Monday, 18 June 2018


Dale Brendan Hyde, author of The Ink Run (on the blog yesterday - here) answers a few questions for me...

I’m guessing the book writing’s maybe not full time? If not, what’s the day job? Can you give us a quick biography of yourself?

Writing is my full time work, I have done many jobs over the years from Sales jobs working abroad, time shares, running my own sales team in Belfast, working in the Middle East doing casual jobs, like fuelling boats on the jetty, but for the past fifteen years all I have concentrated on is to enhance my writing skills.

Do you have a typical writing schedule?

No, I don’t have a typical writing schedule, I only got into some kind of routine when writing my debut novel, which I found was necessary to put into some kind of schedule to complete the typing of the manuscript, I usually work by hand writing everything first, making note books with ideas and then I build from there into some more kind of structured document, until I find it is time to start the actual typing.

Do you insert family, friends, and colleagues into your characters?

I have used certain friends and family members to reflect in my debut novel, I certainly focused on my Mother and Father, especially my Father as one of the main characters Stan! I do have to point out though, that he is nothing at all like I have portrayed him in the book, only certain characteristics and mannerisms that I found suited to the structure of the book.  I also used certain names from my family tree, that I attached to characters in my book.

When you have an idea and you sit down to construct your story – do you know what the end result is roughly going to look like? Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?

Yes, when I start plotting in my note books I have always have a strong feeling of how the end of the novel will read, as I continue to hand write ideas into the note book. I always draw and sketch the front covers and titles, I also work on the blurb for the back covers.

Are there any subjects off limits? From my reading of The Ink Run (a few pages to go now) and the trials and tribulations Otiss endures, I’m guessing not many.

There are no subjects off limit to my writing at all as I actually got into my writing as I have a number of social issue to write about from a personal point of view, I would say that The Ink Run covers a lot with reference to the abuse of children in the home, and also covers the abuse of patients in asylums, where my second book,The Death Row Thrift shop is more of a main stream crime/horror story, and the only reason that I have decided to write something of this nature is in the hope I can get into a bigger publishing company where I can then get the main book published which is titled STITCHED. I am getting quite tired of the main stream writers that are out there and seemingly at the top of the game, I respect their craft of storytelling, these however do not seem to be pushing the boundaries of social problems, which I hope to eventually cover within my own novels, as for instance the third novel that I will be publishing under the title of Stitched, covers the horrific social stigma of enduring a miscarriage of justice.I found whilst researching, that only the highest profile of case get some kind of media attention, the Stitched book will highlight the little man on the street, the one that does not have a big shot lawyer or has some kind of business in the echelons of high society that may be able to influence the outcome of trials, while most miscarriage of justice centre around murder, my intention is to highlight fully the stigma of an innocent man dealing with a rape case.

How long from conception to completion did The Ink Run take? Was it a smooth process or were there many bumps in the road along the way?

The Ink Run took at least 15 years to complete, that doesn’t mean I sat at a type writer for 15 years, I would put it in that time bracket as an example from when I first initially wrote anything first used in the novel to the actual day of typing the end. It certainly wasn’t a smooth journey, there were many obstacles in my own personal life that put the book on the back burner, from things as being totally skint and having to put my laptop into the pawn shop, and due to having no money to get it back out I lost it! Then having to save for a new laptop to work on to more, personal horrific bumps in the road like being diagnosed with bowel cancer, which then spread to the liver and lung! Which for the past five years has slowed the process down, but did not stop me from getting the book finished and published.

Did the end result mirror your expectations at the start of the process, or is it a very different book to what you imagined?

The book was completed totally as I imagined from how I had written the manuscript, although I put off typing this due to the monumental task of editing it, but once I had taken the plunge and over a couple of years steadily edited into the hand written manuscript I found that once I began typing the book it almost typed itself as I had read the book through so many times, this was implanted into my mind as an already completed piece of literature.

Is The Ink Run your only published work to date or do you have more stuff out there?

I do have more published work, although this is not out for sale, I first published through Route a poetry book, which I entered in for the TS Elliot prize, I have also contributed to a friend’s book called Why about the alienation of fathers in custody battles and why this is important to have both mother and father present in their lives as they grow up, many magazines I have also written for, which include MMA Uncut, Glasgow Eyes Magazine and Inside Time the national paper for prisoners.

Any unpublished gems in your bottom drawer?

I do have a few unpublished gems in my bottom drawer, things that have been plotted out and given titles to, such as Concer and The Different Doors in Heaven, and I am also in the future going to re-package and publish my poetry book, which is now newly titled, The Gods R Watchin.

What’s the current project in progress?

My current project in progress is as mentioned previously, The Death Row Thrift shop based in Dripping Springs, Texas and is a crime/Horror novel, it follows a widower from Ireland who flees Ireland to America and gets caught up with three serial killers who are all operating in her new hone town.

What’s the best thing about writing?

The best thing about being a writer is the freedom to write anywhere in the world at any given time and to have the chance to have your thoughts read all over the world, if you are writing something that is a powerful perception of a certain subject, then that can become a very appealing reason to become an author in the first place.

The worst?

The worst thing about writing is, spending many years working very hard and feeling that sometimes you have not been given the money/pay that reflects your hard work.

What are the last five books you’ve read?

The last books that I have read are the two follow up books to the Steig Larsson trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, after his unfortunate death A writer called David Lagercrantz took up the mantel of the trilogy using the same characters and in my opinion did a marvellous job, I have had many books on my to read list but due to writing my own things haven’t got around to, but I have managed to read a book that Jamie Byng the director of new books at Cannongate sent to me it was a book about alcoholic writers by Olivia Laing titled A Trip to Echo Springs, I found this a very thought provoking novel about the literary giants that wrote with what some assume as a burden, not my personal thoughts however. Another great book I have read that won the Man Booker Prize was A brief History of Seven killings by Marlon James, which covers the political turmoil which surrounded the shooting of Bob Marley in Kingston, Jamaica.  Whilst on holiday in Mauritius I read Steinbeck’s buccaneering novel The Cup of Gold about the life of the Pirate Sir Henry Morgan, which given the setting only added to the genius of the writing.

Who do you read and enjoy?

See above

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

The book I wish I has written is Papillon, by Henri Charriere who was sentenced to life in a French penal colony for a murder he didn’t commit, it has been quoted on the cover as the best adventure story ever written.

Favourite activity when not working or writing?

I used to enjoy boxing and training however due to the ongoing issues with my health I am unable to train to my full ability, I do however enjoy socialising with my friends, the cinema and spending time with my dog Nap

What’s the last film you watched that rocked you?

On my way home from my last holiday in Hong Kong, on the inflight entertainment I watched a great film put together by polish students it was an animated adaption of Van Gogh’s life and murder/suicide, using the actual paintings he produced as the back drop of the film, which was titled Loving Vincent.

TV addict or not? What’s the must watch show in the Hyde household?

I don’t usually watch much TV as I find this a distraction to my writing and I know that the majority of people have seen The Sons of Anarchy, but for me I am only just bingeing out on this on Netflix,

Many thanks to Dale for his time.

Sunday, 17 June 2018



Book Description

OTISS is an abused child, physically & mentally tortured for years in the home by his sadistic parents. His Father STAN plots an elaborate alibi enabling him to set up the boy for the murder of his own Mother.

A trial of sorts, hanging on the basis of a defense of automatism( murder when sleepwalking) sees a detainment to the FABERON institution for the criminal insane.

In this cloudy pond, where the staff are every bit as dangerous & disturbed as the patients.

Young OTISS is placed on a wing funded as a trial by the Government which uses olden day methods from centuries past to cure madness.

Eventually released a decade later as an even more tortured soul, he sets up THE VILLAGE EYE pub as a front to his real nocturnal activities of being a VIGILANTE.

Warning beatings on the scum of the village soon becomes tiresome as he reaches new limits of retribution.

Still traumatized from youth, will he find the courage to finally confront STAN?

You can't truly escape your blood lines DNA as fatal mistakes see a familiar face from the INSTITUTION reveal that our main protagonist has not been the only one keeping the VIGIL & upping the ANTE.

The Ink Run is the debut novel from author Dale Brendan Hyde. It's a book which catalogues the life of Otiss from childhood and the sadistic abuse of his father with the indifference to his suffering by his mum, who is also a victim. Onward through the false imprisonment and his detention in an asylum, after being framed for his mother's murder. To his life after freedom and a continuation of the violence which has accompanied him throughout his life, albeit with Otiss now as the harbinger.

Intense, dark, disturbing, cruel, uncomfortable and challenging. I don't think I could say I enjoyed it, who could with such a life described? It was a book I needed to read in short bursts over a prolonged period of time.

Difficult themes are explored ...... child abuse, institutional abuse and a corrupt justice system. These are contrasted with displays of resilience, spirit and defiance and the comfort gleaned from friendship and strength garnered from shared experiences.

Pre-imprisonment, there are temporary moments of light and respite in a solitary friendship with Johnny and the brief connection Otiss forms with his grandfather, but they are few and far between. Normality for Otiss is abuse.

We also get a feel for incarceration and the sadistic nature of the institution Otiss finds himself in. Staff abuse is commonplace with the hierarchy a cruel regime. One early hope for compassion and humane treatment in the guise of  Doctor Woo is quickly extinguished with Woo's departure and Otiss' suffering continues, indeed greatens.

Post freedom, I struggled to empathise with Otiss and his actions. Our victim turned vigilante and whilst the targets of his ire were bullies and deserving of punishment, in some ways it was sad that Otiss was the one to dispense it. A balancing of the scales for previous sins suffered in some ways diminished him in my eyes. The D-Day showdown with Stan - father and chief architect of Otiss' misery was gratuitously prolonged and cruel. Violence begets violence, which may be the author's point. I wish he had walked away and broken the cycle. Easier said than done, I guess.

On the downside - it could have been much shorter and we could have gotten where we were going in a few less pages. The numerous incidents related from the first stage of life, pre-murder after a while seemed a bit repetitious and numbing. I got the message early and was a little bit irked by the narration of another episode of cruelty, followed by another incident of abuse and and ....

On the upside - it's a thought provoking novel which doesn't shy away from presenting abuse and putting it to the forefront of your mind. Better to be confronted by such things, than exist in a bubble where you can pretend they don't happen. 

A difficult read - very challenging but worth the effort.

3 from 5

Read in May/June 2018
Published - 2017
Page count - 416
Source - review copy from author
Format - paperback

Thursday, 14 June 2018


Scratching my head, I can't actually recall whether I've read anything from this continent or not - probably not then.

There's a  couple here from Brazil and four from Argentina, no other country on the continent has a presence in the collection.

Sergio Bizzio, Particia Melo, Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza, Guillermo Orsi, Ernesto Mallo and Ricardo Piglia....

Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza - The Silence of the Rain (2002)

The first in a seven book series. Somewhat foolishly, I think I have most of them despite never having read him. Go figure.

The first in a stunning new literary crime series featuring Detective Espinosa of the Rio de Janeiro Police Department. A handsome young businessman is found dead in downtown Rio, a suicide who left no note, who had everything to live for. But by the time the police are called, all traces of the man's identity and the weapon have been removed. Then as Detective Espinosa discovers that the man moved in the upper echelons of Rio society, and meets his beguiling and remarkable wife, clues to the way he lived and how he died lead Espinosa tantalisingly close to the truth. But is he on the right track?

Serge Bizzio - Rage (2009)
I think this is his only novel, or at least the only one translated into English

"A portrait etched in acid of a Buenos Aires society menaced by economic and political crisis. Without value judgement but with light irony, Bizzio reveals the ugly secrets of a family, seen through the eyes of his naive squatter. The imagery is often blinding and the dialogue pitch-perfect." - Le Temps

Jose Maria, a construction worker, is in love with Rosa, a maid in an exclusive Buenos Aires mansion. Subjected to constant humiliation by his foreman, Jose Maria kills him, then hides on an empty floor in the mansion. He silently observes the decadent behavior of the owners and watches Rosa in her most intimate moments. Jose Maria is also privy to more humiliating experiences - he watches as Rosa is raped by the young son of the family, and so he must kill again.

A metaphor for the decline of a social class, a country, and the resentment that spreads like a plague penetrating to the core of its people, Rage is also a tale of love and suspense that raises the tension with each successive page until it unavoidably shifts toward an intimate, shattering catastrophe. Humor, misfortune, shrewd social commentary, and thrilling erotic fantasy come together, offering the reader an inside vision of contemporary Argentina.

Guillermo Orsi - Holy City (2012)
I think this was a Poundland bargain a few years ago. Not sure when I'll get around to reading it. It seems to have lost its appeal at the minute.

Buenos Aires, Argentina. A passenger liner runs aground on the muddy banks of the nearby Rio de la Plata. The passengers are reduced to sleeping in the corridors of hotels and fall easy prey to the city's criminal class, who are always willing to take a wealthy tourist hostage. The first to go missing are a Colombian drug baron and his girlfriend, apprehended by Federal Police who may or may not be all they claim to be. But criminal celebrities of this calibre are a valuable commodity, and their abductor soon finds that the couple has been lifted from under his nose. Into the confusion steps Walter Carroza, a weary but honest cop. With his sidekick and confidante, Veronica Berutti, a policeman's widow and crusading lawyer, he embarks on an investigation that will lead him from the shanty markets of Buenos Aires' Bolivian quarter through layer upon layer of corruption towards the 'Holy Land', a theme park based on ancient Palestine, where a killer with a grisly taste for memorabilia lurks.

Ricardo Piglia - Money to Burn (2003)

Probably the one from the six that shouts out to me the most. I do like my tales of robberies and heists, more than murders.

Love and betrayal complicate a robbery gone wrong in this edgy true-crime novel based on a 1965 Argentine bank robbery. There's the drama of the botched raid itself, followed by a blowout afterparty, an attempted double-crossing of the corrupt local authorities, and a final shootout where, as a last act of rebellion, the robbers burn all the loot. This gritty tale has been adapted for a major motion picture by renowned Argentine director Marcelo Pinyero.

Ernesto Mallo - Sweet Money (2011)

Needle in a Haystack is the first in the series.

In the second book in the Superintendent Lascano series, Lascano is drawn into a war between the Buenos Aires chief of police and the Apostles, drug-dealing cops who want to control the city. When the chief of police is murdered, Lascano becomes the Apostles' next target. His only way out of the country is to retrieve the loot from a bungled bank robbery. 

Ernesto Mallo paints a scathing portrait of Argentina, where the Junta's generals are paraded in court in civilian clothes and treated like mere petty thieves. Corruption and violence continue to rule, but at the center of the novel lies a touching portrayal of two broken men, a cop and a robber, whose humanity is sorely tested by the troubles racking their beloved country.

Patricia Melo - The Killer (1997)

I've a few of her books on the pile, but not got around to her yet.

The Killer follows the incandescently gory trial of Maiqeul, a casual hood in a poor part of Sao Paulo as he escalates to the protected glory of full-blooded organised crime. It starts with an innocent hairdying scene, followed by sex and a murder, as chillingly incidental as the opening to Camus' L'Etranger. Melo enters the naive, brutal and oddly sympathetic mind of the killer with a poetic stream of consciousness that grips you till the relentless end. There is a quiet gentleness reminiscent of Banana Yoshimoto, mixed with the coolly horrific imagination of Quentin Tarantino: "I learned to walk once I started using weapons. To crush sidewalks." The long sentences build into a ferocious rhythm of panic, fear and lawlessness. The more Maiquel assassinates, the more he is praised by the community, until he kills the wrong kid. As hatred accumulates, the prose reaches a violent splendour that is a rush to read. Even his love life is tragically flawed as he gets the good girl pregnant and falls for the bad babe, Erica. "I hate you, out, love is a detonator, spitting in the face, out, explosive charges, signed Erica, pain, I was exhausted ..." With clever, deadpan satire, Melo pulls off a fabulous critique of class hatred, legal hypocrisy and anomie. Superb. --Cherry Smyth

Wednesday, 13 June 2018



Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

Another new-to-me author in Ann Girdharry and a collection of four quite different tales of suspense, a couple of which have supernatural elements.

Trading with Death almost fairy tale like setting, two sisters talking a shortcut through the deep dark woods, one is sick and ailing, the other older, concerned and loving. Minor spoiler - one makes it home and one doesn't. A pact with death with the appearance and reassurance of a deceased grandmother to smooth the way. Not my usual thing, but it worked and I really enjoyed it. I was convinced.

Tell Me a Secret .... an unmarried couple, each separately considering their future and their commitment to each other. Some impatient third party involvement and a reminder that love wasn't part of the plan. Some issues that demand an urgent resolution. More straightforward storytelling and firmly set in the real world - very tense as the climax approaches.

Sweet Justice ....... two siblings - one older and approaching womanhood, the other a young boy, a missing mother and a stepfather with an unhealthy appetite. Again, it kind of read like a modern day fairy tale. Death, abandonment, an ever-increasing unease transforming into all out dread, a plan of action and a taking back of control, albeit at the risk of the ultimate sacrifice. My pick of the bunch.

Written on the Apple Tree ...... another tale which requires a suspension of disbelief to buy into the premise. A tale of thwarted love and romance across the generations, with a continuing attempt to reconnect and get the happy ever after. Probably the least favourite of the four, not that I was stabbing my eyeballs with a fork wanting it to end. I still enjoyed it, just a bit less than the others.

My first time with Ann Girdharry's work, but hopefully not my last, as I really enjoyed these.

4 from 5

Girdharry has a couple of series novels to her name, featuring Kal Medi. The second - London Noir sits on the pile.

Her website is here.
Author Facebook page is here.

Read in June, 2018
Published - 2018 (as a collection, each is available individually and all dropped first in 2015)
Page count - 98
Source - review copy from Rachel's Random Resources as part of a blog tour
Format - Kindle

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


A couple from Michael Wiley this week, another author I've yet to try....

Wiley has written seven books so far. Three in his Joe Kozmarski series and three in his Detective Daniel Turner series. These two are one and three in the Turner series.

His latest book, Monument Road (2017) features Franky Dast - so may have seen the commencement of another three-fer.

The Last Striptease won him the Private Eye Writers of America and St. Martin's Press prize for best first private eye novel in 2006.

His full list is....

Joe Kozmarski
1. Last Striptease (2007)
2. The Bad Kitty Lounge (2010)
3. A Bad Night's Sleep (2011)

Detective Daniel Turner Mystery
1. Blue Avenue (2014)
2. Second Skin (2015)
3. Black Hammock (2016)

Franky Dast
1. Monument Road (2017)

Michael Wiley's website is here.
He's on Twitter@mwileyauthor

Blue Avenue (2014)

Introducing homicide detective Daniel Turner and his troubled friend 'BB' in the first of this atmospheric crime noir series.

Summoned by his old friend, homicide detective Daniel Turner, to identify the trussed-up, naked body of a woman, found wrapped in cellophane amongst a pile of garbage on Blue Avenue, a down-at-heel area of Jacksonville, Florida, businessman William Byrd or 'BB' is in for a shock. He recognises the dead woman as Belinda Mabry, the girl with whom he spent an intense and passionate summer twenty-five years before. What's more, as Daniel informs him, she's the third victim to have met such a hideously gruesome end. Determined to find out what happened to Belinda Mabry and where she'd been for the past twenty-five years, BB must revisit his own troubled past - and discover more than he ever really wanted to know about the woman he once loved. But his investigations are causing serious ripples amongst prominent members of the local community. Has BB found himself on a road of no return?

Black Hammock (2016)

Homicide detective Daniel Turner revisits an 18-year-old unsolved case in the third of this intriguing and atmospheric crime noir series.

We had set out from Atlanta to kill my mother and her husband. A slow kill.

Oren has returned to the family home he last saw when he was eight years old. Eighteen years later, he is bent on an elaborate scheme of revenge.

Homicide detective Daniel Turner was never able to forget the unsolved case, the disappearance of Amon Jakobsen all those years ago. Convinced the man was murdered, he was never able to prove it.

Now he has returned to the isolated house on Black Hammock Island following reports of a disturbance. Is this his chance to find out what really happened to Amon eighteen years before? And will he be in time to prevent history repeating itself?

Monday, 11 June 2018



The Lift is a stand alone Eddie Collins short story of about 30 pages. 

CSI Eddie Collins embarks on another ordinary day. But the people he meets in a lift prove that you should never make assumptions, never let preconceptions sway your judgement. And never let down your guard.

If you like fast-paced crime thrillers with raw emotions and characters that reach out of the book and grab you by the throat, you’ll love Andrew Barrett’s Eddie Collins series.

My reading having dropped off a cliff the past couple of months, a short sharp injection was needed to try and spark some life back into me. Andrew Barrett's The Lift assisted in that aim.

Eddie Collins is a series character from Barrett, with four novels and a couple of shorter pieces featuring Eddie. Collins is a CSI and on his way to a high rise flat to collect some evidence. Two other characters, an older gentleman and a reluctant youth are his companions in the lift.

Inevitably the lift breaks down and our tale unfolds. Conflict is in the air.... tension, fear, a desire for justice, family, negotiation, a shared history and ultimately violence and an unforeseen outcome.

I did enjoy this one. There's a twist in the tale, which with stories of this nature is probably compulsory. Not that I enjoyed it any the less. I'll be reading more from Barrett with Eddie Collins in the future.

4 from 5

Andrew Barrett has his website here.

Read in June, 2018
Published  - 2015
Page count - 51
Source - purchased copy (probably a freebie)
Format - Kindle

Sunday, 10 June 2018



Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation.

As a result of Jack ‘stealing’ Philomena’s diary and his association with the Pinkerton detective agency, it is discovered that Mary Walsh worked undercover for the Pinkertons, investigating the Knights of Labour (the fastest growing workers’ rights movements in America of the late 1800’s). The women had been working together, tracing the man who was selling guns and dynamite to the more extremest factions of the workers movement. This led them to Ruby’s, a secret ‘nightclub for deviants’, where Stevens and Inspector O’Leary believe the pair fell foul of the man they were looking for, gang leader Joseph Mannheim.

With the May 4th Haymarket riots and bombings looming, Stevens must uncover the truth about The Hanging Women before it’s too late.

I'm not the world's biggest fan of historical mysteries but was pleasantly rewarded when taking a punt on this book from John Mead.

Set in mid-1880s Chicago, a couple of women are discovered strangled and hanging upside-down in the dock area. The man who discovers the bodies, Jack Stevens is an ex-lawman and our main character, as he effortlessly inserts himself into the investigation.

I quite enjoyed the investigation of the murders, with the back-drop of a period of social unrest in Chicago. We have the involvement of the Pinkertons, some competing criminal gangs, some rich and influential Chicagoan families and the growing influence of a worker's rights movement. I must admit, at times I was slightly confused by the number of characters introduced to the fray, with their rivalries and connections with each other. Most of them had history with Stevens or his wife, Martha.

Stevens himself is a larger than life character, at times more interested in his next glass of whisky, as he is in bringing the culprits to task. He's a borderline alcoholic, prone to blackouts and memory loss, unfaithful, fearless, intelligent, loyal and foolhardy. His past history as a lawman, earns him respect from the detective leading the investigation. Hostility with one of the Pinkerton agents involved in the case, also adds a bit of flavour to the mix. Not everyone is Jack's biggest fan. At times, just when you think Stevens is a lush and incapable of functioning properly, he surprises you with his insight and ability to acquire useful information. Not a man to be under estimated.

Plenty of drink, a dash of politics, family tensions, grief and loss, a bit of bible-thumping, a visit or two to a house of ill-repute, a jewel robbery, some inter-racial same gender exhibitionism, some cross-dressing and infidelity, a Russian lothario, inevitably some additional crimes and an increasing body count and a low-speed pursuit on horseback, before a climactic gunfight to rival that at the OK Corral. Lots to like.

Ticks in a lot of boxes and quite a quick read once I got into it.

The Hanging Women is John Mead's debut novel. I'd be interested in reading more from him in future, time allowing.

4 from 5

Read - June 2018
Published - 2018
Page count - 248
Source - review copy from author, via Rachel's Random Resources
Format - paperback