The Birthday House By Jill Treseder

I received The Birthday House by Jill Treseder as part of the Random Things Blog Tours. This murder mystery is a fantastic read, set in 1955, based on a disturbing real-life crime.

The Birthday House By Jill Treseder

The Birthday House

A Friendship. A Murder. A life that will never be the same.

The year is 1955, the location picturesque Devon. In a house by the River Dart, schoolgirl Josephine Kennedy posts invitations to her twelfth birthday party a party that never takes place. Horrific violence is committed that night in the family home, leaving all of its occupants dead.

Based on a disturbing real-life crime, this compelling story explores Josephine’s fate through the prism of friends and family – the victims and survivors who unwittingly influenced the events that led up to the tragedy.

Josephine’s best friend, Susan, is haunted by the secrets of the birthday house. Can she ever find a way of making peace with her past?

Jill Treseder

Jill Treseder - Author of The Birthday House

Taken from www.jilltresederwriter.com:


I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.
But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.


Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved, but left because I could no longer cope with the system.


This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle.


All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book ‘The Wise Woman Within’ resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis,‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.


I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.
Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.


I have written some short stories and recently signed up for a short story writing course to explore this genre in more depth.
I live with my husband in South Devon and enjoy being involved in a lively local community.

My Thoughts

I couldn’t wait to read Jill Treseder’s The Birthday House, I love crime novels and being based on a real-life crime made this even more enticing. Beginning with Mrs Harrison, the house keeper discovering the bodies to Josephine’s best friend Susan as she hears the news and later on in life discovers there is more to the story.

I really enjoyed reading from everyone’s perspective, it gives you a clearer picture of how these crimes affect everyone from housekeepers, best friends. It also gives you am understanding of the murders thought process and a good look at the emotions and grief felt by everyone both in the lead up to the murders and after.

I read The Birthday House in one sitting as it was such a compelling and convincing read. Whilst this is only a fiction based on a real-life crime, you get the feeling Jill is very close to the mark. I would definitely recommend this novella to crime fans.

A River Of Bodies By Kevin Doyle

I received A River of Bodies by Kevin Doyle, the second book in his Solidarity Books Trilogy, to review. I also received his first book To Keep a Bird Singing.

The Gripping Sequel To Keep A Bird Singing

A River Of Bodies

Noelle Sullivan, disaffected ex-punk and grassroots activist, has every reason to be afraid. His investigation into Danesfort Industrial School and the boys who went missing from it is attracting attention. Special Branch want him to disappear and he’s made enemies of the powerful Walsh and Donnelly families.

A River of Bodies

But Noelie is determined to get to the truth. He walk away. At least that’s what he tells himself until his friends and family start paying the price.

My Thoughts

Noelie’s investigation continues into the dark world of the Donnelly family. The clock is ticking with Albery Donnelly onto Noelie and his friends. This really is a fantastic political thriller, written in such a way that you won’t be able to stop yourself reading it in one sitting. Noelie is so determined to uncover all the dirty secrets regarding the Donnelly family and their associations with the Catholic church and the security forces.

I’m looking forward to the third book of the trilogy being published and finding out how Noelie and his friends manage to uncover!

To Keep A Bird Singing

To Keep A Bird Singing

When Noelie Sullivan finds his stolen punk records for sale in a charity shop in Cork it seems like a lucky break. But Noelie has just made himself and those closest to him a target.

Hidden among the records is a statement alleging that missing man, Jim Dalton, was murdered by the security services twenty years ago to protect a high-ranking informer in the IRA.

In spite of himself, Noelie gets drawn into the story of Dalton’s disappearance and uncovers a link between the missing man and a powerful family of brothers, who have ties to a former industrial school.

Noelie’s every move takes him deeper into danger. What price will he pay for the truth?

My Thoughts

Right from the start you feel compelled to keep reading and discover more about Albert Donnelly, his family and the detailed statement Noelie finds in his stolen records. Noelie’s sheer determination to uncover the truth pushes him and his friends into danger in this political, you can’t help but want to dig deeper with him. A brilliant start to the Solidarity Books Trilogy.

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle is from Cork and works as a writer and creative writing teacher. He has been published in many literary journals, including Stinging Fly, The Cork Review, Southwords and the Cúirt Journal. He is the winner of a string of awards, including the Tipperary Short Story Award (1998) – first; Over The Edge New Writer Of The Year – Shortlist; Hennessy Literary Awards (2011) – Shortlist; Seán Ó Faoláin Prize (2013) – Runner up; Michael McLaverty Short Story Award (2016) – Winner. In 2018 he published his first novel.

Hellrider By JG Faherty – Blog Tour

I received Hellrider to review, a fantastic horror by JG Faherty. Published by Flame Tree Press, Hellrider is available in both paperback and hardback copies.

Hellrider

Hellrider

Eddie, a former biker gang member is burned alive by fellow members of the Hellrider gang when they burn down his garage for ratting out their president. With his last breath, Eddie vows revenge. Returning as a twisted, psychotic ghost with his trusty custom motorcycle Diablo, Eddie seeks vengeance leaving a trail of bodies behind. With his power growing with each diabolical murder he commits, the whole town is at mercy of Eddie’s insanity. Can anyone put Eddie back in his grave Hell Creek burns to the ground?

My Thoughts

Hellrider was a fantastic read from start to finish. Darkly satirical and violent with a message deep at the heart of it, everything you want from a good horror. Eddies need for revenge fuels him further and further until even he realises he is turning into some kind of monster! Worse than even he could imagine. I have to admit I did giggle at some of his ways of revenge! Each attack ending more gruesomely than the last. I would definitely recommend Hellrider for anyone that enjoyed grindhouse movies from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

JG Faherty

A life-long resident of New York’s haunted Hudson Valley, JG Faherty is the author of six novels, nine novellas, and more than sixty short stories. He has been a finalist for both the Bram Stoker Award (The Cure, Ghosts of Coronado Bay) and ITW Thriller Award (The Burning Time).

JG Faherty

He writes adult and YA horror, science fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal romance. His works range from quiet, dark suspense to over-the-top comic gruesomeness. As a child, his favourite playground was a seventeenthcentury cemetery, which many people feel explains a lot. You can find him on Twitter at @JGfaherty, on Facebook or on his website.

Zippy And Me By Ronnie Le Drew – Blog Tour

Zippy and Me is a hilarious autobiography by Rainbow Puppeteer Ronnie Le Drew. Zippy and Me is the first behind the scenes look at the iconic children’s programme Rainbow. Rainbow aired over 1000 episodes between 1972 and 1997, I remember loving it myself as a child!

Zippy And Me by Ronnie Le Drew

Zippy And Me

Puppeteer Ronnie Le Drew has worked with the greats across almost half a century. From David Bowie in Labyrinth to Michael Caine in A Muppet Christmas Carol. The role that defined his career though was Rainbow’s Zippy, who he operated for more than twenty years.

This is the first time an insider has told the true story of what went on under the counter and inside the suits. From the petty squabbles between performers, wrangling with TV executives, and scandals such as the ‘love triangle’ between the musicians Rod, Jane and Freddy. Not to mention the now infamous X-rated episode shot for an ITV Christmas party, which subsequently found its way to the Sun.

Interweaved with the dirt on what really went on behind the scenes is the story of Rainbow’s heyday in the 1970’s and 80’s. The stars found themselves catapulted into an exciting showbiz world – scooping a BAFTA award and even performing for the queen, and the story of a young lad from a south London council estate who defied his parents’ protests to become one of the most respected puppeteers of all time.

Ronnie Le Drew

Ronnie Le Drew with Zippy

Ronnie Le Drew is one of the UK’s most respected puppeteer and recipient of the prestigious Harlequin Award. He has operated many of the most iconic children’s puppets of the twentieth century. From Zippy, Sweep, Muffin the Mule, Bill and Ben, Brains from Thunderbirds – as well as working on classic puppet films such as Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors and The Muppet Christmas Carol. He continues to work regularly as a puppeteer in TV, theatre and advertising. He also teaches at the London School of Puppetry, which he founded in 1987.

American Dreams By Kenneth Bromberg – Blog Tour

I received American Dreams by Kenneth Bromberg to review, a crime novel published by Flame Tree Press. From Czarist Russia to America where dreams are made, we follow Max and his father through a world of crime.

American Dreams Bookcover

American Dreams

In 1904 Czarist Russia, Max, a four-year-old Jewish boy, witnesses his mother’s rape and murder by Russian soldiers. After the boy’s father extracts terrible revenge, father and son escape to New York and settle on the Lower East Side, a teeming melting pot of recent immigrants.

Max meets a young Polish girl, Sophie, and the two children become inseparable playmates. By the time they are teenagers, Max excels at both school and sports, Sophie has become a stunningly beautiful young woman, and friendship has grown into love. Their plans are shattered when Sophie is forced to marry a local crime boss and once again, Max must simply watch as the most important person in his life is taken from him. In response, he begins a ruthless and violent climb to the top of the New York underworld

Kenneth Bromberg

Kennerth Bromberg Author photo

Kenneth Bromberg grew up in the beach cities of Southern California. He has a passion for tennis, American history, and literature. Having attended the University of California, Los Angeles, he then worked for several years as a bartender. He eventually returned to UCLA to pursue an MBA and become a certified public accountant.

After retiring from accounting, Kenneth fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first work, American Dreams, is based upon stories told by his grandmother who immigrated to New York from a small Jewish village near Kiev in the first years of the 20th century. If you like Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, you will love this debut novel.

My Thoughts

I knew from the first chapter I would enjoy American Dreams as a crime fan and wasn’t disappointed. After a traumatic start for Max, we meet several other characters with some interesting backstories too, all leading them to America. Here they all work towards their own dreams. Forwarding to World War II where two of the sons of main characters serve, yet have their own dreams for the future too. American Dreams is rather violent throughout, mixing crime, love and a little history across several generations really well.

Do you enjoy violent crime novels too?