Book Review: Sleepwalkers by Tom Grieves

book cover: Sleepwalkers

book cover: Sleepwalkers

 

A disturbing, gripping psychological thriller that keeps you guessing to the end

What the blurb says: “Blink. Keep your eyes open. Blink. That’s it. Don’t go back to sleep, not yet. If it weren’t for the nightmares, Ben would say he had a good life. He’s happy with his steady job, and loves his wife and kids to death. But it’s hard to ignore the dark, violent images that are so vivid that he often worries that the dreams are real and everything else around him is a lie.

Toby also suffers from nightmares. And the scars on his fifteen-year-old body are a ghostly reminder of actions he doesn’t remember or understand. Two people, two separate, unremarkable lives.

When their dreams and doubts collide and become too powerful to ignore, one fact will become clearer than any other – that the truth they are running towards is the very thing from which they should be fleeing.”

 

Rather like The Matrix, Sleepwalkers has the characters, and therefore the reader, questioning ‘what is the true reality?’ Three strangers – Ben, Toby and Anna – want to find out. Family-man Ben wonders if he’s just ungrateful for his seemingly pleasant albeit average family life, and is haunted by violent nightmares. Teenage Toby puzzles over how he came to have the scars that line his body, and if they are linked to the strange dreams he’s been having. And teacher Anna wonders whether this really is all there is in life. As their paths join, and they set out to discover what the truth really is, they discover that their lives are more connected than any of them could have guessed.

As Ben and Toby try to work out why their dreams seem more real and more vivid than their waking hours they discover a truth more shocking than they could have ever imagined. I found that I quickly cared about these characters and wanted them to succeed in their quest, even though I feared it could end badly for them. As the danger drew closer (I won’t tell you what – no spoilers here) I found myself holding the book tighter and reading faster and faster.

Tom Grieves’ writing is stunning: pacy, bold and completely absorbing.

In this action filled, disorientating and gripping story, nothing is exactly as it first seems. Sleepwalkers had me reading well into the night, unable to put the book down, and trying to puzzle out the truth (and what the characters will do when they find it) right to the end.

Highly recommended.

Guest Review on the Mean Streets Crime blog: Dark Eyes by William Richter

Dark Eyes book cover

Dark Eyes book cover

Today I’m guest blogging over on the fabulous Mean Streets Crime Fiction blog, and reviewing the debut thriller of Hollywood screenwriter and Emmy Award Nominee William Richter. Here’s a taster …

A gritty, action paced YA thriller

What the blurb says: “Danger is both her past and her destiny. Born in Russia but adopted by a wealthy American family, Wallis Stoneman has lived a life of glamorous luxury. But, aged sixteen, she rejects the world that doesn’t feel like her own to live on the streets of New York.

Now life is tougher than Wallis imagined – and it’s about to take a deadly twist. When Wallis discovers her real father’s identity, a fight to stay alive begins. Because Wallis’s real father is a terrifying Russian gangster on the hunt for her mother.

And he’ll stop at nothing and no one – even his own blood – to find her.”

Wallis Simpson, Wally, is determined to find her Russian birth mother. After leaving the home she shared with her adoptive mother, Wally has built a life, and band of loyal friends, on the streets. When a chance meeting leads her to discover a clue to her true identity, she throws herself into her search with renewed vigour. But, as she uncovers more clues, danger mounts and those around her begin to die. The race for Wally to be reunited with her mother and discover the truth about her Russian history is on. The challenge is for them both to stay alive long enough.

To read the rest of my post hop over to the Mean Streets Crime Fiction site here: http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/crimefiction/2013/01/dark-eyes-by-william-richter/

Today I’ve done a guest post over on the Nomad Novelist Writers Group blog. Hop on over to their blog to check it out …

NOMAD Novelist Writers Group

Do you still write?

Absolutely! Every day.

Whether it’s a blog post, a new scene, a character outline or some editing, I make sure I spend time each day to write. Usually that time is first thing in the morning before I go to work. It’s easier this time of year because when I look out the window it’s dark and so it’s harder to be distracted.

 

What are your plans for 2013?

Well, firstly keeping up to date on new crime fiction releases and reviewing them on www.crimethrillergirl.com is a priority. In 2012 I read some fabulous authors for the first time – and I’m looking forward to reading the new books from my favourite authors and also discovering some exciting new authors to add to my ‘must read’ pile in 2013.

With my own novel writing, I’m aiming to finish editing my current work-in-progress, and make a…

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Book to Film: the same, but different?

English: Tom Cruise on MTV Live in December 2008

English: Tom Cruise on MTV Live in December 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’ve always found book to screen adaptations rather hit and miss. There are some that I’ve loved – The Shawshank Redemption and I am Legend, for example. And those I’ve regretted seeing, like The Runaway Jury.

So, as a fan of Lee Child’s fabulous character Jack Reacher, I had mixed feelings about watching the new JACK REACHER film.

Would it live up to the book (one of my favorite of the series)?

Could Tom Cruise really play the ‘larger-than-life’ character of Reacher?

But I was curious to see the film, and so last night I ventured off to the cinema to view it.

And I liked it.

It was true enough to the book and the character for me to recognise them, the action was slick, and the pace kept moving (and me interested). And it didn’t matter that Tom Cruise’s Reacher didn’t look exactly as I’d pictured Reacher in my mind as I read the books. The character was there, just a bit different. For me it worked.

I wonder if they’ll make another one?

I hope they do.

Events Alert: The Thriller Roundtable

If you’re interested in reading (and writing) crime thrillers then The Thriller Roundtable discussions over on The Big Thrill website are well worth checking out.

Each week features a new question, answered by a range of fabulous authors.

This month they’ll be covering:

January 7 – 13: “Which authors have inspired you?” with Jennie Bentley, Derek J. Goodman, Robin Burcell, Toby Tate, Ashok Banker, Tace Baker, Rick Reed, William McCormick, Chris Allen, Judith Cutler, Sharon Alice Grace, and Amy Lignor.

January 14 – 20: “Why do stories matter?” with C.E. Lawrence, Amy Lignor, Derek J. Goodman, J.G. Faherty, James Grippando, Mike Befeler, Merry Jones, William McCormick, Chris Allen, and Catherine Stovall.

January 21 – 27: “What’s you favourite thriller sub genre? Why?” with Ashok Banker, Vincent Zandri, Diane Kelly, Chris Allen, and Amy Lignor.

January 28 – February 3: “How do you determine when a story is ready?” with Toby Tate, Vincent Zandri, Merry Jones, Chris Allen, Catherine Stovall, Judith Cutler, Melinda Leigh, Sharon Alice Geyer, and Amy Lignor.

To find out more visit:  http://www.thebigthrill.org/category/thriller-roundtable/

 

 

 

Just finished reading: The Calling (a John Luther novel) by Neil Cross

books

What the blurb says: “Meet Detective Inspector John Luther. He’s brilliant; he’s intense. He’s obsessional. He’s dangerous.

John Luther has an extraordinary clearance rate. He commands outstanding loyalty. And yet he seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things he shouldn’t; things way beyond the limits of the law.

This is the story of the case that tore Luther’s personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice. Beyond fury, beyond vegeance. All the way to murder.”

I’m a big fan of the BBC series LUTHER (in which Idris Elba plays the title role) and couldn’t wait to read this book, the first novel in the John Luther series written by the show’s creator and writer Neil Cross.

Like the series, it’s a gritty and often shockingly brutal glimpse into the work of Detective Inspector John Luther. Rather than continue from the end of the second series, it takes the reader back to the time just before the first series begin and follows John as he works the case of the horrific murder of a man and his pregnant wife in their London home. As Luther and the killer become entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Luther’s relationship with Zoe, his wife, begins to unravel. It’s a story that, just like its main character, is as intense as it is compelling.

If you’re a fan of the TV series, or a fan of gritty police procedurals, then this book is well worth a read.