Saturday 17 February 2024




Fukushima: when a series of disasters devastate Japan, three criminals are presented with the perfect opportunity for a jailbreak.

Last year I released a novel called Mika Ito and it told the story of love and dark secrets in the midst of a series of epic disasters. However, I really thought Mika’s father, Shinsuke Takahashi, deserved to have his side of the story told.

Giving Shinsuke the limelight in the original Mika Ito would have been wrong: it was Mika and Dylan’s story. But I kept returning to the idea, extending it to all the villains in the Mika Ito universe, and I made a promise that one day I would tell their story.

That day is today.

Red Shift is a novella that begins on the day of the Fukushima disaster and follows the Mika Ito timeline, but it tells the story exclusively from the villain’s point of view. It's both an exciting stand-alone novella and a companion to Mika Ito.

An okay story of villain's escaping from custody during an earthquake and an attempt by the leader of them to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

I think my main issue with the story was a lack of empathy for any of the characters and as such nothing that happened to any of them affected me as I read it. My overwhelming feeling was indifference.

If I had read the longer, connected novel - Mika Ito, perhaps I would have gotten more from the story, but maybe not. There were a few plot points in this tale which required a slight stretch of credibility to believe in, but as it was only a relatively short piece of writing as opposed to something that required more of a time investment I could overlook them without too much irritation.

Overall okay, but not great.   

2.5 stars from 5

Read - February, 2024

Published - 2022

Page count - 79

Source - copy from author courtesy of email sign-up to his page

Format - Kindle

Wednesday 14 February 2024



"A fresh and fierce new voice to crime fiction...a stunning book that takes the reader on an intense and harrowing journey that is truly unforgettable. Consider me a big fan."— Don Winslow, New York Times bestselling author of The Cartel, The Force and City on Fire

In the vein of GET OUT and RAZORBLADE TEARS, a powerful and propulsive noir thriller - with an unforgettable cast of characters - asks us to consider what would happen if reparations for African Americans were finally charged and exacted..... by force?

Nate Evers, a young black political activist, struggles with rage as his people are still being killed in the streets 62 years after Emmett Till. When his little cousin is murdered, Nate shuns the graffiti murals, candlelight vigils, and Twitter hashtags that are commonplace after these senseless deaths. Instead, he leads 3 grief-stricken friends on a mission of retribution, kidnapping the descendants of long-ago perpetrators of hate crimes, confronting the targets with their racist lineages, and forcing them to pay reparations to a community fund. For 3 of the group members, the results mean justice; for Nate – pure revenge.

Not all targets go quietly into the night, though, and Nate and his friends' world spirals out of control when they confront the wrong man. Now the leader of a white supremacist group is hot on their tail as is a jaded lawman with some disturbingly racist views of his own.

As the 4 vigilantes fight to thwart their ruthless pursuers, they’re forced to accept an age-old truth: "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."

Early days in 2024 and I've probably just read one of the best books I'll encounter all year.

Powerful, topical, exciting, thought provoking, angry, and - as we track the last hours of young, love struck Darius - upsetting.

Smoke Kings was an addictive read. I didn't want to put it down. From the get go I was drawn in to the tale and got slightly irritated when life interfered with me discovering what was going to happen next.

This tale had a bit of everything.... love, loyalty, secrets, trust, tension, ignorance, anger, history, violence and at its core; ugly, brutal, incomprehensible racism.

Great characters, fantastic writing, a compelling story, decent pace, and a fantastic outcome. It's a book that I want to press into the hands of other keen readers. Highly recommended.

Kind of hard to believe this is a debut novel from author, Jahmal Mayfield. I'll definitely be looking out for his next book. 

5 stars from 5! 

Read - February, 2024

Published - 2024

Page count - 402

Source - review copy from publisher, Melville House

Format - Paperback ARC

Sunday 11 February 2024


Synopsis/blurb ....

Car thieves and the chop shop that buys from them combine to create high-octane stories of hot cars, hot crimes, and hot times in Dallas, Texas.

In “The Cadillac Job,” loyalty beyond the battlefield sends Carly and Knuckles on one last mission to save a dying teammate.

When Carly isn’t slinging drinks at the local VFW, she boosts cars—a job much like the one she had on a vehicle recovery team in Afghanistan.

Except her team isn’t the same.

Sweets is dying. And the last time Knuckles scouted for a Mustang, he ended up at a dude ranch off highway 175.

Her commanding officer is different, too.

She no longer answers to Captain Shrader. She answers to Huey, and the consequences for disobeying orders are deadly.

Determined to save Sweets, Carly steals cars to pay for a lifesaving surgery. But progress is slow, and Sweets is running out of time—until the Cadillac Job. The payout is big. So are the risks. If Carly succeeds, Sweets lives.

My kind of story here. Our main characters; a tight group of ex-military who served together, stealing cars to order to raise funds for a life-saving transplant operation for one of their own. Added pressures of time, with the clock running down on Sweets, leading to some ill-judged choices. I'm a sucker for a story where the main POV or sympathies are with the outlaw or villain; where necessity leads a decent person down the crooked road.. 

Great writing, tight, lean prose. Hardly a wasted word with no extra padding or fluff. I was engaged throughout and the finale didn't let me down.

An enjoyable 90 minutes or so's reading!

4 from 5

Note to self. 

Try and cross paths with more from Stacy Woodson and get stuck into the second in the Michael Bracken/Down and Out Books' Chop Shop series - Joseph S. Walker and Run and Gun.


Read - February, 2024

Published - 2024

Page count - 69

Source - Kindle Unlimited

Format - Kindle