Joseph Knox is one of a new breed of crime writers creating gritty stories based around the northern industrial gang ridden Manchester belt. What he does he does extremely well exposing vice and corruption in the underbelly of inner city life. Aidan Waits is a detective living on the edge quite happy to accept the odd little gift, enjoy a crafty snifter, or test the strength of his septum by sniffing copious amounts of cocaine. When his boss Superintendant Parrs confronts Waits, outlining his numerous misdemeanours, he suggests a solution that will benefit both parties. Aidan must agree to infiltrate and feedback intelligence on the activities of gang supremo Zain Carver and the only way to achieve this is to go deep undercover......
Although this is a well written story and there are many and varied characters on show in a city overflowing with illegal late night activity, it was not a novel I particularly enjoyed. I realize that this is probably the first in a new series, by a writer who some may well view as a new Lee Child or Simon Kernick, but for me as a standalone work it failed to inspire. I need my crime to be riddled with characters who appear to be strong on the surface but are consumed by doubt and indecision. I want to explore their weaknesses and to be shown how this impacts on their daily existence not only for them but for the immediate family and loved ones. I read this story in two sittings and found the content more akin to a script for a well made tv series, enough to keep me entertained but little to entice me to return. Many thanks to the publishers who in return for an honest review supplied me with a gratis copy, and that is what I have written.
I received a copy from Edelweiss
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this one, it was a bit of coverlust more than anything about it that caught my attention and I snagged it as soon as I saw it on Edelweiss as a read it now. I’d forgotten what it was about by the time I finally got around to read it. Pleasantly surprised to find how unique this novel was and how much I enjoyed and how unexpected the plot was. It’s a turn of the century historical set in the Isle of Man.
The main character lives in small island village steeped mythology regarding the sea and the creatures within and the strange fairy folk (think more traditional type fairies, Little Folk, mysterious and hardly ever seen but a somewhat worrying presence).
Bridey, the main character, just wants to escape from the island and go experience London and the mainland. She has a close tightknit family of a number of siblings, a couple of best friends, though her male friend Lugh’s attention seem to be changing slightly towards her. The town even has a creepy old lady who lives, Morag, alone with a mysterious past known as the local witch.
Bridey is haunted by the mysterious death of her grandfather. She was there when it happened, the official cause is drowning, but she knows there’s more to it. Problem is no one believes her. Not helped when Bridey is looking for work and her mother sends her to go apprentice to Morag. Then girls start disappearing and turning up dead.
Along with the arrival of a strange boy washed up on the beach. The boy has horrible wounds and no memory of who he is. Bridey takes him home to help nurse him back to health, as he has no name, she names him Fynn.
Beautifully written, almost lyrical, and completely captivating, the mythology of the sea beasts and magic of the isle is woven in and it’s absolutely fascinating. The cast of characters is pretty incredible, from the stubborn townsfolk who can be at once giving and incredibly small minded, and of course there’s much more to local witch Morag than anyone thought to look at.
And the slow build of trust and friendship between Bridey and Fynn is very well done and believable. It’s not insta-love, it takes time and work. Coupled with the mystery of the disappearing girls it all mixes together and works incredibly well. It’s not just focused on Bridey and Fynn, I really liked the inclusion of Bridey’s family and her friends and how they all cope differently with the events in the novel as they unfold.
The plot has a few surprising twists and turns and it’s impossible to guess, and the end really threw me and was completely unexpected. Some of the ending was a little hard to follow, I had to go back and read some of the scenes twice to make sure I was following the plot correctly, but the initial twist at the end was still a big surprise.
All in all a fantastic read and definitely an author I look forward to reading more of.
Updrift wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it was still an enjoyable read. I guess I was expecting a little more action and fantasy in this book, and while it did ultimately deliver on both of these, it did take quite some time to really do so. BUT where these elements were lacking in the first half or so of the story, there was really strong character and relationship development. In my opinion this was probably the strongest element in this story. So while it wasn't quite what I was expecting, I still enjoyed the journey to get to the parts I was anticipating. I think there was a lot of exploration into coming of age, falling in love, being a friend, a daughter, a mother, an aunt, basically the whole family dynamic in general. Stevens develops and nurtures each relationship with a lot of time and care, and I appreciate that.
Once we got more into the fantasy elements of the story, I found it quite interesting. I really liked that the men (Sirens) were the feature here. I feel like so often with "mermaids" we are getting the female take on them, so it was nice to see Stevens' version with the Sirens taking the lead.
I liked the idea of them as a generally peaceful and devoted race. The fact that they mate for life was a sweet touch. I really enjoyed seeing a little of their home in the sea and their customs. Although I feel like there is a lot that could still be done with that aspect of the story. I had really high hopes for the world building here, but I feel as if there could have been more there. I would really love to see this world be expanded upon in the next book. I think that would take these books to a whole new level. All in all I enjoyed this book. I am looking forward to seeing what the next book, Breakwater holds in store!
Having reluctantly been taught to become a Siren on the ancient island of Refrainia, virginal, naive Amaranda gets her sexual awakening in the arms of handsome sailor, Eban Gal, whom she saves from drowning.The lovers' attempt to flee the island is thwarted by the Chief Elder, Hermandine, who imprisons Eban and forces Amaranda to seduce the sailors with the other Sirens on Destiny Rock. While Amaranda is attacked, Eban is bewitched and seduced by beautiful Siren, Kalliope. When Eban and the sailors discover the horrors prevalent on the island, they challenge the Elders to change their laws and lifestyle. A treacherous voyage in search of Poseidon is the only solution, so the couple, along with two sailors, set off.A violent encounter with the Teras, a hideous sea-creature, threatens to end Amaranda's life and destroy their ship, and, with no sign of the Sea-God, all their efforts appear to be in vain...
Eban Gal takes his fiancee, Amaranda, to live in his homeland on Westland. Adjusting to a new way of life proves more difficult than she ever imagined. When beautiful Mitzi, an ex-girlfriend of Eban, overhears them speaking about her past, the jealous girl uses the revelation to blackmail Amaranda into leaving her beloved Eban forever. Alone in a strange world, Amaranda gets captured by drug dealer, Taneli Oris, who has been terrifying her with his salacious comments and advances. Taneli has already exposed her secret to the press, and soon the ancient island of Refrainia is in chaos. Mutilated bodies are found and questions are asked. When Mitzi is rushed into the hospital, following a drug overdose, Eban realizes how much danger Amaranda is in and rushes to find her before it's too late. As Taneli forces drugs into her, Amaranda inadvertently sets fire to the boat they are hiding in. Unconscious, with her leg trapped, she has no hope of escape...
Kalliope misses her life as a Siren and begins to resent all the changes to her beloved homeland, the ancient Island of Refrainia. Disgruntled and bored, she finds herself attracted to the charms of wealthy businessman, Zigor Durango. When her handsome boyfriend, Rechavia, catches them in a compromising position, he humiliates Durango, banishing him from the island. The interloper plots his revenge and arranges to take over Refrainia, ousting the islanders from their home. With his wealth, position, and some surprising contacts Durango appears unstoppable. When Kalliope takes matters into her own hands she ends up stranded on Eastland with two of her friends. With nowhere else to spend the night, their only option lies in Durango's bedroom. As they battle to save the island, Kalliope and Rechavia also battle to save their relationship. But can the beautiful Siren ever be trusted to stay faithful? And will Rechavia's natural dominance bring Kalliope to her knees or scare her away forever?
Ademia loves Farris and Dr. Jay as much as they love her, though none will admit it. When Farris breaks his promise and both men seemingly abandon her on the mainland with no way to get home, she feels she was wrong about them. Ill and alone, she reluctantly finds herself in the arms of Palben, a man she considered a friend. When it transpires that Palben believes she is a prostitute and aims to make money from her, she realizes her life is in serious danger. Jay is arrested and locked up after his alleged sexual assault on a nurse who is intent on discrediting him and ruining his career and his life. Farris resolves to find Ademia and free the doctor in order to cement his "family" together. But can Farris keep them all together when Ademia is later taken critically ill on Refrainia while he and Dr. Jay are miles away on Eastland, fighting for Jay's future?
Beautiful Ligia is so in love with handsome sailor, Aitan, that she will do anything for him. Unfortunately this includes hiding many of her feelings and desires from him. While most of the men are on Eastland arranging to have electricity wired to Refrainia, pirates attack the island. The women have to use all their wiles and prowess to save themselves.Although the women manage to capture the pirates, their plans are thwarted when their men are delayed on the mainland and the pirates eventually manage to overpower them. The sailors finally realize that the women shouldn't be coerced into changing and modernising the island, but is it too late? And when Aitan discovers all the secrets Ligia has been keeping from him he is forced to convey a "secret" of his own--his dominance! Can their love survive all their secrets or is their future doomed?
Just when Melantho is beginning to really enjoy life on the island with her beloved sailor, Blandon, she is visited by the evil elder Hermandine. The old lady manages to blackmail Melantho into leaving Refrainia to live a life of drudgery as her servant on the mainland. When Hermandine and Solon mistreat and abuse the poor girl to the extent that she becomes severely ill, Blandon and Dr. Jay discover the secret she has been hiding for the past three years. As Melantho battles with her health and her miserable past, Blandon showers her with love and strength. Eventually it seems that she can face her future by resolving the past, but when Hermandine reveals an ancient law of Refrainia Melantho has to decide whether to sacrifice her past once again, or forgo her future on the island with Blandon.