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Heidi Perks

THE POSTMAN DELIVERS . . . Katz, Perks & Spain

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I haven’t done a ‘Postman Delivers’ feature for ages, mainly because during our annus horibilis of 2020, books have come in dribs and drabs. Maybe today’s “thump, thump, thump” of books hitting the doormat are a sign of better things to come, in all sorts of ways. Let’s hope so.

A GOOD MAN by Ani Katz

A Good Man023Fans of dark domestic drama should love this. The ‘good man’ in question is Thomas Martin. He was the perfect family man, husband, father son and brother. He had a dream job and a lovely home. But when disaster strikes, and dreadful suffering is inflicted on those he loves, he is forced to conduct the most forensic examination of his own personality, motivation and actions. Ani Katz is a writer, photographer and teacher. She was born and raised on the south shore of Long Island, and holds a MFA in photography from Columbia College, Chicago, and a BA from Yale. She lives in Brooklyn. A Good Man is published by Windmill/Penguin Random House. It came out in hardback in January last year and the paperback will be out on 11th February.

THE WHISPERS by Heidi Perks

The Whispers025I reviewed – and loved – an earlier Heidi Perks novel back in 2019, when Come Back For Me was published. Her latest novel tells the story of Anna Robinson, a woman with the perfect family, and everything in the world going for her. One night she goes out to have some fun with four old friends. And never returns. Why would she do this? What has happened to her? Are the rumours at school gates true?

Heidi Perks lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.She graduated from Bournemouth University with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing. The Whispers is published by Cornerstone Digital/Century and will be available from 18th March as a KIndle, and 15th April in paperback and hardback.

THE PERFECT LIE by Jo Spain

Perfect Lie024Jo Spain is, in my opinion, one of the most gifted writers we have. She is based in Dublin, and not content with creating a hugely popular police procedural series featuring Detective Tom Reynolds, she writes scripts and screenplays for television and cinema, and also managed to write superb standalone thrillers. The Perfect Lie belongs to the latter category, but moves the action from Ireland to America’s east coast. Erin Kennedy lives in Newport, Long Island with her detective husband Danny. Her idyllic life turns into a nightmare when he jumps to his death from their fourth-floor apartment.

In the traumatic months that follow his death, Erin learns that Danny was not the ‘regular guy’ everyone thought he was. If those revelations weren’t bad enough, she is then arrested and charged with his murder. Her previous life has morphed into something spectacularly dreadful – The Perfect Lie. Click this link to learn more about Jo Spain and her books.The Perfect Lie is published by Quercus and will be available in all formats from 13th May.

COME BACK FOR ME . . . Between the covers

Blurb

CBFMOn a tiny island off the Dorset coast of southern England, a little girl lives a dream childhood. Loving parents, the beauty of the sea and the sky, and the cloudless blue optimism of the young. But then, one terrible night, Stella Harvey’s idyll is shattered. On a September evening, with a violent storm lashing the tiny harbour of Evergreen Island, David Harvey ushers his family on board the ferry he runs for a living, and takes them away to the mainland. For ever.

“At eleven, I wasn’t prepared to accept our parents’ hurried reasons for leaving the island. I couldn’t believe that this was for good and I couldn’t understand one bit why they were dragging us away in the middle of a storm. ‘Will we come back?’ I whispered to my sister? Bonnie’s hand shook as it reached for mine under my mac. ‘No,’ she said, ‘I don’t believe we ever will.’”

Years have flown by. Stella is now a consulting psychotherapist. Sister Bonnie is married with children. Their mother, Maria, is long dead, killed in a road accident. Father David, having left Maria for another woman, is now in the throes of dementia.

Stella’s equanimity is cruelly disturbed when she sees a TV news report that human remains have been discovered on Evergreen, but worse is to follow. The body a of a woman, long dead, has been found very close to her old home, and police have not ruled out foul play. Despite Bonnie’s advice to leave well alone, Stella is hypnotically drawn to unfolding events, and decides to return to her old home.

Inevitably, as night follows day, Stella’s arrival on Evergreen is not a joyful homecoming, and several skeletons come dancing and rattling their bones out of the cupboard to which time has consigned them. Firstly, Stella learns the tragic reason why her best friend and sworn blood-sister never replied to any of the letters she sent when the Harvey family began their new life on the mainland. Then, with the cruel perceptiveness of adulthood stripping away the illusions of youth, Stella looks on with horror as, first, the grisly remains are identified and personalised and then, second, questions from the past, smothered by time for so long, leap out into the present and demand answers.

HPWhen Stella’s long-since-estranged brother, Danny, is drawn into what has become a murder investigation, the novel takes a seriously dark turn as it examines the nature of truth, loyalty, memory and love itself. Heidi Perks (right) has written a novel which will entrance readers who like a good psychological thriller, and she leaves us with a sense of sadness, certainly, but also an affirmation that, in the words of St Paul:

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

As timeless as his remarks are, we should not let St Paul have the last word. Stella Harvey says:

“Yes, I decide, I can live with a lie, because the alternative is unbearable…And I’ll live with it hanging over me forever, because that’s the trouble with secrets. They never go away.”

Come Back For Me will be published by Cornerstone Digital as a Kindle on 1st June, and in hardback, by Century, on 11th July.

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ON MY SHELF . . . Late May 2019

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STRANGE AFFAIRS, GINGER HAIRS by Arthur Grimestead

SAGHCurrently lengths ahead in the Strangest Title of The Year contest, this novel is by an author who describes it, “Like the King James Bible, Strange Affairs, Ginger Hairs is a wedge of enthralling made up shit.” Set in 1990s Hull, it is the tale of an apparently mediocre northern city and an equally mediocre teenage resident, the titular Ginger, whose escape from mundanity, like that of Bilbo Baggins, is afforded by possession of a gold ring. Ginger’s ring, however, doesn’t draw him into an epic battle with Sauron and his Orcs. Rather closer to home, Ginger’s enemies are some of the meanest and most violent men Humberside has to offer. Arthur Grimestead’s novel is published by Matador and is available now. Arthur has his own website, complete with music –  and endorsements from Boris Yeltsin and Marie Curie.

COME BACK FOR ME by Heidi Perks

CBFMPerks is the best-selling author of Now You See Her (2018) and she follows her debut with this chilling mystery set on an island off the Dorset coast of southern England. Islands and their inhabitants tend to be, well, insular, and prone to strange happenings and dark secrets. Stella Harvey was brought up on Evergreen Island. Her family fled that home a quarter of a century ago, but when a body – long dead – is discovered in the garden of the family home, Stella is compelled to return and solve the grisly mystery. The warm and fondly remembered island atmosphere of her childhood is, however, just that, and she finds that her youthful illusions are shattered by a grim and uncompromising present. Published by Century, Come Back For Me will be out on 1st June as an eBook and in hardback on 11th July.

THE MADNESS LOCKER by EJ Russell

TML033First off, it appears that EJ Russell is no relation to the EJ Russell who writes paranormal romances. This author appears to be a chap, his book is set in Australia, and is as far away from a romance as could be imagined. The story begins with the oft-told but ever horrific account of the Nazi’s attempt to cleanse their Thousand Year Reich of all undesirables, whether they be Jews, the disabled, homosexuals , Roma or those considered as of no worth to the state. A young girl survives Auschwitz – unlike her parents – but decades later seeks to avenge herself on the person she considers individually responsible for her harrowing journey into the jaws of death. Her search takes her to Australia where, in the late 1980s, the body of a widow was found dumped in a wheelie bin. Now, the police have consigned the death to their cold case files, but does the murder hold the key which will unlock Ruth’s search for the truth? The Madness Locker is out on 28th May from Matador.

THE SERPENT’S MARK by SW Perry

TSMEnglish politics? I write this at a time when the height of public disapproval seems to be typified by throwing eggs or milkshakes over people with apparently disagreeable views. Things were a little more harsh in 1591, however, and in the days of Good Queen Bess, a ‘wrong’ view was likely to result in a spell in The Tower, an unpleasant encounter in a torturer’s workshop or a sword thrust through your vitals. SW Perry returns to the turbulent London of heretics, Catholics, plotters and assorted Thames-side lowlife that he had such success with in The Angel’s Mark (2018), of which one reviewer wrote, “Wonderful! Beautiful writing, and Perry’s Elizabethan London is so skilfully evoked, so real that one can almost smell it”. Perry’s new book, once again features physician and reluctant spy Nicholas Shelby, and the all-too-real figure of the Queen’s devious spymaster Robert Cecil. The Serpent’s Mark is published by Corvus and will be available from 6th June

OF CRIME AND HUMANITY by Ma’on Shan

OCAHThe profile of the Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi has taken something of a battering in recent times. From the being the tiny but graceful lady with a will of iron, heroine to all seekers of democracy, her ambivalence over the mistreatment of the Rohinga people has caused some commentators to tone down their eulogies. This book, however, puts ‘The Lady’ back in the context of the Myanmar freedom struggle, and is viewed through the eyes of a young girl who, through no wish of her own, is thrust into the bloody and violent guerilla battle against a brutal military dictatorship. ‘The Lady’ herself, under house arrest, is just too much of a worldwide public figure for the Myanmar generals to do away with, while far away in the jungle, her adherents brutalise others – and themselves – in search of a notional freedom. Ma’on Shan’s novel is published by Matador, and is out now.

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