Tag Archives: stav sherez

The Intrusions by Stav Sherez – a review

I’m sat here typing this in front of my laptop which has a little camera hole at the top. I have to say I am rather freaked out having just finished The Intrusions by Stav Sherez. I have read Stav Sherez’s previous novels and thoroughly enjoyed them so after hearing him talk in Hull I had to break my self-imposed ban on buying any more books (that day) and picked up a copy of the The Intrusions. I’m glad I did, despite it freaking me out a little.

The Intrusions starts when a clearly distressed young woman arrives at the station claiming her friend has been abducted and that the man is going to come back for her. At first it seems to Detectives Carrigan and Miller that it is a case of someone abducting woman from a back packers hostel. However it soon becomes much more sinister. It is tricky to say more about the story without giving anything away, but it involves online stalking and webcams.

I am a big fan of this pair of detectives. Geneva Miller is a strong woman who despite her occasionally annoying habits I really like. The pairing with the slightly gruff and reckless Jack Carrigan works really well.

The plot is fascinating. It is a story that you think is going to be one thing, yet twists and turns into something else entirely. One of the things I really like about these novels is the style of writing which seems to flow effortlessly. Whilst it is clearly fiction by the end you feel like you have learnt something and somehow your thoughts on society have changed slightly. I like novels that make you think differently, and this will certainly do that. However this in no way detracts from the story which kept me gripped throughout. It was a very modern thriller that is all the more scary because of the very real premise it is based on.

This is the third novel to feature Carrigan and Miller however I think it would still work well as a standalone. If you like police procedurals with a modern day moral tale included then I would thoroughly recommend those by Stav Sherez. However you might want to disable your laptop camera before you start reading!



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No time for goodbye

The tents have gone, the bar is empty, and the dead body outline has been taken up from outside the front door, yes the annual Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival has finished for another year. Despite the rain which was an unwelcome new addition to the festival, normally the organisers are able to arrange for glorious sunshine, once again it was an absolutely fantastic weekend.

Arriving on Thursday afternoon as soon as you drive up the path there is an unmistakable buzz that says you are in for a real treat. The tents were even bigger than last year, there was an outdoor bar and the whole thing was set around one of the best bookcases I’ve ever seen.

Anyone who has any interest in books will by now know that J K Rowling made an appearance as Robert Galbraith, an event which surprisingly was completely wizard free. However this was only one of many many fantastic sessions put together by programme chair Steve Mosby of which it’s almost impossible to choose a favourite.

There was no doubt that for me Lynda La Plante was definitely a highlight. It showed exactly what I love about this festival. I went along with a pre-conceived idea, I had seen a lot of her tv credits but had only read one of her books so I was in two minds as to whether to go. Yet she completely blew me away. She was funny, charming, interesting and intelligent, and it definitely goes down as the session I laughed the most in. I came away wanting to immediately rush out and buy all her back catalogue.

Unfortunately the back seat and boot of the car were already full with all the other books we’d bought so I thought it best to wait until I got home. Thanks to Mr F a copy of Twisted is now on the top of my ‘to read’ pile, a pile which could conceivably be described as more a tower than a pile. The number of books I came home with possibly out did even last year’s tally, as it is completely impossible to sit and enjoy listening to authors talk without wanting to go and read their books. I can’t guarantee I’ll manage to get through as many as Natalie Haynes who in the turning to crime session said she’d read about 220 novels last year, but I’ll give it a go.

As always there are some interesting debates and points of view put forward, during one session James Smythe suggested what is possibly both the best and the worst idea ever. He thought that one way of getting people to read books they wouldn’t usually read was by changing bookshops around so that books are stored a-z rather than by category. This could be a good way to find new books, but would mean that a quick trip to the bookshop would actually end up taking me all day.

People familiar with this festival will know that listening to the authors up on stage is only one part of the fun, celebrity author spotting adds another dimension, which author eats the most for breakfast, who was the last still standing in the bar at night, will people make it to the morning sessions, and of course the most important question of all, will anyone join us to make a team for the Saturday night quiz. Excitingly for us this year we were actually joined by the lovely Tony Thompson, although our performance was rather dismal compared to this years winning team lead by Stav Sherez.

The weekend is certainly not a relaxing one, its non-stop with sessions and book signings back to back throughout with little time for chatting. Yet it is definitely one of my most favourite ways to spend a weekend, finished off as always by a quick Betty’s lunch before heading home to sort through all my new books. Its a wonderful weekend,  and a great way of finding new authors, plus you never know what interesting knowledge you’ll pick up, who knew cabbage shows up the same as blood in some forensic tests. I’ll be more careful with my cabbage chopping in future!

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A dark redemption by Stav Sherez – a review

One of the problems I find with a kindle is that I am much less discerning when it comes to buying books. As those who know me can no doubt testify if I visit a bookshop I take my purchasing of books very seriously. Whilst I tend to buy one or two at a time due to my inability to make a decision, I will carefully consider what I’m buying and then they go in the to be read pile in my room ready to be cracked open when the mood takes me.

I have no such problem with kindle buying, I’ll go click happy when I’m browsing Amazon and consequently I have loads of books on there that I buy with the intention of reading and somehow don’t get round to it. This was the case with my latest read, A dark redemption by Stav Sherez. It turns out I actually bought this back in May 2012 and it was only recently rediscovered when I was stocking up my kindle with festival appearance authors.

The book opens with Jack and two of his student friends going on a trip after University. They decide to go to Africa as they want something more interesting than the normal back packing student holiday. Through flashbacks during the book we start to find out happened during this adventure.

Back in the present day Jack Carrigan is a widowed police detective who has a habit of putting his foot in it. He is leading an investigation into the murder of a woman from Uganda whose heart is missing. Geneva Miller has recently been demoted and is given the chance of saving her career by spying on Carrigan and reporting back on his work.

I very much enjoyed this novel which links the atrocities in Uganda with a London based police procedural. The descriptions of both Uganda and London were very atmospheric and I particularly enjoyed the way that some of the history of Uganda was interspersed throughout the story without it feeling like you were being lectured at.

The two main characters were both reasonably likeable and I thought the characters backgrounds were really well entwined throughout but without detracting from the main thread of the novel which can sometimes happen in the first of a series.

I’ve seen Stav Sherez around at the festival but I don’t think I’ve heard him talk before so he is going to be a new one for me. He’s talking in a session titled Keeping it Real about the responsibilities that come with basing stories on events in real life so it will be interesting to hear him speak. It also goes to show that it’s always worth checking what’s already on my kindle in case there are other hidden gems like this one that I might have missed.


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