. I love Terry’s books and I am one of her Twitter stalkers too – in a good way! I am just so glad that I have found her. An absolutely lovely lady and an absolute gem of a writer. The Devil You Know had me at page 1. The story delves into the various lives of different people and it keeps you guessing from the beginning. I love and feel the poor and downtrodden Julia. For goodness sake, woman, do something about your life! I just want to inject her with a backbone. Does she find one? Steve seems quite a lonely and laid back character. Will he have a happy ending? Is there more to him than there seems? The book just comes to life with all of the side stories whilst not losing the essence of the plot. I totally love Terry’s music references that pop up in her books – Nik Kershaw lol! Wonderful. If you want an amazingly good read about murder, prostitution and intrigue and to love/hate lots of well written characters, please buy this book today. No, I’m not on commission but yes, don’t miss out. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

5.0 out of 5 starsRefreshing take on the serial killer story

By CathyR on 9 Oct. 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Dora had been promised a job in England but her brother knew better. He pleaded with Dora not to trust the man who made the promises but she laughed off his concerns, believing she was in control of the situation and not in any danger. Dora found out to her cost her brother had been right. She paid the ultimate price for her naiveté.

Twelve months earlier and a third body has been discovered in Lyndford raising the possibility of a serial killer at large. The story is driven by the characters, told from several perspectives and very cleverly woven together.

Juliet is an abused wife who believes her husband, Paul, lies to her about his evenings out, and after listening to an expert on the news report describe common personality traits of serial killers, she realises most of them could apply to Paul.

Steve has doubts about Dan, his childhood friend, who seems to have changed, and not for the better, since he’s become thick as thieves with AJ. Steve is suspicious of AJ and believes he brings out Dan’s worst characteristics.

Tamsin, who works for the Lynford Echo, has become fixated with Jake after a one night stand. Unreciprocated feelings lead to retaliation in the form of questionable implications.

Teenager Maisie dislikes and distrusts her mother’s new boyfriend. He’s too ingratiating by far and she doesn’t believes the excuses he comes up with to cover his absences.

Dorothy is a single mother. She and her adult son, Orlando, are very close but Dorothy suspects Orlando is keeping something from her. Her conflicting emotions prompt her to do something that, under normal circumstances, she would never even have dreamt of. But these are not normal circumstances.

Meanwhile more murders are being committed.

I love Terry Tyler’s books, she always manages to add a different slant on a theme, and make me feel for her characters. This story is definitely no exception. A psychological, serial killer drama with the distinctive, complex characterisation and skilful, engaging writing this author excels at. The narrative is dark and the plot very well executed, building up to a dramatic conclusion – which I didn’t guess because by the end I’d laid the blame on every one of the suspects. And then, just when you think it’s all over….

The story incorporates elements of power, jealousy and love, among other things, and shows Terry Tyler’s spot on grasp and understanding of people and situations. The composition of the story works really well, with each segment building the suspense and anticipation. A refreshing and compelling interpretation of a serial killer story.

My review is based on an advance copy from the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or the review content.

And here, the links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01LXQISIY/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXQISIY/

If you want to visit the author’s page on Amazon, you can click here.

And don’t miss her blog, here.

Thanks to Terry Tyler for her new novel and to the reviewers for their comments, thanks to you for reading, and please, like, share, comment and CLICK!

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