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Simon Beckett: Stone Bruises (Review)


Simon Becket

After an MA in English, Simon Beckett spent several years as a property repairer before teaching in Spain. Back in the UK, he played percussion in several bands. He has been a freelance journalist since 1992, writing for national British newspapers and magazines. Some of his more memorable assignments have included going on police drugs raids, touring brothels with a vice unit and trying to learn how to win a gun fight in Nevada. It was a visit to the Body Farm in Tennessee that was the inspiration behind the internationally bestselling David Hunter crime thrillers, which have now been translated into 29 languages.

Simon’s novels have now sold 7 million copies worldwide, and he was the UK’s top selling author in Europe for 2009. The Chemistry of Death was shortlisted for the 2006 CWA’s Duncan Lawrie (Gold) Dagger and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year in 2008. He has also been shortlisted twice for the Dagger in the Library award, in 2009 and 2010, when he was highly commended. In 2011 The Calling of the Gravespent nine weeks at the top of the German hardback charts, and also reached No. 1 in Austria, Switzerland and Poland.

As well as the David Hunter series, he is the author of four psychological thrillers; Fine Lines, Animals (winner of the ‘Marlowe’ award for Best International Crime Novel), Where There’s Smoke and Owning Jacob. These were recently published in Germany (as Voyeur, Tiere, Flammenbrut and Obsession) where they all were #1 bestsellers. Owning Jacob has also now been published in Italy and the Netherlands.

Simon is married and lives in Sheffield, England.

Author Web site

Product Description

stone bruises

‘Somebody!’ I half-sob and then, more quietly, ‘Please.’ The words seem absorbed by the afternoon heat, lost amongst the trees. In their aftermath, the silence descends again. I know then that I’m not going anywhere…Sean is on the run. We don’t know why and we don’t know from whom, but we do know he’s abandoned his battered, blood-stained car in the middle of an isolated, lonely part of rural France at the height of a sweltering summer. Desperate to avoid the police, he takes to the hedgerows and country lanes only to be caught in the vicious jaws of a trap. Near unconscious from pain and loss of blood, he is freed and taken in by two women – daughters of the owner of a rundown local farm with its ramshackle barn, blighted vineyard and the brooding lake. And it’s then that Sean’s problems really start…Superbly written, Stone Bruises is a classic nail-shredder of a thriller that holds you from the beginning. The narrative slowly, inexorably tightens its grip as the story unfurls and will keep you guessing until the unnerving and shocking final twist…


When I first heard about this book I looked up the author, there were some fantastic review, Chemistry of death stood out. I had to have a copy of the book and review it, i want to change my review pile to include more crime fiction.

Then i got the premise for the book, and i thought…Noooooooo September (at Transworld) has conned me, this is something else, this talk of a great book is all fluff to get me to read it, what is she doing to me, this is Sooooooo not my sort of book. But she was wonderfully kind enough to send me a copy and approve my net galley request, i could not let her down.

So with a heavy heart i started reading, and was instantly lost in the book. In one short evening i had read nearly half the book. I still am not sure what it was that drew me in and enveloped me in the book. The characters were so real, it was like being sat with a childhood friend as he spills out his tale of a summer gone wrong. The descriptions of France were not your classic scenes, There was no holiday romance, there was pain, fear, uncertainty, threats, hard work and  reflection, and i think it was that reflection that caught me. That sudden stop of the merry go round of life, an escape from all your troubles and letting time stand still, at least until finally the clock is wound again and time starts a fresh.

The book isn’t full of surprises, i could usually spot what came next, but i don’t think its meant to hide or surprise, but to convey an odd twisted normality, that whilst the main characters issues are on hold the French  families troubles still continue, in fact are exacerbated by his presence, culminating in time restarting and Seans return to the real world

absolutely everything about this book screams that i will not like it, and yet i loved it. a wonderful book that i finished before i wanted to.

I shall be reading more by this author


Dr David Hunter
1. The Chemistry of Death (2006)
2. Written in Bone (2007)
3. Whispers of the Dead (2009)
4. The Calling of the Grave (2010)
The Chemistry of DeathWritten in BoneWhispers of the DeadThe Calling of the Grave
Fine Lines (1994)
Animals (1995)
Where There’s Smoke (1997)
Owning Jacob (1998)
Stone Bruises (2014)
Fine LinesAnimalsWhere There's SmokeOwning Jacob
Stone Bruises

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Filed under Crime, Thrillers

Iain Gale: Keanes Company (2013) Review


Born in London , Iain Gale began writing historical fiction in 2005 after a successful career as an art critic and journalist.
He has experience as a judge in prestigious art and literary prizes and served for a number of years on the visual art committee of the Scottish Arts Council. He was also instrumental in the foundation of the Edinburgh Art Festival. Iain is currently an active member of the Scottish Committee of the Society of Authors, the Friends of the Waterloo Committee and the Waterloo 200 Committee.
In 1997 Iain was commended as Art Critic of the Year in the Bank of Scotland Press Awards.He has also made numerous appearances on national radio, including the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, LBC radio and Radio Scotland.Iain is married to an Edinburgh GP and between them they have six children aged between 17 and 7 and two impossible Labradors. They divide their time between Edinburgh and Fife.


Publication Date: 25 April 2013 | Series: Keane 1

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James Keane, officer in the 27th Foot, card sharp, ladies’ man and one of the finest but most rebellious soldiers in the British army, is under threat of court martial for disobeying Wellesley’s strict rules. But his special, even ungentlemanly, skills have caught his general’s eye, so he is selected to form a unique unit which will work behind enemy lines.

Keane’s next task is to hand-pick his band of men, some from prison for their aptitude at lock-picking and forgery as well as fighting skills, and form them into an effective unit before being sent on their first intelligence-gathering special mission, this time to link up with a lethal Spanish guerrilla leader.

Stealing into Oporto, Keane’s men have to hold a vital post over the river a crossing against overwhelming forces, before being detached once more into the high mountains on another mission where the strains of the diverse characters of the unit test Keane’s leadership skills to the uttermost.


Author Iain Gale begins a new series with his protagonist James Keane, and oh what a series it is. I will not pretend to know the history of this type of Soldier in this period. But Keane commands the first example of Special forces for the British Army. A company of men with exceptional skills, and like most highly skilled and tuned men, men with their own flaws and issues. These men are the top of their field, but don’t think SAS, imagine the time period and the pool being pulled from. Heroic, but flawed. Keane must shape this group, a group with access to the best materials and also privy to information the enemy would kill to get their hands on, into the best of the best. Viewed with suspicion, envy and potentially awe by their comrades in other units, the regular troops, cannon fodder.

This is a must for those who love Sharpe and or the peninsular war. It takes the sort of story a Sharpe fan would love and takes it to the next level. Anyone who knows Iain Gales work will already be aware that he is an exceptional writer, skilled in bringing the sights sounds smells and brutality of war out on the page and alive in the imagination.

 Fans of Bernard Cornwell: please do beware this covers the same ground trodden by the illustrious Sharpe, and as such there can be only one hero… But also remember, Sharpe is fictional, as is Keane, so don’t expect Sharpe to save the day in Gales book. There is an element of the Dirty Dozen style in the band, but for me that added to the enjoyment, in this style plenty may seen…how shall I say… Magnified, something that seems a little unbelievable, but remember these boys are the elite company.  This really is action adventure set with a historical back ground, something I suspect would have been published in Boys own once upon a time.

In summary…Loved it, bring on book 2.

 Highly recommend


Other titles

Jack Steel
1. Man of Honour (2007)
2. Rules of War (2008)
3. Brothers in Arms (2009)
Man of HonourRules of WarBrothers in Arms
Peter Lamb
1. Black Jackals (2011)
2. Jackals’ Revenge (2012)
Black JackalsJackals' Revenge
The Four Days in June (2006)
Alamein (2010)
Keanes Company (2013)
The Four Days in JuneAlameinKeanes Company

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Filed under Historical Fiction