Friday, 28 April 2017

Feast of St Catherine of Siena (Patron of Europe)


Sandile Dikeni, b1966, South African Poet


Prophet of Death: The Mormon Blood-Atonement Killings (True Crime) by Pete Earley


Paperback:  "I am the prophet of God...I am much more than that;  much, much more." - Jeffrey Don Lundgren

Charismatic thief, philanderer and self-proclaimed man of God, Jeffrey Lundgren began preaching his unique dogma of radical Mormonism in Independence, Missouri.  To the members of his small but fanatically devoted sect, he was the "Last Prophet", whose coming was foretold in the Book of Mormon.

A master of hypnotic oratory, Lundgren used his own twisted interpretations of religious texts to justify any excess - perversion, sexual slavery...even human sacrifice.

On 17 April 1989, Lundgren and a group of his followers led the Avery family - a husband, wife, and their three young children - into a barn in rural Ohio and slaughtered them, one by one.

Prophet of Death (1991) is a terrifying true account of mind control, sex, religious obsession and murder by the Edgar Award-nominated nationally bestselling author, Pete Earley.

About the author:  Pete Earley is a storyteller who has penned 17 books including four New York Times bestsellers, including The Hot House and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy:  A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.

After a 14-year career in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise.

His honest reporting and compelling writing helped him garner success as one of few authors with “the power to introduce new ideas and give them currency,” according to Washingtonian magazine.

When Pete’s life was turned upside down by the events recounted in his book Crazy, he joined the National Alliance on Mental Illness to advocate for strong mental health reform on the public stage.

This new advocacy has taken him to 48 different states and multiple countries around the globe where he delivers speeches to rally against the troubled mental health systems and for the mentally ill.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

City of Jackals (A Makana Investigation Series) by Parker Bilal


Paperback:  Finding refuge can be deadly.

A severed head washes up on the banks of the Nile.

The police turn a blind eye.

It is just another victim in a series of ritual killings of refugees.

Distracted from his hunt for a missing boy, Makana feels the pull of his Sudanese past and is impelled to seek justice for the murdered emigrants.

In the dark heart of Cairo, Makana soon discovers the two cases may be connected in dangerous and unexpected ways.

City of Jackals (2016) is the fifth book in the gripping, interesting and excellent Makana investigation series set in Cairo.

The next and sixth book in the series, Dark Water aka Drowning Light will be released on 11 July 2017.

About the author:  Parker Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub.  Mahjoub has published seven critically acclaimed literary novels, which have been widely translated, and has been awarded several prizes, including the Guardian African Short Story Prize, the St Malo Prix de l’Astrolabe, and the Mario Vargas Llosa Premio NH de Relatos.  He has also published short stories and essays.  Born in London, he has lived at various times in the UK, Sudan, Cairo, and Denmark.  He currently lives in Barcelona.

Rating:  5/5

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

One Of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley by Carol Ann Lee


Paperback:  "When she did what she did, she was not mad - as Brady was - and although she was young, she was an adult, and an intelligent one.  It seems to me that there are strands of moral deformity which cannot be pardoned:  that Stangl was right when, having faced the truth about himself, he said, "I ought to be dead."" - Diana Athill, one of Britain's finest literary editors and writers.

On 15 November 2002, Myra Hindley died in prison, one of the rare women whose crimes were deemed so indefensible that 'life' really did mean 'life'.  Without a doubt, Britain's most notorious murderess, her death has done nothing to diminish the shadow she casts across our collective consciousness.

But who was the woman behind the headlines?  How could a seemingly normal girl, with no intimations of violence in her character, grow up to commit such terrible acts?  Her defenders - many of them high-profile defenders - claim she fell under Ian Brady's spell, but is this the truth?

Was her insistence that she had changed, that she felt deep remorse and had reverted to the Catholicism of her childhood genuine or a calculating bid to win parole?

One Of Your Own (2010) explores these questions and many others, drawing on a wide range of resources, including Hindley's own unseen writings, hundreds of recently released prison files, fresh interviews, and extensive new research.  It is the first in-depth study of Hindley, returning her humanity to her and thereby revealing the woman and her crimes in the context of our collective history.

Scrupulously researched and compellingly well written, this book is the challenging, definitive biography of Britain's 'most-hated woman'.

About the author:  Carol Ann Lee is the highly acclaimed English author of several books, including One of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley, Witness: The Story of David Smith, A Fine Day for a Hanging: The Real Ruth Ellis Story and The Murders at White House Farm: Jeremy Bamber and the killing of his family.  Witness, her tenth book, and A Fine Day for a Hanging were both shortlisted for CWA Non-Fiction Dagger Awards.  Witness aka Evil Relations (2012), was written in conjunction with David Smith, chief prosecution witness in the Moors Murders case it details, for the first time, Smith's story in full.

She has written extensively on the Holocaust.  Following her ground-breaking research on Anne Fran, the Dutch government reopened the investigation into the Frank family's betrayal.  She is also the author of two novels and three books for children.  Her works have been published in fifteen countries.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Burning Gates (A Makana Investigation Series) by Parker Bilal


Paperback:  A war criminal on the run.  A mercenary hunting him down.  A man caught in the crossfire.

Private Investigator Makana has a new client:  the powerful art dealer Aram Kasabian.  Kasabian wants him to track down a priceless painting that went missing from Baghdad during the US invasion.  All the dealer can tell Makana is that the piece was smuggled into Egypt by an Iraqi war criminal who doesn't want to be found.

The art world is a far cry from the shady streets and dirty alleyways of the Cairo that Makana knows, but he discovers that this side of the city has its own dark underbelly.  Before long, he finds himself caught between dangerous enemies on a trail that leads him into the darkness of war and which threatens to send the new life he has built for himself up in flames.

“For some time now, Parker Bilal has been writing superb crime novels set in Egypt...this fourth Makana book is a sardonic commentary on Mubarak's Egypt at its most corrupt.” - Sunday Times 

The Burning Gates (2015) is the fourth book in the superb Makana Investigation series set in Cairo.

About the author:  Parker Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub.  Mahjoub has published seven critically acclaimed literary novels, which have been widely translated, and has been awarded several prizes, including the Guardian African Short Story Prize, the St Malo Prix de l’Astrolabe, and the Mario Vargas Llosa Premio NH de Relatos.  He has also published short stories and essays.  Born in London, he has lived at various times in the UK, Sudan, Cairo, and Denmark.  He currently lives in Barcelona.

Rating:  5/5

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Little Free Library At Jardin Public, Cours de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux, France


Keep Silent, Refrain From Judgment


The Ghost Runner (A Makana Investigation Series) by Parker Bilal


Paperback:  It is 2002 and as tanks roll into the West Bank and the reverberations of 9/11 echo across the globe, tensions are running high on Cairo's streets.

Private Investigator Makana, in exile from his native Sudan and increasingly haunted by memories of his wife and daughter, is shaken out of his despondency when a routine surveillance job leads him to the horrific murder of a teenage girl.  In a country where honour killings are commonplace and the authorities seem all too eager to turn a blind eye, Makana determines to track down the perpetrator. He finds unexpected assistance in the shape of Azza, a woman who seems to share Makana's hunger for justice.

Seeking answers in the dead girl's past, he travels to Siwa, an oasis town on the edge of the great Sahara desert, where the law seems disturbingly far away and old grievances simmer just below the surface.

As violence follows him through the twisting, sand-blown streets and an old enemy lurks in the shadows, Makana discovers that the truth can be as deadly and as changeable as the desert beneath his feet.

The Ghost Runner (2014) is the third book in the mesmerizing and exceptional Makana Investigation Series set in Cairo and related places.

'A literary novelist uses the crime genre to terrific effect, exposing official complicity in historic crimes against women.' - Sunday Times

About the author:  Parker Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub.  Mahjoub has published seven critically acclaimed literary novels, which have been widely translated, and has been awarded several prizes, including the Guardian African Short Story Prize, the St Malo Prix de l’Astrolabe, and the Mario Vargas Llosa Premio NH de Relatos.  He has also published short stories and essays.  Born in London, he has lived at various times in the UK, Sudan, Cairo, and Denmark.  He currently lives in Barcelona.

Rating:  5/5