Outside Looking In by Michael Wood

My turn on the blog tour for outside looking in today, This is my first book by Michael Wood and won’t be the last. It starts with an elderly gentleman going to investigate a loud noise late at night, he finds a gruesome scene, which results in a case for DCI Matilda Darke to investigate. A great police procedural thriller with a fantastic twist that I did not see coming. I liked that Matilda was a flawed individual and that all the characters had shades of grey within them. The story is set in Sheffield and uses the location well, the city feels like an extra character in the novel. This is the second in the Matilda Darke series but can be read alone. I will be going back and starting the first in the series after this one though, I think I have found a new favourite author in Michael Wood. A solid 5* read for me, continue reading for an Interview with the author and the link so you can buy your own copy:

Tell me something about your self

I’m a self-taught juggler. I can write shorthand at 100wpm. I’m left-handed. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones. I dislike bananas and I’ve never watched anything on Channel 5.

On average, how many times a week do you hurt yourself trying to dance in the shower?

Never. I’m far too sensible.

What is your inspiration to write?

I have many stories to tell and I want to tell them. Being a writer is all I have ever wanted to be from a young age.

What’s the most money you’ve ever drunkenly spent at McDonald’s?

£0. I’m vegetarian and hate fast food.

Do you get complaints when singing in the shower.? 

No.

Who would you let punch you directly in the face? and why?

Nobody as it would hurt.

How old were you when you realised Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny probably never actually knew one another in real life? Did you feel cheated?

They do know each other. They live in the same street. They don’t get on much at the moment as the Easter Bunny borrowed Father Christmas’s lawn mower and hasn’t returned it yet, but they’ll make up eventually.

What drives you to continue writing.?

The feedback from my first two novels has been amazing, more than I could have imagined. I now know people want to read my stories and love my characters as much as I do.

Apart from writing what’s your superpower?

I have the ability to stop time. I make a great chocolate cake too.

How many bottles of wine have you finished without ever actually pouring any of the wine into a glass?

None. I don’t drink alcohol.

Funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a job: ?

I once thought I was being followed on my way to work as I could hear rustling behind me. When I turned around there was nobody there. I carried on walking but could still hear the rustling. Again I turned around but there was nobody there. I became quite paranoid and quickened my pace and the rustling grew louder. It was only when I arrived at work that I noticed the packet of crisps in my bag was open and it was the crisps that had been rustling. Doh!

When will we be seeing another book from you?

I have absolutely no idea. Sorry.

I am never sure how many people actually read reviews /interviews. What is your view?

Well, I have had some lovely reviews so I hope people read them (the four and five star ones at least).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outside-Looking-compelling-shocking-Matilda-ebook/dp/B01BS9XGOS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466450913&sr=1-1&keywords=outside+looking+in13336067_1156188324404241_7539071306802654066_n.jpg

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Trophies by David Evans

I had the great good fortune of reading this recently as an ARC. This is the first book in David Evan’s Wakefield Trinity (A trilogy of books not the rugby league team), and it sets up a really likeable duo in DI Colin Strong and Journalist Bob Souter.  The characters are well developed and I liked the story element, which although fictional, bought in real life elements with DI Strong investigating someone who he think may be Wearside Jack, the man who misled the police hunt for the Yorkshire ripper (trophies https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trophies-David-Evans/dp/1530818206/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465417710&sr=8-1&keywords=trophies+david+evans)

I loved the location of the novel, I felt the author bought Wakefield and Leeds to life well, and there was even a mention of the good old Yorkshire post clock (one of the few remaining old leeds landmarks, see below). The pace of the novel felt just right, and I liked the unusual teamwork between policeman and Journalist to unravel the crime. This allows the author to play a little bit outside the rule of a standard police procedural as the press officer doesn’t have to play by the police rules.

This is a great start to a series and the author recently signed a book deal with Bloodhound books, one of my new favourite crime publishers, so the second book Torment will be released on the 7th July (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Torment-original-detective-thriller-Wakefield-ebook/dp/B01GEYK26M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465418258&sr=8-1&keywords=torment+david+evans), I liked it enough to definitely be buying the rest of the series and I feel invested enough in the characters to want to find out what their next adventures will be. This was a definite 5* read for me.

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Ayesha Dean the Istanbul Intrigue

I Recently read and really enjoyed this book by author Melati Lum. A Nancy drew esque story but for the modern era with a young kick ass muslim protaganist. The story features Ayesha Dean ( a hijab wearing young muslim girl) and her 2 friends on holiday in Istanbul, they buy an old book in the grand bazaar as a present and realise it has a hidden compartment that sets them off on a great mystery.

The thing that really stands out for me in this book is the quality of the characters, they are all really relatable and I like that our heroine is different from what we normally see in young adult fiction. I think a lot of young people of any race could feel a strong affinity for Ayesha and her friends. I also liked that although Ayesha is a devout young muslim girl, she has other facets such as a liking for martial arts. This for me really shows the main character to be a truer reflection of a modern teenager, balancing their faith and their other interests well.

The Setting of Istanbul for this mystery is an excellent one because it is a beautiful city full of historical places that could be used as hiding places and its a great mixture of western and asian cultures. Although I hope future books in the series see Ayesha solving mysteries in Australia and other places around the world too. I think there is a great future for this young character and Melati as an author.

What I intend to do now is to share this blog, as widely as possible and to tell people both at the school I work at and as many others as I can reach because I think my duty as a reader is to spread this great new character to as many young people as possible, the little bit of 13 year old me I can still connect with is telling me I have too, because she would have loved a book like this too.

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