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Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog WHERE THERE’S DOUBT by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) Twisted plots, twisted characters, and a gripping tale #conartists #psychologicaldrama

Hi, all:

I bring you a novel by one of Rosie’s Book Review Team members, who happens to be an extremely gifted author as well. This is not the first of her novels I read and review, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last either.

Where There’s Doubt by Terry Tyler

Where There’s Doubt by Terry Tyler

‘I can be anything you want me to be. Even if you don’t know you want it. Especially if you don’t know you want it.’

Café owner Kate is mentally drained after a tough two years; all she wants from her online chess partner is entertainment on lonely evenings, and maybe a little virtual flirtation.

She is unaware that Nico Lewis is a highly intelligent con artist who, with an intricately spun web of lies about their emotional connection, will soon convince her that he is The One.

Neither does Kate know that his schemes involve women who seek love on dating sites, as well as his small publishing business. A host of excited authors believe Nico is about to make their dreams come true.

Terry Tyler’s twenty-fourth publication is a sinister psychological drama that highlights the dark side of internet dating—and the danger of ignoring the doubts of your subconscious.

 https://www.amazon.com/Where-Theres-Doubt-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B09WJLJRJ6/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Where-Theres-Doubt-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B09WJLJRJ6/

https://www.amazon.es/Where-Theres-Doubt-English-Terry-ebook/dp/B09WJLJRJ6/

Author Terry Tyler
Author Terry Tyler

About the author:

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty-four books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Where There’s Doubt’, about a romance scammer. Also recently published is ‘Megacity’, the final book in the dystopian Operation Galton trilogy. She is currently at work on a post apocalyptic series, which will probably take the form of three novellas. 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 12th-17th century), along with books and documentaries on sociological/cultural/anthropological subject matter. She loves South Park, the sea, 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.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM/

 My review:

I have read several series and single novels (some linked to one of her series) by Terry Tyler, and she’s become one of a group of authors whose next release I automatically add to my TBR list. And no matter what genre she chooses to write in, I’ve never been disappointed yet.

On top of that, I am a fan of books, movies, and series, about con artists, (I even wrote about it in my PhD), so the description of this novel made it sound like the perfect read for me. And yes, it was.

As you can imagine, I cannot describe the plot of the book in too much detail, because among the beauties of heists and con games are the twists, surprises, and trying to guess what comes next, so I’ll keep my peace. The description talks about a couple of the protagonists and two aspects of the business, the romantic con and also the literary con. The romantic con is something most people will be familiar with, as it seems to have existed, in one form or another, for a very long time, but the novel illustrates how much easier things have become nowadays, with the almost universal access to the internet and social media. The literary con will sound very familiar to those of us who are authors or follow and know indie authors, and I thought the combination of both worked really well and allowed Tyler to include some very interesting comments about the current state of the publishing industry. And those who know her work will have the added bonus of recognising some plot descriptions and some locations as well. (But don’t worry, this is a totally independent book, and you don’t need to have read any of the author’s previous books to enjoy this one, although I’m happy to recommend them all).

As you can imagine from the subject, themes such as trust, confidence, honesty, sincerity, love, fraud, hope, caution, betrayal, psychology, manipulation, pretence, friendship, and greed, but also grief, creativity, ageing, fame, small-town society… And a few other things that I won’t mention to avoid giving out too many clues.

For the same reason, I cannot talk too much about the characters. One of the things I most admire about this author is her talent to create both, compelling plots that keep you turning the pages, and characters that grab your attention and whose actions and the reasons behind them will keep you intrigued, irrespective of how much you like them. There were quite a few characters in this novel that I didn’t like very much (if at all, although in some cases this changed, in both directions, as the story progressed), but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to know what made them tick. Quite the opposite. This is, partly, because the novel offers us different accounts of the events, most narrated in the first person, where we get to share in the thoughts and the deepest feelings of the characters, both “good” and “bad” (although these notions are far from being totally black and white). Even though most of the narration follows Kate and Nico, they are not the only ones we hear about, and that means we get a good understanding of the complexity of the con, and also of the reasons why such different people get involved, both as victims and as perpetrators.

Readers don’t need to worry about getting confused, as each chapter is narrated from a clearly indicated character’s point of view, and the story is told in chronological order, with the dates also included. Because we are privy to the characters’ thoughts, we also bear witness to their memories and recollections, and that allows us to get some much-welcomed background information. But, Tyler knows very well how to create tension and when to swap and change points of views to avoid revealing too much. She doesn’t use unreliable narrators (if anybody is an unreliable narrator, that is her), although it is fair to say that some of the characters have very limited insight into how they come across or what their real talents are, but most of us have been unintentionally guilty of that at some point.

This novel runs the whole gamut of emotions, and they are beautifully reflected in the writing. We have “perfect” romance (different versions of it, as that is in the eye and the heart of the beholder), we have grief (different versions of it as well), and we have betrayal, hope, selfishness, coldness, fear, desperation… And although there are sad moments, there are also very funny ones, and plenty of surprises (I suspected some, not others). Each character has his/her own personality, and the way their thoughts are expressed fits them perfectly. You can hear and see them in your head as you read. You can imagine their tone of voice and their gestures. And thanks to the brief samples of the novels submitted, you also get a fair idea of what those might be like (and be thankful for not having to read those). The rhythm is perfect, alternating between quiet and introspective moments, and tense and action-filled ones. As I always say, you can check a sample of the book if you want to know if the style of writing would suit your taste, but I don’t dare to share anything, just in case.

There is very little I can say about the ending, evidently. But, it worked beautifully for me. I am not one for perfect, all-tied-up, endings, especially for this kind of book. There are genres that call for a happy (or a scary, or sad) resolution, but with psychological drama, I’ve always felt something should be left to the reader’s imagination, and a little uncertainty is always called for. That doesn’t mean there isn’t closure, and I love the way things work out for most of the people involved (on both sides of the con). This might be a tale of caution, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

I recommend this novel to readers who enjoy complex plots, books told from different points of view, psychological dramas where one gets to delve into the characters’ minds and their motives, to fans of con games and con artists, and to anybody who enjoys good writing, set mostly in the UK, but with some visits to fancy locations as well. Some of the emotions the characters experience can be tough for readers who’ve suffered recent losses or breakups, and although not extreme, excessively explicit, or prominent, there is violence in the novel, so those looking for a cosy mystery should try elsewhere. Otherwise, go for it. If you haven’t read any of Terry Tyler’s books, I’m sure you’ll become a convert, and if you have… what are you waiting for?

There are glad tidings in the author’s note at the end, and I am eagerly awaiting her next series (while checking some of the old ones as well).

Thanks to the author for her book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to share, like, comment, click, and always keep smiling and stay safe!

Categories
Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog MEGACITY (Operation Galton Book 3) by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) Too close for comfort but a must read. The whole series #dystopianstory

Hi all:

I bring you the review of the third book in a trilogy I’ve been reading by one of the authors I don’t hesitate to recommend (and who is also a member of Rosie Amber’s team of reviewers, whose reviews I also recommend):

Megacity (Operation Galton 3) by Terry Tyler

Megacity (Operation Galton Book 3) by Terry Tyler 

The UK’s new megacities: contented citizens relieved of the burden of home ownership, living in eco-friendly communities. Total surveillance has all but wiped out criminal activity, and biometric sensor implants detect illness even before symptoms are apparent.

That’s the hype. Scratch the surface, and darker stories emerge.

Tara is offered the chance to become a princess amongst media influencers—as long as she keeps quiet and does as she’s told.

Aileen uproots to the megacity with some reluctance, but none of her misgivings prepare her for the situation she will face: a mother’s worst nightmare.

Radar has survived gang rule in group homes for the homeless, prison and bereavement, and jumps at the chance to live a ‘normal’ life. But at what cost?

For all three, the price of living in a megacity may prove too high.

Megacity is the third and final book in the dystopian Operation Galton trilogy, and is Terry Tyler’s twenty-third publication.

‘As long as some of us are still living free, they have not yet won. Anyone who refuses to live as they want us to has beaten them. That’s how we do it. That’s how we win.’

https://www.amazon.com/Megacity-Operation-Galton-Book-3-ebook/dp/B09765ZKNH/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Megacity-Operation-Galton-Book-3-ebook/dp/B09765ZKNH/

https://www.amazon.es/Megacity-Operation-Galton-Book-3-ebook/dp/B09765ZKNH/

Author Terry Tyler
Author Terry Tyler

About the author:

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty-two books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Megacity‘, the final book in the dystopian Operation Galton trilogy. Also published recently is ‘The Visitor‘, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as her popular Project Renova series. She is currently at work on a psychological thriller that centres round an internet dating con, but has not yet finished with devastated societies, catastrophe and destruction, generally. 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 12th-17th century), along with books and documentaries on sociological/cultural/anthropological subject matter. She loves South Park, the sea, 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.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM/

My review:

I received an ARC copy of this book, which I freely chose to review.

I discovered Terry Tyler’s novels a few years ago and since I read the first novel in her Renova Series (Tipping Point), I have been lucky enough to read everything she has published (or almost). Although she writes in different genres (and, The Visitor, her previous novel, although set in the Renova world was a thriller), it is as if she had picked up some vibes, because she’s been writing dystopian novels, or novels set in dystopian universes recently, although those universes feel uncannily similar to ours (or to how ours might end up being some years down the line). This means that her books are gripping, impossible to put down, and at the same time chilling and very hard to read. There are so many events, topics, trends, behaviours, and attitudes we recognise, that is impossible not to worry about what that might mean for the future of humanity if we take her novels as a warning/prophecy.

This novel is the third (and final? I add the question mark because I know characters and stories often like to challenge their authors and keep demanding their attention, so, who knows?) in the Operation Galton series, and if Project Renova is set in a dystopian world that develops as a result of a deadly virus (of course, there is far more to it than that), Operation Galton, also set in a dystopian but not all that distant future, has the added dread of not being brought on by any catastrophic events, but it seems to develop, almost naturally, from social and political circumstances that are very similar to those happening around us (one might even say that, considering how things have gone these last couple of years, things have gotten worse in our own world). So, be prepared for strong emotions and shocking events, because although readers of the other two books in the series knew terrible things were going on, “you ain’t seen nothing yet”.

The story is divided into four parts, set in chronological order, from 2041 to 2062. While the two first parts cover a decade each, part three recounts the events that take place in the years 2061 and part of 2062, and part 4 is much more focused and tense, covering a much shorter period of time.

As is usual in Tyler’s novels, she does not focus on plot over characters, despite the complexities of the story and the world-building necessary to set the narrative. The descriptions are never overwhelming or heavy with details, and this works well because we see things from the perspective of characters who are either used to the type of world they live in or have far too many things going on in their lives to spend much time obsessing over every little detail. The story is narrated from the point of view of several characters, usually in alternating chapters: a young girl who loses her family in traumatic circumstances and ends up in a Hope Village (Tara); one of the boys she meets there and becomes friends with (Radar); a young woman living off-grid at the beginning of the story who ends up moving to a Megacity with her partner and paying a terrible price for it (Aileen); in part 3 and 4 we meet some other characters who contribute their own thoughts and perspectives (mostly Leah, and fleetingly, Xav, Skylar & Kush); and there are also some chapters from the point of view of the movers and plotters (Jerome, Ezra). Some are in the first person (Tara and Aileen’s), the rest are in the third person but we still get to experience what the character feels, at a little bit of distance (thankfully, in some cases), and there are a couple of chapters that recount what has happened and/or set the scene, also in the third person but omniscient, in this case. There is not a boring moment in the whole novel, but it is true that things accelerate as the narration moves along, and the last two parts will have readers totally engaged, worrying, suffering, and hoping with and for the main characters (and booing at the bad ones as well).

Tara and Aileen, although far from perfect, are genuinely likeable. Tara is tough, a survivor, but has a big heart and is vulnerable at the same time. Aileen has to cope with plenty of losses and heartache, and, worst of all, lies and continuous disappointments. If Tara’s circumstances throughout her life mark her as pretty unique (although some of her experiences are, unfortunately, not as uncommon as we’d like to believe), Aileen is a character easy to identify with, and they are both extremely relatable. Radar, whom we meet as a young boy, bullied and abused, does anything he feels he needs to do in order to survive, but he is far more complex than others give him credit for. I am trying to avoid spoilers, so I won’t go into much detail, although I must confess that I usually prefer baddies with a degree of complexity and ambiguity (because good and evil are not always, if ever, clear cut) and that is not the case here, but it is true that it makes for a “slightly” more reassuring story.

I have already said that there are many elements and events in this series that are eerily similar to things and trends happening today: the dominance of social media, the manipulation of politics by big money and powerful corporations, the rise of authoritarian and populist discourses, fake news, conspiracy theories… and subjects that also appear in the story and are not necessarily characteristic of dystopian novels, but are also very present in our lives: bullying, poverty, unequal access to jobs, education, and healthcare, sexual harassment, violence and abuse, drug use, peer pressure, complex family relationships… It is impossible to read this book (and the whole series) without thinking how easy it would be for things such as those to happen, and how there are many different ways to interpret or evaluate the same events, depending on your perspective. What might be a clear conspiracy theory for some, with no logical basis, might be a cry for freedom and independent thinking for others, and the difference might be impossible to tell when the atmosphere is one of mistrust and suspicion all around.

You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m going to recommend this novel and the whole series. You would be right. The author does include a link at the beginning of the book for people who have read the other two books a while back (or those who haven’t read them) to a brief summary of the previous two books, so, in theory, it would be possible for somebody who hasn’t read the other two books to read this book first, although I wouldn’t recommend it. I am sure people would enjoy the book and get a general sense of what had gone on, but the three books work well together and fit in like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, building up a clearer and more complete and global picture if read in the right order. There are also some characters who have appeared in previous novels who either make an appearance or are referred to, but even without that, because each one of the books focuses on a part of the whole project to create a new world order (and we get to experience it from a vantage point of view each time), the story moves naturally and evolves throughout the three books, so yes, do read it, but make sure you read the other two books first. You will enjoy a great story, with compelling characters you will be able to identify with, well-written and bound to make you think.

There is violence, some pretty extreme events take place, and as I’ve mentioned some of the subjects discussed, people who know they are bound to be badly affected by any of those would do well to avoid it. For those who like to get some idea of what the ending is like, let’s say that most matters are settled satisfactorily (personally, I felt this was perhaps a bit too fast and relatively smooth, considering everything that had gone on), although some are left open to the reader’s imagination, and the book ends up in a fairly hopeful note.

I recommend this book (and the whole Operation Galton series) to anybody who enjoys dystopian novels, and even those who have never read one but appreciate stories well-written, with strong characters, and don’t mind a story set in a near and more-than-a-bit troublesome future that doesn’t stretch too much the imagination. This is not a reassuring read, but it is bound to make readers look at things in a new light. And hope the author is wrong.

Thanks to the author for this book and the whole series, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review and always keep safe, keep smiling, and keep reading!

Categories
Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog WASTELAND (Operation Galton Book 2) by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) It ends with a bang, not a whimper #dystopia

Hi all:

I bring you another book by one of my favourite authors. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2) by Terry Tyler

Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2) by Terry Tyler

“Those who escape ‘the system’ are left to survive outside society.  The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.”

The year: 2061. In the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make.  Speech is no longer free—an ‘offensive’ word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine.  One too many demerits?  Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Rae Farrer is the ultimate megacity girl – tech-loving, hard-working, law-abiding and content – until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.

On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever…

Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’, the concluding book in the two-part Operation Galton series, and Terry Tyler’s twenty-first publication.

https://www.amazon.com/Wasteland-Operation-Galton-Book-2-ebook/dp/B087JZ2DT5/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wasteland-Operation-Galton-Book-2-ebook/dp/B087JZ2DT5/

https://www.amazon.es/Wasteland-Operation-Galton-Book-2-ebook/dp/B087JZ2DT5/

Author Terry Tyler
Author Terry Tyler

About the author:

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty-one books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Wasteland’, a dystopian thriller set in the UK in 2061, the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’. Other recent releases include ‘Blackthorn’, a stand-alone post apocalyptic drama related to her Project Renova series. 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.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

My review:

I received an ARC copy of this novel previous to its publication, and I’m pleased to finally be able to review it of my own free wall.

I discovered the author of this novel a few years back, and I am aware that she writes in a variety of genres, but for some reason, every time I think of reading one of her books in a different genre, another one of her dystopic novels comes my way, and I can’t resist their call. I have read and reviewed The Project Renova Series and also Blackthorn (an offshoot of that series), and I read the first novel in this series (or duo of novels, unless the author decides to return to this world later), Hope (you can find my review here) a little over a year ago. Circumstances have changed since I read the first novel, and the Coronavirus health crisis has made me think of the Project Renova Series, especially Tipping Point, very often. But many other worldwide events have kept Hope also quite fresh in my mind.

What to say about this author? Reading her reviews of books by other authors (that I recommend as well) one learns that although she enjoys a well-plotted story, she needs meaty characters to engage with as well, and paper-thin characterisation doesn’t cut it for her and that is reflected in her books. The plot of this novel, like that of Hope, is gripping, don’t get me wrong, but what always makes me fully engage with a story is believing in the characters and connecting with them, not always because I like them.  When it comes to this author’s novels, even those characters I don’t like feel true, human, and relatable, down to their weaknesses and their evil ways.

I don’t want to ruin this novel for anybody, so I won’t go into the plot in too much detail. The story takes place in the same dystopic but recognisable future world featured in Hope, but almost forty years later (in 2061). Those who worry about starting to read a series in the middle don’t need to worry too much, as the novel starts slowly and there is enough world building and information about the way things work for readers to quickly pick up and settle into the story, although I’m sure anybody who starts to read here will want to know what happened before (and I recommend reading both books and in the right order if at all possible). For those who read the first novel a while back, there’s no need to worry either, because the author offers us a link to a summary at the beginning of the book. Having said that, the main characters are completely new, and although we do get the odd reference to some of the characters in the previous book (and some make a fleeting appearance in this volume), it is not necessary to remember every detail of the first book to enjoy this one, and this novel can be read independently.

Things have moved further along, the mega-corporations control everything in people’s lives (their diets, their contacts, their jobs, exercise regimes, transportation, opinions…), and the government is preparing the new phase of their plan. If they had managed to solve the problem of homelessness and poverty by removing, rehousing, and warehousing the people they found no use for (or those who could be disruptive), they now go a step further. I had mentioned “the final solution” in my review of the previous book, and this novel echoes that mentality, and, as many reviewers have mentioned, reminds us of Orwell’s Big Brother, but also of other dystopias (I kept thinking of Huxley’s Brave New World).

The main character, Rae, one of the inhabitants of a megacity, discovers that her early childhood and personal circumstances are very different to what she’d been told and decides to try and find out the truth and locate her family, despite the risks this might involve. Although when we meet her she is only a young woman who is not totally happy with her life (she is a counsellor but is frustrated at having to follow guidelines and dish out the same trite advice to everybody, and her boyfriend is self-obsessed and not very caring) but she does not question it, she evolves through the novel, grows, and learns to think for herself. Her story is told in the first-person and it occupies a big part of the book. That works well because it allows us to explore different aspects of the world order, as she travels between them trying to find her family. But we also get snippets of the stories, told in the third person, of a variety of characters, from one of the big and powerful who is behind much of what is to come, to a young man who ended up in a Hope Village and discovers that, no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse. There are others as well, and that allows us to experience, through the eyes of the characters, the ramifications of this operation and what it does to the population. Scary doesn’t quite cover it. It is terrifying, precisely because it feels so plausible, and because many of the things we hear the characters say (or read, or watch) are so similar to what we experience in our everyday lives that it is impossible not to pause and gasp.

No privacy, government monitoring of our lives, total control of information, the abysmal division between the haves and the have-nots, the cult of popularity, the importance given to looks and appearances above everything, the spinning of news and the emergence of fake news, the demolishing of any discordant voices, the pressure to conform, bullying and backstabbing at work, the cuts of the funding for social projects… The list of the issues brought up by the novel that could be out of today’s newsfeed is endless, and it seems to have become even more pressing and shocking now than when I read the first book.

When I think about this book and about the author, I’m reminded of the dialogue of a play I read years back, when one character explained that a clairvoyant is a person who “sees clearly”.  And yes, this is what Tyler is, a clairvoyant, not so much because she can predict the future (I hope she’s got it wrong, but I wouldn’t bet on it), but because she sees what’s happening around us with tremendous clarity. And she can write about it, for sure.

So, yes, I loved this book, although “loved” is perhaps not the right word for such a book. I enjoyed it immensely but I kept my fingers crossed and can’t but hope that the things in it that haven’t happened yet will never come to pass. I enjoyed the ending, at least for some of the characters I’d come to care about, (but the author takes no prisoners and this is not a cosy and happy ending by any stretch of the imagination); there are plenty of twists (if you needed a proof that we can make assumptions and reach the wrong conclusions when we read, this book delivers in a big way); and if you are looking for a gripping read that you won’t forget any time soon, I recommend it without reservations. If you are looking for a book that will take your mind off things and you’ll forget as soon as you’ve turned the last page, this isn’t it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Thanks to Terry for this fantastic novel, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, keep smiling, and above all, keep safe.

 

Categories
Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog BLACKTHORN by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) Terrific characters and a ray of hope in a dark, dark world #sci-fi

Hi all:

I bring you a book by an author that is a big favourite of mine, and one connected to one of her most popular series. Terrific!

Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

The UK, year 2139.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block, until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision, and promises to bring hope back to the people’s lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift’s spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor’s loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder’s message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

https://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B081Z3M8W4/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blackthorn-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B081Z3M8W4/

https://www.amazon.es/Blackthorn-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B081Z3M8W4/

Author Terry Tyler
Author Terry Tyler

About the author:

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty-one books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Wasteland’, a dystopian thriller set in the UK in 2061, the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’. Other recent releases include ‘Blackthorn’, a stand-alone post apocalyptic drama related to her Project Renova series. 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.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

My review:

I’ve read quite a few novels by Terry Tyler, and the whole of the Project Renova series, and I was looking forward to this one as well, as it is a story set in one of the settlements we visited in the last novel in the series, Legacy(you can find my review of Legacy here and there are also links to the rest of the novel available on that post).  Blackthorn is a pretty memorable place and my previous visit to that world made me think of Westworld (the old movie rather than the series, which I haven’t watched), because it was like an amalgamation of the worst of Ancient Rome and a Medieval court. Some of the events that happened in that novel are bound to be fresh in the minds of readers, and they are referred to in this novel, but I think even people who haven’t read any of the other novels in the Renova Series would be able to enjoy this one, as the author does a great job of creating a vivid world, and it’s not difficult to understand the rules and get to know the characters that play the different parts. Yes, those who have read the whole series will have a fair more background, and it fits in beautifully with the rest, but that should not deter new readers from trying it (and judging by the reviews, it seems that many new readers have enjoyed it as well).

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about the plot, because there are a number of surprises, and the author has built them up perfectly and paced the story so that we discover each bit of information with the characters at a particular point in the story, sharing in their feelings and emotions, and that helps explain and justify their actions. Most of the story is told in the first person present tense, by the three main characters: Evie, a young girl, a shacker (because there is a strict social order, and where you are born determines your lot in life in Blackthorn. It’s very difficult to rise above one’s station and those who try pay dearly for it), who works in a bakery and leads a very modest life (she has no other option), clever, witty, and a bit of an outsider; Byron Lewis, a guard from a family with a long tradition in Blackthorn but also a bit of an outsider; and Lieutenant August Hemsley, who is a good an honest man, a bit of a loner and has always tried his best to do his duty, remaining blind to some of the most unsavoury aspects of life in Blackthorn. There are also brief chapters told in the third person (and in italics) that offer readers some hints and clues as to other things that might be going on behind the scenes and that our three narrators have no access to. Although those three get to learn plenty about what is really going on, readers get an even closer look at the darkness and horror most of the population are completely unaware of. This is a dystopian novel, science-fiction about a possible future if civilisation were to collapse (in this case due to a virus, a particularly scary thing to read at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic), and it touches on a lot of themes: social control, organised religion, faith, spirituality, and tradition, power and manipulation, family, friendship and identity…

I have mentioned the main characters and the way the story is narrated. There are other characters who play important parts, like Ryder Swift, an outlier who used to visit Blackthorn every year, charismatic, good at telling stories and a favourite with the shackers, who becomes something of a religious leader; Wolf North, the governor, a master manipulator who is one of the darkest characters in the whole story, and many others with smaller parts, like Evie’s friends and relatives, the other guards, the women who live in the House of Angels (I’ll let you learn about that when you read the story)… but if I had to choose one, my favourite would be Evie, who reminded me of Lottie, one of my favourite characters in the whole of the Project Renova series. Tyler excels at creating characters, some likeable, some dislikeable, but all real human beings (no matter what strange worlds and circumstances they might live in), and we see how the three protagonists grow and develop during the novel (the three of them are keen readers, so that helps the connection as well), refusing to be defined by socially-designated roles and categories and coming into their own. This helps us engage with them and feel touched, marvelled or horrified by their experiences, and we feel sorrow when we leave them (although the author hints at a possible follow up on some of the characters’ adventures).

Notwithstanding the author’s focus on her characters, she manages to create a truly compelling and realistic world in Blackthorn, one that might feel fairly alien to our daily experience, and we might not like, but one we can understand, and some aspects of which might be uncomfortably recognisable. Her description of the different parts of the city, the conditions the inhabitants have to live in, their routines, their way of life, their hardships and/or privileges are seamlessly woven into the story, rather than told in long stretches of information dumps, and we learn all we need from wandering around Blackthorn’s streets with the narrators, sharing in their observations, their day-to-day life and their adventures. We see their homes, their places of work, we follow them to the bakery, the prison, the outskirts, the governor’s home, the bars, their friends’ homes, and we get to know the hidden spots in Blackthorn as well. This is done in a fluid style, with an eye for detail that does not disrupt the narrative or interrupts the plot (even when there are short chapters that take us back to earlier moments in the story), and the writing is perfectly in sync with the narrative, not calling undue attention to itself but rather serving the story. There are contemplative and beautiful moments; there are some funny touches; some truly horrific events, and some touching and hopeful passages as well. Tyler’s writing mastery keeps increasing with every novel as demonstrated by this book.

The ending hints at new beginnings and at many more stories. It brings some wonderful surprises and some disappointments (not totally unexpected), but I won’t go into detail. I loved it, and, for me, it is a hopeful ending.

This is another great novel by Terry Tyler, and one set in a world that most readers will be able to connect with. I loved its unlikely mix of characters, the fantastic baddy (Wolf North his pretty up there with the best, or worst, depending on how you look at it), the masterful way the story is told, and how it makes us pause and think, about the past, the present, and the future. A few words of warning, there are some violent scenes (not extreme but upsetting), some very dark and nasty happenings, and its take on official religions could be challenging for some readers. Personally, I can’t wait to read the sequel to Hope.

Thanks to the author for her fantastic story, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, keep safe, and always keep smiling! ♥

Categories
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 Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog LEGACY (PROJECT RENOVA #4) by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) The brightest jewel in the series recommended to those who love complex storytelling. #post-apocalyptic

Hi all:

Today I bring you the fourth book in a trilogy! Yes, what can I say? We writers sometimes can’t let go. Best laid plans and all that. To be honest, I hope the author keeps going…

Legacy. Project Renova #4 by Terry Tyler
Legacy. Project Renova #4 by Terry Tyler

Legacy (Project Renova #4) by Terry Tyler

‘Out of all the death and destruction has come the freedom to be who we really are.’

A hundred years after the world was devastated by the bat fever virus, the UK is a country of agricultural communities where motherhood is seen as the ideal state for a woman, new beliefs have taken over from old religions, and the city of Blackthorn casts a threatening shadow over the north of England. Legacy travels back in time to link up with the characters from Tipping Point, Lindisfarne and UK2.

Seventeen-year-old Bree feels stifled by the restrictions of her village community, but finds a kindred spirit in Silas, a lone traveller searching for his roots. She, too, is looking for answers: the truth behind the mysterious death, forty years earlier, of her grandmother.

In 2050, Phoenix Northam’s one wish is to follow in the footsteps of his father, a great leader respected by all who knew him―or so his mother tells him.

In 2029, on a Danish island, Lottie is homesick for Lindisfarne; two years earlier, Alex Verlander and the kingpins of the Renova group believe they have escaped the second outbreak of bat fever just in time…

Book #4 of the Project Renova series rebuilds a broken country with no central government or law, where life is dangerous and people can simply disappear … but the post-Fall world is also one of possibility, of freedom and hope for the future.

Amz UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Legacy-Project-Renova-Book-4-ebook/dp/B07JNC9K6Z

Amz.com

https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Project-Renova-Book-4-ebook/dp/B07JNC9K6Z

Author Terry Tyler
Author Terry Tyler

About the author

Terry Tyler is the author of eighteen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Legacy’, the final book in her post apocalyptic series. She is currently at work on a new dystopian novel, set in the UK, twelve years in the future. 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 but that has in no way influenced my review.

I have been following Terry Tyler’s Project Renova from the beginning (you can check my reviews for Tipping Point, here, for Lindisfarne, here, and for UK2, here)and loved all of the novels, getting more and more personally involved in the adventures and with the characters, that became part of the family, as it progressed. When a trilogy comes to an end and you see readers wondering what happened next and pestering the author for more, you know this is not just another dystopian adventure.

Before I get into the detail of this novel, which is fabulous in case you’re wondering, I must say that my recommendation is to read the four novels in the intended order. The series is written to be read as a whole, and the books are not independent. Although this novel introduces many new characters, to fully appreciate the project (yes, I know) and the overall effect, you need to be familiar with the complete story so far. But don’t worry, though, if it’s been a while since you’ve read the other novels, because the author includes a link to “the story so far” before the new novel starts, so you’ll be able to quickly refresh your memory.

This is the most structurally complex novel of the series. Although all the books are narrated by several characters, and that is the case here too, and in UK2 we had different settings as well, this novel takes us back and forth in time. After a brief interlude that follows directly on from the last novel (and there are a few of those interspersed throughout the text, but very brief), Part One is set in 2127, a hundred years later, and we go back to Norfolk, where we meet Bree, a young girl who lives there, and Silas, a traveller.  This gives us an opportunity to learn what has happened in that period all over the UK, at least in large strokes, and also to meet two young people that, at least to begin with, we don’t know how they relate to the rest of the plot. Part Two goes back to 2089 and we learn about Sky, who lives in a Northern settlement called Blackthorn. Although she lives a life of luxury, we soon learn that she is in a minority, and the place sounds like a dystopian nightmare (if you’re familiar with Huxley’s Brave New World that part of the story will give you pause, and women will be particularly horrified by that possible future), so it’s not surprising that she ends up taking a fairly extreme decision. Part Three is set in 2050, and in this case we follow the next generation of some of the characters we had left in the last novel, particularly Phoenix. Part Four, set only two years after the last novel, in 2019, reunites us with Lottie, my favourite character of the series (and I’m not the only one).  Part Five is set again in 2127, and we see what happened next to Bree and Silas and we get a sense of how the whole story fits and see the bigger picture. And the last bit of the story, back in 2027, answers a question that most people will be wondering about.

Does this mean the story is confusing? Not really, but if you’re trying to find connections and work out who everybody is from the start, you might feel a bit lost. My advice would be similar to what I used to tell people who were reading William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury: even if you can’t see where things are heading, keep reading, because it will all fall into place. And it is fabulous. In fact, the way of telling the story works wonderfully well to emphasise the theme of legacy, the fact that family lines, and especially people’s behaviour, mark those who come into contact with them and is carried through the generations. The structure made me think of novels such as Cloud Nine, and movies like Pulp Fiction, and if you enjoy a bit of a challenge when it comes to the way a story is told, this will add to your enjoyment.

The epic story (a saga) is narrated in the first person in the present tense by the different characters, and that gives it immediacy, making it easier to connect with them, even when sometimes we might know that things are not what they seem to be, and at times we might know much more than the characters do, and that give us a fascinating perspective.  The story works well, and as I said, everything fits in, but the author has a particular skill for creating vastly varied characters that are totally believable, and like them or not, we can’t help getting involved in their lives. Lottie continues to be my favourite character, but Bree and Silas are great as well, and their relationship is heart-warming without being overly sweet. Both of them have doubts and reservations, and they prove their feelings with actions, rather than meaningless words. Even the less likeable characters have a heart (well, at least the ones we meet personally) and I was surprised when I felt sorry for some of them, whom at first I had thought of as unredeemable.

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, because the story has to be read. The writing is fabulous, descriptive enough without ever getting boring, and the characters and the events narrated will make you think about known historical figures, religious beliefs, and about what moves society, and what is truly important.

I am pleased to read in the author’s note that she is thinking about writing some novellas and possibly a novel set in one of the places we visit here.  Although I loved the story and the ending as well, I know I’ll keep thinking about the series, and I won’t be able to resist further incursions into this world. And yes, I’ll be one of the readers pestering the author for more.

Thanks to the author for another fantastic book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and always keep smiling!

Categories
Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog UK2 (PROJECT RENOVA BOOK 3) by Terry Tyler (@TerryTyler4) #Bookreview The perfect way to end the series. A must read for #dystopia genre lovers and those who love great characters.

Hi all:

Today I bring you the third book in a series I’ve been eagerly following. It’s the end, sort of…

Review of UK2 (Project Renova Book 3) by Terry Tyler
UK2 (Project Renova Book 3) by Terry Tyler

UK2 (Project Renova Book 3) by Terry Tyler

‘Two decades of social media had prepared them well for UK2.’

The pace steps up in this final installment of the Project Renova trilogy, as the survivors’ way of life comes under threat.

Two years after the viral outbreak, representatives from UK Central arrive at Lindisfarne to tell the islanders about the shiny new city being created down south.  UK2 governor Verlander’s plan is simple: all independent communities are to be dissolved, their inhabitants to reside in approved colonies.  Alas, those who relocate soon suspect that the promises of a bright tomorrow are nothing but smoke and mirrors, as great opportunities turn into broken dreams, and dangerous journeys provide the only hope of freedom.

Meanwhile, far away in the southern hemisphere, a new terror is gathering momentum…

‘I walked through that grey afternoon, past fields that nobody had tended for nearly three years, past broken down, rusty old vehicles, buildings with smashed windows.  I was walking alone at the end of the world, but I was a happy man.  I was free, at last.’

Although this concludes the Project Renova trilogy, a fourth book will be published in early autumn 2018; it is set in the future and features the descendents of Lottie and co. Patient Zero, a collection of short stories related to the series, is also currently available.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/UK2-Project-Renova-Book-3-ebook/dp/B07C9H3XNP/

https://www.amazon.com/UK2-Project-Renova-Book-3-ebook/dp/B07C9H3XNP/

Author Terry Tyler
Author Terry Tyler

About the author:

Terry Tyler is the author of seventeen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘UK2’, the third 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.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict and loves history, winter, South Park and Netflix. She lives in the north east of England with her husband; she is still trying to learn Geordie.

You can check Terry’s blog where she shares her very sharp book reviews, here.

My review:

I was offered an ARC copy of this novel and freely chose to review it.

I have read and reviewed the two previous books in the Project Renova series (check the reviews for book 1, here, and book 2, here), by Terry Tyler, had read great reviews about the third book in the series, and was eager to catch up with the characters after what had happened in the previous two books. I will try not to spoil any of the surprises in the novel, but I want to advise anybody thinking about reading this book that they are written as a series and they should be read in the right order (first Tipping Point, then Lindisfarne, and UK2 third), as the story and the characters’ arcs grow as it goes along, and it is the best way to fully enjoy the story. There is also a compilation of short stories about some of the characters called Patient Zero (I have that one on my list but haven’t managed to get to it yet), but it is possible to follow the story without having read that one, although I’m sure you’ll feel curious enough to grab that one as well when you’ve finished the three main books.

I thoroughly enjoyed UK2. The novel is divided into three parts, and big events (and big secrets) are discovered in each. Readers who have been following the series will have been eagerly waiting for some of the things that happen in part 1, but in this novel, the action is divided between what is happening in Lindisfarne and what takes place at UK Central (the planned new capital of the UK post-virus). The brains behind UK Central are trying to gather as much of the population together as possible and that means some of the characters choose to move, and readers are given the chance to see how they are affected by their new circumstances. Their fates seem very different, to begin with, but, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that things are not as they seem.

This book is told from a large number of points of view. Many of the characters are given a voice, and here most of them tell the story in first-person, therefore allowing us to see them as they really are, rather than as the personas they try to portray to others. Some of them come out of it very badly (yes, Dex, I’m talking about you) but in other cases, we see characters who grow and develop in front of our eyes. This might come at a cost, but we get the sense that it is well worth it. There are brief interludes written in the third person, some about characters we know whose circumstances change, and others from an omniscient narrator, giving us an insight into what is going on in the world at large and helps create even more tension and anticipation.

The characters remain consistent throughout the series, and there are clear developmental arcs for them. Vicky fluctuates but after some more bad news manages to bounce back, Lottie remains one of my favourite characters and gets some new allies, and there are some surprises, like Flora, who slowly but surely comes into her own. I also enjoyed getting to know more about Doyle, who is another one of the characters who grow through the series, from being quite self-centered and doing anything for a quiet life, to developing a backbone and taking risks.

The quality of the writing is excellent, as usual in this author’s work. There is a good balance between fast-paced action and slower and more reflective moments, but there are gruesome and cruel scenes and sad events that take place as well, as should be the case in the genre. It’s impossible not to think about current politics and wonder what would happen if something like this took place. Let’s say that it feels scarily realistic at times and the novel is great at exploring how human beings can react when faced with extreme situations, with some becoming a better version of themselves, and others… not so much. But, this book is far from all doom and gloom and I loved the ending, and I think most readers will do as well. (Yes, I could not help but cheer at some point!) My only regret was that I had to part with the characters that have become friends by now, but I was reassured by the author’s promise to publish another novel set in the far future with some catch-up to the previous characters. And perhaps one intriguing short-story…

Even if you’ve read the other two novels some time ago, you don’t need to worry because the author has included a link at the very beginning of the novel that allows readers to read a brief summary and catch-up on the action so far.

A great follow-up and closing (sort-of) to the Renova Project series, and one that shouldn’t be missed by anybody who’s been following it. A great ending, a beginning of sorts and a reflection on what extreme conditions can do to the human spirit. Unmissable.

Thanks to the author for the book (and for the mention!), thanks to Rosie Amber and her team, where I first met Terry Tyler and her great reviews, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and keep smiling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Categories
book promo Book reviews

August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews #TuesdayBookBlog

As you know I am part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and Terry Tyler has had a fabulous idea. Here is the post!

Libro

On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote this post encouraging readers and writers alike to post a short review on Amazon for any book they’ve read and enjoyed ~ following this up, Terry Tyler is starting this initiative along with other writer-bloggers including Rosie, Cathy from Between The Lines, Barb Taub, Shelley Wilson and Alison Williams.

 

The idea is that, from August 1st, everyone who reads this uses their Amazon account to post just one review on one book that they’ve read (but feel free to carry on if you get in the swing!).  You don’t even have to have read it recently, it can be any book you’ve read, any time.  The book does not have to have been purchased from Amazon, though if it is you get the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag on it; however, if you download all your books via Kindle Unlimited, as many do these days, they don’t show the VP tag, anyway.

 

Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next £1.99 Kindle book.  No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique; I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used.  Yes, those are welcome too (!), but no more so than a few words saying “I loved this book, I was up reading it until 3am”, or “I loved Jim and Vivien and the dialogue was so realistic”, or whatever!

 

Why should you write a review?

They help book buyers make decisions.  Don’t you read the reviews on Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, or any site from which you might buy an item for practical use?  Book reviews are no different.

If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves ~ reviews from the reading public is their one free helping hand.

The amount of reviews on Amazon helps a book’s visibility (allegedly).  If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of making this happen.

It’s your good deed for the day, and will only take five minutes!

 

Off we go, then!  A few more pointers:

If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post, above.

A review can be as short as one word.  The shortest one I have is just two 🙂

You don’t have to put your name to the review, as your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.

No writer expects all their reviews to be 5* and say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star rating guide on Rosie’s post.

Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review?  If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews ~ and thank you!  I will do one blog post a week featuring these links: The #AugustReviews Hall of Fame (thank you, Barb!).

And just in case you’d like some examples of things you could say in reviews, this post about #AugustReviews has plenty of suggestions. Come and check it!

If you have a blog and would like to spread the word about #AugustReviews, please feel free to copy and paste this blog post, provide the link to it, re-blog it, or whatever ~ many thanks, and I hope you will join in to make this idea a success 🙂

Thanks for reading and please, share, like, comment, CLICK and REVIEW! Ah, and remember, share your Amazon review (as we want to make sure people know you don’t need to be a blogger or share your reviews in a blog to write a review!)

 

 

Categories
Book review Rosie's Book Review Team

#RBRT Bookreview LA PETITE BOULAIN by G. Lawrence (@TudorTweep) Anne Boleyn in her own words as you’ve never read her before #TuesdayBookBlog

Hi all:

As I promised, although I’m hoping to have news about other things and my own writing very soon, in the meantime I’m reading as much as I can and I have a review of a fabulous book for you. Thanks to Rosie Amber and to Terry Tyler for the suggestion.

La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence
La Petite Boulain by G. Lawrence

La Petite Boulain (Above all Others; The Lady Anne Book 1) by G. Lawrence

May 1536, London… a fallen queen sits waiting in the Tower of London, condemned to death by her husband. As Death looms before her, Anne Boleyn, second queen of Henry VIII looks back on her life…from the very beginning.
Daughter of a courtier, servant to queens… she rose higher than any thought possible, and fell lower than any could imagine.

Following the path of the young Mistress Boleyn, or La Petite Boulain, through the events of the first years of the reign of Henry VIII, to the glittering courts of Burgundy and France, Book One of “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” tracks the life of the young Lady Anne, showing how she became the scintillating woman who eventually, would capture the heart of a king.

La Petite Boulain is the first book in the series “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” on the life of Anne Boleyn by G.Lawrence.

Links:

http://amzn.to/28SFEFa

http://amzn.to/28SFLR9

My review:

I write this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie Amber and to Gemma Lawrence for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I’ve been reading more historical novels of recent and I appreciate the mix of skills their authors require. There has to be a lot of research for the novel to be grounded sufficiently in the era and not seem a total flight of fancy. But ensuring that this research is seamlessly weaved into the story and avoiding the risk of turning it into a textbook requires talent, inspiration, art and a passion for the topic. And La Petite Boulain has all those and more.

I’m Spanish and although I’ve lived in the UK for many years I wouldn’t say that my knowledge of English history is deep or detailed. Like most people the entire world over, I’m more familiar with the Tudors and their historical period than with any others, thanks to the fascination they have always held for historians, writers, and movie and television scriptwriters. I would guess that most of us have read or watched something about Henry VIII and Elizabeth I at the very least. And we’ve heard of Anne Boleyn.  We might even have an opinion about her.

Since I started writing reviews and blogging about books I’ve come across many books about Anne Boleyn. What prompted me to read this one was a recommendation by one of the reviewers in Rosie’s team that I know is very knowledgeable on the subject (thanks once more, Terry ) and the fact that this book looks at Anne not solely regarding her relationship with Henry VIII. The story is told in the first person, by Anne, who is waiting at the Tower to be beheaded (I’m sure this is no spoiler for anybody), and as a way of keeping calm and passing away the time without falling into despair (more so as she’s surrounded by hostile women sent to spy on her), she goes back in time and remembers her life from childhood. This is the first book in the series, and it takes us from childhood to the time when Anne returns back to England after spending several years away, most recently at the French court, when she’s already a young woman.

The book is beautifully written, with detailed (but not boring or drawn-out) descriptions of clothing, places, people and customs. The language and expressions are appropriate to the era without being overcomplicated or slowing down the story. We see Anne as she sees herself, a lucky girl who’s been born into a good family, with a caring, affectionate and accomplished mother, a father somewhat distant and cold, more interested in politics and the advancement of the family’s fortunes than in the feelings of their members, an older sister (Mary) who is the prettiest one, but less clever and freer with her morals (she’s a more sensuous creature), and a younger brother, George, whom she has much in common with.

We follow her amazement and wonder at historical events, such as the coronation of Henry VIII, when she takes a fancy to the young king, and see her education, first at home, and then at different European Courts, initially at Mechelen  and then in France. The book captures well the innocence of a young girl arrived at a European court, who thinks everybody is beautiful, clever and brilliant, although even at that age she is a keen observer and a quick learner. She’s also good at noticing the power relations and getting closer to influencers and people who can teach her the most.

As she grows, she starts to notice and observe the underbelly and the hypocrisy of the society she lives in, and she also becomes a critical thinker, questioning organised religion and reading what were at the time considered dangerous tracks (Martin Luther). She is shocked by some behaviours she sees, including those of her family members, and by the clear difference in the way women are treated in comparison to the men, no matter how high their position in life, but she is determined to absorb knowledge and learn as much as she can, to ensure that she will not just be at the whim of those around her.

I enjoyed the historical detail, the reflections on events and historical figures of the era, but above all, the way the story is told, that takes the readers into Anne’s confidence and makes them experience with her both wonderful and terrible events, helping make her a real and understandable human being, rather than a cardboard figurine out of historical volume . La petite Boulain is an absolute pleasure to read, and despite knowing the story, I can’t wait to for the next book in the series.

Thanks so much to Rosie Amber for her fabulous team, thanks to Gemma Lawrence for this wonderful book, thanks to you all for reading, and please, like, share, comment and CLICK!

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