Title: The Abomination
Author: Jonathon Holt
Price: £16.99 (hardback)
Price: £12.99 (paperback)
Captiano Tapo is not your usual Italian investigator. In fact she is a young attractive but ruthless woman determined to solve her first murder case in the beautiful but corrupt city of Venice, its glorious buildings covering not only dark murky polluted water, but also organisations of crime, drugs and prostitution. Her victim is a woman dressed in the robes of a Catholic priest, poignantly shot on the steps of the Santa Maria della Salute. However the more leads they find to show that the crime is connected to larger organisations, such as the church and the mafia, the further they seem to get from solving the crime as every new lead is dismissed. Kat Tapo is convinced that a larger force is behind these crimes especially when a second body of an American woman is found at the bottom of the canal, however the story is soon twisted, assisted by the press and the head of the police himself into an allegation involving a lesbian relationship and argument between the two women which resulted in her death; this allegation is deemed more probable when they discover that the two women were searching for a particular Croatian prostitute named Melina Kovacevic. Kat knows there is more to the story but is disheartened by false leads and distracted by an affair with her boss Aldo Piola.
Meanwhile Holly Boland a young American army officer struggles with her own acceptance in a traditionally masculine line of work. Sexual assaults and patronising assignments are not uncommon for her either, yet she too becomes fascinated by the case Kat presents to her while searching for information about the American involvement in the war against Serbia, and the plight of the Bosnians and Croats who are forced into prostitution on their entrance to Italy to find work. Both women believe this is the cause of the death of the two women, and although she is usually cynical towards conspiracy theories, there is a nagging feeling that the American military know more than they are letting on and are missing key files and pieces of information in their database.
The women enlist the help of Daniele Barbo, an internet hacker who created Carnivia.com, a virtual world which is an exact replica of Venice but with one exception; no spies, or underground organisations, therefore anonymity is always guaranteed. However the frequent criminal activity which cannot be monitored or controlled by the government mean Daniele’s creation attracts fear and hostility and he soon faces a trial and a possible prison sentence. However he is necessary for solving the investigation, particularly when he finds religious ceremonies taking place inside the virtual temples of Carnivia, where the priests are women. But can he be trusted to assist the women in solving this mystery? Can anyone be trusted?
Cleverly written and containing detailed information of Venetian customs and lifestyle this book is definitely a page-turner. A thrilling murder mystery with a fiery strong willed female investigator intertwined with an intricate plan incorporating the American military and the Mafia as well as the Catholic Church. It seems every establishment providing the foundation of society has skeletons in its closet, which they are determined to keep hidden, whatever the cost.
Title: Far Far Away
Author: Tom McNeal
Proof copy… Soon to be published so keep an eye out!
Fairy tales have been a part of the culture of almost every country and race since the beginning of time… we all know the classic tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White. But who made sure that these tales stood the test of time and are still read today? Centuries ago, there were men who travelled the world collecting folk stories telling tales of magic, witchcraft Princes and damsels but the most famous of these men were the Grimm Brothers, mainly the two eldest Jacob and Wilhelm who took on such a task in the 1800s. But moving away from that time and to present day, a brave young boy of 15 Jeremy Johnson strives to keep these tales alive in memory of his mother who left him and his father many years ago to find her own happy ending. Jeremy’s love of the fairy tales is also due to the fact that he is haunted, by the ghost of Jacob Grimm himself.
Far Far Away is a modern day fairy tale with all your favourite charcters, a beautiful red-haired girl whom the whole village is in love with (with the exception that 15 year old Ginger is determined to make her own decisions rather than wait for a handsome prince), a brave young hero (the shy, quiet Jeremy striving to make his way out of the village by studying hard and getting into university) and a ghost who is determined to watch over this boy and save him from the hidden evil lurking beneath the surface of his happy life. However this is a modern fairy tale and there are many hidden twists and villains do not necessarily look like dragons or witches; sometimes they appear in the form of a friend.
What I found most interesting about this book is that it is written from the perspective of the ghost, Jacob Grimm himself. Although we learn the most about Jeremy Johnson, we also learn about Grimm’s many regrets in his life, and the reason that he must drift between the worlds… his unfinished business. I was also impressed at the fairy-tale like charm of the novel even while including modern themes.
l would recommend for anyone interested in fairy tales, folk lore (there are some interesting links to both language and culture within the novel- the writer has clearly done his research) and more importantly this is a heart-warming story of bravery friendship and love.
Title: The Drowning
Author: Rachel Ward
A chilling murder mystery; told by the murderer himself. One of those wonderfully clever books in which the narrator does not himself know the truth. Carl opens his eyes with no recollection of his past and sees a crying shivering girl, a cold, deep lake and a body being zipped into a bag. Later he learns his brother has drowned and as slowly memories begin to return all he can remember is his feelings for the girl, Neisha and a fight in the water with his brother. So was he the murderer? Neisha his brother’s girlfriend certainly tells him so when he goes to meet her. He must find out the truth before its too late… because he is not alone. As the memories return, so does Rob, his brother, dripping and consumed by anger, he is determined to haunt Carl until he fulfils his final request “Kill her, or I’ll kill you both”
Carl realises he must save both himself and Neisha now, and tries desperately to keep her away from the lake, but Rob is growing stronger, and the rain more frequent until their entire street is flooding. Can Carl save the girl he loves before his brother’s determination for revenge destroys him too? Can he escape the water, or this time will it be him and Neisha who must drown?
Thrilling action packed and spine-tingling, this story will make you afraid to turn the tap on…