The Syndicate by G.J. Minett #bookreview

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by G.J. Minett, The Syndicate.



Twenty years ago, Jon Kavanagh worked for a crime syndicate.
Then one night he made a mistake.
He left a witness at a crime scene. Alive.

Now, he is haunted by the memories of that young girl. Her face a constant reminder of the life he chose to leave behind. Time has passed and now he wants answers: What ever happened to her?

Anna Hill is an aspiring singer, but the bars and clubs she works in are far from exciting. When she is given the opportunity to work in Portugal, she takes it. This is her chance to finally kick-start her career.

But the job offer comes at a price; one that will endanger the lives of those she knows, and those she doesn’t. Becoming involved with the Syndicate is risky, and Anna will need her instincts to work out who to trust – and who not to . . .


The Syndicate is only the second book I’ve read by G.J. Minett, and I couldn’t put it down. If you’re looking for a highly absorbing crime thriller that will grab you from the first page, then look no further.

I really liked G.J. Minett’s new character, army veteran Jon Kavanagh. Although he was in the army, twenty years ago he also belonged to a crime syndicate. During one operation, he left a witness alive, something he was ordered not to do. Now he is faced with the task of tracking her down. This is with very little information on her whereabouts to go on. He’s not even entirely sure what her name is. But Jon is convinced he made the right call in saving her life all those years earlier. But what position does that put him in now? Can he continue to protect her two decades later? What threat does she pose to The Syndicate he is a part of?

I had so many questions as I was reading this book. I wanted to know more about the events from twenty years earlier. Why was it of paramount importance that this girl is tracked down? What secrets against the crime syndicate could she possibly have? Although Jon Kavanagh is a trained killer, and he has killed in the past, I find that I did warm to him. You can see that, although he isn’t exactly a moral citizen, he doesn’t just think about the job he is given. He thinks about the people he is directly affecting, and this is the case with the young baby he didn’t kill. I also liked the idea of Jon being a bookseller all these years later. It made me think that he just wanted to live a quiet life after his years of service. Kavanagh is now in his sixties, and I got the feeling that he didn’t want to go back into this world at this stage in his life. But it is clear that he doesn’t have much of a choice.

We also follow the story of a young woman, Anna, who is chasing her dream of being a singer. When she is offered the opportunity to move to Portugal, she takes it and leaves her life in the UK behind. I really liked how these stories intertwined, and I thought it made the plot even more intriguing.  

G. J. Minett kept the pace turning up a notch, and I devoured a lot of the book in one sitting. It is fast paced and packed with plenty of action. I really enjoyed it.  

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 9th July 2020

Print length: 336 pages

The Syndicate is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

October Wrap-Up

Just two months left of 2020, what? Although I’m sure there are many who will be pleased to see the back of this year, me included. I’ve already seen signs that people are starting to get ready for Christmas, although there are some people I know, who have been getting excited since August. When I was younger I used to get excited about Christmas throughout the year, but now I don’t want to even think about it until late November. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that book events will be able to start up again next year.

Here in the UK we are going back into lockdown for a month this week. It was something I’ve been expecting for a while now, particularly with other countries in Europe taking similar action.

I managed to read eighteen books this month. In total, so far this year, I’ve now read 131 books towards my Goodreads challenge of 160.

Some of the books I read in October

On the blog this month, I’ve taken part in five blog tours. I’ve included the links below in case you missed any.

The Choice by Alex Lake

Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

A Prayer for the Broken by Mark Tilbury

Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten

The Girls in the Snow by Stacy Green

One thing that has been unusual for me this month is that I’ve hardly bought any new books. Six new titles is a small number to me. These are the books I have purchased, Somebody’s Daughter by Carol Wyer, Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza, Perfect Kill by Helen Fields, The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells, The Housewarming by S.E. Lynes and Inside Out by Chris McGeorge.

I did also receive some bookpost this month. I received a copy of The Last Resort by Susi Holliday which I’m bumping right up to the top of my TBR pile.


For November, I have five blog tours coming up, Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons on the 15th, The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard on the 23rd, Out for Blood by Deborah Masson on the 24th, 33 Women by Isabel Ashdown on the 26th and The Chalet by Catherine Cooper on the 29th.

Don’t forget First Monday Crime is taking place live on Facebook this evening from 19.30. The authors who will be speaking are, David Young, Vicki Bradley, S.W. Kane and Chris McGeorge. The panel is being moderated by Claire McGowan and you can access the event by clicking here.

At the moment I’m currently reading Stone Cold Trouble by Amer Anwar and Innocent by Erin Kinsley. Let me know what you’re reading in the comments.

The Binding by Bridget Collins #bookreview

I know I’m very late to the party but I finally got round to reading The Binding by Bridget Collins this week and I loved it!


Emmett Farmer is a binder’s apprentice. His job is to hand-craft beautiful books and, within each, to capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory.
If you have something you want to forget, or a secret to hide, he can bind it – and you will never have to remember the pain it caused.
In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and secrets – are meticulously stored and recorded.
Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of the volumes has his name on it.


The Binding by Bridget Collins is one of the most extraordinary novels I’ve read. I have to admit, when I first spotted it in a bookshop, over a year ago now, I was immediately drawn to its cover. It’s such a stunning design that I couldn’t help not buy it. I’m kicking myself now that I’ve kept it on my TBR pile for so long. When Bridget’s next book comes out, I’ll certainly be reading it as soon as possible.

Bridget Collins’ first novel for adults is set in an alternate world, in which books are almost seen as the devil’s work; they are feared and they are seen as dangerous. Binders have an unusual talent; they can harness a person’s memories, with just one touch and bind them in a book. This act ensures that the client can forget whatever it is they want to about their past. But Binders are hated among many people and they are often thought of as soul stealers.

In the first part of the novel, we meet Emmett Farmer, who is just recovering from a severe illness. It is clear that he has done something that has brought serious shame to his family. He can’t remember anything, which makes it all the more frustrating for him. His family certainly won’t reveal to him what he has done to make them so upset. What is even more horrific, is that it appears that his family are willing to cut all ties with him. When a book binder offers Emmett employment, his family seize the opportunity. But you can see that Emmett is less than keen to go. I really felt for Emmett and I couldn’t understand why his family were doing this. It made me want to find out what it was that Emmett had done to upset them. From this point in Emmett’s life, things don’t go smoothly for him.

It is only in the second part of the novel that we begin to understand what Emmett has done, as Bridget Collins takes us back in time. This is the part of the story where the tension really begins to pick up. As well as this being a fantasy book it is also part romance. Romance is a genre I would never normally read, but I became so invested in this part of the story. This is the part which I also don’t want to reveal too much about, as I don’t want to spoil it for you, if you haven’t read it yet. But it was in this part of the story where I found Bridget Collins’ writing utterly captivating.

I wish I could go back and experience reading this book for the first time, all over again. It was so good I didn’t want it to end. I’m sure I will come back to it again and again, and it’s definitely going to be in my top ten books of the year. I’m going to repeat myself here, but this book really is extraordinary. If it’s still on your TBR pile, you need to read it as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.

Publisher: The Borough Press

Publication date: 7th January 2019

Print length: 445 pages

The Binding is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the second novel by Harriet Tyce, The Lies You Told.


Sadie loves her daughter and will do anything to keep her safe.

She can’t tell her why they had to leave home so quickly – or why Robin’s father won’t be coming with them to London.

She can’t tell her why she hates being back in her dead mother’s house, with its ivy-covered walls and its poisonous memories.

And she can’t tell her the truth about the school Robin’s set to start at – a school that doesn’t welcome newcomers.

Sadie just wants to get their lives back on track.


There are so many characters in The Lies You Told who will get under your skin. When Harriet Tyce first introduces us to her protagonist, Sadie, she is just moving back to her home town, and into the home, she lived in as a child. But the place is full of dark memories for Sadie. It isn’t exactly a happy move, but at the moment she has little choice after breaking up with her husband who lives in the States. Things really begin to change when Sadie enrols her daughter, Robin at her old school and Sadie is introduced to a group of mums. They appear to be in control of everything that goes on with the school and with the wider community. Sadie soon finds herself ostracized from the group, and it is clear that they are willing to do anything to make her and her daughter’s life a living hell.

There are some really dislikeable characters in this book. It was the group of women who Sadie is introduced to who I took a intense disliking to. If I’m honest, when I did start reading this book, it took me a long time to get into it. Harriet Tyce’s writing is very addictive, and it’s what kept me reading, but I struggled to connect to Sadie in the opening chapters. I could feel her frustration and anger though as she found herself and her daughter being bullied.

The part of the novel which I did find more interesting was the court case Sadie was taking part in. Like in her first novel, Harriet Tyce uses her knowledge of this field. Sadie is part of a team representing a young man. He has been accused of rape by a student of his. There are many who believe in his innocence, and he has amassed a small fan club on the outside. I found these scenes tense, and I really wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on.

I became more gripped to the plot by the second half of the novel. Things begin to change for Sadie, but I wondered about the motives behind this sudden move. I felt that there was something dark at play here, and I wanted to know what the final fall out was going to be.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Blood Orange but Harriet Tyce’s writing will, I’m sure, make me keen to read another book by her.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 23rd July 2020 (kindle) 20th August 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 314 pages

The Lies You Told is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones