The Long Weekend is sadly not a description of a nice few days away, instead it’s the focus of the latest blog tour that I was lucky enough to be invited on to.
The Long Weekend by Gilly McMillan starts with three friends arriving for a weekend away at an isolated farm house in the middle of the Moors. When they arrive they find a note that has been left telling them that one of their husbands is going to be murdered. As a storm hits they are stranded in the farm house with no phone signal and no way of contacting their families to find out what is happening. As the three friends become increasingly desperate to find out what is going on their friendship starts to fracture and the tension boils over.
The Long Weekend was a good story that I read over a weekend. What started off as a seemingly ‘run of the mill’ wild weekend story soon became something more intriguing as the stranded wives start to fear for their husbands and you start to find out about their backgrounds and their relationships.
The characters were not particularly likeable, in fact other than the daughter they are all pretty unpleasant. However I felt that this gave the story a different edge. You weren’t really rooting for any of the main characters, yet still I was compelled to see how it all played out. The story is told from multiple points of view not only the main characters but also a mysterious third voice who is clearly unhinged. There was also a third strand to the story which was that of the farmer and his wife trying to make a living against the odds which was quite moving.
I found this quite a clever twisty story. The numerous unreliable narrators did get a little confusing at the start, but it soon became clear. I have a read a few of the novels by Gilly Macmillan and have always found them to be very enjoyable and this was no exception.
To find out what others thought of The Long Weekend look out for the next stops on the blog tour.
I am a huge fan of the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski so was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest novel – Demon.
Demon sees podcaster Scott King investigating the murder of 12 year old Sidney Parsons, who in 1995 was killed by 2 school friends. The ‘Demonic Duo’ were released from prison under new identities but refused to ever give any reason or explanation for what had happened on that terrible night. Ever since then the quiet village has been plagued with stories of superstition and supernatural behaviour. As Scott begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crime he soon realises that this is an investigation that is leading him towards danger.
Demon was another fantastic read from Matt Wesolowski. As with all this series, the book follows the traditional podcast structure and so is split into six ‘episodes’. Each episode focusses on the interview of one central character and their take on the so called Demonic Duo. I really enjoy this style of writing. The six episode structure gives it a unique feel, and I find it really does move the story along easily.
One of the clever things about this series is the mix of horror and crime. It can be a tricky balance to pull off but it’s a balance that Matt Wesolowski manages expertly. Throughout the story the demons are at the forefront, but the crime element is still perfectly executed. The sense of foreboding created by the writing is palpable, with menace and fear pouring off the page. Yet at it’s heart this is not a supernatural story but an investigation into human behaviour and the consequences of actions and reactions.
There are a range of characters within this story and they all have their flaws yet the human elements also come across to the reader with all of them having secrets and guilt that influences the way they act. Another big part of this novel is the setting. Demon is set in a small fictional village called Ussalthwaite. This is a place filled with folklore and stories and based in North York Moors which give it a bleakness that adds to the menace bubbling under the surface.
I think this is one of the best series I have read for a long time and each novel feels like it’s just getting better. Whilst this would work as a stand alone, I would recommend starting at the beginning (Review of the second in the series Hydra is here) and enjoying them all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend the whole series to anyone who hasn’t yet read them.
Don’t forget to find out what others on the tour thought of the book:
Rod Reynolds is fast becoming a favourite author of mine and therefore I was delighted to be able to join the blog tour for his latest Black Reed Bay.
Black Reed Bay starts with a panicked phone call to the police from a woman who is running away from an upmarket gated community and believes her life is in danger. The call gets disconnected before the police can find out any more information. Detective Casey Wray is sent to investigate when it seems that the young woman has disappeared without a trace. At first she thinks it is just a simple domestic dispute gone wrong, until more bodies appear and more secrets are uncovered.
This was an interesting story that I very much enjoyed. What I really liked was the pace of the novel, the only way I can think to describe it is an ebb and flow of a novel. Everytime I felt like it was slowing down and I was going to take a break something shocking was thrown in and I had to keep reading. This is a really atmospheric book and the contrast between the perceived privedged background of a rich gated community and the dark misery of the criminal world gives it an extra depth.
The character of Casey was interesting, there was enough of a back story given to make her seem real, yet there was a sense that there were hidden depths not explored in this story. She works hard and clearly cares about her cases but not to the detriment of everything else.
There was lots going on within Black Reed Bay and at one point it’s difficult to see how on earth things are all going to be tied up. However Rod Reynolds manages to wrap all of them up neatly in a satisfying end. Overall a great story.
To find out what others though of Black Reed Bay visit the other stops on the tour.
I was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for Leigh Russell’s new novel Deep Cover, book 16 in the Geraldine Steel series.
In Deep Cover Geraldine is still in York, whilst her partner Ian both in work and life has gone to London for a special assignment. When the body of a sex worker turns up Geraldine tries to put her turbulent personal life and worries about her ‘missing’ colleague behind her to track down the killer. However the trail soon goes cold and Geraldine and her new colleague Matthew are stuck hunting dead ends until the arrival of a second body. Meanwhile in London Ian has gone undercover to try and track down a group of drug dealers, but this is a personal quest too as the group are threatening Geraldine and Ian is determined to help her and her sister.
I enjoyed this novel, which was definitely a tale of two halves switching as it did between York and London. I must admit I preferred the York based story rather than the London one, but then I live in York so am probably a bit biased. I enjoyed the relationship between Geraldine and the new character Matthew and felt they bounced off each other well.
The narratives from Ian and Geraldine were interspersed with chapters told from Thomas’ point of view as the killer which I did enjoy. I felt these gave an interesting element to the story as you sensed how he was spiralling out of control. This is a fast paced novel and I found myself staying up late to finish ‘just one more chapter’
Deep Cover is the 16th novel to feature Geraldine and I think it would be difficult to read as a standalone as there is a lot of back story to cover, but also you are in for a treat if you have not yet read any of the Steel series so I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginning.
Find out what others thought of Deep Cover at the other stops on the blog tour.