Curse the Day by Judith O’Reilly #bookreview @judithoreilly

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the second book by Judith O’Reilly, to feature ex-spy, Michael North, Curse the Day, on my blog today.

Curse the Day: The Conspiracy Thriller that Reads Like a Bond Movie (A Michael North Thriller) by [Judith O'Reilly]

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At a global tech gala hosted at the British Museum, scientist Tobias Hawke is due to unveil an astonishing breakthrough. His AI system appears to have reached consciousness, making Hawke the leading light in his field.

But when terrorists storm the building, they don’t just leave chaos in their wake. They seize Hawke’s masterwork, sparking a chain reaction of explosive events which could end the world as we know it.

Michael North, ex-assassin and spy-for-hire, must find the killers and recover the AI. But he can’t do it alone. Hawke’s wife, Esme, and teenage hacker, Fangfang, have their own reasons to help complete North’s mission – and together they unravel a dark and deadly conspiracy which stretches right to the top of the British elite.

Can North survive long enough to uncover the whole truth? Or is it already too late for humanity?

MY THOUGHTS

A couple of years ago, I read Killing State by Judith O’Reilly, and finally, she is back with another high octane read which pulls you in from the first page and doesn’t let you go. Curse the Day is the second thriller to feature ex-spy, Michael North. Set in a not too distant future, humanity is on the brink of a huge artificial intelligence breakthrough. ‘Syd,’ a machine learning device, has been developed and is believed to be the first machine to have a conscience. Is this humanities greatest achievement, or does this spell the end for our species?

Michael North is a brilliant creation. At the beginning of this book, he has truly lost his way and is slowly drinking himself to death in Belgium. Michael is in mourning for his girlfriend, who was murdered, but he also vows to catch up with those responsible so he can seek his revenge. But he isn’t going to be left in this state for long. He is soon asked to protect Esme Hawke following a horrific attack in her home. Michael also has a bullet lodged in his brain, which surgery has been unable to move. He is literally a ‘dead man walking,’ one sudden jerk or even a sneeze could set the bullet loose, and when that happens, it will kill him. This also adds to the tension as you know that any moment could mean the end for Michael.

Judith O’Reilly opens the book in a very dramatic way as Esme Hawke is attacked in her own home after disturbing a burglar. Right from the get-go, I wanted to know why their home had been targeted and what it was that she and her husband had that made them a target.

In this version of reality, Britain is leading the way with the development of artificial intelligence. Countries around the world are fighting to catch up, so it is no wonder that Esme and her husband have attracted the attention of many people and governments around the world. They are about to unveil Esme’s husband’s latest creation, a machine capable of human thought. But as time counts down to the launch, it is quickly brought to Esme and Michael North’s attention that ‘Syd,’ will be capable of wiping out humanity once she is launched into the world. The scary thing is, is that they only have the matter of a few hours to stop this from happening.

Curse the Day is crying out to be made into a Hollywood film. The pace never lets up, and Judith’s writing kept me flying through the pages as the book raced towards its dramatic conclusion. I promise you; you will find this book very difficult to put down. I can’t wait to see where Judith O’Reilly takes the series next.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 2nd April 2020

Print length: 331 pages

Curse the Day is available to buy:

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

The Bad Place by M.K. Hill #bookreview @markhillwriter @HoZ_Books

Happy publication day to Mark Hill. His latest book The Bad Place is the start of a brand new crime series featuring DI Sasha Dawson and it is published today.

The Bad Place (A Sasha Dawson Thriller Book 1) by [Hill, M.K.]

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The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a candlelit vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

Is history repeating itself? Is one of them responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message?

DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…

MY THOUGHTS

The Bad Place is an excellent start to a new crime series by M.K. Hill, which I enjoyed reading very much indeed. We witness the kidnapping of six children when their kidnapper hijacks the minibus they are travelling in. He takes them to a remote location which becomes infamously known as The Bad Place to the press. But just what happened there has remained shrouded in mystery, with many people believing that the people directly involved in the kidnapping have not told the full truth. And why did only five of the children escape?

The Bad Place is a thriller where nothing is at it seems. Many years after the terrifying kidnapping took place, the children who were involved, now adults, still meet up and raise a toast to the friend they lost that night. It’s their own way of remembering her, even though some of them no longer see eye to eye. During one evening, when they are hosting a planned get-together, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. It terrifies her into thinking that their kidnapper has returned, but how could it be him when he was killed on the night they were rescued? We are then introduced to DI Sasha Dawson, who was a constable in the police force when the five children were found.

I really liked Sasha. She is determined to put the victims of the crimes first at the forefront of her mind. But her dedication to her work does garner some criticism from her mother. Sasha’s mother fears Sasha is letting her family slip by the wayside and this begins to cause a lot of frictions. Sasha’s mother is quick to let her feelings be known, which does cause some tension between them. Sasha’s home and work life are weaved together very well, and there was a very good balance between the two.

As I was reading this book, I kept thinking that there must be some truth in the speculation that something very dark had yet to be uncovered. After the young girl is kidnapped in the present day I had suspicions about a few people who I thought could be involved. There were quite a few red herrings planted which were skilfully weaved into the story and I didn’t predict the final outcome.

The book had such a chilling opening, and I was hooked right away. I flicked through the pages as fast as I could to find out how everything was going to come together at the end. When the final revelations were revealed, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

The Bad Place is a brilliant introduction to DI Sasha Dawson, and I am definitely keen to read more books featuring her. You’ll be racking your brains right the way through trying to work out just what is going on here and when the final truth hits, it will be shocking.  Very, very good.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 368 pages

If you would like to purchase The Bad Place, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones