Title: The Chalk Man

Author: CJ Tudor

Pages: 280 Pages

Publisher: Crown Publishing

The Blurb

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

When a group of young boys find a dismembered body in a local park they are disturbed and baffled. The one clue is a man drawn in chalk.

Years later, the chalk man symbol starts appearing again and the mystery of the past returns.

The story of Eddie and his friends could be categorised as a coming of age under mystery thriller but it in’t really a genre that blends will in my opinion. I wanted to be completely hooked on the story and at times I will admit to feeling creeped out and, at times, a little disturbed but the pacing was a little to languorous for my liking.

The Chalk Man is an interesting take on a blended genre but I don’t really think this was my kind of story.

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor is available now.

For more information regarding Crown Publishing (@CrownOublishing) please visit www.crownpublishing.com.

Title: Epstein – Dead Men Tell No Tales

Author: Dylan Howard

Pages: 201 Pages

Publisher: Skyhorse

The Blurb

This is—for the first time—the full and unedited story behind the sick life and mysterious death of Jeffrey Epstein that is being called one of the most significant scandals in American history

He was the billionaire financier and close confidant of presidents, prime ministers, movie stars and British royalty, the mysterious self-made man who rose from blue-collar Brooklyn to the heights of luxury. But while he was flying around the world on his private jet and hosting lavish parties at his private island in the Caribbean, he also was secretly masterminding an international child sex ring—one that may have involved the richest and most influential men in the world.

The conspiracy of corruption was an open secret for decades. And then this summer, it all came crashing down.

After his arrest on sex trafficking charges in July, it seemed Epstein’s darkest secrets would finally see the light. But hopes for true justice were shattered on August 10 this year, when he was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York.

The verdict: suicide. The timing: convenient, to say the least.

Now, Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales delivers bombshell new revelations, uncovers how the man President Trump once described as a “terrific guy” abused hundreds of underage girls at his mansions in Palm Beach and Manhattan… all while entertaining the world’s most powerful men—including President Clinton, Prince Andrew, and Donald Trump himself. How much did they know about his perversions? And did they take part? How might they have helped him to continue his abuse, and to escape justice for it? What responsibility might they have for his sudden, shocking death? And is there a shocking spy and blackmail story at the heart of the scandal? The answers to these questions and more will be explored in Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales with groundbreaking new reporting, never-before-seen court files, and interviews with new witnesses and confidants.

Combining the very best investigative reporting from investigative journalists Dylan Howard, Melissa Cronin and James Robertson—who have been covering the case for close to a decade—will send shockwaves through the highest levels of the establishment.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales is another explosive book regarding the case of Jeffrey Epstein and his sex trafficking crimes. This book was written and released after Epstein’s death (alleged suicide) and looks at the case going back to the earliest accusations up to his time incarcerated and subsequent death. 

Now there are several books on this topic so you may be wondering what makes this book so special. What I can tell you is that this case has so many layers that are still being uncovered that you are bound to learn something new, some new insidious detail that makes the plot of this real life drama thicken. 

For me, Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales poses the question of Epstein’s death – was it really suicide or was it murder – or is he actually even dead? It also highlights the worldwide implications of his crimes and pulls the curtains on those in power who do not want information being leaked.

Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales is fascinating. Anyone who is a true crime fan needs to read it. 

Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales by Dylan Howard is available now.

For more information regarding Skyhorse (@skyhorsepub) please visit www.skyhorsepublishing.com.

Title: How to Own the Room – Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking

Author: Viv Groskop

Pages: 214 Pages

Publisher: Transworld Digital

The Blurb

Most books about public speaking don’t tell you what to do when you open your mouth and nothing comes out. And they don’t tell you how to get over the anxiety about performance that most people naturally have. They don’t tell you what to do in the moments when you are made, as a woman, to feel small. They don’t tell you how to own the room. This book does.

From the way Michelle Obama projects ‘happy high status’, and the power of J.K.Rowling’s understated speaking style, to Virginia Woolf’s leisurely pacing and Oprah Winfrey’s mastery of inner conviction, what is it that our heroines do to make us sit up and listen – really listen – to their every word? And how can you achieve that impact in your own life? Here’s how.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Speaking in public is hard. It can be made even harder when your gender is an additional factor into why you may be judged, not listened to or respected. Viv Groskop’s brilliant book How to Own the Room is a powerhouse of a book. It is empowering and give amazing information, advice and real life stories on how to build up your confidence and to be able to give amazing speeches. 

I took a lot from this book. I work in a school and I don’t really have a problem with speaking to my students but I  know I would feel very different if I was speaking to my peers. If I am ever asked to address people on my level or higher I know I will return to How to Own a Room to help me with the delivery of my speech.

Additionally, it is the stories of well known people and how they deal with making speeches that makes you feel a little bit better about your own nerves. How to Own a Room is a practical guide and an enjoyable read.

How to Own the Room – Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking by Viv Groskop is available now.

For more information regarding Viv Groskop (@VivGroskop) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Transworld Digital (@TransworldBooks) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: The Thursday Murder Club

Author: Richard Osman

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.

But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

The Review

What an absolute gem of a book!

I will admit that it was curiosity that led me to read The Thursday Murder Club. I love Richard Osman on his various television shows and I wondered if he would be as brilliant on page as he is on TV. 

The short answer is yes. More so.

The story centres on four residents of sheltered accommodation who attend a club every Thursday to discuss unsolved crime case files but when a real life crime happens on their doorstep they set about trying to solve it.

The Thursday Murder Club is joyous. I wanted to be old and part of their gang of crime fighters. This novel helps to remind us that we should never underestimate pensioners. They have lived longer and know more so let’s give them a fair chance. 

What is marvellous about this story is that Osman has you guessing to the very last page. I genuinely didn’t see it coming and made various guesses with very sound arguments for all of my suspects throughout. I didn’t even come close.

The Thursday Murder Club has a lot of heart, humour and page turning cliffhangers. I bloody loved it and I hope it gets commissioned to become a TV drama so those who are not readers get to enjoy the story as well.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is available now.

For more information regarding Richard Osman (@richardosman) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Author: Ian Fleming

Pages: 326 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

The eleventh novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.

In the aftermath of Operation Thunderball, Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s trail has gone cold-and so has 007’s love for his job. The only thing that can rekindle his passion is Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo, a troubled young woman who shares his taste for fast cars and danger.

She’s the daughter of a powerful crime boss, and he thinks Bond’s hand in marriage may be the solution to all her problems. Bond’s not ready to settle down-yet-but if Tracy’s father can lead him to Blofeld, he’ll consider it.

After tracking the SPECTRE chief to a stronghold in the Swiss Alps, Bond uncovers the details of Blofeld’s latest plot: a biological warfare scheme more audacious than anything the fiend has tried before. Now Bond must save the world once again-and survive Blofeld’s last, very personal, act of vengeance. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

I’m not a fan of the James Bond movies. Actually, if I am really honest, I have never watched one in its entirety but I get the feeling that they are not for me. However, I decided to give one of the books a try because I didn’t want to be too judgemental without cause to back it up. Maybe I just prefer books to movies.

What I found was this: the books haven’t aged aged well. They are quite mysogenistic and I really don’t think glib conversations about rape really endear a reader to the characters.

However, taken as an action thriller and removing sexual abuse I can see why the books (and I guess the movies) have such a following. They are fast paced, have clear discernible villains and heroes and as a reader you have the clear knowledge that you know the hero will win.  It is is the knowledge that you know that the story will end well that makes readers (and viewers) enjoy the stories. The knowledge that they good guy will win that makes it quite satisfying.

I have surprised myself by acknowledging that I would be willing to read more of the Bond, James Bond series.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming is available now.

For more information regarding Ian Fleming (@TheIanFleming) please visit www.ianfleming.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit wwww.penguin.co.uk.