Monthly Archives: September 2016

Review – Killer City by Seumas Gallacher

imageWith a name like ‘Killer City’ you would expect action and this story certainly delivers with the grim discovery of a body stuffed into a wheelie bin to kick off events. A man is arrested; his father protests his innocence and when no one else will listen he turns to his old friend, Jack Calder, to help his son.

But, whether the young man is innocent or not, it quickly becomes evident that this is no straightforward murder case. Jack and his colleagues at International Security Partners soon find that all their skills are required as drug trafficking on a huge scale becomes part of the investigation.

Killer City is a quick read and a definite page turner. There is plenty of action without it totally dominating the story so that the more human side of the ISP crew is also revealed, though they can be as ruthless as the criminals and murderers they pursue, when necessary.

This is the second book in the ‘Jack Calder’ series I have read and not in the order they were written! There is a back story to the ISP security company and its members but Killer City also does very well as a stand -alone read.




On the 23rd August (Oh how the months fly by!) author Seumas Gallacher featured a guest post by fellow author Susan M Toy. It was a brand new idea, a way for all of us who love books to concentrate our support on a fellow author for a short time. Read the thinking behind this idea here.

For those who do not wish to write a review there is no requirement to do so in this scheme, all that is asked is that, if you enjoyed the book, you will pass on a recommendation to someone who might also appreciate this author.

Susan Toy had the GoReadMe idea after reading a Facebook post by Seumas Gallacher and so nominated him as ‘first up’ in the scheme.

It’s hard to find enough time to dedicate to reading all the great books out there but I love the genre Seumas Gallacher writes in (I’m a sucker for an ex-SAS man) and I had already read one other book in his ‘Jack Calder’ series so I knew it was something I would enjoy.image

I immediately signed up to read Killer City. It’s a brilliant, fast moving thriller in the author’s ‘Jack Calder’ series. Of course I will be posting a review here tomorrow on my blog and on Amazon and Goodreads!. Thanks to Susan Toy and to Seumas!




For more about Susan M Toy visit –

For more about Seumas Gallacher –


7 Point Story Structure [Resources]

Such a wealth of information here. As I work through the 1st draft of my WIP I will be referring back to this again and again. Thank you to blogger, Hunter Emkay for such a powerful resource.

Word Hunter

In response to a question to me, I have not created a 7 Point Story Structure, but have shared many of them. Here’s an amalgamation of resource links. As we move into the big annual NaNoWriMo many of us may be looking for a quick method to plan out our new work.

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Review – Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

imageIn a word (or four), I loved this book. A wonderful combination, the brooding beauty of the Arctic and a menacing presence.

Set in the 1930’s, Jack is young, poor and lonely. He is disappointed with life and the class divide that seems to dismiss him. Then an opportunity arises to join a small arctic expedition as wireless operator and despite feelings that he is being taken on grudgingly by some, and that he is not their ‘sort’, he decides this is his one remaining chance to make something of himself.

The journey out to ‘Gruhuken’ is beautifully written with descriptions so evocative I could imagine I was there. Even at this early point there are some signs that things are not quite right at Gruhuken where the men will make their camp and ready themselves for the arctic winter but they are forgotten amongst the excitement of arrival and settling in.

Slowly the situation deteriorates and the menace builds. Jack finds himself alone, the only person fit to keep the expedition going and determined to prove himself by sticking it out. The arctic winter and darkness descend.

This is a really great ghost story, absolutely full of foreboding and a great story of endurance in the Arctic in that period of time. Look out for the Bear Post – it gives me a shiver to think of it even now.

Review -The Drowning Lesson by Jane Shemilt

imageAdam and Emma are both highly successful doctors, navigating through their heavy work schedules whilst raising two daughters. Clearly something has to give and so time with little Alice and Zoe is rushed and woefully inadequate.

When Adam is offered a year-long research placement in Botswana he is excited to accept but Emma balks at the idea of putting her own career on hold and insists that she and the girls will stay behind. Then comes the revelation that Emma is expecting again. She keeps this to herself at first, only later telling Adam and inexplicably keeping the news from Alice (the older of the two girls) until it is too late and Alice has already found out by other means. Emma decides to go to Botsawana after all, once the new baby is born. Maybe now, with a newborn in her arms, she might soften, but more disaster; perfectly healthy little Sam has a birthmark on his face and Emma is appalled. Her instincts as a mother coupled with her medical knowledge mean nothing. She is ashamed of his appearance.

In many ways this has been a difficult review to write as I did feel that the author’s writing style was good, sometimes beautiful when describing Botswana and creating a feel for the country. I have spent quite some time there myself and appreciated some lovely descriptions. But as far as the story goes, Emma was just so self-centred, competitive and jealous of her husband’s successes that it was difficult to connect with her at all when the real tragedy of their trip happened – the disappearance of Sam.

Amidst  talk of child abduction and the use of organs in witchcraft a very long search for Sam ensues. I was rooting for the little boy but, sadly, not for his parents



Review – Mateguas Island by Linda Watkins

imageBill and Karen have just about hit rock bottom in their relationship. Bill is out of work, Karen blames Bill. It’s only the two daughters that they are both devoted to that have so far kept the couple from calling it a day.

Then Bill inherits a house on a small island off the coast of Maine, only accessible by boat and the family move there to try to re-shape their future. From the start Karen is opposed to the unsophisticated, island life but the girls are happy with this new adventure and through new contacts Bill quickly finds a job on the mainland.

We know from the title and blurb that this is a horror story so I was looking out for things awry with this new life for the Anderson family right from the start.  The author nicely builds up a picture of Mateguas Island where everybody knows everybody ( and their business) but are friendly and willing to help the new family settle in.  It’s not a slow but a gradual revealing that things may not be quite as idyllic as they first seem and I liked that.

Bill’s new job is going well and prospects look good but he is also highly attracted to a young woman on the island and begins an affair with her, though he keeps telling himself that this next time he sees her will be the last. Karen also has found an attraction in a local man, Dex, but though she spends time with him is careful to keep him at arms length.

For the Andersons, Its getting complicated.

Horror, I think, is a very tricky genre to handle and for me, mainly it’s the character’s reactions to seemingly impossible events that are key. In Mateguas Island main characters do not share their ‘impossible’ experiences with others and, for me, at times, that seemed to be the unbelievable part. The girl’s secrecy is necessary to the plot but again I wasn’t sure that what they did rang true. However, at the end, one big question re Bill’s affair is very nicely answered and made a lot of sense of the whole story.

All in all I enjoyed Mateguas Island; it kept me reading and wanting to go back and,  after all,  that is what it’s all about.