Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.
Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.
Fliss has a rival, Kalindra Dallin. She runs a particularly unpleasant planet. Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.
To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.
I really enjoyed The Hitman and the Thief. This novel has an interesting storyline which gripped me as the chapters sped by. This is a fast paced, easy read. The character of Dan and the thief Lydia are both engaging.
Dan is an ex-serviceman, now turned assassin for Fliss. His latest kill target is Kalindra, his boss’s rival.
But, who is Kalindra? And will Dan bungle it up?
Dan’s relationship with Hesta is under strain due to a certain temptation…
But, who can he trust? The revelations and twists leading up to the awesome ending – are subtle, (read carefully!) – but well done.
All in all, I would highly recommend this for readers who like mysteries, and who might enjoy the Sci fi environment of planets and ships (great world-building,) without it being too Sci fi heavy if you know what I mean.
I’m enjoying Richard Dee’s books more and more. I’d say this is my favourite to date. There is a unique aspect to his writing which I really appreciate. So, deserves the 5 stars.
I’m pleased to welcome Leslie Tate to Kyrosmagica. I featured Leslie previously at the time of the blog tour for Violet. You can read more about that here, along with links to some of Leslie’s other books: Blue, Purple, and Heaven’s Rage.
Leslie’s latest book, Love’s Register, will be published in October and you can pre-order a signed copy here.
THE MAKING OF A NOVEL Leslie Vs Leslie: a self-interview, discussing Leslie’s latest novel, Love’s Register: What’s special about Love’s Register? For starters, it’s longer than three novels put together. And it’s full-on, exploring the love lives of four UK generations. It also covers the climate emergency and how it affects young people today. It’s ambitious, but very much about the characters. Does that mean it’s a character-led book? (Leslie smiles) Yes and no. Because it’s also driven by language and location. So I’ve given the characters their own voices, the language is literary but down-to-earth, and the scenes on N.E. beaches contrast with London and York. Taken together, they create mood, voice and incident.
In that case, why’s there a picture of Tahiti on the cover? Ah, that’s about climate. The book’s last protagonist, Hereiti, comes from Tahiti. She’s a professor and a climate activist and gives a Ted-type Talk about Oceania going under. Right, now we’ve got the general idea, can you tell us about how you approach writing a story like that? (Leslie switches on the computer) Certainly. To begin with, I sit down at the screen and try out words. At first my mind’s blank and I have to resist the temptation to do something else or simply give up. But I know from experience that I have to keep trying – usually for hours. If I do any pre-planning it’s most likely to come from a random stimulus. By that I mean, for example, if I’m out walking and see someone or a place that connects with my past I might think “Ah, that’s the start of a story.” But when I get home if I try to ‘translate’ that into words I’ll end up with a long list of phrases, nothing else. To get anywhere I have to start writing and see what happens – which can be frustrating because the words can’t be given orders, and don’t necessarily come out the way you want. But aren’t you in charge – I mean, don’t you steer the story as it develops? Light-touch steering, I’d say. With lots of turnarounds, backtracking and changes in direction. That way, what happens comes as a surprise to me and the reader, So it’s a kind of improv – but heavily doctored afterwards. It has to be plausible but significant – and take you places you don’t normally go. Sounds like hard work. But how do you know when you’ve hit gold and got the final version? You never do – at least I don’t. A novel’s always in progress, but of course you do get a feeling of closure when it comes together. “Ah,” you say to yourself, “that’s how it gels!” Even then, the ‘rules’ of the novel aren’t fixed so it can be hard to know what fits, especially as anything ground-breaking is likely to sound strange at first. So there’s a degree of necessary discomfort about any book that aims to be ‘new and original, not seen before’. That’s the dictionary definition, by the way, of the word novel! Nice. Now, going back to Love’s Register, how have you linked the different people together?
They’re all part of the Lavender Family tree. You mean it’s a family saga? Well, it’s quite selective. So the storytellers are Joe, Mia and Cass plus Matthew Lavender and later, Richard Lavender – but also Mary Hammond and Beth Jarvis. So – my last attempt to pin you down – is it a character-based historical fiction? (Leslie laughs) Not completely. Because it’s a modern psychological novel that focuses on individual scenes. What you get is more of a social portrait. We catch the family at key moments, skipping the boring parts in between.
OK, to end the interview, how about an extract? Certainly. I’ll make it short. The story moves back and forth between voices. This is the last entry for the Lavender children, Joe, Mia and Cass: Joe, Mia and Cass were in a quiz show. “What makes the world go round?” asked Joe. He was the quiz master, dressed in joggers and a rainbow jacket. “You have three minutes to answer,” he added, placing an upended egg timer on the table. The sand began to run. “Is it money?” asked Mia. She was wearing an animal-print tunic over black leggings. “What do you think?” “Well I know climate deniers can’t think of anything else. They’re culty, like Midas. And remember what happened to him.” “The addict’s punishment, eh?” “I’m guessing money’s not the answer.” “No, money’s out. So, what makes the world go round?” “You want the science?” asked Cass, who was wearing a white lab coat.
“Yes, if we can. But remember, we’re on countdown.” Joe checked the timer. The sand in the bottom chamber was piling up. It seemed to be alive. “OK. It’s about gravity,” Cass replied. “The Earth’s like an ice skater pulling in her arms to spin faster. That’s been going on a long time.” “Ah, but is it spotting as it turns?” asked Joe. “That’s what’s called anthropomorphism,” said Cass. “Gravity, you just hold me down so quietly,” sang Mia. “The question remains open,” said Joe. “Any takers?” He took off his jacket to reveal his printed T-shirt. In the centre was an hourglass in a circle. “Is it wishful thinking?” asked Mia. “Good try. But you know what they say. Be careful what you wish for…” “Got it! Everyone knows, LOVE makes the world go round,” said Mia “That’s half the answer,” replied Joe. He checked the timer. In the top part, the sand had caved in. It was draining fast. Mia pointed to the T-shirt. “You’re not thinking of the ten-year warning?” Joe shook his head. “No. In any case the latest science says it could be much sooner.” Mia clapped her hands. “I know,” she said, “it’s LOVE AND RAGE.” “Correct,” called Joe. As Mia jazz-handed, the last few grains of sand trickled through. She looked from Joe to Cass. “Can we begin again?” she asked. “We don’t really know,” Joe replied. “But it could be difficult,” her sister added. She pointed to the timer. The bottom half was full and the top was empty. Realising the quiz was over Joe, Mia and Cass fell silent. They were out of time.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Love’s Register tells the story of romantic love and climate change over four UK generations. Beginning with ‘climate children’ Joe, Mia and Cass and ending with Hereiti’s night sea journey across Oceania, the book’s voices take us through family conflicts in the 1920s, the pressures of the ‘free-love 60s’, open relationships in the feminist 80s/90s and a contemporary late-life love affair. Love’s Register is a family saga and a modern psychological novel that explores the way we live now. Due out mid/end-October, you can pre-order your signed copy here https://leslietate.com/shop/loves-register/ . BIO: Leslie Tate is an ex-student of the UEA Creative Writing Course, and the author of six novels. Leslie’s website https://leslietate.com/ offers book and personal information plus weekly interviews with creative and community-involved people.
Wishing Leslie much success with Love’s Register. Such an important topic – climate change and one which we all must be so mindful of.
“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”
Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.
After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.
This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.
As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which began in childhood.
It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult, even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.
But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.
My recommendation: Read this. 5 stars. I’d highly recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances. Also read the first book in the series: Conflicted Hearts.
It’s my wedding anniversary on Tuesday and my hubby has a special surprise planned. I don’t know what it is and that makes it more exciting!
To celebrate I’m having a Kindle Countdown deal the weekend after my anniversary, so keep an eye out for that. It starts 29th of September with a price drop to 0.99 pence for a day! Then next day it goes up by one pound, and another pound the next day until it is back to where it started!
Fellow Administrators of our Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC on Facebook, myself, my good friends Colleen Chesebro and Debby Gies. Click on Colleen’s and Debby’s photos to be directed to their awesome blogs. These ladies rock!
A warm welcome to my Spotlight guest Daniel Royse, author of the fabulously titled: The Watermelon King.
I just love that title, don’t you? It certainly caught my attention. Perhaps it’s because I love watermelons, perhaps it’s the quirkiness of it. Who knows… I discovered Daniel quite by chance on Goodreads and I am so glad I did. If I hadn’t I would never have read The Watermelon King, or found out about Daniel’s travelling exploits. Can you imagine? What a loss.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica just loves the magic of travel. There is nothing as satisfying as being able to explore, and experience new cultures. But, all is well with the world, I’ve read The Watermelon King and it took me far, far away to swelteringly hot East Africa! Books truly are amazing. Don’t you just love them? I’m delighted to say that The Watermelon King is on my highly recommended thirst quenching list… review up next, but for now let’s focus on my Author Spotlight Guest today at Kyrosmagica….
Daniel Royse is the founder and editor in chief of the online travel publication, This Boundless World. He has written numerous articles on travel, business and politics. The Watermelon King is his first full-length novel.
Daniel is an obsessive writer and explorer who has backpacked to over 50 countries, spanning five continents. To the disbelief of many, he still enjoys long, hot bus rides through chaotic places.
After being laid off from his job at a prestigious consulting firm, Dean decides to embark on a journey across East Africa with his younger brother. Unknowingly, they travel into bandit territory where a medical emergency forces them to choose between their safety and their health.
Inspired by true events, The Watermelon King follows the journey of two brothers as they backpack across one of East Africa’s most inhospitable regions. As they endure endless days of difficult travel, a series of short stories written by their father begins to uncover their inherent desire for adventure and their connection to the past. Along the way they begin to understand the beauty and frustration of life in Africa.
Excited? You should be… nip out and get yourself a copy, and perhaps a slice of watermelon too. Enjoy.
If you would like to be featured on my author/blogger spotlight sometime soon, get in touch. I am happy to shout out about indie authors, debut authors, world famous authors, obsessive travel bloggers, bungee jumpers, dare devils, artists, crafty folk, photographers, fashionistas, humourists, etc, etc, as long as you are fabulous, talented and inspiring. No pressure, LOL!!!
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to be one of my next guests.All genres considered.. I read widely from YA, to horror!
A key. Just a simple word yet it holds a multitude of possibilities in its grasp, a twist of the wrist enables us to discover a multitude of hidden, secret, mysterious, places.
A key to someone’s heart? Or a chest of hidden secrets, or a forbidden journey? The Idea of Order at Key West Have you read The Idea of Order at Key West? A poem by Wallace Stevens. It begins like this:
She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.
I discovered it quite by chance today while I was searching for inspiring images about the word key. In “The Idea of Order at Key West,” Stevens explores several interesting themes: art, creativity, imagination and reality. In the poem the speaker and his friend listen to a woman singing on a beach in Key West. It’s a beautiful poem isn’t it? Here’s the link to read this stunning poem in its entirety, The Idea of Order At Key West by Wallace Stevens: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172206The Key West Literary Seminar
Then the word key helped me to discover The Key West Literary Seminar, celebrating writers and writing. This literary event is held each January, attracting an international audience to hear such writers as Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Billy Collins, and Joyce Carol Oates. Find out more at: http://www.kwls.org/
The title for the 2015 seminar, “How The Light Gets In,” is inspired by Leonard Cohen’s 1992 song, “Anthem”—“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Where will the Mysteries of Lock and Key take me to next?
Ernest Hemingway’s Home
Then my lucky key helped me find out about Nobel prize–winning author Ernest Hemingway’s former home in Key West. It is a National Historic Landmark, Literary Landmark and recorded at the Library of Congress as a Historic American Building It is now open to the public as a museum, populated by as many as 60 descendants of his famous polydacty cats.
SIX TOED CAT!
This fellow looks up to
I’ve had too much wine.
I’M IN DANGER OF FALLING OFF THE TABLE!
An illustrated Biography of Hemingway’s cats written by Carlene Fredericka Brennan with a Foreward by Hilary Hemingway.
The piano keys are the players rendition of the meanderings of his twisting and turning soul.
Yes, the imagination is meandering way off course now and going wild !
Quotes about keys On the theme of keys here’s a quote from Anthony Liccione: “Don’t try to be the missing key in my life, and I won’t be the unmatched lock, that doesn’t let you in.” Anthony Liccione is a Goodreads author. Here’s a link to his very successful Facebook page on Quotes: https://www.facebook.com/Quotes2Quote?ref=hl
Finally I discovered: Sarah Dessen Lock And Key
A quote from Lock and Key: “It’s a lot easier to be lost than found. It’s the reason we’re always searching and rarely discovered–so many locks not enough keys.” Goodreads synopsis of Lock and Key : Ruby, where is your mother?Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again. I reckon this sounds like a book that I must read sometime, sounds interesting ……………….. A key …………. Yes, there is something very mysterious in this tiny word, isn’t there? Trust me it’s true!
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.
With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.
I joined the Old Kingdom Readalong via Hot Key Books on Goodreads rather late on, so it was a case of catching up. First impressions, Sabriel excited me and disappointed me. The first half of the book was so rich in descriptive prose that it couldn’t help but slow down the pace of the novel and I felt it dragged a bit. Though, having said that I couldn’t help but admire Garth Nix’s magical powers. Yes I’m sure he has them. His descriptions are just so vivid, and well amazing. My response was contrary, I loved his descriptive passages yet I longed for events to happen more swiftly. Also I had a little bit of trouble initially connecting to the characters. I think this was most probably because Garth Nix needed to devote quite a lot of time to developing the system of magic that is so central to the plot. There are two main kinds of magic, Charter Magic and Free Will. Charter Magic is of the benevolent kind, whereas Free Will is not. Free Magic is employed by necromancers who defy the Charter by bringing dead bodies to life. Only Sabriel’s father, the Abhorsen uses Charter and Free Magic together to return the dead to their rightful place.
The addition of Mogget the talking cat was a big plus for me, being a bit of a cat lover, I just loved Mogget! He seemed to have the most developed character of all the protagonists with his sarcastic and often witty comments. I found Touchstone a bit wooden! Well maybe this is to be expected considering his background! Though I did laugh at the manner in which Garth Nix introduced him into the story. A bit of nudity added a refreshing element to the story! I welcomed the romantic chemistry that started to develop between Sabriel and Touchstone. Hey somebody has to enliven this wooden guy and I’m sure Sabriel has the tools to do so! But Touchstone’s rapid love interest in Sabriel, could have been developed a bit more, to me it seemed a bit over the top. Hey, this guy de thawed way too quick!
The novel is set in two contrasting countries, Ancelstierre in the south, and The Old Kingdom in the north. But the two neighbourhoods couldn’t be more different. In Ancelstierre magic is seen as superstition. In the school that Sabriel attends the basics of magic are begrudgingly recognised and taught. Sabriel is a student at Wyverley College, a boarding school for girls on the Ancelstierre side of the Wall, close to the border of The Old Kingdom. There she studies the usual subjects plus a dash of Magic too. Her father, the Abhorsen, pays a visit to see her once or twice a year. He sets about training her to bind the dead so they don’t come back to inhabit life using The Book of the Dead, Charter Magic and Bells. Sabriel’s father doesn’t turn up for his customary visit, and the book opens. Instead a dead sending comes with a message for her. Her father is trapped in death. Now Sabriel is given the title Abhorsen-in waiting, the responsibility to set the world of the Old Kingdom to rights, and rescue her father. All at the tender age of eighteen. So the adventure begins. Sabriel learns that her father is an Abhorsen, a good Necromancer who lays dead creatures to rest and stops them feeding on the living. Sabriel finds that her rudimentary magical training at Wyverley College leaves her ill equipped for the task ahead. She feels all of the naivety of her eighteen years but carries on regardless and never gives up. Luckily she is equipped with powerful, magical tools to help her on her journey where she must learn the Abhorsen’s duty to step into Death and bind harmful spirits who desire to cheat death. She is only able to do this by developing a detailed understanding of the Charter marks, and mastering the seven bells that assist the necromancer’s trade by helping command the dead.
There are a lot of different concepts of death to get to grips with, all of which are pretty imaginative and sometimes quite gory. Death doesn’t just happen and that’s it. No it is a pretty detailed process, your spirit has to pass through nine gates until it is finally laid to rest. But of course some of the recently dead aren’t too keen on remaining dead and they do their utmost to fight their way out of death by inhabiting a recently dead body or else they serve as a servant of a Necromancer.
It is a fine example of a coming of age story. Sabriel grows and develops as the story unfolds. This aspect of the novel I really enjoyed.
Would I like to read more? Yes, I think I would like to see how this develops in the second book, Lirael. I have a feeling that now that I have got to grips with the magical world of the Old Kingdom I may just enjoy it even more!
The ending was definitely a highlight for me. I was reading the last few pages as I was waiting for my daughter, she was in her gymnastics class. Anyway, she came out before I finished! So I had to stop! Needless to say I finished the rest of the book when I got back home. Oh and there is an Epilogue too, thank heavens!
Recommended for readers of YA, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Science Fiction Fantasy, High Fantasy, and Romance.