Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh

Synopsis from Amazon:

Mikey was born into a Romany Gypsy family. They live in a closeted community, and little is known about their way of life. After centuries of persecution Gypsies are wary of outsiders and if you choose to leave you can never come back.

This is something Mikey knows only too well. Growing up, he rarely went to school, and seldom mixed with non-Gypsies. The caravan and camp were his world.

But although Mikey inherited a vibrant and loyal culture his family’s legacy was bittersweet with a hidden history of grief and abuse.

Eventually Mikey was forced to make an agonising decision – to stay and keep secrets, or escape and find somewhere he could truly belong.

My review:

This book was certainly a big eye opener. We all have our own thoughts on the life of Romany Gypsies, but I wasn’t expecting this.

Life of crime, fights, rules and traditions that we would describe was a life of misery and abuse and it was a life was that Mikey (as I am sure a lots of Gypsy children) endured since a very young age.

Born into a family of fighting champions, he failed his father miserably by being a mother’s boy that didn’t stand a chance in any fight. However that does not save him from daily abuse in the hands of his own father who is determined to make a fighter out of him even if it kills him – literary.

Mikey described his relationships with siblings, friends and family members and you do wonder how such a close family allows such harsh environment for their children and women. Domestic violence is a daily occurrence and nobody seems to be spared.

Mikey goes through some terrible things right from his childhood and how he managed to survive is beyond me. Somehow his spirit stayed strong and he clings to that.

This is quite an inspiring book and it was interesting to be given the insight into the life of a Gypsy family whatever the discomfort it gave me reading some of those lines. Well done to Mikey Walsh for coming out and standing up to the abuse he has endured. This is a well written account, the language flows very well and keep the reader going right from the start to the last page of the book.

My rating: 5/5

Friday, 13 May 2016

Black Widow (Jack Parlabane #7) by Chris Brookmyre

Synopsis from Amazon:

There is no perfect marriage. There is no perfect murder.

Diana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.

Then she meets Peter. He's kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she's been waiting for. Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident, a nightmare end to their fairy-tale romance.

But Peter's sister Lucy doesn't believe in fairy-tales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow.

My review:

Well this was a storm of a book for me and a fantastic read.

Although this book is the seventh in Jack Parlabane series, it read well on its own and was a brilliant introduction into the author’s works.  I will most certainly look out for more.

This drama/thriller/crime novel is an intelligent piece of work and has twists and turns throughout.  Just as you start really disliking one character, you find out more about them and like them again.

Diana seems like the perfect suspect for a murder. Her husband Peter thought of as the poor man that married the coldhearted carrier woman nobody else would want. But the knock on the door one morning changes their lives forever.

Jack Parlabane is a disgraced reporter living in shame and not much work to do, when the story of Peter’s accident and disappearance is brought to him by no other than Peter’s sister Lucy.  She comes across as a loving family member with true cause for worry about the marriage and relationship between her brother and his wife.

But nothing is what it seems and as Jack scratches surface after surface he gets deeper into the lives of all involved and realises that everyone has secrets and that a long planned masterplan is in motion.

I cannot express in words how much I enjoyed this book. It is clever, keeps you on the edge and changes your mind with every new piece of information it gives you.  Characters are likable and believable and overall this book just shows how complicated relationships and lives actually are.

For me this was a fantastic introduction to the works of Chris Brookmyre and I thank the author and NetGalley for access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5