Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo

Boris Fishman

Reviewed by Alison Coles

Maya has been anaesthetized for years by her marriage, by being a mother, and only begins to reawaken when she explores her son’s strange antics. Alex, a more passive character, occupies a subtler zone of doubt. His parents, the ever present Eugene and Raisa, with their insistence that everything should work in this new country, instill into Alex the idea that the USA is something to believe in. He does, however, have doubts about this and about New Jersey in particular [Read more...] in Reviews

RIP Leslie Forbes

N.J. Cooper

A tribute to an extraordinary crime writer from our own crime columnist.

Leslie Forbes, who has died far too young, was the author of three bravura literary thrillers: Bombay Ice; Fish, Blood and Bone; and Waking Raphael. She was also a talented artist, a broadcaster, a dazzling raconteur, courageous traveller, and author of four travel and cookery books, including A Table in Tuscany.
Among her best stories was an account of her journey to the North West Frontier in search of recipes. The last part of the journey was a flight in a small plane otherwise filled with tough-guy war correspondents dressed in camouflage. None of them would talk about their mission. On the return trip they all looked very dejected and admitted that they had failed to interview a particular warlord. It turned out that Leslie had sat beside him at his village’s feast and he had given her his cherished lamb recipe.
She was brave, generous, fiery, and passionate in her pursuit of injustice. Among her many other activities she taught creative writing at the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture.
There was no one like Leslie and no one who knew her will ever forget her.

Daughters of Castle Deverill

Santa Montefiore

Reviewed by Elizabeth Hilliard Selka

In spite of my reservations, I was drawn in. The narrative gallops along, with plenty of references to the backstory to pad it out, and highs and lows to keep you hooked. Characters are not all black-and-white and some of them are likeable and actually develop, for example Celia who, after the death of someone close to her, undergoes a complete shift. Which brings me on to the web of family relations [Read more...] in Reviews

Siracusa

Delia Ephron

Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner

Hell is undoubtedly other people in this stifling group which may drink in the sights and sounds, the prosecco, pasta and gelato, and pay homage to the history of the settings, but is in fact operating in a sealed bubble. Traveling within a series of closed and self-sustaining mind-sets, each one has been shaped by experience, privilege and cultural custom and sees no immediate need to change his or her dubious way [Read more...] in Reviews

Trio

Sue Gee

Reviewed by Rachel Hore

Gee very tenderly dramatizes the different stations of Steven’s grief, the way part of his mind refuses to accept that his wife is gone, how he writes to her as though he’s speaking to her, and how painful reminders of her snag unexpectedly. The author is good, too, on the harmony of man and nature. Snow falls, spring creeps over the moor; the changing seasons measure the passing of time, and slowly Steven grows accommodated to his loss. [Read more...] in Reviews

The Museum of You

Carys Bray

Reviewed by Shirley Whiteside

Clover is an endearing character, sometimes wise beyond her years, sometimes just a little girl who wants a mum. She is bright and resourceful, full of ideas and questions about the world. She is a plucky girl and it is easy to both empathize with her loss and admire her determination to do something about it. There is a simplicity to her thinking that is in keeping with her tender years, the kind of childish logic that sadly doesn’t survive the teenage years [Read more...] in Reviews

June Crime Round-Up

N. J. Cooper

Reviewed by N.J. Cooper

Chris Morgan Jones’s experience in international financial investigations has been put to good use in his first two novels, featuring Ben Webster. Now, in The Searcher, he has sent Webster off into the unknown, soon to be followed by his usually office-bound boss, Isaac Hammer. Hammer is an interesting man, enormously successful in business but not at all in his personal life, and used to paying his way out of trouble. As he hunts through the wilds of Georgia and the Russian border country for his erstwhile friend and employee, Ike finds himself subject to dangers of many kinds, only some of which can be softened with cash. Like many other travellers in literature, he has to learn as much about himself as about the lands through which he voyages before he can return to safety. As well as the corruption and violence, of which he is a stoic victim, he finds a remote mountain civilization in peril, where he encounters real goodness and great heroism. This is a highly intelligent, grown-up, exciting and moving novel [Read more...] in Reviews