Latest Reviews

John Anthony Miller, Honour the Dead

“Honour the dead, rejoice with the living.”

Is somebody going to kill Penelope Jones? Will she succumb to the fear and desperation of feeling haunted by one or more would-be killers?

Penelope’s husband has a checkered present. He is recognised as a war hero.

In the sanatorium on the edge of Lake Como, her psychiatrist Dr Barnes works towards finding her underlying mental trouble. Dr Barnett suffers from PTSD after being wounded at the Somme.

John Anthony Miller sets up his historical thriller as a chess master would set up his board. His characters are realistic and suffering humans, but Penelope is layered and impenetrable, whereas her husband is twisted by the war.

The investigating police detective, Falcone, is intelligent and shows insight, which brings me to a slight mistake that caught my attention.

“Falcone paused, looking up from his notebook. “What exactly is schizophrenia?” he struggled to pronounce the word.” (p. 158).

Any Italian with respect for himself would have no trouble pronouncing schizophrenia. With common words like schizzo (stain) and frenesia (frenzy) he would be able to put two and two together and understand the word, even if the illness were unknown to him. Perhaps one could change the dialogue to fit his ability.

Honour The Dead

Maureen Turner, Purgatory

About Fiends and Friends

Purgatory: A Death Wish Gone Haywire

Such a Pity: Nemesis Comes When You Least Expect it.

Halloween: All Soul’s Eve

Dicker: Dog-Rescue-Dog

Corona: Between Life and Death

The Sprite: Dangerous Nature and or Folklore

The Magpie’s Hoard: A Writer’s Plight, and a Magpie’s

Old Thunder: Big Fish Story

Vera Nuss: A Girl and Her Incongruous Friend

The Storm: Heavenly Phenomenon

The Worst Christmas Ever: The Dangers of Being Fifty, Fat, and Friendly

Sizzling: Philandering Husband

Maureen Truner has created a scintillating collection of short stories that will keep any reader glued to the page. No surprises there, but her plot- and character-shaping is superb – and the surprises are abundant when you dive into the text.
Oh yes, there is plenty of opportunity to wonder what one would do if confronted with such extraordinary situations and characters.
Purgatory is a rare treat.


Toya Richardson, Mesmerised: Hybrid Lovers Book 2

Longing for Love for Centuries

Fated lovers have a hard time. That goes for Antoine, who knows that he is waiting. Donna doesn’t, and that makes her vulnerable.

On the surface, this is a simple premise, but Ms Richardson pulls all the stops to show the dangers and difficulties inherent in bringing two souls together.

One thing is a given in Ms Richardson’s books. She knows how to build suspense and drive her readers through the pages at speed. Add to that the paranormal element and some epic battles between good and evil.


Joy Wood, Secrets and Lies

A Triad of Danger and Deception

Jenna is married to Leo Montgomery and lives with him in the clan’s home, Oak Ridge. She has lost her sparkle but relies on her brother to keep her calm.

Bridget, housekeeper at Oak Ridge for many years, feels entitled to be part of the family.

Lucy, a Jewellery designer, is almost a recluse but has found a few friends in the little town where she lives.

The undisclosed connection between the three women is about to be blown wide open. Add to the mix that the patriarch Avery Montgomery stands out as a man with no sense of remorse, but Bridget also shows that she has learned the family craft.

Joy Wood has constructed a mob-like family that takes no prisoners. Her writing stirs up a cauldron of deceit, crime, and manipulation. The fast-paced thriller opens a vista of privilege and how it can be abused.

Secrets and Lies

Brenda Guiton, Beneath the Poison Tree

Anger, A Passionate Predator

Dawn, wife and mother, serves as a symbol of the harm one unhinged person can inflict. She is the central character in Beneath the Poison Tree.

Around her gather her family, oblivious to her wiles. Her brother-in-law, who relies on her help. Her husband, who works away from home. Her children, who have lost their jobs. Her sister, who fades away, and some female friends, who appear out of the blue. Add to that Jasper the cat.

Ms Guiton uses William Blake’s poem, A Poison Tree, as her inspiration for this harrowing thriller that takes the reader deep into human psychology, red in tooth and claw. Her writing is crisp and to the point. A terrifying study of narcissism turned into psychopathy.

Beneath the Poison Tree

Anne K Wheelan and Liz Cain, Rotten to the Core

The Feelings and Regrets of an Evil Queen

The question one must ask is this: is the evil queen, Raina, indeed evil? Maybe she’s merely trauma-bonded and naïve. She has inherited a mirror from her grandmother. Will it help her or undo her?

Her mother treats her as a second-class person, evoking Cinderella recollections. Her father loves her in his own way, albeit without making an impact on his wife. 

Enter Damien, who knows just how to play on her naivety. Has he a connection to the vampires that threaten the kingdom?

Still, Raina marries Lucas, the King, just as the fairytale format demands. Of course, that’s just the beginning.

A retelling of Snow White, it works surprisingly well, even with all the vampires thrown in. Rotten to the Core is magical in more than one way.

Rotten to the Core

Cynthia Hamilton, A High Price to Pay

Is Combining Event Planning with PI Work a Good Idea?

Madeleine Dawkins has her work cut out for her, planning a celebrity birthday, but it gets complicated when jewels disappear, and people get murdered.

Rick Yeoman gets out of prison on parole.

That causes Madeleine sleepless nights. He might be out to harm her in revenge, as she helped put him away.

She and her partner, Mike, must hurry to sort out the complicated mess, as the Feds don’t take her fears seriously.

Ms Hamilton knows how to present complicated threats and vicious adversaries in this highspeed mystery. Her writing is impeccable, and her plotting skills second to none. It is an added bonus that her characters are lifelike and believable. An immersive and twisted tale of human shenanigans.

A High Price to Pay

Kathryn Gauci, In the Shadow of the Pyrénées

In the Shadow of World War II

Armand, schoolteacher and involved in rescuing Spanish refugees, doesn’t think twice when the stream of escapees from the Nazi terror needs help.

Colette, his wife lives in terror.

Their daughter, Justine, works from Toulouse to help rescue Jews and Escaped soldiers.

In the Shadows of the Pyrénées is a full-bodied narrative of a difficult period in France, which was divided between two zones and overrun by Nazis and their victims.

Kathryn Gauci always shows impeccable research in her books, and this is no exception. Told with respect and understanding, she rolls out a wide panorama. Not only the rough nature but also the villagers living in this environment come to life, as do the people who need help. Especially Hélène, a beautiful Jewess, springs to mind as a complex person.

A rollercoaster of emotions, danger, and a clandestine love affair, In the Shadows of the Pyrénées, ticks all the boxes.

In the Shadow of the Pyrénées

© HMH, 2023


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.