Tag Archives: historical fiction thriller

Damian’s Workshop by Deborah Kaminski Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman finds herself thrown into a maelstrom when an accidental invention of the time machine sends her hurdling backward in time to the 4th Crusades, living in the body of an ancient ancestor in medieval Constantinople in author Deborah Kaminski’s “Damian’s Workshop”.

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The Synopsis

Brooke didn’t expect to invent a time machine. But when she is cast into the body of a distant ancestor, she sees every scene, hears every sound, and feels every pleasure…. and pain. She should be finishing her college degree, but the distant past calls to her. Bit by bit, she learns about medieval life, until she realizes her new family is directly in the path of the Fourth Crusade. Set alternately in a modern day university and medieval Constantinople, Brooke’s struggle is filled with adventure, romance, science, history, and a touch of deception. It all comes together in the finale, where past and present collide.

The Review

This was a brilliant display of multi-genre mashups coming together in the most natural and exciting way possible. The blend of historical fiction and sci-fi brought similar feelings and emotions that fans of Assassin’s Creed feel, getting the rich culture and history of the past with the more modern science fiction and cutting-edge tech that brings our ancestors to the contemporary world in a unique way. 

The author’s use of imagery and atmosphere really drove the narrative forward. The rich settings and unique displays of both past and present cultures and behaviors amongst the cast of characters really highlighted the evolution of this family line and the human race overall. Yet at the end of the day,  the narrative shined best when the character development was focused on. Between Brooke’s modern-day outlook on life clashing with her exploration of the past and Damian’s struggles in the past, the intimacy, and heart of this narrative were found in human relationships more than anything else, allowing the more spectacular elements of the story to shine brightly.

The Verdict

Thrilling, engaging, and heartfelt, author Deborah Kaminski’s “Damian’s Workshop” is a must-read sci-fi and historical fiction thriller novel. The historical accuracy and settings did a great job of balancing the rich character dynamics and relationships that made the story feel relatable and entertaining. The twists and turns will keep readers hooked on this developing narrative until the book’s final page. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I am a traveler, an explorer, and a dreamer. My fiction takes you to exotic places that I love and treats you to new ideas to chew on. Before my writing career, I was immersed in scientific research, working at General Electric, RPI, and the National Science Foundation, so it may not surprise you that my science fiction is of the hard variety – striving for internal consistency and (more or less) realistic possibilities. You can count on me for an adventure with a satisfying ending.

Alternative Facts by Gary Westphalen Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In a stunning and thought-provoking twist, author Gary Westphalen challenges readers to explore a historical fiction world set in our near modern times as one of the most disturbing and heartbreaking attacks on American Soil, 9/11, is examined in a new lens in the novel “Alternative Facts”.

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The Synopsis

The 9/11 attack on the United States was horrific. Even as it claimed thousands of lives in a single morning, it also changed all of our lives forever. But what really happened on that morning? The U.S. government would have you believe that the 9/11 Commission report is the definitive examination of the catastrophic events. But this report raises many more questions than it answers, and the government has not been forthcoming in further explanations.

There was a conspiracy at work that morning. The 9/11 Commission says a couple of dozen radical Muslims conceived, planned and executed the plan with miraculous precision. It says they hijacked four airliners and managed to fly three of them with absolute pinpoint precision into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. It says the heat from fires fueled by nothing more than paper and office furniture was enough to cause the collapse of both WTC towers, along with another building on the property that hadn’t even been struck by an airplane. It says they defied aerodynamic possibilities to fly an airliner into the Pentagon at a speed that would have torn the plane apart long before it made it to the building.

In Alternative Facts author Gary Westphalen posits another possibility. It was indeed a conspiracy, but it extends way beyond a cabal of eager jihadis. This conspiracy extends to the highest levels of the U.S. government and would have failed miserably without the guiding hand of dark forces in powerful positions.

This work of Historical Fiction contains so many actual facts along with fantastical but highly probable scenarios that it’s impossible to know where the facts end and the fiction takes over. By the time you turn the last page, you’ll be wondering to yourself whether Alternative Facts tells a truer story than the 9/11 Commission report.

The Review

I was 11 years old when the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurred. I remember it vividly, watching in horror as the towers fell. I ran to my parent’s room and told them what had happened, and a quiet hush fell through our home. No one wanted to send their kids off to school. Life seemed to crawl to a snail’s pace all around us as the enormity of this event hit us hard. Every corner of our nation felt the pain and fear that this event brought on. 

Yet while the immediate aftermath instilled a need for unity and patriotism like never before, in the years since the attacks, many questions have always popped into my mind, and author Gary Westphalen has done an excellent job of bringing this to life in his novel. The amount of research and actual history that went into this novel was spectacular to see, and the thoughtful approach to detail went into every aspect of this novel, from the construction of the towers and the initial attack in 93’ to the devastating events of that fateful day.

The way that the author still managed to craft a fictional narrative with rich and emotionally-driven characters made this story flow smoothly, and gave readers more to relate to while also being respectful of real-life individuals by changing names or creating entirely new ones to fuel this narrative. The pacing and atmosphere that the author managed to develop made this story just come alive on the page, and managed to capture both the somber nature of the reality this narrative was based upon and the mystery that was the conspiracy the author laid out.

The Verdict

Captivating, shocking, and thought-provoking, author Gary Westphalen’s “Alternative Facts” is a must-read novel of 2022. The mystery and historical fiction are read to capture the heart of the suspense thriller genre while also giving voice to those affected by this real-world tragedy. While nothing, both the official story and the possible “truth” behind that day, can ever bring back those we lost, the heart of this narrative does a great job of keeping us always looking for truth, justice, and the means of bringing those who hide in the shadows into the light. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Gary has spent a lifetime as a documentary film maker and journalist. His pursuit of telling the story of the human condition has taken him to dozens of countries all over the world. He has interviewed Presidents and Kings, the homeless and destitute, and everything in-between. His work has been seen on nearly every major television and cable network. It’s almost a guarantee that you have seen the results of his story-telling. He has now turned to a life filled with narrating audiobooks for other authors, and writing his own books as well. Learn much more at garywestphalen.com , @GaryWestphalen on Twitter and facebook.com/gary.westphalen.

The German Wife: A Novel by Kelly Rimmer Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A family who was forced to join the growing military power of Nazi Germany at the height of the war relocates to the United States in the war’s aftermath, and hostility in the anti-German wave that hits the US leads to a shocking series of events between two women in author Kelly Rimmer’s “The German Wife: A Novel”.

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The Synopsis

The enmity between two women from opposing sides of the war culminates in a shocking event as anti-German sentiment sweeps America, when the aristocratic wife of a German scientist must face the social isolation, hostility and violence leveled against her and her family when they’re forced to relocate to Alabama in the aftermath of WWII. For fans of Beatriz Wiliams, Pam Jenoff, and Kristin Harmel.

Berlin, Germany, 1930—When the Nazis rise to power, Sofie von Meyer Rhodes and her academic husband benefit from the military ambitions of Germany’s newly elected chancellor when Jürgen is offered a high-level position in their burgeoning rocket program. Although they fiercely oppose Hitler’s radical views, and joining his ranks is unthinkable, it soon becomes clear that if Jürgen does not accept the job, their income will be taken away. Then their children. And then their lives.

Huntsville, Alabama, 1950—Twenty years later, Jürgen is one of many German scientists pardoned and granted a position in America’s space program. For Sofie, this is a chance to leave the horrors of her past behind. But when rumors about the Rhodes family’s affiliation with the Nazi party spread among her new American neighbors, idle gossip turns to bitter rage, and the act of violence that results tears apart a family and leaves the community wondering—is it an act of vengeance or justice?

The Review

This was such an emotional and captivating read. The amount of research and creativity that went into this narrative was so evident from the story’s first chapter. The vivid imagery and atmosphere the author crafted really brought these settings to life, both in terms of physical location and the social atmosphere during and after the war. 

What stood out to me was the heartbreaking character development that went into this narrative. The haunting reality of war and in particular WWII as the life or death stakes of Hitler’s regime made people forced into jobs and careers within the Nazi party that they hadn’t really wanted. The way the author explored natural prejudices and the building tensions of a community in the wake of that war too was so important to understanding our own modern divides and how social tensions can contribute to conflict. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, poignant, and engaging, author Kelly Rimmer’s “The German Wife” is a must-read historical fiction read. The emotional storyline and shocking series of twists and turns the narrative takes were so captivating, and the brilliant way the author wrote really brought this history and the characters to life in a powerful and grounded way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10                                                                                                                            

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About the Author

Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, The Things We Cannot Say, and Truths I Never Told You. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at https://www.kellyrimmer.com/

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.kellyrimmer.com/

Facebook: @Kellymrimmer

Twitter: @KelRimmerWrites

Instagram: @kelrimmerwrites

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-german-wife-9781525899904/9781525899904 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525811432 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-german-wife-kelly-rimmer/1139609914?ean=9781525811432  

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FGT2V4F/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i4 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-german-wife-a-novel/9781525804830-item.html?ikwidx=1&ikwsec=Books#algoliaQueryId=bcb8245f4a6a5bf65037b28607513004 

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Here is an Excerpt from author Kelly Rimmer’s “The German Wife”

1

Sofie

Huntsville, Alabama 1950

“WAKE UP, GISELA,” I MURMURED, GENTLY SHAKing my daughter awake. “It’s time to see Papa.”

After the better part of a day on a stuffy, hot bus, I was so tired my eyes were burning, my skin gritty with dried sweat from head to toe. I had one sleeping child on my lap and the other leaning into me as she sprawled across the seat. After three long weeks of boats and trains and buses, my long journey from Berlin to Alabama was finally at an end.

My youngest daughter had always been smaller than her peers, her body round and soft, with a head of auburn hair like mine, and my husband’s bright blue eyes. Over the last few months, a sudden growth spurt transformed her. She was now taller than me. The childhood softness had stretched right out of her, leaving her rail thin and lanky.

Gisela stirred, then slowly pushed herself to a sitting position. Her eyes scanned along the aisle of the bus as if she were reorienting herself. Finally, cautiously, she turned to look out the window.

“Mama. It really doesn’t look like much…”

We were driving down a wide main street lined with small stores and restaurants. So far, Huntsville looked about as I’d expected it would—neat, tidy…segregated.

Minnie’s Salon. Whites Only.

Seamstress for Colored.

Ada’s Café. The Best Pancakes in Town. Whites ONLY!

When I decided to make the journey to join my husband in America, segregation was one of a million worries I consciously put off for later. Now, faced with the stark reality of it, I dreaded the discussions I’d be having with my children once we had enough rest for productive conversation. They needed to understand exactly why those signs sent ice through my veins.

“Papa did tell us that this is a small town, remember?” I said gently. “There are only fifteen thousand people in Huntsville and it will be very different from Berlin, but we can build a good life here. And most importantly, we’ll be together again.”

“Not all of us,” Gisela muttered.

“No, not all of us,” I conceded quietly. Loss was like a shadow to me. Every now and again, I’d get distracted and I’d forget it was there. Then I’d turn around and feel the shock of it all over again. It was the same for my children, especially for Gisela. Every year of her life had been impacted by the horrors of war, or by grief and change.

I couldn’t dwell on that—not now. I was about to see my husband for the first time in almost five years and I was every bit as anxious as I was excited. I had second-guessed my decision to join him in the United States a million or more times since I shepherded the children onto that first bus in Berlin, bound for the port in Hamburg where we boarded the cross-Atlantic steamship.

I looked down at my son. Felix woke when I shook his sister, but was still sitting on my lap, pale and silent. He had a head of sandy curls and his father’s curious mind. Until now, they’d never been on the same continent.

The first thing I noticed was that Jürgen looked different. It was almost summer and warm out, but he was wearing a light blue suit with a white shirt and a dark blue bow tie. Back home, he never wore a suit that color and he never would have opted for a bow tie. And instead of his customary silver-framed glasses, he was wearing a pair with thick black plastic frames. They were modern and suited him. Of course he had new glasses—five years had passed. Why was I so bothered by those frames?

I couldn’t blame him if he reinvented himself, but what if this new version of Jürgen didn’t love me, or was someone I couldn’t continue to love?

He took a step forward as we shuffled off the bus but didn’t even manage a second before Gisela ran to him and threw her arms around his neck.

“Treasure,” he said, voice thick with emotion. “You’ve grown up so much.”

There was a faint but noticeable American twang in his German words, which was as jarring as the new glasses.

Jürgen’s gaze settled on Felix, who was holding my hand with a grip so tight my fingers throbbed. I felt anxious for both children but I was scared for Felix. We’d moved halfway across the world to a country I feared would be wary of us at best, maybe even hostile toward us. For Gisela and me, a reunion with Jürgen was enough reason to take that risk. But Felix was nervous around strangers at the best of times, and he knew his father only through anecdotes and photographs.

“Felix,” Jürgen said, keeping one arm around Gisela as he started to walk toward us. I could see that he was trying to remain composed, but his eyes shone. “Son…”

Felix gave a whimper of alarm and hid behind my legs.

“Give him time,” I said quietly, reaching behind myself to touch Felix’s hair. “He’s tired and this is a lot to take in.”

“He looks just like—” Jürgen’s voice broke. I knew the struggle well. It hurt to name our grief, but it was important to do so anyway. Our son Georg should have been twenty years old, living out the best days of his life. Instead, he was another casualty of a war that the world would never make sense of. But I came to realize that Georg would always be a part of our family, and every time I found the strength to speak his name, he was brought to life, at least in my memories.

“I know,” I said. “Felix looks just like Georg.” It was fitting that I’d chosen Georg for Felix’s middle name, a nod to the brother he’d never know.

Jürgen raised his gaze to mine and I saw the depth of my grief reflected in his. No one would ever understand my loss like he did.

I realized that our years apart meant unfathomable changes in the world and in each of us, but my connection with Jürgen would never change. It already survived the impossible. At this thought, I rushed to close the distance between us.

Gisela was gently shuffled to the side and Jürgen’s arms were finally around me again. I thought I’d be dignified and cautious when we reunited, but the minute we touched, my eyes filled with tears as relief and joy washed over me in cascading waves.

I was on the wrong side of the world in a country I did not trust, but I was also back in Jürgen’s arms, and I was instantly at home.

“My God,” Jürgen whispered roughly, his body trembling against mine. “You are a sight for sore eyes, Sofie von Meyer Rhodes.”

“Promise me you’ll never let me go again.”

Jürgen was a scientist—endlessly literal, at least under normal circumstances. Once upon a time, he’d have pointed out all the reasons why such a promise could not be made in good faith—but now his arms contracted around me and he whispered into my hair, “It would kill me to do so, Sofie. If there’s one thing I want for the rest of my life, it’s to spend every day of it with you.”

“Many of our neighbors are Germans—most have just arrived in Huntsville in the last few weeks or months, so you will all be settling in together. There’s a party for us tomorrow at the base where I work, so you’ll meet most of them then,” Jürgen told me as he drove us through the town in his sleek black 1949 Ford. He glanced at the children in the rearview mirror, his expression one of wonder, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes. “You’ll like it here, I promise.”

We’d be living in a leafy, quiet suburb called Maple Hill, on a small block the Americans nicknamed “Sauerkraut Hill” because it was now home to a cluster of German families. I translated the street signs for the children and they chuckled at the unfamiliar style. Our new street, Beetle Avenue, amused Gisela the most.

“Is there an insect plague we should worry about?” she chuckled.

“I really hope so,” Felix whispered, so quietly I had to strain to hear him. “I like beetles.”

As Jürgen pulled the car into the driveway, I couldn’t help but compare the simple house to the palatial homes I’d grown up in. This was a single-story dwelling, with a small porch leading to the front door, one window on either side. The house was clad in horizontal paneling, its white paint peeling. There were garden beds in front of the house, but they were overgrown with weeds. There was no lawn to speak of, only patchy grass in places, and the concrete path from the road to the porch was cracked and uneven.

I felt Jürgen’s eyes on my face as I stared out through the windshield, taking it all in.

“It needs a little work,” he conceded, suddenly uncertain. “It’s been so busy since I moved here, I haven’t had time to make it nice for you the way I hoped.”

“It’s perfect,” I said. I could easily picture the house with a fresh coat of paint, gardens bursting to life, Gisela and Felix running around, happy and safe and free as they made friends with the neighborhood children.

Just then, a woman emerged from the house to the left of ours, wearing a dress not unlike mine, her long hair in a thick braid, just like mine.

“Welcome, neighbors!” she called in German, beaming.

“This is Claudia Schmidt,” Jürgen said quietly as he reached to open his car door. “She’s married to Klaus, a chemical engineer. Klaus has been at Fort Bliss with me for a few years, but Claudia arrived from Frankfurt a few days ago.”

Sudden, sickening anxiety washed over me.

“Did you know him—”

“No,” Jürgen interrupted me, reading my distress. “He worked in a plant at Frankfurt and our paths never crossed. We will talk later, I promise,” he said, dropping his voice as he nodded toward the children. I reluctantly nodded, as my heart continued to race.

There was so much Jürgen and I needed to discuss, including just how he came to be a free man in America. Phone calls from Europe to America were not available to the general public, so Jürgen and I planned the move via letters—a slow-motion, careful conversation that took almost two years to finalize. We assumed everything we wrote down would be read by a government official, so I hadn’t asked and he hadn’t offered an explanation about how this unlikely arrangement in America came to be.

I couldn’t get answers yet, not with the children in earshot, so it would have to be enough reassurance for me to know our neighbors were probably not privy to the worst aspects of our past.

Jürgen left the car and walked over to greet Claudia, and I climbed out my side. As I walked around the car to follow him, I noticed a man walking along the opposite side of the street, watching us. He was tall and broad, and dressed in a nondescript, light brown uniform that was at least a size or two too small. I offered him a wave, assuming him to be a German neighbor, but he scoffed and shook his head in disgust and looked away.

I’d been prepared for some hostility, but the man’s reaction stung more than I’d expected it to. I took a breath, calming myself. One unfriendly pedestrian was not going to ruin my first day in our new home—my first day reunited with Jürgen—so I forced a bright smile and rounded the car to meet Claudia.

“I’m Sofie.”

She nodded enthusiastically. “Since we arrived last week, you are all I’ve heard about from your husband! He has been so excited for you to come.”

“I sure have.” Jürgen grinned.

“Are you and the children coming to the party tomorrow?” Claudia asked.

“We are,” I said, and she beamed again. I liked her immediately. It was a relief to think I might have a friend to help me navigate our new life.

“Us too,” Claudia said, but then her face fell a little and she pressed her palms against her abdomen, as if soothing a tender stomach. “I am so nervous. I know two English words—hello and soda.”

“That’s a start,” I offered, laughing softly.

“I’ve only met a few of the other wives, but they’re all in the same boat. How on earth is this party going to work? Will we have to stay by our husbands’ sides so they can translate for us?”

“I speak English,” I told her. I was fluent as a child, taking lessons with British nannies, then honing my skills on business trips with my parents. Into my adulthood, I grew rusty from lack of speaking it, but the influx of American soldiers in Berlin after the war gave me endless opportunities for practice. Claudia’s expression lifted again and now she clapped her hands in front of her chest.

“You can help us learn.”

“Do you have children? I want Gisela and Felix to learn as quickly as they can. Perhaps we could do some lessons all together.”

“Three,” she told me. “They are inside watching television.”

“You have a television?” I said, eyebrows lifting.

“We have a television too,” Jürgen told us. “I bought it as a housewarming gift for you all.” Gisela gasped, and he laughed and extended his hand to her. I wasn’t surprised when she immediately tugged him toward the front door. She’d long dreamed of owning a television set, but such a luxury was out of reach for us in Berlin.

I waved goodbye to Claudia and followed my family, but I was distracted, thinking about the look of disgust in the eyes of that passing man.

Excerpted from The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer, Copyright © 2022 by Lantana Management Pty, Ltd. Published by Graydon House Books. 

Traveller Manifesto (Traveller Book 3) by Rob Shackleford Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The exploration of ancient history by modern scientists and historians becomes political as government bodies work behind the scenes to develop their own versions of the Traveller technology, and former Traveller Michael Hunter must flee with his wife and daughter in 11th century Giolgrave and the whole of Aengland whilst avoiding the modern-day military sent to hunt him down in author Rob Shackleford’s “Traveller Manifesto”, the third book in the Traveller series.

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The Synopsis

Traveller Manifesto is Book 3 of the Traveller Trilogy, the explosive final sequel to Traveller Inceptio and Traveller Probo.

To use the enigmatic Transporter and send Special Forces trained Researchers back a thousand years is now the biggest game in world politics.

But not only politics, as academics scramble to outdo each other and harness prestige in the increasingly influential field of History.

As Professor Taylor is rescued from Byzantine Rome, a heavily-armed US Traveller team explores Mississippian Cahokia to experience a situation beyond even their control. Michael Hunter and Tatae flee Giolgrave in the hope of finding safety from modern interference. But at a terrible cost.

And something seems to be happening in Israel, resulting in the creation of a high-profile investigation team to uncover if there is a clandestine Traveller mission operated by the US and Israel.

From the windswept mountains of Wales to the hills of Cahokia and the dusty wadis of the Negev, researchers find that visiting the past may not necessarily provide the answers they seek.

The Review

This was such a compelling and monumental narrative for fans of this sci-fi and historical fiction thriller series. The way the author elevated the narrative of this series by taking the hinted at black-ops level military operations being taken out in various historical periods using the technology, and increasing this tenfold as not only does the military hunt down one of the Traveller programs former operatives, but attempt to utilize the technology illegally to further their own interests, really does a great job of mirroring events using technology or discoveries of our own world, and how government bodies often will claim “national security” to further their own attempts at seizing more power and control. This added an increased level of intrigue and suspense as this impacted several of the main cast of characters throughout their various Traveller missions.

What always strikes me about this series and the author is the vast amount of detail the author puts into the series. From both a historical and a narrative standpoint, the author explores not only the sci-fi side of the series from the use of the Traveller technology, but the historical fiction side of each period of time these missions take on with an attention to detail that creates a sense of imagery and tone that bursts with life and vibrancy. The exploration of history’s impact on our world and the means by which the direction that history takes is often dictated by those who emerge victorious from a situation made this story feel so thought-provoking, and readers won’t be able to help being drawn down the rabbit hole that is this heart-pounding historical fiction thriller.

The Verdict

A gripping, intense, and richly diverse historical fiction thriller and sci-fi tale, author Rob Shackleford’s “Traveller Manifesto” is a must-read novel and the perfect historical fiction read to finish out 2021 with. The rich cast of characters and detailed settings bring together a beautiful yet dangerous world of the past and present and the dramatic final chapters lead to a shocking loss and an open-ended finale that leaves plenty of room for more stories to be told in the future. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

This is just a quick bio about me, Rob Shackleford.

  • Born in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.
  • Emigrated to Australia with parents and brother, Neil, as 10 pound poms in the early 1960’s.
  • Childhood in working class suburb of Acacia Ridge, Brisbane. Brothers Aaron, Paul, and Philip and sister Kathy were born.
  • Attended Watson Road State School and Acacia Ridge State High School. I don’t think the high school exists any more.
  • Attended University of Qld and studied Journalism and Ancient History.
  • My work experience is varied and has included Customs Officer, SCUBA Instructor, in the media, college teacher and as operated own businesses.
  • I have two wonderful kids: Son – Kyle, and Daughter – Bree.
  • Finally completed 2 degrees – in Arts and in Business at Central Qld University. Each completed With Distinction.
  • Completed first novel “Traveller – Inceptio”, Traveller book 1 – published in 2019 by Austin Macauley.
  • The rest of the Traveller Books are ready to go, as are 3 other completed manuscripts, so I have completed 6 novels in all.
  • I am also currently finalizing the illustrations on 3 children’s books with my daughter Bree.

A Death in Bloomsbury (The Simon Sampson Mysteries #1) by David C. Dawson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A renowned BBC Radio host and investigator must put his loyalty to the King of England to the test in 1930’s London as a plot to assassinate the King forces Simon Sampson to investigate, but at the risk of exposing his secret life as a gay man in a time when being gay meant facing prison time in the country in author David C. Dawson’s “A Death in Bloomsbury”, the first in the Simon Sampson Mysteries series. 

The Synopsis

Everyone has secrets… but some are fatal.

1932, London. Late one December night Simon Sampson stumbles across the body of a woman in an alleyway. Her death is linked to a plot by right-wing extremists to assassinate the King on Christmas Day. Simon resolves to do his patriotic duty and unmask the traitors.

But Simon Sampson lives a double life. Not only is he a highly respected BBC radio announcer, but he’s also a man who loves men, and as such must live a secret life. His investigation risks revealing his other life and with that imprisonment under Britain’s draconian homophobic laws of the time. He faces a stark choice: his loyalty to the King or his freedom.

This is the first in a new series from award-winning author David C. Dawson. A richly atmospheric novel set in the shadowy world of 1930s London, where secrets are commonplace, and no one is quite who they seem. 

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The Review

This was such a captivating and thought-provoking read. The author’s utilization of mystery and historical fiction was superb, showcasing a clear understanding and attention to detail historically that showed the amount of research that went into this narrative. The balance the author found with the history behind this intriguing mystery and the LGBTQ cast of characters that made up the novel’s main cast was so refreshing and fantastic to read.

What stood out to me was definitely the emphasis on the LGBTQ narratives, not only the characters as a whole but their experiences and the amount of secrecy that went into leading what was considered back then to be a “double life”. The way this mirrored so much of the novel’s noir and espionage elements within the mystery unfolding around the characters was perfect, and the emotional ups and downs the protagonist, in particular, went through all the way to the book’s final pages was so emotional to read.

The Verdict

A thoughtful, gripping, and entertaining read, author David C. Dawson’s “A Death in Bloomsbury” is a must-read mystery and historical fiction thriller this fall! The representation within the cast of characters and the struggles the LGBTQ community faced nearly a century ago was perfectly balanced the twists and turns in the book’s mystery, and the cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager to read more of this exciting new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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A Death in Bloomsbury - David C. Dawson

David C. Dawson has a new gay historical crime thriller out: A Death in Bloomsbury. And there’s a giveaway!

Everyone has secrets… but some are fatal.

1932, London. Late one December night Simon Sampson stumbles across the body of a woman in an alleyway. Her death is linked to a plot by right-wing extremists to assassinate the King on Christmas Day. Simon resolves to do his patriotic duty and unmask the traitors.

But Simon Sampson lives a double life. Not only is he a highly respected BBC radio announcer, but he’s also a man who loves men, and as such must live a secret life. His investigation risks revealing his other life and with that imprisonment under Britain’s draconian homophobic laws of the time. He faces a stark choice: his loyalty to the King or his freedom.

This is the first in a new series from award-winning author David C. Dawson. A richly atmospheric novel set in the shadowy world of 1930s London, where secrets are commonplace, and no one is quite who they seem.

About the Series

The Simon Sampson Mysteries start in London 1932 and continue through the 1930s across Europe. Set against the rise of fascism in the continent, the series features a man who does his patriotic duty to fight the enemy, even though as a gay man he’s an outlaw.

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Giveaway

David is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47212/?


Excerpt

Simon arrived at Piccadilly Circus at ten minutes to eight that evening and waited to cross the road to the statue of Eros on its traffic island. This part of London always gave Simon a thrill of excitement. It buzzed with activity, like a giant beehive. There were swarms of people hurrying from work, or strolling towards a restaurant, theatre or bar. The metaphor was apt, because within fifty yards of where Simon stood there were so many queens.

Across the road was The Trocadero. Its Long Bar was always guaranteed to provide a gay evening for gentlemen in search of pleasure. A little farther on was the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square. Its Upper Gallery was popular with painted boys and men dressed in smart suits who spent an evening either exchanging acid-tongued witticisms or seeking a friend for the night.

Even at that time of the evening the traffic on Piccadilly Circus was almost stationary. Simon stepped off the pavement and wove his way between taxis and omnibuses queuing to drive up Shaftesbury Avenue or down the Haymarket. Cameron was waiting for him, and Simon was pleased to see he was once again soberly dressed in his immaculate black coat. This time with a grey scarf and black leather gloves. Young men of a similar age to Cameron were also standing on the steps of Eros, and they wore far more flamboyant clothing. Simon preferred to be inconspicuous when out with a gentleman friend. There was less chance that they might draw the attention of the police, or busys as his friends in the Fitzroy Tavern would call them.

“I do hope you’ve not been waiting long.” Simon took Cameron’s outstretched hand and squeezed it firmly. “It’s getting awfully cold. I think it might snow this Christmas.”

Cameron reached out his other hand and rested it on Simon’s hip. Simon pushed it away. “Best not here, old chap,” he whispered. “Awfully public you know.”

He released Cameron’s hand and pointed across the road. “We need to head towards Leicester Square. The Lily Pond is two roads up. And we can walk past the Trocadero on the way and see who’s out gadding tonight.”

“I’m glad I’m wi’ ye,” Cameron replied. “I’m still finding ma bearin’s in London. I’ve nae come down to this part of town since I moved to York House.”

“Oh, you should.” Simon led the way through the still stationary traffic to Coventry Street. “It’s frightfully exciting. And you can always be sure of meeting someone interesting.” He pointed to the corner of Glasshouse Street. “That’s the Regent Palace Hotel. Awfully good bar. Perfect place to meet gentlemen from overseas, and they can hire a room for you by the hour if that interests you.” He grabbed Cameron’s arm and pulled him to safety as a motor car attempted to circumvent the traffic jam and drove up onto the pavement.

“Try not to get yourself killed, my dear.”


Author Bio

David C. Dawson

David C. Dawson is an award-winning author, journalist and documentary maker. He writes gay romance and contemporary thrillers featuring gay heroes in love.

His latest book The Foreign Affair was published in 2020. It’s the third in the Delingpole Mysteries series.

The first in the series: The Necessary Deaths, won an FAPA award in the best suspense/thriller category.

David’s also written two gay romances: For the Love of Luke and Heroes in Love.

He lives near Oxford, with his boyfriend and two cats. In his spare time, he tours Europe and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

Author Website: https://www.davidcdawson.co.uk

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