Turning For Home by Barney Norris #BookReview #BlogTour

The brilliant new novel from the author of the award-winning FIVE RIVERS MET ON A WOODED PLAIN.

'One of our most exciting young writers' - The Times

'Isn’t the life of any person made up out of the telling of two tales, after all? People live in the space between the realities of their lives and the hopes they have for them. The whole world makes more sense if you remember that everyone has two lives, their real lives and their dreams, both stories only a tape’s breadth apart from each other, impossibly divided, indivisibly close.'

Every year, Robert's family come together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday. Aunts, uncles, distant cousins - it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn't want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met - and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. Neither of them is sure they can face the party. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the mo…

#BookReview - Made Safe by Francis Sparks




For Private Investigator, Moses Winter, the job just got more complicated. His adultery case has taken a violent turn landing the subject of his investigation, Fred Dunsmore, in the hospital and Moses in jail. Moses is held for questioning along with his erratic client, Sharon Dunsmore, and Fred’s mistress, a Bosnian refugee who just happens to be related to the DCI agent investigating the case, Raif Rakić.

After Rakić secures their release, Fred goes missing, and Moses Winter finds himself compelled to find him. With the assistance of Rakic, Moses unravels Fred's ties to Des Moines's underworld and is forced to confront the most heinous crimes of his career.


I've said before on this blog that I really enjoy books that have a strong sense of setting and Made Safe certainly does that. Previously only really known to me as the childhood home of Bill Bryson, Des Moines is brought chillingly (literally so, the snow and ice of the Iowan winter certainly play their part here) to life. It's not just the location that provides the shivers here though, Private Investigator, Moses Winter and DCI Raif Rakić find themselves working together on a case that uncovers a truly odious criminal ring. A reluctant hero, Moses Winter is thrown into danger after taking on what should have been a simple investigation into adultery. However, once involved he will not give up and it's his tenacity, even when his life is at real risk, that makes him such an engaging character. He has his fair share of flaws too, not least his tendency to act first and think later but he is a likeable, principled man who has a dry wit about him too. This is just the first book in what will be a series of books featuring Moses, and with such a strong protagonist I certainly think Francis Sparks will be gaining plenty of fans. Raif Rakić is a rather refreshing police officer in a mystery involving a private investigator because he works with, rather than against Moses. Their working relationship has a somewhat rocky start but as events proceed they develop a mutual respect for one another. Rakić has his reasons for wanting the villains they are investigating put behind bars beyond just a simple desire for a police officer to solve a case. His past in Bosnia and his family ties mean he has a special interest in the criminal underbelly they uncover in Des Moines.
Faced paced from the start, Made Safe builds towards a really tense finale. With an all too contemporary mystery at the heart of the book and some really unsavoury villains, this is a taut, atmospheric thriller and a really solid start to a new series. I look forward to meeting Moses again.
My grateful thanks to the author for sending me a copy of Made Safe.

Made Safe is published by Pandamoon Publishing.

Francis Sparks is on Twitter as @writingsparks and his website is here.

About the Author

Francis Sparks lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his amazing wife, Kelly. If he’s not working on his next novel or short story, you can find him teaching his children about dragons.

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