Review of ‘The Telephone Call’ by Michael Pakenham @rararesources #giveaway

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: 28th January 2020 – The Book Guild

Estimated Page Count – 368

Standalone story but is the second DCI Daniel Appleman thriller

Purchase links:

Foyles

Waterstones

Book Guild

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ‘The Telephone Call’ by Michael Pakenham. Many thanks to The Book Guild, the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for my review copy and for including me on the tour, in exchange for my impartial and honest thoughts as a reader.

What’s it about?

The Telephone Call Cover

When Rosemary Sherwood overhears a disturbing conversation between her husband, Harry Sherwood and an unknown caller, she has no idea that her life’s about to change forever. Fleeing to France for fear of her own safety, Harry threatens to kill their son if she ever dares to breathe a word of anything she overheard.

Torn between hiding out in France and re-connecting with her estranged son, Rosemary returns to England twelve years later believing that she and her son are now out of danger…

A web of deceit and lies has been woven over the years to cover up the antics of Harry and his friends, who are no strangers to violence and murder and who will stop at nothing to ensure they aren’t exposed.

Private Detective Daniel Appleman takes on the case, but can he track down these men before they wreak havoc on the Sherwood family?

My thoughts:

The book has a very strong start, as we are introduced the villains of the piece while they are planning their perverse activities, and I was keenly drawn to the possibilities of the plot, which I will say from the outset, was a great one.

I am only providing thoughts as one reader in a sea of millions, certainly not as a literary critic or writer, so I can only comment on my own personal reading experience. I felt that at times, the dialogue between characters provided a little too much information – by no means all the time, but sometimes. There was some extraneous detail that detracted a little from the story as I experienced it, which I have already said had a great plot. Occasionally I also felt that some characters behaved too erratically, and it actually took me until halfway through the novel until I was fully invested in the non-villainous ones.

Having said that, once I was beyond the half-way point, I raced through the story and genuinely really enjoyed it. The pacing is good, the plot is intriguing, and it all builds up to a very decent conclusion. I particularly loved Avo (short for Avocado) and was very relieved for him!

A, B, C and D provided me with comic relief at some points. They were good characters and balanced the darkness of the general theme of the book very well.

I haven’t read the first DCI Appleman book, but this is absolutely fine as a standalone.

A little heart-breaking at times, the Telephone Call is a well-plotted, fast-paced novel which I enjoyed. It is violent, with some memorable villains and the themes are disturbing, but if this is the way you like your novels, I think you’ll like it!

I’ve read all the other blogger reviews so far and I would urge you to balance mine out with the rest, which are brilliant! The tour banner is below:

The Telephone Call Full Tour Banner

 

About the author:

Michael Pakenham is part of a well-known Irish literary family. Generations of his family lived at Langford Lodge on Loch Neagh outside Belfast. His father was killed in the Second World War and the estate was sold. His mother then took Michael and his sister to Tucson Arizona until the end of the war. On returning to England, his mother bought a farm in Hampshire and Michael has lived in the county ever since. Having served in the Grenadier Guards – the fourth generation to do so – Michael returned to take over his mother’s farming enterprises until he sold his farming interests in 1990 and started his writing career. This will be his eighth book and the second in the Daniel Appleman series. He lives outside Winchester with his wife. He has three children and a string of grandchildren.

Social media links:

Website

Goodreads

Giveaway to Win 5 x Paperback copies of The Telephone Call (UK Only)

Pakenham 1

To enter, please click here!!

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#bookreview of ‘The Black Ditch’ by Simon J Lancaster as part of the @rararesources #blogtour #giveaway #getyournameinwriting

It gives me great pleasure to be on the blog tour today for the first instalment of The Laurie Sterne Trilogy, ‘The Black Ditch’ by Simon Lancaster. Thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on the tour, and to the author for the copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. To take part in an exciting giveaway, please see below!

What’s it about?

The Black Ditch Cover

LAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.

This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.

In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?

My thoughts:

There is a whole raft of climate change literature for us to read, in a final plea for drastic action to reduce our impact. Children’s books are tackling the same issue in a more age appropriate way.

Simon J Lancaster’s ‘The Black Ditch’ stands out as an eminently possible, post-democracy dystopian thriller, set in London, beginning in 2025, with most of the fast-paced action taking place in 2050.

Climate change has had a devastating effect on not only the physical environment, but on the population, which has burgeoned under the weight of climate refugees, stretching resources and government well beyond their limits. Gangs and Big Brother style government dictate life in the old capital.

Laurie Sterne runs with a gang, whose leader is seeking legitimacy. Sterne is a well-developed character, and as we start by being introduced to him in childhood, during a most traumatic episode, our sympathy is always with him and so, 25 years later when everything is going awry, we worry about him. The fact that he has managed to survive seems nothing short of a miracle, but he has a useful gift. Which is certainly not enough to keep him out of harm’s way.

The writing style and imagery are great. Mostly short, snappy sentences capture the tense, violent, quickly changing scenarios. The author clearly knows London intricately, and the action ricochets through the city, almost as quickly as the gunfire. We are treated to multi layered characters with complex motivations, and with a plot which thickens further every page, there are several branches this story could expand upon in the sequel. Very exciting!

Thrilling, intriguing, tense, violent and disconcertingly plausible. Extremely well written with great dialogue sequences. Comes very highly recommended from me. A great read – my husband is going to love this!

To buy a copy, please click one of the following purchase links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

The Black Ditch Author Photo

Simon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers.

Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot.

He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.

To connect with Simon:

Facebook

 

For a chance to win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and to have your name used as a character in the sequel, please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!!!  (open internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

As usual, this is a blog tour, and there will be many unique perspectives to read about The Black Ditch. Please take a look at the tour banner for all the bloggers involved.

The Black Ditch Full Tour Banner