The Eloquent Page – The End of the Road
News / April 3, 2024

I’ll admit I’ve been doing some heavy-duty procrastinating in an effort to avoid writing this post, but I can’t put it off any longer so here goes… After nearly fourteen years of waffling about books and how much I enjoy them, I’ve decided to shut up shop and move on to pastures new. Over the last twelve months, it has become increasingly apparent to me that my book reviews are no longer of sufficient interest to the book-reading public, based on website hits. Jim McLeod, my bearded bookish brother from another mother put it far better than I ever could. “…I’m going through the same thoughts. Not to bash the tikers and insta lot, but I have a feeling that the days of well-thought-out written reviews are over. It feels like authors and publishers are more interested in buzz than reviews”.  Times change, I get it. No one to blame, just the nature of things. I dont think my particular brand of literary enabling is the done thing any more and you know what? That’s ok. Some real-life changes have also made it increasingly difficult to devote as much time to The Eloquent Page as I have done in the…

Dead Water by C. A. Fletcher
C A Fletcher , Horror , News , Orbit , Supernatural / August 8, 2022

AND THE WATER SHALL CALL THEM HOME A water-borne blight hits a small community on a remote Scottish island. The residents are a mix of island-born and newcomers seeking a slower life away from the modern world; all have their own secrets, some much darker than others. Some claim the illness may be a case of mass hysteria – or even a long-buried curse – but when ferry service fails and phone towers go down, inconvenience grows into nightmarish ordeal as the outwardly harmonious fabric of the community is irreversibly torn apart. This week’s review is the deliciously unsettling new horror novel Dead Water by C A Fletcher. Still broken by a traumatic loss, Sig lives a quiet existence. Shunning human contact whenever possible, she is happy to spend her time alone. Obsessed with free diving, Sig only finds real peace when swimming deeper and deeper below the waves. Dark thoughts swirl around in her mind. Would it be so bad if she just drifted away? Over the course of a weekend, Sig is forced to confront a supernatural force that has been released near her home as well as the inner demons plaguing her increasingly fragile mental state. In…

Slow Horses by Mick Herron

Slough House is the outpost where disgraced spies are banished to see out the rest of their derailed careers. Known as the ‘slow horses’ these misfits have committed crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal while on duty. In this drab and mildewed office these highly trained spies don’t run ops, they push paper. Not one of them joined the Intelligence Service to be a slow horse and the one thing they have in common is they want to be back in the action. When a boy is kidnapped and held hostage, his beheading is scheduled for live broadcast on the net. And whatever the instructions of their masters at the Intelligence Service headquarters, the slow horses aren’t going to just sit quiet and watch. I’ve gone totally off-piste this week and thrown my review schedule completely out the windows. To Hell with new releases; for a change, I’ve decided to jot down some words about a book I read purely for the pleasure of reading it. I’d heard nothing but good things about a new television drama series called Slow Horses so I thought I would give it a go. Good news kids, it is truly…

May God Forgive by Alan Parks
Alan Parks , Canongate Books , Crime , News / April 28, 2022

Please note, May God Forgive is the fifth book in an ongoing series. If you have not read books one to four then what follows may contain some minor spoilers. Consider yourself duly warned! Glasgow is a city in mourning. An arson attack on a hairdresser’s has left five dead. Tempers are frayed and sentiments running high. When three youths are charged the city goes wild. A crowd gathers outside the courthouse but as the police drive the young men to prison, the van is rammed by a truck, and the men are grabbed and bundled into a car. The next day, the body of one of them is dumped in the city centre. A note has been sent to the newspaper: one down, two to go. Detective Harry McCoy has twenty-four hours to find the kidnapped boys before they all turn up dead, and it is going to mean taking down some of Glasgow’s most powerful people to do it . . . Like many cities of the time, mid-1970s Glasgow is a chaotic melting pot. The staunchly traditional sits side by side with the ultra-modern. Harry McCoy has to try and navigate these turbulent streets and understand why…

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka
Crime , Harvill Secker , Kotaro Isaka , News , Thriller / March 24, 2022

Nanao, nicknamed Lady Bird—the self-proclaimed “unluckiest assassin in the world”—boards a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with one simple task: grab a suitcase and get off at the next stop. Unbeknownst to him, the deadly duo Tangerine and Lemon are also after the very same suitcase—and they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard. Satoshi, “the Prince,” with the looks of an innocent schoolboy and the mind of a viciously cunning psychopath, is also in the mix and has history with some of the others. Risk fuels him as does a good philosophical debate . . . like, is killing really wrong? Chasing the Prince is another assassin with a score to settle for the time the Prince casually pushed a young boy off of a roof, leaving him comatose. When the five assassins discover they are all on the same train, they realize their missions are not as unrelated as they first appear. All aboard the Shinkansen. Please ensure your baggage is not blocking the walkway and you have a valid ticket ready for inspection. This week’s review is Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka, a new crime thriller direct from the shores of Japan. At first glance, you…

Azura Ghost by Essa Hansen
Essa Hansen , News , Orbit , Sci-Fi / February 4, 2022

Please note Azura Ghost is the second book in an ongoing series. If you’ve not read Nophek Gloss then what follows will likely contain some spoilery type detail. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Caiden has been on the run for ten years with his unique starship in order to keep his adversary, Threi, imprisoned. But when an old friend he’d once thought dead reappears, he is lured into a game of cat and mouse with the one person whose powers rival Threi’s: Threi’s sister Abriss. Now with both siblings on the hunt for Caiden and his ship, Caiden must rescue his long-lost friend from their clutches and uncover the source of both his ship’s power and his own origins in order to stop Abriss’s plan to collapse the multiverse.  Back in 2020, I read Essa Hansen’s debut novel, Nophek Gloss. It was thoroughly entertaining stuff. The sequel has just been released and the good news is it’s also well worth your time. Character-wise, I was unsurprised that Endirion Day and C* remain firm favourites. There is, undeniably, a lot going on with the main protagonist Caiden, but I would quite happily read an entire novel following Endirion Day’s adventures….

Witherward by Hannah Mathewson
Fantasy , Hannah Mathewson , News , Titan Books / February 11, 2021

Welcome to the Witherward, and to a London that is not quite like our own. Here, it’s summertime in February, the Underground is a cavern of wonders and magic fills the streets. But this London is a city divided, split between six rival magical factions, each with their own extraordinary talents – and the alpha of the Changelings, Gedeon Ravenswood, has gone rogue, threatening the fragile accords that have held London together for decades. Ilsa is a shapeshifting Changeling who has spent the first 17 years of her life marooned in the wrong London, where real magic is reviled as the devil’s work. Abandoned at birth, she has scratched out a living first as a pickpocket and then as a stage magician’s assistant, dazzling audiences by secretly using her Changeling talents to perform impossible illusions. When she’s dragged through a portal into the Witherward, Ilsa finally feels like she belongs. But her new home is on the brink of civil war, and Ilsa is pulled into the fray. The only way to save London is to track down Gedeon, and he just so happens to be Ilsa’s long-lost brother, one of the last surviving members of the family who stranded…

Night Train by David Quantick
David Quantick , Horror , News , Sci-Fi , Titan Books / August 13, 2020

A woman wakes up, frightened and alone – with no idea where she is. She’s in a room but it’s shaking and jumping like it’s alive. Stumbling through a door, she realizes she is in a train carriage. A carriage full of the dead. This is the Night Train. A bizarre ride on a terrifying locomotive, heading somewhere into the endless night. How did the woman get here? Who is she? And who are the dead? As she struggles to reach the front of the train, through strange and horrifying creatures with stranger stories, each step takes her closer to finding out the train’s hideous secret. Next stop: unknown. This week’s read, Night Train by David Quantick, is a sci-fi thriller with just a dash of horror sprinkled in for good measure. Set on a mysterious train travelling through the dark night, full of danger and the unknown; adventure abounds. Sounds like a winner to me. All aboard, this review is now leaving the station. Please ensure you have your tickets ready for inspection. Garland is an enigma even to herself. She wakes up alone with no memory of who she is and how she came to be where she…

A Decade of Book Waffling – The Eloquent Page is 10!
News , The Eloquent Page / July 15, 2020

The Eloquent Page sprung into life way back in 2010. I had posted a couple of reviews on my personal blog and my other half suggested I should have a bash at doing something a bit more structured. I was forever bemoaning the fact that I had nothing to occupy my spare time. Since then, I’ve spent the last decade sitting about engrossed in one book or another. Time well spent, I’m sure you’ll agree. So here we are, 772 posts later (I know I can’t believe it either), and I am still waffling about books on a regular basis. The last ten years has seen some flattering comments and the occasional weird moment. Here are just a few, in no particular order – I was described as ‘a genre authority’ at one point. I pondered it for a while, and think that just means I’m old and have been around long enough that people consider me part of the furniture. That’s ok. I’ll happily be that shabby looking credenza in the corner of the room. One weird incident was when an author accused me of encroaching on their social media presence because I linked to and shared one of…

Missing Person by Sarah Lotz
Crime , Hodder , News , Sarah Lotz / September 5, 2019

Missing-linc.com comprises a group of misfit sleuths scattered across the States. Their macabre passion is giving names to the unidentified dead. When Ellie Caine starts investigating the corpse known as the Boy in the Dress, the Boy’s killer decides to join the group. The closer they get to the truth, the closer he will get to them. The Boy was Teddy Ryan. He was meant to have been killed in a car crash in the west of Ireland in 1989. Only he wasn’t. There is no grave in Galway and Teddy was writing letters from New York a year after he supposedly died. But one night he met a man in a Minnesota bar and vanished off the face of the earth. Teddy’s nephew, Shaun, is no hero, but he is determined to solve the thirty-year-old mystery. He joins forces with the disparate members of Missing-linc to hunt down the killer. The only problem: the killer will be with them every step of the way . . . When I heard Sarah Lotz was writing a crime novel, I have to admit I was more than a little intrigued. I’m a huge fan of her horror fiction. In fact, I’ll…

The Eloquent Page Review of the Year – 2018 Edition
News / December 28, 2018

2018 is all but done, so it’s time once again for me to dig my judging hat out of storage and cast my beady eye over the last twelve months here at The Eloquent Page. Before all the excitement and accolades, some thrilling numbers for all you stat fans out there. Since 1st January I’ve read fifty-eight books. Forty-one of those fall into the categories of either fantasy, sci fi or horror. Conversely, crime, action/adventure, and historical fiction were all pretty thin on the ground. I’ve written fifty-three thousand five  hundred words of book-related review waffle and, most importantly, thoroughly enjoyed myself to boot. Now time for the awards. As ever, what follows is a random assortment of plaudits, each of my own devising. The “End of the World and I Feel Fine Award” for the Apocalypse in Fiction – Tough group this year. The Feed by Nick Clark Windo was brilliant. Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone was suitably bonkers (flesh eating spiders are wonderfully icky). Hunted by G X Todd continued The Defender series, and was both thoughtful and immersive. So many great books in one of my favourite categories. I do love the end of the world. My…