Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Spark

The Spark is a new and compelling read from author Trevor Stubbs.

It addresses a range of issues that are, unfortunately, all too common in this day and age. Mental health, post traumatic stress disease (PTSD) and the identity of the self.

It is the aim and the intention of Trevor Stubbs to celebrate what he describes  as: "the indestructible spark of love which offers an opportunity for healing."

The Spark tells the continuing story of the White Gates Adventures series of novels.

In it we meet Shaun who is now 20 years of age. Shaun is a good chap. OK, he might not be quite as quick or as confidant as his older sister, Kakko, and perhaps he is not as clever as Randi, his younger brother, but Shaun is known for being steady and of a quiet nature.

He decides that he will continue his studies and decides that he will follow a pathway of  youth and community studies.

But it's sometimes said that a person's plans are what they do whilst they are waiting for everything to go wrong.

And as far as poor Shaun is concerned, things do go wrong. Horribly and disastrously wrong.

But how can Shaun cope when vicissitudes and circumstances conspire to utterly destroy his chosen way of life?

 However, there is something that can help Shaun, if he is able to accept it. It is the gift of love that brings with it the promise and potential of healing and redemption.

It's a fantasy novel that is aimed at younger readers and will make a super Christmas present.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought at

The Devil Gets Lonely Too

This is an anthology of poems written by Liverpool's own Thomas B. Langton.

The poems are described as being "gritty" in nature, so are probably best read by people who are able to cope with life not as they might wish it tog be, but life as it actually is. The underbelly of the society we all live in, the world we all inhabit, but with a slightly, and sometimes not so slightly twisted, view of our society.

Violence, isolation, broken promises, love, hate, fear, sorrow, men, women, monsters, demons and devils.

All of these and many more are to be found as rich subject matter for the probing and witty poetry of Thomas B. Langton.

If you don't like strong language, this book isn't for you. But if you don't mind strong language, these poems will take you on a very memorable journey.

It's the debut of Thomas B. Langton. Here's hoping that Liverpool's new poetic voice will long reign supreme!

It costs £6.99 from Matador and can be purchased here

A Carer's Chaos

A Carer's Chaos is an important new book by Julie Wiltshire.

It offers a valuable and unique insight into the problems and struggles that carers must face very single day of their lives.

The book tells the story of how Julie Wiltshire coped and managed when her husband David was diagnosed with cancer, not once, but twice.

Julie records the details of their long journey from the diagnoses, the treatments and their daily lives as they battled to survive.

It's an honest and open account and tells of periods of love and of hate, anger, feelings of loneliness and the utter terror of having to face the fact that your loved one is seriously ill and could even succumb to this disease.

It takes the reader through the terrible trials and tribulations of the carer as they attempt to help and support their ill spouse or family member without breaking under the strain of the situation that is not of the making of themselves or the victim of cancer.

This book is a must have for every doctor's surgery, every oncology unit, every hospice and every psychological counsellor who has to help carers cope with their unwanted role and every library in the land.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available to purchase here

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Come Sweet Sexton, Tend My Grave

Come Sweet Sexton, Tend My Grave is a black comedy written by Eleanor Berry.

Professor Isaac Stone is in his mid thirties. He is an American (Bostonian by birth) professor of psychiatry.

He is an expert in a range of severe mental health disorders and is known to possess an incredibly short temper. He also declines to tolerate any nonsense whatsoever.

He is called upon to visit a female patient called Esmerelda Harris. who is currently incarcerated within the Rudyard Kipling Hospital where she is receiving treatment for a severe nervous breakdown. Which is, apparently, the result of her witnessing a particularly harrowing  and shocking event.

It will be the professor's job to help her to recover from this traumatic event and to regain her mental equilibrium.

But what did Esmeralda Harris witness that was so distressing that it caused such a dreadful breakdown?

Can the professor help her? Does he want to?

The story is told from the point of view of Charlie Yates, described as "a delightful raconteur" who has a large fund of anecdotes which are sure to keep the reader captivated and enthralled.

The climax of this novel is hideous and dramatic and very tragic.

It is published by the Book Guild at £8.99 and is available here

Here Eleanor Berry talks about her own novel

When the Unacceptable Becomes the Norm

When the Unacceptable Becomes the Norm is subtitled "choosing a care home in the 21st century."

In this book author Bill Lawrence acts as an expert guide and takes the reader along a clear path, avoiding a variety of pitfalls from misinformation, lies and misunderstandings surrounding the selection of a care home for a loved one.

It is based on his own experiences of seeking out a suitable care home facility for his own mother and also on hour after hour of detailed, meticulous research into the shortcomings and problems of care homes that provide accommodation for the elderly.

Bill discovered that annually, there are tens of thousands of reports of complaints about the care of the elderly in such facilities.

Malpractice, deliberate abuse and neglect, both willful and as a result of ignorance or poor training or inadequate staffing levels.

The 2011 census figures showed that there were 320,000 people aged 65 and over in the UK who are residents in care homes. 190,000 of these people were over the age of 85. Which is the fastest growing age group in the UK, currently.

Estimates are that, by the year 2030 the number of care home places will have to grow by 80%.

The book is a concisely written work and should be required reading for everyone who works the the residential care home profession from the owners of the smallest care homes to the largest and to every care worker and nurse in the industry.

And everyone who has a relative in such a care home or who might need such a facility, let this book serve as your guide.

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and can be bought here

William the Hedgehog Boy

In William the Hedgehog Boy author Robert A. Brown presents a children's novel that is an entertaining read but which also brings to their attention the plight of one of our best-loved animals, the Hedgehog.

William is out for a walk and he finds a gang of boys who are throwing sticks at a poor, defenceless hedgehog. 

With considerable bravery and daring, William rushes at the gang and chases them away from the injured hedgehog.

He takes the animal to a veterinary clinic and he help the hedgehog, who is now named "Lucky" back to health.

William is, understandably, upset when the vet tells William that Lucky must be released back into the wild.

Lucky makes the journey back to her den, yet she is confronted by a monster with sharp fangs! And a monster of a hedgehog!

Injured and bewildered Lucky manages to crawl away and finds herself a large pile of wood which she decides will make an ideal home for her to hibernate in.

William is searching for Lucky, but he is miserable. He is also in trouble with his stepfather because of his continued attempts to find his hedgehog friend.

But suddenly everything is changed for William by a dramatic phone call. William is compelled to launch himself into desperate and heroic action.

Can he save the life of both a boy and his best friend, Lucky?

This is a very good read and will make a wonderful Christmas present for both children and the adults who will buy it!

It's to be hoped this will be the first of many books from wild-life photographer Robert A. Brown.

It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here

The Tall Tale of Maxwell Anderson

In the novel The Tall Tale of Maxwell Anderson, the plot came in a dream, author Steve Joyce brings his debut novel to the reader.

It tells the story of Maxwell Anderson. Maxwell is a growing lad. And that is the problem, for Maxwell cannot stop growing.

His birth had been difficult and he was fighting for his life. Under the desperate circumstances it was not a surprise that his father leapt at the opportunity to allow a new gene therapy treatment to be used on his son. Even though it was relatively untested, not authorised for use and not licenced.

The new therapy seemed to work on Maxwell, yet this did not come without dire and dreadful consequences. For Maxwell could not stop growing!

His father Mark had suffered the tragic death of his wife during the birth and had to battle against betrayal and heartbreaks as he finds new romance and attempts to provide something like an ordinary life for his extraordinary child.

Mark is not without friends and his friends, long-established friends and new friends he meets along the way offer him love, support and help.

But unbeknown to Mark, all is not as it seems, and he is kept blissfully unaware that some of them are not quite what the appear to be.

As Maxwell continues to grow and his condition becomes even stranger, rival groups attempt to become involved in his case, some even attempt to wrest control of the boy.

But Mark's fierce love for his son and his need to protect him come to the fore and Mark will do anything to protect Maxwell. Anything, no matter how extreme, no matter at what personal cost.

This book is an emotionally charged book which is a truly stunning first novel. Be prepared for some tears when you read this novel.

It's available at £8.99 from Matador and can be bought here

Zombie Park

Set in the mid 1980s in a rundown psychiatric hospital facility against a backdrop of the massive socio-political changes that were washing through Britain this debut novel from author Simon Marlowe, Zombie Park tells the story of a young, idealistic and somewhat naive student psychiatric nurse Roland Cauldron as he commences work at the aging and fairly grim Wellington Park Hospital.

But what happens when the lunatics really are in charge of the asylum?

Eager to please and equally eager to learn, the young and very earnest Roland suddenly finds himself plunged into a bewildering maelstrom rather than a place of healing and nurturing.

He meets a range of characters such as the temporary Chief Executive Officer Morten Slaney who is an out-and-out psychopath, Fitzpatrick, the martinet of a nursing manager and the medical doctor who was the third part of the management team, Doctor Caldwell who was oleaginous and self-serving.

They have one concern, the preservation of the reputation of Wellington Park Hospital, at almost any cost.

One of those costs might be nurse Annie Buchanan who, after challenging Morton Slaney somehow ended up stripped of her job and trapped within the hospital as an inpatient. 

Already feeling under pressure and facing his own difficulties with the management, this ramps up his anxiety.

As if things weren't complex enough, Roland meets and falls in love with fellow student Sophie Smith. Who issues Roland with a challenge. Prove his mettle by teaming up with her and battling the management and taking them on.

It's not easy and the day-to-day tragicomedic events at the hospital do nothing to help Roland.

What should he do? Battle against the management or join the doped out Pothead Pixies, colleagues who have decided that the best thing to do was to self-medicate themselves into oblivion?

Ultimately Roland finds himself endangered and defeated in both love and his professional life, betrayed and bereft.

However, when all looks hopeless for Roland a mysterious patient at the facility, Alan Starr steps forward and acts as a guide for Roland to help save him from himself.

It's a somewhat dark and disturbing novel written from the point of view of someone who has seen such a facility from the insides.

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and will make an interesting Christmas gift for the reader who likes their fiction gritty and realistic.

You can buy it here

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Footsteps in the Dew

Footsteps in the Dew is a new novel from Irish novelist Edward Forde Hickey.

The author spent his early childhood living in the community of Dolla which is in Tipperary.

This is the third novel in his trilogy, the other titles in it include The Early Morning Light and A New Day Dawning.

In many ways this book continues in the fine tradition of Irish storytelling, with his ability to evoke an Ireland of former, less technologically damaged times between the two World Wars.

You'll read of the relationships between Catholicism and other denominations such as Protestantism and Quakerism, of the changes in society, of the changing roles of men and women, even in those distant times, as Ireland was subjected to the changes that were sweeping over the world in one way or another.

The story deals with issues that were a part of the dichotomy of life in  Ireland, including Nationalism, the commoners and the gentry, illegitimacy, the malign influence of the nuns and their "laundries" and tales of family relationships, of adventures, murders and also of love and romance.

It is a gently humorous and deeply humane novel and will make a great Christmas gift for lovers of the works of this author.

It is published by Matador at £12.99 and can be bought here

A Season in the sun

A Season in the Sun is a debut crime novel from Robert Rees.

It tells the tale of Henry Fanshawe who is following in his family's tradition of trading in commodities, in his case, spices.

He is the last member of the once considerable established firm of Fanshawe's Commodities, in the City of London.

He leads a fairly unremarkable and rather quiet life, but he finds the new version of the city of London not to his liking. Especially after he loses his position after he is dismissed on trumpeds up allegations of financial impropriety.

However, all is not lost. A legacy from a wealthy aunt means that Henry will be able to live in the Seychelles. However, there is one caveat, he must take over the management of her Village Cricket Club.

And also push it and its team hard enough for them to attain fame and renown in the nascent Seychelles Cricket League. Not that much of a problem, one might think?

But although his amateur team are willing, in general, and talented, things do not always go according to plan. This is not helped by the fact the the team is home to a very senior police officer, a former ex-county level player and a drug using fast bowler.

But those problems are small potatoes when the team and its manager find they are facing the dark forces of organised crime and gambling.

How does this team of plucky, but determined amateurs make out against the forces of Cricketing darkness? For a modest £8.99 you can find out! Purchase your copy at

It is published by Matador.


This is a debut fantasy novel from author Ray J. Newell.

A young man by the name of Dejon is on ledge on a cliff and he makes a discovery. He finds a sword, which is not just any sword, it is the Sword of Shaftesbury.

This sword once was the property of Bran, a Celtic God. Trapped within the sword Dejon discoverers the father of Merlin, Cadgwith.

Sennen, who is the granddaughter of Cadgwith is in grave danger and upon releasing the wizard from his captivity, Dejon is ready to join the battle to save her.

Dejon is taken back in time to save Sennen from the sea lord Mullion, who is an evil man.

However, by mistake Dejon's sometime adversary Jamie is also transported back in time and he finds himself in the dungeons of the castle where he discovers Mithian, a heroic figure to the local people. Eventually after a number of setbacks and adventures all three are able, together, to escape the castle.

There are many problems that face the kingdom. The King of Tintagel hates Ruth his stepdaughter with a burning passion.

However, she is a skilled and respected military leader in her own right and has control of her own army of rebels within the castle.

The arrival of Dejon in the year 410AD adds to an already simmering cauldron of emotional upheaval as he joins in a growing and simmering battle for her love between her childhood companions Mithian and Delaboe and Dejon, himself.

the ruthless and evil Mullion assembles an army of cutthroats and vicious vagabonds that transcends time itself as he attempts to take the castle and much more besides.

But who will, win in this tumultuous battle? Who will win and what will they win?

This is a tremendously good read for fans of fantasy fiction and at well over 700 pages it will make an excellent Christmas gift for the fantasy fan in your life. Or it'll be a great gift for yourself.

It costs a remarkably reasonable £9.99 from Matador and can by purchased here

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Coullian Cuill Apprentice Ghost Guardian

This is a children's book for older children who like the odd ghost story. And this ghost story by Riti Bridie is, when all is said and done, a bit of an odd ghost story!

Sethallis was an undertaker. Which was a perfect disguise for what he really was, a Grey Ghost who just loved to kill a Ghost Guardian and take just a little trophy from his victim.

The existence of Grey Ghosts like Sethellis with their propensity to murder newly selected Apprentice Ghost Guardians was perhaps something that they should have told the first boy Ghost Guardian, Coullian Cuill about. Given him  fair warning, you might say.

But they didn't, so poor Coullian has not only to contend with learning about what a Ghost Guardian should do, he had the honorous task of trying to keep one step ahead of Sethallis and his assistant and to keep himself from being turned into a ghost!

Coullian manages to gain the assistance of two of his good mates, Rawsy and Killane to help him be a sworn protector of good ghosts.

However, come All Souls' Night and everything seems to become a little Thriller-like, with fiendish ghosts and ghouls rising from their varied graves.

So, what's a boy Apprentice Ghost Guardian to do? Battle against the fiends and to try to remain alive. Which is a tall order.

What happens to Coullian, Rawsy and Killane? Can they defeat Sethallis? And exactly what is Sethallis up to?

If you like scary, well-written stories, this is one for you. It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here

To  learn more visit

The Secret of the Wooden Chest

The Secret of the Wooden Chest is a debut novel from author Catherine Rosevear.

It is set in an environment that is very familiar to Catherine, a nursing home, as she has psent much of her professional life working in nursing homes.

Hannah lives in a small flat on the top floor of a nursing home. She is an only child and shares the flat with her mother who is the matron of the nursing home and her father who does all the maintenance jobs at the nursing home. "Anything but electrics" as he says.

Hannah loves to make friends with the elderly people who live at the home and she is excited by the arrival of a new resident in the middle of the night, after her own house was badly damaged by fire.

This is an Italian lady called Mr Oberto. At first Mrs Oberto seems grumpy, but after a while, she and Hannah become good friends.

But even though they become friends, Hannan just cannot get Mrs Oberto to reveal the secret that is hidden within an old wooden chest that she keeps on the table beside her bed.

One day, Mrs Oberto becomes dangerously ill and as a result, she is hospitalised. She then reveals that she needs the assistance of Hannah to open the old wooden chest.

What is hidden with the mysterious chest?

Then, Hannah's amazing adventure really takes off! She meets with a girl from ancient Roman times and learns that if she really wants to help Mrs Oberto to recover from her debilitating stroke, she must seek out the help of a Roman god!

Can Hannah help Mrs Oberto? Will Mrs Oberto get better?

This is an extremely well-written book and it is heartening to know that it is the first part of a series of stories about Hannah and Mrs Oberto.

It is an ideal book for children of all ages and their parents and grandparents, too. It will make a super Christmas present.

It's published by Matador at £6.99 and can be bought here

Only Human

Only Human is a riveting autobiographical story of what it is like to be a 21st century cop.

Gemma Hines shares what it is really like to be a member of a modern, high tech police force in Britain.

Gemma's start in life was not the easiest, she was stuck in the middle of an ugly custody battle between her warring parents for six very long years.

This brought about a period of purposeless and rebellion, but she was able to turn her life round. She became a personal trainer and at age 18, she chose to serve her community as a Special Constable.

After seeing what being a police officer was really like she decided that she wanted to become a regular officer, so she applied to join the Greater Manchester Police.

Even though she had already been accepted as a Special Constable the process of application and acceptance was still a protracted one and after several months she was accepted as a Police Officer.

Over the next decade she was involved in some fairly major police operations and her book shows what it was like, serving as a female police officer in the early part of the 21st century.

However, Gemma was not a typical police officer, starting out previously as a personal trainer and also becoming a fully trained exponent of martial arts, holding a range of titles in her chosen field of Kick Boxing.

Some of the stories that she tells are humorous, some are horrific, such as rescuing a badly emaciated dog from a flat that was stacked high with rubbish in every room, only to discover that the dog had only survived by feeding on his deceased owner who had died because she had slipped on some of the rubbish in the bedroom and become wedged between the bed and a wardrobe.

There were harrowing tales of suicide, such as a former Macmillan Nurse who, when she developed cancer, decided that she would take her own life and die with dignity.

It was this case that helped Gemma decide to volunteer with dealing with deaths and welfare cases as she wanted to feel as if she could make a difference.

It's a story of highs and lows and I think everyone who is thinking of becoming a police officer or who has a police officer in their family should read this excellent book.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and can be obtained here

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Rose Girl

In her new novel The Rose Girl, author Fay Howison gives younger readers as modern day twist to the more traditional genre of the fairytale.

The Rose Girl is set in Britain, but it is the Britain of the time before our Industrial Revolution.

The story is set in a valley. At one end there is stern and unapproachable nobleman, the Duke of Ashbury who is burdened down with the unspeakable agony of having lost his wife.

He is so grief stricken that he keeps their daughter, Rosalba as a prisoner in their palatial home, fearful to let her out of his sight, in case some dreadful fate should befall her, too.

But at the other end of this sweet and beautiful valley you will find the Paget family. They are a cheerful and happy-go-lucky family who view conventionality as a burden that they simply will not bother to even try and carry!

The three Paget brothers, as soon as they learn of the plight of the fair Rosalba, each decide of their own volition, that they will rescue her for themselves.

However, things do not go quite as they had hoped and after a series of adventures and misadventures, they learn of a terrifying secret from the past that means they must bury their rivalry for her love and work together to overcome a common problem. And what malevolent hold does the dark and vile Lord Jasper Culpepper hold over the future of the Paget family?

Can they defeat the odious lord and rescue Rosabela?

This book is written for young children aged 10 to 14 and it is published by Matador at £8.99 and it can be bought here

A Captain's Ransom

A Captain's Ransom is a terrifying and true account of modern day piracy on the high seas.

It tells the story of Captain Alex "Joe" Westland and what happened on 14th May 2013.

Alex was a retired ship's captain and an ex trawler captain.

Whilst his vessel St Patrick was off the coast of Nigeria it was attacked by pirates and he was taken as a captive from his boat to the Niger Delta Jungle.

Once there he realised that his situation was extremely grave indeed and during his days of captivity he felt that every moment could very well be his last and he feared that he would possibly never see his wife, his family or his friends again.

Captain Westland hales from Arbroath Angus in Scotland and he has written his memoir for a number of reasons. He felt that it might be of assistance to him if he were able to write out these terrible memories of what happened to him and to also serve as a warning to anyone who even considers working in Nigeria, which he deems "the pirate capital of the world."

The incident brought some changes to his life. He suffers from PTSD, experiencing flashbacks and nightmares and he was forced to take early retirement.

The book is an exciting read and costs £8.99 from The Book Guild. You can purchase it at

Academy for Health Superheroes

Childhood obesity is now listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one the most serious worldwide health challenges that face the 21st century. With 19.1% of Year 6 children declared as obese in 2015, Dr Agnes Electra Chlebinska and David W. Evans decided that they should promote a healthy lifestyle with their debut children's book series.

Book 1 in the series covers the heart.

It tells the story of Agnes and her friends who have joined together to form a special Academy for Health Superheroes which aims to train and nurture a generation of Health Superheroes.

You'll meet a whole range of different characters. Humans, animals, body organs and food characters.

Jack and his dad become firm friends with the JFM, the Junk Food Monster. Jack's father becomes ill, having developed heart problems. But fortunately the Health Superheroes are on hand to offer their support and wise advice.

Can they help beat the Junk Food Monster and save Jack's father?

But the book is not merely a fantastic story with wacky and brilliant illustrations from Gilbert Monserrate. It also contains many valuable tips on healthy eating and exercise and there are a range of nutritional snack recipes that children can have a go at making for themselves.  And which should also prove to be very popular with children and adults, too.

This large format book is published by Matador at £16.99 and it is such an important book that council departments and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups should get together to ensure that a copy of this book is issued to every family with children in their area.

It also belongs on the desk of every Medical Doctor and Nutritionist in the UK, especially those that deal with obese children and in every public library in the UK.

You can order as many copies as you wish at

I Hear You Calling

I Hear You Calling is an interesting and highly readable book from author Helen Line.

It tells, in their own voices, the story of a group of people whose lives meet and sometimes clash together in a variety of ways, some expected and some unexpected.

There is Rae, who is an Educational Officer. Her own life has taken a turn  that she wasn't expecting. Her husband had turned out to be a control freak and she is trying to come to terms with the loss of her marriage.

There is young Richard Banks who at nine is struggling as he tries to perform a neat balancing act as he attempts to be a crowd pleaser. Well, to be more accurate, his overbearing father and his headmistress.

The situation is made more fraught because Richard is a communications conduit for people who have passed over to the other side. He is a medium.

Rae is sceptical about Richard and his ability, but she has to cope with his father who is a true believer and the headmistress who is anything but and who knows only two ways of doing things. Her way or the wrong way.

To add to the general concerns Rae's ex-husband turns up and things begin to quickly spiral out of control.

At first Rae thought that she was merely trying to saved Richard's place at the school. But a series of dramatic events soon convince her that the battle she is fighting is a completely different one to the one she had presumed. In fact Rae is actually struggling to save Richard's life. And perhaps Richard will return that favour?

This book is a very interesting novel. It's a love story, or love stories, but it is not, actually, a romance.

It's also a very uplifting story which you will want to read several times, at least. And you'll want to share it, too.

It is published by Matador at £7.99 and is obtainable here

Charlie Green and the Underground Railroad

Charlie Green and the Underground Railroad is another story from the pen of aviation expert and published author Martyn Blunden.

It is a continuation in his series of stories about young Charlie Green and Ben and Olivia, his brother and sister, and their magical aeroplane (not airplane, note!) Jenny which can take them to any destination that they care to select, even back in time.

They travel back to the time of the American Civil War in the year of 1862 and they meet up with Civil Rights campaigner Harriet Tubman and they work with Harriet to attempt to free her sister from slavery.

They learn about the secret network of safe houses (the underground railroad of the story) that Harriet had established to help free slaves.

But things very swiftly go awry. Harriet is arrested and their adult traveling companion, Oliver, is captured and forced to enlist against his will in the Confederate Army.

Can they free Oliver and rescue Harriet before she is shot as a spy? If they do so they'll have to outwith some very savvy, battle hardened Confederate Army officers.

The skillful interweaving of the fantasy of the story with the reality of the amazing work that Harriet Tubman did to rescue slaves works very well and this is a book that is ideal for children who are inquisitive about history and who love a good yarn.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought here

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice is the third book in the Singhing Detective series by author M C Dutton.

In it her protagonist, Detective Sergeant Jaswinder "Jazz" Singh comes face to face with a highly dangerous and murderous gang.

Young lives are at risk as Jazz and his colleagues DS Bloomer, DC Ashiv Kumar and Mad Pete are the only ones who seem to be fully aware of what is happening and the only ones who are willing to take the gang on.

However, it appears that the gang they are attempting to chase down have connections in  high places and it appears that they have some powerful, high level protection.

Or else why would their own police force be hunting for Jazz and his team and why would they have gained the interest of the British Secret Service?

Can Jazz and his colleagues smoke out the baddies? Or will they fall victim to the powerful forces that are set on protecting them?

Will the gang continue to evade justice and continue to do evil whilst under the protection of their corrupt helpers?

Or will they all come tumbling down, with the assistance of some special codes and a less-than-friendly Royal Mail manager?

If they can stay clear of the Secret Service and their own colleagues, they'd be safe. Wouldn't they?

This is an exciting thriller of a crime novel and M D Dutton is a good find. I will look out for more of her novels, especially those concerning DS Jazz Singh!

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available for purchase here

Beijing Smog

This is a novel by former Channel 4 correspondent Ian Williams.

It is set in contemporary China and tells the story of how three entirely different people, a Chinese blogger, a British businessman and an American "diplomat", accidentally meet up, due to the creation and dissemination of an online joke.

Much to the chagrin of the ruling Communist Party of China, the joke quickly goes viral and becomes a powerful symbol of defiance for many people in China.

The novel also reveals a great deal about the history of Communist China, how golf was made illegal, how the rights of ordinary people are commonly smashed and trampled by the authorities and how people are attempting to use the Internet and social media in China to fight back against the government, even though the Internet in China is very heavily censored and controlled by the government.

Ian Williams uses his knowledge of the area and his ability as a writer to craft a fine cyber thriller that takes the reader from the smog-lade streets of Beijing to the grim factories of China and to the glittering casinos of Macau and the crowded streets of Hong Kong, to bring his readers a gripping novel that takes an incisive and satirical novel.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available here for purchase

Kafka, Einstein, Kafeinski and Me

Einstein and Kafka met in the early part of the 20th century. This much is known.

However, physicist and author Kurt Hartmann decides to take their meeting one, or rather, several steps forward.

What if, he speculates, Einstein and Kafka had actually indulged in a range of spirited debates over a period of several months?

Hartman speculates on the contents of these imaginary conversations as they talk about mundane, day-to-day topics and also debate some greater and deeper concepts.

However, the story does not finish there and Hartman  moves the action 100 years inot the future and conjures up his two protagonists in a cafe in Berlin.

There conversation is continually being interrupted by an investigation into a murder that has occurred very close to the cafe. Wsas the murder a racial killing? Perhaps so.

Einstein casts his mind back to the evil days of the Holocaust and as a result, he feels inspired to participate in the investigation and helps to bring a resolution to the case.

There's also a quirky visit to the past where the author re-lives a love story in the Berlin of the Cold War Years.

The book is published by Matador and costs £9.99. It can be bought here

Born Together

Born Together is a truly inspirational account of the struggles of the author, Patricia Gallagher, her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and her sheer determination to be a good mother to new baby boy, Elliot.

Within mere hours of giving birth to Elliot, Patricia's body began to shut down and to deteriorate.

In Born Together Patrica gives a vivid and utterly honest account of what it is like to live with MS and to deal with the contemporaneous struggles of being a mother.

The diagnosis of MS was not arrived at until after Elliot's birth. The medical experts informed her that, following the birth of her baby boy, her body had erroneously triggered its immune system to launch a defensive strike against itself, resulting in the damage caused to her body by MS.

Patricia was basically told that she would face a life of being vulnerable and also of being disabled.

However, it was almost as if Patricia hadn't read the script of how it was meant to be. Because Patrica decided for herself that she was going to be different!

Because Patricia decided that she was going to work out her own pathway and to take an alternative approach to just about everything.

There were a lot of people who, though admiring her determination, just didn't see how she could hope to succeed.

However, Patrica did succeed and she was rewarded with some new and pioneering medical treatment based on research by Medical Research Scotland and funded in part by the Scottish Government Enterprise Scheme.

Read how Patricia became the first person who has MS to be treated with the revolutionary Robo-Physio device.

As the device is expected to be made publically available later this year, you'll probably see more about it (ands about Patricia!) in the media.

This book is published by Matador at £10.99 and you can buy it at

You can also learn more at

Mystery City

A while ago I was delighted to read a novel by Alistair Laver that was set in the fictional Yorkshire seaside town of Whitborough, which is based on Scarborough and Whitby.

Mystery City is the second novel in the series. It is written with a deft and light-hearted touch and features an incredibly large cast of characters, a rhino that seems to be suffering from some kind of depressive ailment and a couple of somewhat naughty dogs.

You'll have come across Whithborough in the novel Treasure Trove (if you haven't, please read that novel, too) and you'll be pleased to know that this Yorkshire coastal town is still just as interesting in this new novel.

Actions are never (well, hardly ever) without consequences and the ramifications of the actions that were undertaken during Treasure Trove are still reverberating through and around Whitborough.

From an unfortunate incident in July 1645 when devilish beasts attack a flock right through to the present day when masked men in black overalls turn up at the local zoo, and whilst there's a race against either time or the local police force when agents from GCHQ attempt to unravel the mysterious events of the terrorist attack that traumatised the inhabitants of the town during Treasure Trove.

Why are their wolves in the area? What is happening at the Valhalla Retirement Home?

And what, exactly, was there beneath the Mystery City?

Be prepared to strap yourself in for one heck of a wild literary ride!

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and is available to purchase here

When Snow Fell

When Snow Fell is a novel that reflects on the Russian October Revolution in 1917.

Author Barbara Kastelin takes her readers through a vivid exploration of the impact of these events upon a family who must flee their native land and seek involuntary exile in Great Britain.

The novel is timely for a variety of reasons, it is the centenary of  the Russian revolution and the world is, again, witnessing another era where mass migrations are taking place with all the resultant problems that such events bring in their wake.

There is a personal dimension to this novel as it relates the story of Barbara Kastelin's father's flight from Russia as a result of the revolution and the sad knowledge that their family would never be able to return to their ancestral homeland.

When Snow Fell tells the story of three generations of a once aristocratic White Russian family and their attempts (barely successful, in truth) to integrate into the Oxfordshire of the 1960s.

Perhaps it was that, compared to their previous lifestyle of opulence, glamour and extravagance amidst Czarist Russia, the England of the 1960s was just a little bit dull, in comparison?

The story is told with insight compassion and with a leavening of humour.

Eventually the family begins to run through their once copious financial resources and, in order to survive, they fin themselves in the situation of having to start selling off items of property.

They are so desperate that they must seek compensation from their old enemies, the Soviet Union.

This leads to interesting confrontations between the old order of Russia and the new order of Russia, with clashes not only if ideologies but also of personalities, too.

The result is that old, long-buried mysteries are brought to the surface and some unexpected results, including murder, are brought about.

This is a fascinating novel in the fine tradition of Russian literature.

It is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be obtained here

Absolutely Galapagos

There was a connection between Brian and Charles Darwin. They were both fascinated by the idea of visiting the Galapagos Islands.

Brian's interest was probably less prosaic than Darwin's,  Brian was inspired to make his journey there because of a boat. Pretty mch.

So Brian and his long-suffering wife Sandra made the trip of a lifetime.

The boat turned out to be absolute dream and the islands were all they could have hoped for and much more, besides.

However, it is probably true that Brian was not quite what the other passengers had expected, or perhaps wanted.

Brian was filled with knowledge on South American countries that was perhaps not as interesting as Brian might have presumed.

And his views on a wide range of many and varied topics would enthrall, bewilder, engage or enrage people, including Sandra. Who was certainly not enthused by the only positive fact that Brian had elicited from the disastrous situation in Venezuela was that it had produced an inordinate number of Miss Universes or Miss Worlds.

And Brian did have a point -of sorts- how were great works of literature created before the advent of creative writing courses?

The worrying thing about Brian is that, no matter how exasperating he might be, he is often right about things, but not perhaps always in an especially useful way.

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available at

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Networking Thoughfully

Networking Thoughtfully is a very valuable new book from networking expert Martin Wheadon.

It is short and to the point. It is designed to be read in thirty minutes and Martin Wheadon is confident that this book could well change your life for the better.

It's a guide for people who need to network and to build relationships but who are not exactly sure where they should start or what they should do.

Readers are taken through a clear and concise step-by-step guide which will help them to achieve good, positive results.

Readers will learn how to begin conversations, plus devise methods by which they can introduce themselves to other people.

Wheadon has written the book based on his many years experience within the banking sector and also from creating and operating his own networking business, the High Tea Club.

This book is both comprehensive and also accessible and at £8.99 is a must purchase for everyone in  business, commerce or employment as everyone will find something of benefit in this short but vitally informative work.

You can purchase it here

Elizabeth, William... and Me

Elizabeth, William and Me... is a novel by S. Lynn Scott.

Ally has a fairly normal life, that was until she finds Elizabeth I in her pantry and later discovers William Shakespeare in her bath.

And that's just the beginning of what would turn out to be an amazing adventure for Ally.

Queen Elizabeth proved to be quite crotchety, an Shakespeare seemed to like gawping at women in modern dress... but how had they travelled forward through hundreds of years to modern day England? And why had they come?

Much confusion abounds. After all, coping with modern England was a major problem for our two Elizabethans and Ally seems equally befuddled by this momentous event.

Queen Elizabeth has a mission that she must complete. And, being an absolute monarch, she is used to getting everything done in exactly the way she wants it to be done.

Ally, too, with her somewhat dysfunctional family, is searching for something, too.

Can the arrival of Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare help her identify what it is and also help her to track it down and recover it?

But if Ally can see Elizabeth and William Shakespeare, surely everyone else can? But what if they can't?

What could this mean?

And can Ally find what she is seeking?

Could Dr Pinch help her?

This is an extremely well-written debut novel from actress and theatrical director S. Lynn Scott.

It is a very moving story with elements of humour, too.

Hopefully we will be seeing many more novels from S. Lynn Scott in the future.

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and can be purchased at

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Wireless in the Corner

The Wireless in the Corner is an autobiography by Alan Palmer, which is based on entries from his contemporary diaries, family letters, photographs taken from family albums and also newspaper cuttings.

It is Alan's highly interesting and entertaining account of growing up in suburban London during the second quarter of the last century.

The author recalls the stresses and strains of living through the years of the Blitz, the later flying bombs and the V Rockets and the times of peace and contentment.

The book also covers the years before and after the Second World War. He reveals that he was named Alan -like so many other babies at that time- in honour of Alan Cobham the World War 1 Veteran who was the first man to fly to and from Australia in 1926.

We learn of the impact of the depression, of Pelican and Ekco radios (which lasted for 34 years and was the best bargain his father ever had.

In the then distinct town of Ilford there were 'pirate' buses competing for business against the "regular" buses, he recalls the local station, the cinema, the shops, the houses that they lived in.

There were secrets that were scandals including the case of the murder of Percy Thomas, stabbed to death by his wife's lover.

Letters in the lover's flat from his wife Edith to the lover revealed that she had attempted to kill him by poisoning him or by putting powdered glass in his porridge.

The lover was charged with murder and the widow with acting as his accomplice.

Alan Palmer is a well known author of historical works and this book has received praise from people such as Antonia Fraser.

The book is published by Matador at £10.99 and can be bought here

Barry and Bev The Big Concert

Barry and Bev The Big Concert is a humorous novel by actress Rita May who has decided to make the crossing over from acting to writing with this, her debut novel.

The novel is set in a town in Northern England

The community of Kenthorpe is home to the Kenthorpe Working Men's Club. At least, it is for the moment, for the club is in dire financial difficulties.

The organising Committee work hard to attempt to address this situation and they come up with a number of corrective measures including booking a to-class act booked for concerts every Saturday night.

As word of this new Saturday night concert spreads, the number of people visiting the club quickly grows.

This brings about problems for the women of Kenthorpe because there are often not enough seats for them all as the club is a stickler for "Rule 57" which bars women from the much larger "Men's Only" room. The rule dates back to the time when the club was founded in 1932.

The brings about a rift between the women and their menfolk. The dispute brings about attention from the local media, but when the story gains the attention of the national press, things start to get even more difficult.

But then when they thought things couldn't get any worse, they did and in a devastating way that nobody could foresee.

As Rita May began her career as a singer in northern workingmen's clubs, the novel is a bird's eye view of a very real lifestyle.

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be purchased at

You will have seen Rital May in a number of roles including films like The Gamekeeper, When Saturday Comes,  Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974. And TV roles in TV roles in
Play for Today (several roles) Fallen Hero, Coronation Street (several roles) Crown Court,
The Gathering Seed, Juliet Bravo, Mitch,  Edge of Darkness, Wish Me Luck, Doctors, (several roles) The Bill, and many more.

She has also written a number of stage plays.

1500 Hotel Nights

This is a described as a black comedy. Unfortunately every word of it is true!

In fact, it might well be subtitled "Analyse This!" as it is a factual book written by top analyst and seasoned business traveller Daniel Tabbush.

He spent four years of his life travelling for leisure and also for business as a business analyst receiving plaudits from and recognition for his work from organisations such as Bloomberg and Asia Money and he made regular appearances on CNBC and being published in the Wall Street Journal.

This is his second book.

As he spent 1500 nights in hotels all over the world he began to realise that it was a very frustrating experience. He observed that once a traveller makes a confirmation and pays for the hotel room, they are, in effect, hostages.

When a traveller finds a problem in their room, there is often no way out and also there is often a lack of honesty and truth. From the traveller! Who when asked often replies, untruthfully: "Oh, everything is fine, thank you."

Too often, David Tabbush noted that the "design characteristics" of hotels and restaurants are deeply flawed, often absurdly so. Even is some of the most luxurious establishments in the world.

There are bedframes that jut out and allow guests to bark their shins on sharp edges, light switches are haphazardly positioned in hot rooms,  air conditioning that thunders throughout the night, making restful sleep an impossibility.

Lighting is often designed for "romance" (sic) rather than to provide illumination, making reading or work almost impossible.

And why, he wonders, if a hotel provides a desk for the convenience of the guest, why is it often cluttered with booklets and folders on the hotel and its amenities, plus a variety of pamphlets and leaflets.

Wouldn't it be wonderful, he feels, if a hotel actually just provided a clean, uncluttered desk?

And another point of contention is a minibar that charges a guest for an item even if they merely took it out, read the label and put it back again.

This book is published by Matador at £9.99 and can br bought at

It should be required reading by every hotelier, restaurateur and designer in the world. And also every business traveller as it contains dozens of ideas that, if implemented, would mean that travellers would beat a path to their door.

Paradise Lost

350 years ago Milton wrote one of the most important works of the ages, Paradise Lost.

To help commemorate this vitally important anniversary, author Duncan Baxter decided to write "Paradise Lost - A Drama of Unintended Consequences."

From an early age Duncan Baxter has much admired the poetry of Milton.

In his book Duncan takes his readers on a journey through Paradise Lost, which was Milton's re-telling of the story within Genesis, telling the account of the Fall of Mankind, showing how Milton explored issues of spiritual yearning that face every generation of mankind.

Duncan employs contemporary and accessible language throughout, reaching out to general readers and students of theology and of the poetry of Milton, guiding them through the words, thoughts and ideas of Milton.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and can be purchased at

Jackson King and the Morpher's Heart

Jackson King is just an ordinary boy. Actually, that's completely wrong, because Jackson King is unlike any other boy you could ever possibly be likely to meet.

He was born with a heart condition which means that he is always frail and is often sickly. As a result he is totally unable to be involved in playing any kinds of sports and he has difficulty making friends.

At 16 there comes a miracle, because Jackson becomes the recipient of a donated heart.

But the miracle is more powerful and more far reaching than he could ever have dreamt of.

Because with the new heart Jackson's life becomes totally changed, because the heart that he received  was a very special heart as it carries with it the special gift of the ability to morph.

Now, Jackson is a morpher. He joins a weird and mystical realm of other morphers as he learns how to use his new powers.

But there are a group of evil criminals who are seeking Jackson and who are hunting him down.

Why? Because he has something they desperately seek and they pledge that they will stop at nothing to wrest it from Jackson's grasp.

This is an interesting and well-written novel from Debbie Hood and will be of interest to readers of all ages.

It is published by the Book Guild at £8.99 and can be bought here

Shake Hands or Die

In his debut crime novel, Michael Northey brings his readers an interesting novel that touches on a wide range of modern issues, the Church, the power of the press and much more besides.

There's a new vicar at St Martha's church in the city of Hillford. Father John is viewed as an amiable eccentric who intends to modernise the church.

He employs a range of somewhat wacky gimmicks, which the parishioners  absolutely adore.

But there is one thing that he steadfastly refuses to do. He will not shake hands at the end of the services.

There is a fly in the ointment of the otherwise perfect city of Hillford. The local newspaper is playing host to Fred Vestal who is on loan to it from a London-based tabloid newspaper.

Vestal aims to shake the newspaper, and the city, up.

He attends a service at the church and watches a play performed by children which he takes exception to.

He interviews Father John and writes an article that is nothing but a vicious and undeserved excoriation of  the vicar.

At their next meeting Vestal attempts to get Father John to shake his hand, but he declines to do so.

A short while after this incident a body is found in the churchyard, covered in compost.

People want answers as to what has happened, none more so than the slightly unusual local police.

Who was the victim? Who is the killer? What is Vestal up to? What does Father John find to be so troublesome about shaking hands?

This is a well-written murder mystery novel which is published by Matador at £8.99. You can purchase it here

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Film review, Thugs Vs Dinosaurs, a "Must Watch" movie

Thugs vs Dinosaurs is a recent "straight to YouTube" release directed and produced by Tripp Tiffany.

It's a film that is humorous, though it does have moments of satire and of genuine pathos, too.

A (heartbroken) young paleontologist, Seth W. Boi gives a lecture to a classroom filled (or not!) with only two people.

He then goes home and changes from his paleontologist clothing to the clothing that he prefers to wear, that of a pimp, complete with a $ medallion.   

He goes to meet his friend Georg to help him celebrate Georg's birthday, but the area has become infested with dinosaurs! All created by Georg's grandfather, a former Nazi scientist!

They meet with a whole host of characters, some odd, some bizarre and some, to be frank, who are oddly bizarre or even bizarrely odd.

The film recording; lighting and sound quality are good, the costumes are innovative and the costumes contain some little jokes that you really should not miss!

The special effects, for a film with a total budget of $3,000 and a fairly large and well chosen cast, are excellent.

There are sassy women, gangland characters, a Nazi scientist, a military veteran and his missing daughter, a dubious police officer, a callus ex and her neandertal boyfriend in this wonderful film.

And the specially composed and specially performed musical score is worth listening to in itself.

I am sure you will enjoy this film.  

Monday, 24 July 2017

Brandfather John Murphy the man who invented branding

"Brandfather John Murphy the man who invented branding" is an very readable book that tells the story of how Interbrand, the company that he, John Murphy, founded, was at the forefront of the branding revolution.

It reveals how many businesses suddenly appeared to realise at roughly the same time, three decades ago, the importance of their brands.

In fact, a new business discipline was coming into existence, Branding.

Some business seemed happy to bumble and bimble along pretty much as they had always done, but this was at their peril and at great risk to the viability and the future existence of their businesses.

John Murphy founded Interbrand in 1974 and he and Interbrand were recognised as being the main force behind this business revolution.

The origin of Interbrand was that of a name creation business. They would create a name, develop a name, test them and take care of any resultant legal clearances.

The business quickly earned an international reputation and was responsible for the creation of some early successful band names: Hob-Nob biscuits, Viagra, Punto, Mondeo and Homebase.

Four years later John Murphy opened an office in New York City, in 1982 he launched offices in both Frankfurt and Paris and a year later, Tokyo.

During this time he began to realise that there was much more to branding than merely coming up with a name for a business or a product, he realised that there were, actually, the creators of 'brands' which was an unknown concept at that time.

Interbrand decided to redefine themselves (rebrand themselves, even?) and also came up with the term branding.

In 1988 Interbrand went one step further and came up with and developed the concept of "brand valuation" which caused a sensation in the branding sector, propelling Interbrand into the world leader.

This is the no holds barred account of what happened by John Murphy. It tells the story of the company and also of the sector, of the successes and also of the disasters and the lessons that he was able to learn from them. Including a disastrous merger between two massive concerns that ultimately lead him to hit upon the idea of striking out on his own and so Interbrand came into being.

The book is an interesting insight into the highs and lows of Interbrand and how a chance meeting with a rival caused him to realise that bad figures in 1990 were not just a blip but a major recession and caused him to take harsh but necessary business decisions that not only saved the company at a time when some others went to the wall, but enabled it to have record successive years.

This book is required reading for businessmen and businesswomen, for brand experts, marketing gurus and those in the advertising industry.

It is published by The Book Guild at £11.99 and can be bought here

Joseph, 1917

Joseph, 1917 tells the story of an ordinary man of his time. He did not want to go to war, but he went to war, all the same.

Joseph's fate ended, sadly, as did many others of his generation, in the confusion, noise and horror of the Western Front during what was then called The Great War.

His story, attests author David Hewitt, is "very much a 'secret history' the history of many ordinary men who fought and died during that terrible conflict.

Not the story of conscientious objectors, or of those garlanded with battle honours, or executed at dawn as deserters, but of the countless other men who fought and often tragically died.

It is revealed that the fate of Joseph was decided by a special tribunal, which resulted in him being sent off to fight and to die.

It touches upon why he, like so many others, signed up for military service and why he then subsequently attempted to put off the day when he would actually be sent off to fight in the Great War.

It tells of his appearances at a local tribunal and a more distant tribunal, of the clashes between the tribunals,  and of his ultimate fate.

The author draws on tribunal records and colourful contemporary newspaper reports to create a compelling and, at time, difficult story.

Anyone who wants to learn about the real history of the Great War should buy this book, which is published by Matador at £8.99. You can purchase it here

Fearless Leadership

How can a manager really manage? How can he or she be a real leader?

If they take the time to purchase and read Fearless Leadership by leadership and business expert Richard M. Varey, they will be able to find out.

In his new book Richard (his company, Fearless Leadership delivers training and leadership consultancy services) shows managers and leaders how they can improve their leadership skills and their effectiveness in no matter what workplace they operate.

He can draw on over a decade of research and practical work and he has nurtured and cultivated "The Fearless Approach" model.

He argues that leaders should create a fear-free workplace culture as this will allow individuals within the company and the organisation to flourish. 

Gone are the old models of "leadership" which were often bullying dressed up in psychobabble.

Because as Richard points out: "Throughout my early years of leadership I found that 'being nice worked'; that a positive approach raised the capacity of others to do better."

His experiences provided the basis for his book.

He also draws upon his long experiences as working as a teacher, sometimes finding himself facing volatile situations within the changing field of education and of working in underperforming schools and turning them around.

The books draws upon a number of different sources, such as neuro-psychology, evolutionary biology and actual practical examples from cases studies of successful businesses and successful leaders, plus anecdotal evidence from a variety of sources such as the armed forces and the world of sports.

Although the book is very carefully researched and cites sources where appropriate, it is not a dry as dust boring academic work. It is written by a real person for real people. It's a book for us ordinary folk who want to do better at work and who want to ensure our businesses not only survive but that they thrive.

The book contains many salutary lessons that we readers should be eager to read and learn. My favourite example is how an underwear manufacturer was destroyed within four months. And apparently the seed of the destruction was rooted in an ambiguous instruction, miscommunication between staff and an eager young woman armed with just a typewriter. 

One point that Richard does make is that fear should have no part in a workplace. That a fearful team will freeze, fight or flee. That you must make sure there is no place for fear, that your staff should be fearless and bold.

The book costs £9.99 and is a must have item for the desk (not the bookcase!) of every employee, business owner and manager. And it makes an ideal gift.

It is published by Matador and can be purchased here

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Zed and Dez 005 Secret Service Agents

Zed and Dez 005 Secret Service Agents is a book that is firmly aimed at all children from ages seven to nine years of age and it is written by author S G Barfield, a former IT guru and teacher.

World wide, there are children who work for the super secret 005 Secret Services Agency. And Zed is one of these secret agents!

Every week he receives top secret instructions (through a secret vending machine carefully hidden at the rear of his bedroom wardrobe, that dispenses secret mission instructions, rather than snacks and drinks) of his latest daring secret operations.

He is aided and abetted by Lorenzo. Lorenzo may by only nine years of age, but Lorenzo is one of the world's top designers and makers of super secret special gadgets that are used by secret agents like Zed in their missions.

But Zed needs some special help to make certain his missions are all undertaken successfully. And his assistant is his best friend Dez, who is also nine years old!

Together they strive to thwart baddies and save a talent show, stop a kidnap plot, save someone from drowning, make sure Mr Ladd is kept safe and construct a youth centre, amongst other tasks!

And will Lorenzo's weird inventions actually help them?

The story is a good, fun read which is illustrated with some well-executed cartoons.

If you are looking for early Christmas presents, this book is a must buy at £7.99. It is published by Matador and is available at

Living to See You

Living to See You is a romantic novel with a very strong foundation of truth.

For in it, author Bee Johnstone tells the story of her own parents and how they met during the dangerous years of World War Two.

Her father was a bomber pilot, became ill with an infection, fell in love with a nurse who was still within her probationary period and survived the depredations and horrors of the Desert War.

This amazing true love wartime story was the basis for Living To See You, Bee Johnstone' debut novel.

The novel relates the long distance courtship between a pilot of Wellington Bombers flying dangerous missions over the skies of Egypt and an equally young probationary nurse who was tending the patients at a fever hospital, in the last days before antibiotics began to help in the fight against infectious diseases.

The story is told through the medium of the love letters that passed between them as each one battles against the problems that they face, enemy action in his case and seriously ill patients in her case.

It is many things, a romantic novel and also a captivating story about the Second World War, detailing the bravery of the Allied pilots who participated in Operation Jostle in 1941, flying in what were described as: "Winston's Wellingtons" a subject which has not been given as much attention as perhaps it deserves.

This is Bee Johnstone's debut novel, let's hope it is the first of many novels from this author.

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought at

Thirty Fifteen

Thirty Fifteen is the last novel in Phil Tomlinson's "Soul Snatcher" trilogy, bringing it to an electric conclusion.

Zoe Marshall is in a jam. She finds herself still on the planet Earth, but it is 1,000 years into the future and it all, from Zoe's perspective, seems to have gone very, very wrong indeed.

People live as tribes in primitive settlements and wild animals roam at will.

The Earth is encircled by artificial planets and these constantly send down armed patrols which attack the settlements and capture their inhabitants.

Zoe wishes to return to her own time. Unfortunately the one person who would almost certainly be able to help her return to her home time is the alien called Kazzaar. But Kazzaar is missing.

Zoe must continue alone in her quest to return home, facing the physical dangers of a very different Earth, but she is also plagued by the horrors of her nightly dreams.

Can Zoe work out a way to return to the safety of her family and friends, back in her own time? Or will she be trapped in the hostile, brutal and dangerous future world forever?

But how can she trust Kazzaar, after all he had done before?

This is an exciting example of juvenile Science Fiction, but it will hold the attention of adult readers too.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and is available from

Paradise Girl

What if the song: "If you were the only girl in the world..." wasn't just a romantic song from a long-distant era?

What if it were your reality? It is the reality for Kerryl Shaw. Aged just seventeen, she lives with her family on an idyllic and remote farm in the heart of the Pennine Mountains.

But then comes the devastating plague. But wouldn't the Shaw family be safe in their farm? Sadly, even they family succumb to the plague, one-by-one until only Kerry is left.

She knows that it is only a matter of time until she, too, falls victim to the mystery plague that has destroyed humanity.

So she decides to write a diary to a notional person she has dubbed Adam.

As all services start to breakdown the loneliness of her dreadful situation begins to weigh very heavily on her and her mind begins to crack.

She hears her name being called in the darkness of the night, animals attack her, she visits town and is assaulted, strangers outside the farm suddenly vanish and things appear and disappear. And to her, Adam becomes a real, rather than an imaginary person.

She finds text messages on her phone. But how can this be, when there is, apparently, nobody left to text her?

The she gets an invitation to meet a mystery person. Should she? What would happen if she did? But then again, what would happen if she didn't?

Paradise Girl is written by Phil Featherstone and it is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought at

Tender is the Scalpel's Edge

Tender is the Scalpel's Edge is a new non-fiction work by consultant NHS surgeon Gautam Das.

He draws on his over four decades of work at the forefront of medical care involved with healthcare within busy NHS hospitals.

He touches on all aspects of  his professional life from his time as a medical student, right through to working as a vital part of a highly disciplined team of healthcare workers working together to save the life of a patient and what happens when the patient cannot be saved.

Although a detailed account, the author is extremely sensitive in how he tells the various stories that he covers.

From self-doubts if he is even suitable to be training as a medical doctor to learning that not only did he have what it took to become a medical doctor, he was also capable of continuing his training, this time as a surgical trainee, until he eventually was at the peak of his profession, a consultant surgeon.

From the moment I opened the book I was immediately drawn into a world of urgent surgical procedures, of patients in need of urgent, lifesaving urological surgery by Mr Das and his team of highly trained professional medical staff.

We also read of Mr Das' early days learning his surgical skills in India -he was the winner of a gold medal for surgery at Medical College- and of how he had to fight off the bed bugs that infected the rooftop hostel shared by the hospital's surgical residents, charmingly described as a "doctor's chummery" by Gautam Das.

We follow Gautam Das through his career in India and also in Britain, when, following his Master of Surgery qualification, he left India in 1979.

In 1981 he was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and he was awarded the Surgeon-in Training Medal of the College in 1988, before continuing on to obtain the Specialist (FRCS (Urology).

He was appointed Consultant Urological Surgeon in Croydon in 1990, a prestigious post he held until his retirement in June last year, 2016.

From 2005 to 2010 he also worked as a Pelvic Cancer Surgeon at St George's Hospital, London.

He has not fully retired, however, as he remains a Trustee-Director of the South East England Cancer Help Centre.

The book is a very human and humane account of his life as a surgeon and anyone with even a passing interest in this subject will benefit from this book. It would probably make a welcome addition to the bookshelves of any medical student or surgeon.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is obtainable at