The Dentist by Tim Sullivan

I’m pleased to be joining the blog tour for the debut novel, The Dentist by Tim Sullivan, organised by Emma of damppebbles.com today. This book is currently free as a ebook on the Kindle.

Synopsis:

A homeless man. Violently strangled. No leads. Except his past.

An outsider himself, DS George Cross is drawn to this case. The discovery of the dead man’s connection to an old cold case then pulls Cross in further. Convinced this is where the answer to the murder lies, he sets about solving another that someone has spent the past fifteen years thinking they’ve got away with. 

Cross’ relentless obsession with logic, detail and patterns is what makes him so irritatingly brilliant. It doesn’t exactly make him popular with colleagues or his superiors, though. He has numerous enemies in the force wanting to see him fail.

Red flags are soon raised as suspicious inconsistencies and errors in the original detective’s investigation come to light. Now retired, this ex-cop has powerful friends in the force and a long-standing dislike of Cross. 

Set in picturesque Bristol in the Southwest of England, it’s not long before the city reveals its dark underbelly, in a case of intriguing twists and turns whose result astonishes even those involved.

Difficult and awkward, maybe. But Cross has the best conviction rate in Avon & Somerset Police. By far. Will this case put an end to that?

My thoughts:

I have to be honest – if I had seen the title of this book in a bookshop or online, I would probably have avoided it – thinking it was about a psychotic dentist. Thankfully, Emma from damppebbles sent out the blurb of the book and this piqued my interest (as did the setting of Bristol – my eldest is off to University there in a couple of weeks time).

I’m pleased to say that Tim Sullivan has created a wonderful set of characters. DS George Cross is a brilliant detective, who has a super power – he has Aspergers, so sees the world in a different way to many of his colleagues. He is a man of routine, who needs everything to be done properly and in a specific way (for example, his food mustn’t touch other food on his plate). His work partner is Ottey, who tries to understand him and to help him negotiate a world full of challenges and social expectations. We also meet George’s dad, Raymond who is a retired engineer and hoarder. Hopefully we will find out more about them as the series about DS Cross progresses.

The dentist, in the title, is the homeless murder victim. Cross and Ottey need to solve a number of puzzles including another murder from 15 years earlier to enable them to solve this murder. The story builds slowly as we meet the characters, then the tension increases as Cross and his small team track down information and potential witnesses. This is a no spoilers review so I’m not going to drop any hints about the plot. This is a book I’m happy to recommend to fans of crime fiction and I’m looking forward to meeting DS Cross again in The Cyclist later this year.

Author Bio:

About Tim Sullivan:

TIM SULLIVAN made his first short film before graduating from Cambridge University. His ambition to become a screenwriter was formed not so much by this experience but as an attempt to foil his father’s determination to turn him into a lawyer.

Within weeks of leaving university armed with a law degree he had met the film maker Derek Jarman and persuaded him to commission an original screenplay from him entitled BOB UPADOWN and so a career was born.

A few months later he joined Granada Television as a researcher. Here he was commissioned to write the first of many television scripts for the company. Two sitcoms entitled THE TRAIN NOW LEAVING and THE GREASY SPOON followed by the crime dramas MYSTERIOUS WAYS and MAIGRET.

While at Granada he was selected for the prestigious Directors’ Training scheme when only 26. Previous encumbents had included Mike Newell, Roland Joffe, and Michael Apted, more recently Julian Farino. Among other credits he directed CORONATION STREET, MADE IN HEAVEN, THATCHER THE FINAL DAYS and THE CASEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES with Jeremy Brett.

During this time he also co wrote the screenplays for the movies A HANDFUL OF DUST starring Kristen Scott Thomas, Judi Dench and Alec Guinness and WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD starring Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham Carter, both with producer the legendary TV producer Derek Granger (BRIDESHEAD REVISITED).

Upon leaving the bosom of Granada and venturing into the wild wide world of the freelance film maker he wrote and directed the movie JACK AND SARAH starring Richard E Grant, Samantha Mathis, Ian Mckellen, Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins. This led to a commission from New Line Pictures to write the screenplay WALKING PAPERS based on the Jay Cronley novel of the same name.

This screenplay came to the attention of execs at Universal and Imagine who then asked Tim to do a page one rewrite of a western for Ron Howard entitled THE PRETENDERS. Tim enjoyed working with Ron for over a year on this.

He then wrote an original screenplay, PERSONAL SHOPPING, which was promptly snapped up by Paramount for producer Scott Rudin.

He spent four months working for and with Jeffrey Katzenberg at Dreamworks animation as a production writer on the movie FLUSHED AWAY. Impressed by his work Katzenberg commissioned him to write a script for SHREK 4 which wasn’t used as a different storyline was decided upon as a director came on board.

During this time he was actively involved in British television directing the last ever ninety minute episode of the BAFTA award winning series COLD FEET. As well as a TV movie for ITV called CATWALK DOGS written by Simon Nye.

He was commissioned by the BBC to write a pilot for a TV series he invented called BACKSTORY as well as another pilot for the ITV network entitled OFFSPRING.

He also wrote HIS MASTER’S VOICE for the BBC as a radio play starring Rob Brydon which was broadcast in 2015.

He recently wrote the screenplay for LETTERS TO JULIET starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave.

Oscar winning producers of The King’s Speech, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman then commissioned an original screenplay from him entitled THE WEDDING DRESS.

Tim is writing and co-producing and co-writing an animated feature screenplay for Hasbro and Paramount which is in production and scheduled for release in 2021.

He has now embarked on a series of crime novels featuring the eccentric and socially-awkward, but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross. Set in Bristol in the south west of England, Cross’ methods often infuriate his colleagues and superiors “not so much a thorn in my side as a pain in my arse,” according to his boss DCI Carson. But his conviction rate, thanks to his dogged persistence and attention to detail, is the best in the force. The DENTIST is in the first of a series.

Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy award-winning producer of THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA and PIONEER WOMAN.

He is currently the UK chair of the Writers’ Guild of America (West).

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimJRSullivan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/timjrsullivan/

Website: https://timsullivan.uk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/timsullivannovelist/

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3ginNGt

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3gjS7AB

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3hnLO0b

Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/2QksVPQ

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/2Ewm2IQ

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats on 15th June 2020

Additional Information:

The Cyclist (DS George Cross #2) was published on 2nd September 2020 and is available to purchase NOW!

Not the Deaths Imagined by Anne Pettigrew

I’m pleased to be sharing my review for Not the Deaths Imagined by Anne Pettigrew today to kick off the blog tour organised by Emma at damppebbles for Ringwood Publishing. Thank you to the publisher for my digital review copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. This is the first book by Anne Pettigrew I have read.

Synopsis:

In a leafy Glasgow suburb, Dr Beth Semple is busy juggling motherhood and full-time GP work in the 90s NHS. But her life becomes even more problematic when she notices some odd deaths in her neighbourhood. Though Beth believes the stories don’t add up, the authorities remain stubbornly unconvinced.

Soon, Beth’s professional reputation is challenged. There follows a chilling campaign of harassment and she finds her professional reputation – and her family – are put at risk.

Is a charming local GP actually a serial killer? Can Beth piece together the jigsaw of perplexing fatalities and perhaps save lives? And as events accelerate towards a dramatic conclusion, will the police intervene in time?

From the author of Not the Life Imagined, this slow-burning tartan noir novel from a Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight author follows Beth on another quest for justice. Reflecting Pettigrew’s own medical expertise, Not The Deaths Imagined re-affirms the benefits of growing up in a loving family and the need for friends in hard times, while offering insight into the twisted development of a psychopathic mind.

My thoughts:

As I said at the start of the blog post, this is the first book I’ve read by Anne Pettigrew and I hadn’t realised that a previous book (Not the Life Imagined) would introduce many of the characters. I was able to read this without reading the previous book, but if you have the opportunity, you may prefer to read them in the correct order.

The main character Beth, is a busy GP and mother, who cares deeply about her patients, family and friends. Sadly, another local doctor, cares more about his image, lining his pockets with ill gotten gains and helping speed up the death of elderly, well to do, patients.

The book is set in the 1990’s and for those of us old enough to remember, a British GP was convicted of being a serial killer during this decade. As a former GP, Anne shows us, just how easy it was for a devious GP to take advantage of the patients and get away with committing ‘perfect’ murders for long periods of time. However this isn’t a non fiction book about that case, but a well written crime fiction novel primarily about the medical profession, with plenty of twists and turns, family dramas, a dog called Winston and lots of delicious sounding meals.

The suspense of the story built nicely, and I found myself getting frustrated at being interrupted when I was reading the book. For the final chapters, I hid myself away from the family, so I could enjoy the story fully. This is a no spoiler review, so I will just say that I enjoyed the end of the story and was holding my breath in a few places as the tension peaked.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in the future from Anne Pettigrew.

Author Bio:

A graduate of Glasgow (Medicine) and Wolfson College, Oxford (Anthropology), Anne Pettigrew has been a GP, worked in psychiatry, family planning/sexual health, lecturing, patient/women doctors pressure groups, BMA Media relations, Homeopathy, acupuncture, an EEC Committee, book reviewing and journalism (medico-political and humorous articles to The Herald, Doctor newspaper etc: a Channel 4 Despatches). Retiring from practice, she became a wedding planner for a charity theatre, before starting Creative Writing classes and mentoring at Glasgow University. She is now a member of Garnethill critical writer’s forum and has won short story and article trophies in Greenock Writer’s Club. Not the life Imagined was runner up in the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Silver Stag Award 2018. The book was originally called No Sinecure, a title abandoned as no one under 35 in any class or group she joined knew what ‘sinecure’ meant (though some suggested it was apt, the book featuring ‘sin’ in those who ‘cure!’) Two more books are underway. Anne has two grown up children and lives with her husband in North Ayrshire.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pettigrew_anne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annepettigrewauthor/

Website: https://annepettigrew.co.uk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anne.pettigrew.author/

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3hGmFOF

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2EQdPit

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3b8eVCk

Ringwood Publishing: https://bit.ly/2EQCMe0

At the Feet of Mothers by Adnan Mahmutovic

Today, I’m sharing my review for At the Feet of Mothers by Adnan Mahmutovic, as part of the blog tour organised by Emma Welton of Damppebbles. To read the other reviews, I’ve added the list of the other bloggers below.

Synopsis:

Joseph Schneider grows up in a Cherokee-Jewish family in the Smoky mountains of North Carolina. He dreams to be a cook on the biggest ship there is in the world but his attachment to his mother Rachel and his rootedness to the little mountain village keep him from moving on.

When his mother falls ill she reveals she stole him from a Palestinian girl Aliya in the 80s when she volunteered at a hospital in Gaza. Joseph refuses to know anything more about his biological mother, but later when Rachel dies, Joseph honors his promise to her and embarks on a painful pilgrimage to the holy land, a walk in the footsteps of his American mother and a search for Aliya.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Emma of Damppebbles for inviting me to join the blog tour. I have to be honest and say that otherwise this book would probably have passed me by.

At the centre of the story is Joseph, who believes that he is an American, with a Cherokee mum and a Jewish dad and twin sisters. However, he discovers during his teenage years that he was actually smuggled out of Gaza and his family aren’t biologically related to him.

Amongst this major storyline, there are more normal family dramas, including a sister moving in with an ‘unsuitable boyfriend’ and refusing to speak to the family, Joseph experiencing his first relationship with a girl and the death of the family dog.

Joseph has to decide whether to try and find Aliya after the death of Rachel, and the latter part of the book details his journey to a part of the world few people would visit.

The book is full of relationships – families, friends, and the kindness of strangers. A fascinating read about a young man trying to come to terms with his true identity.

Author Bio:

Adnan Mahmutovic is a Swedish-Bosnian writer. He works at Stockholm University as a lecturer in literature and creative writing. His other major works include a novel Thinner than a Hair (2010), short story collection How to Fare Well and Stay Fair (2012), literary criticism Ways of Being Free (2012) and Future in Comics (2017), and creative writing pedagogy The Craft of Editing (2019).

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adnanmahmutovic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adnanmahmutovicpage/

Website: http://www.adnanmahmutovic.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mahmutovic.official/

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/30C7joe

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30FHYti

Cinnamon Press: https://bit.ly/2DQ37Ig

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/2DFZswN

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3gHnyWr

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats on 4th May 2020 by Cinnamon Press