Sitting in her makeup chair, eyes staring lifelessly ahead, the diva is dead. Her sequinned dress glittering in the light cast from above; the little pools of reflected light sparkling across the paper held tightly in her hand. The policeman carefully prises it out of her grip and unfurls it. It reads, “The Last Will and Blurb of Lyra Day”:
“Danny Bird is having a very bad day. In the space of just a few hours he lost his job, his partner and his home.
Ever the optimist, Danny throws himself headlong into his dream to turn the grimmest pub in London into the coolest nightspot south of the river. Sadly, everything doesn’t go quite as planned when his star turn is found strangled hours before opening night.
Bonjour and bienvenue to my blog on this wonderful 12th day of #Fahrenbruary. If you’ve stumbled upon this post by chance you may not be familiar with what a Fahrenbruary is, so let me enhance your knowledge with this handy little link here…
Now that that’s out of the way, what do we have today?
Well today I present to you a 2-4-1 deal in that I am reposting my two mini reviews wot I wrote for Derek Farrell’s “Death Of A Nobody” and “Death Of A Devil” – books 2 and 3 in the Danny Bird Mysteries series.
These two reviews originally appeared on Goodreads and, if you’re at all familiar with my reviews, are very, very short indeed by my usual standards 😂 I can’t remember now why they didn’t get the full Beardy Book Blogger treatment, but I imagine that it was purely down to time; it’s no reflection on the quality of the books themselves.
Tomorrow I present my full review of the 1st in the series, “Death Of A Diva“. I’m presenting them out of order for reasons known only to my beardy brain and it ain’t letting me in on the secret. It has a habit of doing that.
I love these books unconditionally. They are smart, very funny, erudite, sanguine, clever, moving, tightly plotted and populated by the kind of characters that stay with you long after the book is over; they truly feel like family. They’re the kind of books that once read, and a new one in the series arrives, you open with a happy sigh, excited to be back in their company again and to see what calamity has befallen them this time (as I type this the 4th book, “Death Of An Angel” will be released on the 28th of Fahrenbruary 2019. Put that date in your pipe and smoke it, and put your fingers in your ears because I shall be letting out the loudest “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” that you will have ever heard! Truth *crosses arms gangsta style*).
Derek writes with a wit and style that takes me back to my youth. That is not to say that it is immature, no no no, but to me there’s a certain nostalgia in my nostalgia glands when I read these books. As I mention below, and in my review for Death Of A Diva, I am reminded of some of my favourite writers and TV shows that also feature an ensemble cast with quirky characters, wonderful dialogue and outlandish, yet believable, plots and predicaments. I personally feel that these book would make for a great TV series. Maybe I should start a petition to get them made. 🤔
The love that Derek has for his characters radiates from the pages; it’s in every word, every scenario, in every small trait and quirk. They feel so fully formed that I really want to go and have a drink and hang out in The Marquess Of Queensbury. But then, alas, one realises that it doesn’t actually exist. Bum cheeks 😥 Well, there are certainly places like it, but they won’t have Danny and his boyfriend Nick (a Detective Constable whose guv’nor is the highly unpleasant, homophobic, and right arsey bastard DCI Reid), Lady Caroline (Caz) Victoria Genevieve Jane De Montfort (and her capacious, almost magical, Gladstone bag), the ASBO twins Dash and Ray, bar manager Ali, and all the assorted crazies, misfits, regulars and unwanteds that populate and frequent my beloved Marq. Oh, and that is without all of the dead bodies that seem to find The Marq irresistible for some reason. I blame Ley-lines, or summink.
So, buckle up and take the plunge into Derek’s wonderful world. Ignore the worn and tired looking exterior of The Marquess of Queensbury pub, open the door, walk on in, buy a beverage, sit down in a quiet corner (if such a thing truly exists in The Marq), relax and wait for events to unfold. You’ll make new friends, possibly a couple of enemies too (watch out for the pub’s real owner popping by, one Chopper Falzone; you don’t want to mess with him), but either way you’ll thank me later.
Hello again. Everyone doing okay? How is you personal #Fahrenbruary going? What’s that? Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the excitement of reposting my review of Seth Lynch’s A Citizen Of Nowhere.
This review originally appeared waaaaaaaay back last year when this little book blog was just known as the Stubbly Book Blogger. True story. Ok, notexactly a true story, the bit about the stubble, but it was one of my very first reviews.
Anyway, enjoy this repost and please come back tomorrow for a repost of my review of the sequel: A Dead American In Paris. After that I will be sharing a brand new Q&A with Seth.
Voici le blurb:
Salazar is an English detective haunted by his experiences of the Great War, who wiles away the days playing chess and taking on as little work as possible. When the alluring Marie Poncelet hires him to find a missing man he quickly realises it’s a case he wishes he’d refused.
Finding a missing man isn’t anything like finding a man who doesn’t want to be found and Gustave Marty has covered his tracks with a smokescreen that will push Salazar beyond the limits of physical endurance and to the edge of insanity.
As he’s drawn deeper into the shadowy underbelly of the City of Light, Salazar’s closed, structured world is blown apart by the arrival of a friend from his pre-war youth, the beautiful Megan Fitzwilliam, whose tenderness and love of life is a stark contrast to the brutal violence that lies within him.
When that violence threatens to engulf them both, Salazar must seek redemption or lose the very thing that has finally made his life worth living.”
Hello you lovely, lovely people, and a very warm welcome to my little beardy blog.
How are you all doing? Really? Well I hope that that clears up very soon. Otherwise all okay? Excellent.
Now, in case you didn’t know, #Fahrenbruary is in full swing; the month long celebration of all things Fahrenheit Press and Fahrenheit 13. Yesterday (if you’ve been following along sequentially) I posted my review of Back Door To Hell, a gritty, tense, couples on the run noir thriller by Paul Gadsby.
Here, via the magic of the internet, is a link to that very review…. LINK.
It’s clever that, innit?
A little while ago I asked Paul Gadsby to write me a piece about what inspired him to write BDTH. And do you know what? He agreed and did…. did.
So, dear reader read on as Paul discusses his favourite novels featuring a couple on the run that inspired his new noir thriller…
Panting like Usain Bolt after sprinting 100 metres in record time into a particularly strong headwind, you finally stop running and reach the agreed meeting place. Your partner in this particular crime (is it a crime, to steal from the crooks? That’s one that’s going to keep you up tonight) has not arrived yet. Did she escape from your pursuers? Maybe it wasn’t so wise to split up after all, but you could hardly help it as dithering over whether to go left or right at the chip shop could’ve ended up with you both caught and then…. you shudder at the thought of that!
Oh, you really are in the doo-doo now. What were you thinking? After all it wasn’t your idea to steal from one of the biggest, most insane, maniacal crime lords in London. The next time someone asks you if you want to listen to their ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme just tell them to sod off and carry on drying up the glasses behind the bar. Like, seriously.
But, at least you have one of the bags of money. Strangely it doesn’t feel as heavy as you expected. You’d have thought that around one hundred grand in cash would be heavier? Whilst you wait, hope, that she arrives in one piece, you decide to have a peek inside the sports bag.
Your heart drops through your stomach.
There’s no cash inside the bag. What? How? You clearly saw the cash being stuffed inside the two bags by your accomplice whilst you were distracting the gang. Wait, but then you turned around for just a short while before making a bolt for the door.
She’s given you a dud and made off with all the cash. The cheeky….
All you are left with, as you start to laugh and cry at the same time, is a bag full of paper.
Paper with just a worthless blurb written over and over and over again:
Boy meets girl. Girl has a plan. A plan that’ll change everything.
Nate and Jen are two working class kids looking for a chance to leave behind their dreary, minimum wage lives forever.
Jen has figured out a way to change everything, she just needs a little help to pull it off. That’s where Nate comes in.
She’s got it all planned. In and out before anyone notices, nobody gets hurt and finally they can start living the lives they always imagined. A simple heist, even for amateurs like them.
The problem is local crime lord Crawford is not an amateur. Not by a long chalk. Jen & Nate have stolen his money and more importantly they’ve damaged his reputation. He intends to get both back. No matter what the cost.
Hey everyone, a very warm welcome to my little blog for the 5th day of #Fahrenbruary. If you are not really sure why you’re here or what the hell a Fahrenbruary is, then here’s a couple of handy links to help explain:
Ok, now that that’s all sorted, below I present to you a Question and Answer session with the brilliant Ian Patrick, author of the Sam Batford books Rubicon and Stoned Love. You can find out more about these superb thrillers in the Q&A and via the links at the end.
Today I am very, very chuffed to bring to you a guest post written especially for #Fahrenbruary by Ian Patrick, author of those two books you can see up there. If you’ve missed my reviews of those books then you can check them out here:
In the piece below, Ian describes how his experiences as a (ex)serving police officer influenced his writing, and of the challenge of writing for a character as corrupt as Sam Batford and his boss Mike Hall.
Detective Sergeant Sam Batford has been lying low at a remote safe house in the highlands of Scotland. He’s doing his best not to attract the attention of the enemies he made, on both sides of the law, during his last under-cover operation but Batford knows he’s just killing time until he’s called to account.
Inevitably the sharks begin to circle and as Batford is called back to front-line action in London he’s thrown into a deadly game of cat and mouse where it seems everyone is out to get him.
After having to endure a frustrating resolution to their previous undercover operation together DCI Klara Winter from the National Crime Agency is determined to prove that Batford has crossed the line into criminality and finally bring him to face justice.
All Sam Batford wants is to outwit his enemies long enough to stay alive and come out ahead of the game.