Tag Archives: books

A Blog Tour

Those of you who have followed my blog for some time, know that I am a fan of Zoe Sharp,  and particularly her protagonist Charlie Fox. Well, now Zoe has created and published a stand-alone novel, “Dancing on the Grave” If you would like to read an excerpt from the book, click here.

Dancing on the grave

I looked forward to reading this book and must thank Ayo Onatade for inviting me to join the tour and to Zoe for providing an advance copy of the book for review

There are 11 other bloggers in the tour. Here’s the programme.

ZoeSharp-DotG-blog-tour-2018

All of these bloggers are new to me, but won’t be for long. What a good group Zoe and Ayo have put together.

Note – If you are having problems reading the sites, here’s a link to Zoe’s site where the blog tour is listed.

My review of the book will be available on July 20 my other site, Books&morebooks.

Meantime, because I have a need to know, I asked Zoe a few questions about this book and some other things.

JB        Hello Zoe, and thanks for agreeing to answer my questions. I hope they are not too intrusive.

After the series on Charlie Fox, was it time to take a break and write another stand alone?

ZS        Well, this is not so much ‘after’ as ‘in between’. I’m currently writing the next Charlie Fox, which will be book #13 in the series. Plus, I have the prequel waiting in the wings, so Charlie Fox is still very much alive and kicking. But, it certainly makes you appreciate the familiar more when you take a break from it, I think. It’s been lovely getting back inside Charlie’s head. She has a dry, somewhat laconic sense of humour that makes her voice so distinctive for me as I’m writing.

All the Charlie Fox books, with the exception of a couple of the short stories, are told from first-person Point Of View. Being able to get inside the heads of other characters to tell the story from another perspective is very appealing at times. There are quite a few stories percolating through my brain that can’t be told within the framework of the series, so for those I need to step outside. I couldn’t have told Kelly Jacks’ story in THE BLOOD WHISPERER any other way than third-person POV, and although having a sniper on the loose might have worked very well as a threat for Charlie Fox to face in her capacity as a bodyguard, I would certainly not have been able to go into the mind-set of the peripheral characters as deeply as I’ve been able to do in DANCING ON THE GRAVE.

JB        You have said that you were intrigued by the so-called Washington Snipers’ attacks; what motivated you to use these actions or similar actions as the basis for your story?

ZS        What always intrigues me most about true crime stories is how rarely most of us get to hear the whole story. Sometimes the snippets we do hear linger in the mind and the only thing you can do, as an author, is to write your own ending or fill in the blanks. I think most writers find the basis for their ideas in fact, which they extrapolate to the nth degree. I love to take an idea and go, “Well, what if…”

I was fascinated following the news reports of the sniper attacks in the States—indeed, at one point I was over there in that area while they were taking place. Snipers provoke a particular kind of fear in people. The fear of being watched, of being preyed upon, of never knowing who’s next, or where death is going to strike. It’s why they are such an effective weapon in war. As much for the psychological effects on the population as the physical effects.

But at the same time, I wanted to explore the psychological fallout for the sniper, and what happens when the Powers That Be decide that they’re no longer an effective tool. How do you simply switch off that skill, that training, and return to civilian life? We are very bad at re-acclimatising our ex-army personnel in the UK, particularly those who have fallen foul of the military system. There doesn’t seem to be an effective safety net and many simply fall through the cracks. I wanted to look at what might happen to one of those people.

JB       Can you tell me why you chose to set this story in such a peaceful and lovely area of Britain? No doubt no area is totally free of horrendous crime, but this seems to be an almost idyllic area.

ZS        Having lived and built a house in the English Lake District, I can vouch for the fact it can be idyllic. At the time I first conceived the idea for this book—shortly after the Washington Sniper attacks in 2002—it probably was almost unthinkable that something of that nature could happen there. But then a man called Derrick Bird ran amok in the west of the county in 2010. He shot twenty-two people, thirteen of whom died (including himself, last of all). Suddenly the unthinkable was not only possible, but a reality. It made me put the book aside for a long time. When I picked it up again and began a rewrite, I included references to the Bird case. It would have been unnatural for the police characters involved not to think of it, as soon as the first victim is killed.

And sometimes the contrast of gritty crime in a rural setting can be very effective. Just because something is beautiful on the surface, it doesn’t mean there isn’t vast ugliness lurking beneath the skin. Besides, I’ve always liked playing with the reader’s perceptions in a story. I’ve done it throughout the Charlie Fox books, and it felt natural to continue doing so here.

JB        As I said to you earlier, the characters in the book are totally believable, in particular, the two leads, Nick and Grace. May we expect to hear/read more of these two?

ZS        Well, having said at the outset that DANCING ON THE GRAVE was a standalone, the overwhelming reaction to the book so far is that it should be the start of a new series. I confess that I do have several other plotlines worked out for Grace and Nick, most of which are specifically linked to the Lake District. I’ve always thought a plot is stronger if there is a definite reason for it to take place where it does. That way, the location becomes almost another character in the book. So, yes, there is the possibility of more from those two, although there are other stories I’d like to tell first…

JB        And what a great character Edith is. Did you have a certain person in mind when you started writing about her? Is she based on someone you read about or knew, even remotely?

ZS        As far as I’m aware (and I freely admit my subconscious could be playing tricks on me here) Edith isn’t based on anyone I know or have ever met. She was simply one of those characters who appear out of nowhere and utterly own the show. For me, she stepped onto the page, fully formed, in much the way Charlie Fox did originally. All I had to do was write down what she did and what she told me. Although, in Edith’s case, you can take much of what she says with a pinch of salt. The most important lies are the ones she tells herself.

JB         The story touches on fame in today’s society. Do you think many young people are looking for a way or ways to become famous?

ZS        Absolutely, I do. Not only are people looking for a way to become a ‘celebrity’ however you interpret the meaning of that word, but they’re looking for the easiest, fastest way to get where they want to go. I mean, everybody knows, deep down, that the only way to successfully lose weight and to keep it off is to reduce your food intake below the level of your energy expenditure, and to maintain that balance over time to make slow and steady progress. That doesn’t stop the proliferation of books and articles offering myriad ways to ‘Halve Your Body Size in a Month!’, ‘Lose Weight Without Dieting!’, ‘Get Six-Pack Abs Without Ever Leaving Your Couch!’, ‘Drop Three Dress Sizes by Tomorrow!’ Nor does it dent the popularity of such advice. Everybody wants a shortcut. In the book, Edith dreams of fame and fortune but has no idea how to achieve it, until fate apparently steps in and offers her what she believes she’s looking for.

JB        What is the best time for you to write?

ZS        Er, when I’m awake. Seriously, I tend to work any time of the day now. When I first started, and it was very much a case of working around the cracks of the day job, I used to get up early in the morning to write, but these days I can often work late into the evening and into the following morning again. The only problem I face is actually falling asleep at my keyboard. I can tell when I’ve done this, as the next time I open up the file, the last paragraph or so will be utter nonsensical gibberish.

JB        Where do you call home these days?

ZS        Good question. I do officially own a house again after a gap of about four years, but I’m not actually living in it at the moment. Instead, I’ve been moving around, house and pet-sitting or travelling. I spend the winters in an old stone farmhouse in the Derbyshire Peak District, stoking the wood-burning stove and minding a couple of very demanding cats while their owner goes to Italy to escape the British weather and work on his latest novel. As I write this, I’m cat-sitting in the south of France. So, where do I call home? Anywhere I can plug in a laptop and access the internet. Animal company preferred.

JB        I know you can write anywhere, is it in longhand initially or straight on to your computer?

ZS        I like to rough out a scene in pencil using what I laughingly call my neck-top computer, (still haven’t made the leap to an iBrain) maybe the bones of the dialogue, or the run of the action, then I go to my laptop. As I write up my notes, everything gets filled out and expanded. I experimented with dictation software, but to be honest I fiddle around quite a bit as I put the words on the page and, because I touch-type, it was quicker just to do it manually.

JB         I’ve always thought it must be particularly hard, if fun, to write about a crime scene investigator’s role. Do you have a friendly CSI to help you?

ZS        I was lucky enough to spend some time with CSIs from Cumbria Constabulary when I was first planning and writing the book, and I also talked to their Firearms officers, did a ride-along with one of the Motorway Patrols, and talked to Special Constables—part-time volunteers, now called Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). I read extensively, of course, including the textbooks that are used to train crime-scene technicians in the UK, and went over to see Ian and Helen Pepper, a husband and wife team of former CSIs who now write and teach on the subject.

It was helpful for Grace’s character, as well, that I spent twenty-five years as a photojournalist, so the photography side was second nature to me. As is always the case, though, you do a LOT of research and then leave the majority of that information out of the book, otherwise it reads more like a textbook or travel guide than a novel. Having said that, everyone likes to feel they’ve gleaned a piece of inside info, a trick-of-the-trade, a secret that only those in the know might know. It’s a fine balance.

I write first and foremost to tell a good tale—to allow a reader to make a journey inside their own head that they might never make otherwise, to take them out of themselves. If I manage to sneak in a few valid points about the state of modern society, and people absorb those elements as a contextual part of the story and—just maybe—agree with me, then that’s a bonus, isn’t it?

JB       Thank you Zoe for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Enjoy your time in France and I look forward to the next book.

Zoe is currently on holiday in France, house/cat-sitting for a friend. She sent this photo of the cats, Inky and Spatz, to share with you.

Inky-and-Spatz

And don’t forget my review of Dancing on the Grave will be available on my other blog, Books&morebooks on July 20. Meantime, enjoy some of the other bloggers take on the book.

********

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zoë Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire but spent most of her formative years living aboard a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. After a promising start at a private girls’ school, she opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve in favour of correspondence courses at home.

Sharp went through a variety of jobs in her teenage years. In 1988, on the strength of one accepted article and a fascination with cars, she gave up her regular job to become a freelance motoring writer. She quickly picked up on the photography side of things and her photojournalism took her as far afield as Japan and the United States, as well as work all over Europe, Ireland, and the UK. She is now a full-time fiction author and creator of the Charlie Fox series of crime thrillers.

Sharp wrote her first novel when she was fifteen, but success came in 2001 with the publication of KILLER INSTINCT—the first book to feature her ex-Special Forces turned bodyguard heroine, Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox. The character evolved after Sharp received death-threat letters in the course of her photojournalism work.

As well as the Charlie Fox novels, Sharp has written several standalones, including collaborations with highly regarded espionage thriller author, John Lawton. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, and have been shortlisted for the Short Story Dagger by the UK Crime Writers’ Association. Her other writing has won or been nominated for numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic, been used in Danish school textbooks, inspired an original song and music video, and been optioned for TV and film.

A keen library supporter and public speaker, Sharp blogs regularly on her Blog page. She also witters on Twitter (@AuthorZoeSharp) and fools about on Facebook (ZoeSharpAuthor). She was formerly a long-term contributor to the acclaimed Murderati blog. She’s a regular blogger at MURDER IS EVERYWHERE and also has a presence on goodreads.

Zoë Sharp leads a somewhat peripatetic lifestyle. When she isn’t crewing yachts, renovating houses, or improvising weapons out of everyday objects, she can often be found international pet-sitting in various corners of the world.

 

Advertisements

New Books

I have recently finished two great books, both by authors new to me.

The Third Rule is a gripping story of murder, deceit and absolute power.  Shades of 1984 here.

The Woman in the Window is a captivating tale of a woman living as a recluse following a major accident. This is pure Hitchcock.

Why not go over to my other site, Booksandmorebooks. Maybe you would like one or both of them.

A David Bishop Weekend

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again,
there is no use in reading it at all.” 

― Oscar Wilde

A winter weekend with nothing planned.  The family was all away and my son and his family had the dreaded lurgy, so what to do but settle down and read.

I decided to reread some of David Bishop’s books, in particular, the Linda Darby series.  I was introduced to this author last year when recuperating after my Adventure, and since then have read several of his books.  Isn’t it great how when you reread a book even one year later, you decide you like it even more than the first time round?

I won’t review these three books here but will do so on my other site in the next few days.  But as a taster – 

In the first book The Woman, we meet Linda Darby, a 30 something single woman.  She has been married to and divorced from a scoundrel about whom we know very little. She subsequently meets and marries her second husband who, unfortunately, is killed while on a secret operation somewhere.  

In an attempt to get over this loss, she settles in a small seaside town on the Oregan coast and here her adventures begin.  She is a day trader and this allows her to work from anywhere.  She keeps to herself and her only real friend in this town is an elderly widowed woman who runs a consulting business, which we later find out, has no visitors, is not listed in the phone book and sends and receives missives only by courier.  

Linda’s quiet uneventful life is disrupted when one night out walking she is attacked by two men but is saved by the intervention of a third man.  This third man disappears and the next day the newspaper reports the murders of the two men.   And then the day after that she learns that her close friend has been tortured and killed, leaving a letter for Linda that will change her life and her whole being, making her think and act in a completely different way.

And through it all,  she is helped, rescued and protected by the mystery man, Ryan Testler.

This is a fast moving and intriguing book, that makes one (or at least me) want to read more of this woman and her adventures.

The next book in the series is Hometown Secrets and it is followed by The First Lady’s Second Man.

I hope I have encouraged you to read some of Bishop’s stories.  There are two other series I have read – The Matt Kile Mysteries and Jack McCall Mysteries.  But I shall leave them to reread on another weekend with nothing planned and nobody home.

PS, Of course, all of these books are available from Amazon.  They are one-sitting reads and so good for a lazy weekend.

And I found this on Pinterest.  Thought Baldacci was spot on.

 

Thanks to pinterest.

PPS  We’ll get back to The Murderer and The Detective just as soon as I have worked out where to from there.

Missing Letter 2.

 

A very interesting challenge from Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook this week.
We are challenged to write 100 words without using the letter A.
Could you meet the challenge?  Why not try.
Go over to Tara’s site and get the rules and then let’s see what you come up with.

But I misread the Challenge.  I thought you had to write 100 words without using the letter A.
In fact, it was without using the letter N.  Hence, the second post.

She woke up to see that she forgot to put the clocks back the hour at the close of summer time before sleep yesterday.

What to do with the extra hour before her?  So she thought she would use this hour either to read posts from those writers she followed or should she read the book she started the day before.  The book by a fresh author, the story that had completely riveted her from the start?

The book of course.  So back to her bed, book and T-cup close by, she settled to read, for just the allotted time.

I found this on Pinterest. I hope I’m not impinging on anyone’s copyright.

A New Day Dawns

Today I waved goodbye to my youngest grandson.  He’s on the way to University in Christchurch in the South Island and on the way to the next stage of his life.  I can hardly believe that little boy who wasn’t even born when his grandfather died, is old enough to strike out on his own.

His mother and I shall miss him and his older brother will be lost without him, although sometimes one could imagine that they don’t even like each other.

So good luck Darling No. 4.  He is the last one to leave school and start at University. What a great time he is going to have and as Dr Seuss says:

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Out there things can happen and frequently do
to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So..get on your way!

Two years ago the 13th February was a Friday and I wrote about superstition and then went on to write about my day; a beautiful sunny day in Ohope on the east  coast of the North Island of New Zealand.  On days like that, this certainly is Godzone.  And what was I doing?  I was Watching.  Here’s part of that blog post:

Today I am watching

Judith & Alice

  • The way a newly born baby attracts people and noticing the joy of being allowed to hold her
  • The huge waves rolling onto the beach; they are quite magnificent in their power
  • Surfers battling these waves and some succeeding in standing up
  • Children paddling in the surf
  • Two older couples just enjoying the sunshine, sand, and the water’s edge
  • Puffs of smoke emanating from White Island – New Zealand’s most active cone volcano.  It’s very close only 48kms/30 miles from shore.  It’s puffing away merrily today.
  • And strangers interacting as they meet on the beach
  • A couple walking their dogs
  • A small child clambering onto a tyre strung up to make a swing
  • My partner stretched out on a lounger contentedly reading
  • Teachers from the local school rounding up the pupils
  • A group of teenagers enjoying their lunch on the beach
  • The same group chasing each other and generally having fun
  • The brilliant sun shining down onto our part of the world that we call Paradise.”
So different from today  Again, it raining and windy – oh where has summer gone?
 But some summers are brilliant.  And as a reminder, here’s a photo of the beach in front of our house in Ohope.
Ohope beach
“Abundant sunshine, warm waters and safe swimming make Ōhope Beach the perfect summer holiday destination. Maybe that’s why it was voted NZ’s Most Loved Beach—with 11 km of easily walkable white sand beach from the Ōhiwa Harbour entrance all the way to West End.”  Whakatane.com  Information.
And have you had a chance to look at my new blog, Books&morebooks where I review the books I have read.?  Maybe there’s a book that appeals to you.
 

Deadly Lies

deadly-lies

Well, I just finished reading Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell.  This is her first book and what a good book it was.  I couldn’t put it down – well couldn’t put down the iPad and read well into the night.

The book has it all.  Office politics, adultery (both literally by the wife and thinking by the husband), kidnapping, date rape, sexual abuse and murders, 4 in all and only one was not premeditated.

Alex is a Seattle PD Detective and his wife Jill is climbing the corporate ladder. From the outside, all looks well with their marriage.  Things really begin to go wrong when Alex is called by an ex-girlfriend to find her missing sister.  Meantime Jill is breaking all the rules.  She is committing adultery and with the man to whom she responds.  When he reacts in the expected (by us but not by Jill) manner she is devastated and vows revenge.  His accidental death occurs, or is it her first murder?    She then goes on to meet a newspaper reporter and after his interviewing her she experiences date rape and all her hidden past comes rushing to the fore.  She cannot allow this man, or his awful cohorts to get away with this unharmed and goes on to commit more murders.

Meantime, Alex is searching for the kidnapped girl and finds her murdered.  His life takes an unexpected turn when he is called upon to assist a fellow detective in San Francisco who has two unsolved murders to solve.

This review doesn’t really describe how good this book really is.  You just have to read it for yourself.

Oh and I did receive a free copy of this book but am under no obligation to review it.  I just thought it was so good I wanted to share.

For reviews of more books, visit my new blog Books&morebooks.

Wild Windy Wellington Wednesday

Another Christmas has come and gone, another New Year’s Eve celebration followed it as always and has also passed  and now we are back to the everyday life that we know.

All the festivities and fun are great.  It’s always good to catch up with friends and family and what better time than at Christmas and New Year?  But don’t you feel rather flat when the day has passed, the friends have left for home and things are really no different than they were on December 24th?  If like me, you were lucky to receive some gifts and now you have a few more ‘things’ to find places for, you will be adding the fact that you have friends and family who care to your Gratitude List.

Here in the Southern Hemisphere of course, it is summer (?)  Well here in Wellington we had a glorious Christmas Day – Mother Nature pulled out all the stops, sunshine, no wind and not even a hint of rain.  The next day was the same but since then we have had a really mixed bag.  Sunny and warm one day, overcast and windy the next.  Today we are living through gale force winds.  We went for a walk  in the Town Belt (625 hectares of Crown-held land “reserved for the enjoyment of the public and not to be built upon,”) that circles our city.  Unfortunately it was a very short walk as the wind was so strong that several times it threatened to blow me over – and Lotte?  Well her ears were blown right back as we walked into the wind and forward over her face when we walked in the other direction.  Really it is not at all the warm, dry summer we were promised.

Lotte on desk

Would have been better to stay at home
writing our blog

Many people are away on their Christmas/Summer holidays and this weather is not helping them enjoy themselves.  In the South Island we have heavy rain warnings in many places; roads are closed; the Milford Track said to be NZ’s premier walking track has been closed for the past two days because of heavy rains.  Approximately 120 trampers were stuck as the track was too difficult to maneuver.  Trucks and cars are stuck in the Buller Gorge in the north-west of the South Island.  And parts of the North Island are faring no better with Severe Weather warnings in place for parts of the lower island.

So what to do in the face of this awful weather.  There is always the television of course and today I chanced on a wonderful programme written and fronted by Griff Rhys-Jones about the “Wind in the Willows”.  Along with Alice in Wonderland, this has been an all time favourite of mine.

In this programme, Rhys-Jones introduced us to Kenneth Grahame, the retiring scholarly man who wrote this story for his somewhat troublesome only child Alistair.  At the time, Grahame was the Secretary of the Bank of England.  He had written some books about children for adults but this was the first (and only) book for children. Do you know this fabulous fable?

The story is set along a river bank.  In fact it is subtitled Tales of the Riverbank. We are introduced to the kindly, self-effacing, industrious Mole (Grahame himself perhaps?), Rat, Badger, Otter and of course the incredible, irascible  Mr Toad.  Who hasn’t met a Mr Toad in real life?

These woodland animals are given human characteristics and live an indolent  life on the riverbank often messing about in boats.

But Toad it is who fills the book with his antics and exploits.  He is very sure of himself and he is very conceited.  He sings about himself  “Ho, ho!  I am The Toad, the handsome, the popular, the successful Toad”.  And he  thinks that he alone knows anything.   Consider –

“The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr Toad”

toad

When Toad sees a shining red motor car he cannot resist it and drives it off eventually being caught and being sent to prison –

“The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop
As it raced along the road.
Who was it steered it into a pond?
Ingenious Mr Toad!”

The book was originally published in 1908 and  my copy of the book is 55 years old, well read, well-thumbed but still securely bound in spite of that.

Quite late in life, by then considered a confirmed bachelor,  Grahame married the shy and retiring, scatty and whimsical Elspeth Thomson.  They had only one child, a boy named Alastair (whose nickname was “Mouse”).  Unfortunately, he  was born blind in one eye and plagued by health problems throughout his short life.  It was for this child that the book was written.

The-Wind-in-the-Willows-001

‘Simply messing about in boats’ …
EH Shepard’s illustration of Ratty and Mole.
Photograph: EH Shepard/PA

So I am glad for a cold, windy January evening that allowed me to find this programme on the TV.  I thank Rhys-Jones for taking us along the riverbank and telling us about Grahame and his strange little family.

And as an aside in 2010 a First Edition of the book was sold by Bonhams in London for 32,400 GBP.

Wet Wild Windy Wellington Weekend

Well it’s the second weekend of Spring but somebody forgot to tell the powers that be.  We should be out and about smelling the spring flowers, enjoying the balmy weather and wearing our lighter spring attire.

Alas, both yesterday and today the fickle Wellington weather has proven to us once again that it cannot be relied upon.  Yesterday we had wild winds and today we have had torrential rain and gale force winds.  We have hunkered down only venturing out when absolutely necessary.  Fortunately for me (and Lotte) my friend is quite happy to take her out for her walk while I sit reading my Charlie Fox novel.

I have written before about Zoe Sharp’s protagonist Charlie Fox  and today I read Fifth Victim.  At the end of the earlier novel – Fourth Day – Charlie’s lover Sean Mayer was critically injured and now lies in a coma.  Charlie is attempting to come to terms with this as she sits at his side each day hoping for some sign of life and/or recognition from him.  But he lies unmoving and unresponsive and she wonder what will become of her without him.

Her boss, Parker Armstrong head of the Close Protection Company, Armstrong-Meyer determines that Charlie needs to do something and so he assigns her to guard a rich young woman.  The young woman, Dina lives in the Hamptons with her  mother and fills her days riding her champion horses, shopping  and attending social  functions and parties.   Because of a spate of kidnappings among the children of the fabulously wealthy set in which her daughter moves, her mother is fearful that she might be the next  victim

While Charlie strikes up a friendly relationship with her charge she is hard put to keep her out of harm’s way and when another of the set is kidnapped and brutally murdered Charlie must unravel the mystery of who, what and why.

This is another well written, fast paced novel that is hard to put down.  The very thing to fill in a wet, wild, windy, Wellington day.

Obviously, I am completely taken with Zoe Sharp’s character and can’t wait for the next book.  I hope you are sitting at the computer writing away now Zoe.

Related Posts

 

Stalking Charlie Fox

“If you stay involved with Sean Meyer you will end up killing again,” my father said. “and next time, Charlotte, you might not get away with it.”
Charlie Fox’s father in Road Kill.

Yes, I am still reading and following the adventures of my favourite heroine Charlie Fox.  I have somehow got them out of order, but as I have already said, each novel stands alone and one doesn’t have to have read any of the others in the series.

In Road Kill we find Charlie involved with a group of bikers who are really so innocent that they get themselves involved with an unscrupulous gang of thieves.

Charlie is taking time out to sort out her life and her feelings for her boss, Sean Meyer..  She is refurbishing her parents’ cottage and instead of overseeing the refurbishment is doing much of the hard work herself.    Into this scene comes a friend to advise that a really close friend has been seriously injured in a motor cycle accident and a second person has died.

Leaving the demolition  work unfinished she rushes  to Clare her friend’s side and is relieved to find that the dead man is not Clare’s partner  but some other  man.  Jacob, Clare’s partner is away in Ireland on a buying tour for his business.  Stories about the accident flow around; there is bad feeling towards Charlie from the biking group and when Charlie is brutally attacked  by Jacob’s ex-wife and her strongman thug things begin to get out of hand.

Clare is very vague and secretive about what she was doing with this other man and how she came to be riding with him on his motorbike instead of riding her own beloved bike.   Gossip has Jacob’s son involved with Clare (surprising  to Charlie given how close Clare and Jacob are) and Charlie decides to investigate further.  She learns that there is to be a trip to Ireland for the motorcycle group and is determined to become part of the trip, partly because Clare and Jacob have asked her to look after Jacob’s son, but also because nobody will or can give them a straight answer as to why the trip has to go ahead even after the tragedy.   After proving herself capable of riding and keeping up with them, she is allowed to join them.  Sean is also allowed to go along after he proves to the group that he would be a good person to have along.

I won’t go into more detail as it would spoil the story for any one else but it is well written (of course) and has a good plot, with our heroine (is there a better word for this) coming up trumps once again.

Needless to say, this novel is full of motorcycles (both Zoe and Charlie’s favoured form of transport), guns, shooting, good guys and plenty of bad guys; innocents abroad who really should not be allowed out on their own, murder, mayhem and some good love scenes between Charlie and Sean.  I wonder where this relationship is going.

So as you can see a jolly good read and again, one that I recommend.

Road Kill

Click on the image to go to Zoe Sharp;s home page

And I still have the next two books in the series sitting patiently waiting for me to get to them.  So look out for more on this feisty woman, her lover and her exploits.

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience:
this is the ideal life.
Mark Twain

Saturday Again

Six word Saturday button

How quickly the weeks pass and it’s already Saturday again and time for Six Word Saturday.  If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB – I’M READING.

I awoke to a grey Saturday morning and decided that the best thing to do was to take my tea and toast back to bed with a good book.  And this set the rest of the day in train.

I had planned to meet with my French speaking buddies for lunch but that plan was quickly discarded after I had a long telephone conversation with my friend who recently found the huge lump in her breast.  While she didn’t want me to visit, she did want to talk.  After hanging up I realised that it was too late for the proposed lunch and so I stayed home.

I had started a Zoe Sharp book this morning in bed and after making a quick sandwich for lunch settled down to read more.  Have you come across this English writer?  Her protagonist is a feisty woman  called Charlie Fox.  I read the first book in the series after reading somewhere that Lee Childs thought her one of the best thriller writers to emerge in recent times.  High praise indeed.

Are you, like me, a trifle bored with all the macho male heroes protagonists that litter the current crop of best sellers?  If so Charlie Fox is a breath of fresh air.  Feisty as I said and not always charming, she takes life full on and faithfully stands by her friends and in this case, her charge even when it looks as if she is facing death herself.

So I settled down to read this book – First Drop.  Charlie Fox is a British ex-soldier, has taught self-defence  and now is a Bodyguard.  In this novel she is tasked with minding the 15 year old Trey, son of a computer programmer.  What starts out as a disappointing assignment for her, rapidly turns into a fight for her life, the life of her charge and her lover.  Swift page turning and I couldn’t put it down.

I had almost finished the book when I realised it was getting dark (around 5pm) and Lotte hadn’t had a walk yet.  So reluctantly I left the book at page 343 of 373 pages and did what any self-respecting dog owner does, I took my dog out for her walk.  And her delight more than compensated for the fact that I hadn’t finished the book.  But of course, once I returned, I finished it. 

I understand that there are 8 9 Charlie Fox mysteries and while I can’t quite work out the order in which they were written, it is clear that each one stands alone and so one can start reading anywhere in the series.  However, I read Killer Instinct first and this is the book that gives Charlie’s background and in some way, helps to understand why she does what she does.  I certainly recommend this author to you if you are looking for something a little different.

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”
Paul Sweeney

Footnote – Can you believe that I received a comment from Zoe Sharp (see below) and she has linked back to this post from her website.