The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers #BookReview #BlogTour

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers today. Many thanks to the author, Manatee Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

The opening chapter of The Dark Place briefly introduces the reader to Issy as she returns home following her first year at university. We learn very little about her here, other than she is the mother of a young son, Noah who is cared for by her parents and she seems to struggle to know how to relate to him. The moment when her life comes to a sudden and violent end is a shocking …

Absolution by Paul E. Hardisty #BookReview #BlogTour



It is 1997, eight months since vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker fled South Africa after his explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Paris, Rania LaTour, journalist, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human rights lawyer, have disappeared. On an isolated island off the coast of East Africa, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.
So begins the fourth instalment in the Claymore Straker series, a breakneck journey through the darkest reaches of the human soul, as Clay and Rania fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, and find those responsible. Events lead them both inexorably to Egypt, where an act of the most shocking terrorist brutality will reveal not only why those they loved were sacrificed, but how they were both, indirectly, responsible.
Relentlessly pursued by those who want them dead, they must work together to uncover the truth, and to find a way to survive in a world gone crazy. At times brutal, often lyrical, but always gripping, Absolution is a thriller that will leave you breathless and questioning the very basis of how we live and why we love.

I'm absolutely thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Absolution by Paul E. Hardisty today. My heartfelt thanks to the author, Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for sending me a copy of the novel.
Reconciliation for the Dead, the third book in the Claymore Straker series was one of my favourite books of 2017 and so I've been desperate to read Absolution for months. There was a time when I foolishly believed that action thrillers weren't for me but then I read Paul E Hardisty's debut, The Abrupt Physics of Dying and realised just what I'd been missing. In Claymore Straker, Hardisty has created one of the most complex and engaging protagonists I have ever had the pleasure to read.  Although it is perfectly possible to enjoy this novel as a standalone I strongly recommend that you read the books in order to fully appreciate this beautifully and meticulously crafted series. Absolution is set eight months on from Reconciliation for the Dead when Straker gave evidence to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Having fled his homeland South Africa, Clay has been living on his boat, moored off the coast of Zanzibar but as always trouble is never far away and his briefly peaceful existence is shattered once more when men sent to deliver him a message brutally murder the woman he has been sleeping with, and her young son. Determined to exact revenge he sets off to discover the truth about his pursuers.  Meanwhile, Rania LaTour - the woman Straker is unable to emotionally detach from, despite their complicated and traumatic history - is in Paris and is also in desperate trouble as she finds herself the main suspect when her husband and son disappear. Her husband is a human rights lawyer who has handled some sensitive and potentially risky cases and she suspects his disappearance is linked to his work. Her investigation takes her to Egypt but she soon learns her life is under serious threat and she sends a desperate plea to Straker. He embarks on a dangerous journey across East Africa, determined to reunite with her, though filled with foreboding as to what further damage their destructive pairing will wreak on both themselves and those around them.
Though their previous investigations and exposés continue to impact upon their lives, the dangerous political climate in Egypt also puts them at terrible risk, particularly when terrorism against Western tourists in on the increase. The story switches between the third person narrative following Clay's story with italicised diary entries written by Rania in which she discloses her love for Straker and the resulting fear and guilt she experiences as a result of her desire for him. Claymore, too is torn by his natural inclination to work alone and his need to be with the one woman he could ever love. The juxtaposition between their two perspectives brings into sharp relief their similarities and differences and how their shared experiences underpin both their lives - damaged as they may be.
Absolution is a fast-paced, tense and brutal conspiracy thriller in which the protagonists and readers will come to doubt who exactly can be trusted as avarice, self-preservation and fear dictate decisions made at every level. It is also a thought-provoking, poignant look at the long-term effects of violence, recognising that emotional responses to dangerous situations will frequently supersede what may have been the moral choice and that the resulting mental torment will remain with, and shape a person long after the event has taken place. Claymore Straker lives in a world most of us will only ever read about or watch on our screens and yet it is the violent reality for huge swathes of the population; people whose lives have been devastated by war; whose children are irreparably damaged by pollution; who live in fear of the political regimes that control their lives; who challenge the authorities though it will mean great personal risk; who are forced to eke out a poverty stricken existence knowing there is very little real hope of change. Paul E. Hardisty writes about these themes with a searing, breathtaking honesty and through Claymore, Rania and the other characters in the book, humanises the savage reality of lives lived on the edge. Throughout this series, Hardisty has woven real-life historical events with the fictional plot and in doing so has created a powerfully contemporary story which should remind readers of the perilous state we find ourselves in. Though never moralising, he uses his own experiences and knowledge to point out that the damage we are inflicting on the planet - and the concomitant inequality which means the world's eight richest men control as much wealth as the poorest thirty percent - cannot be sustained and our societies will implode unless we take action soon. Despite this passionate warning, there is still a sense of hope about Absolution as it recognises too the small acts of kindness and humility and the moments of forgiveness which mean that even when belief in a higher power may falter, some semblance of faith can remain. Love may not be more powerful than hate but it creates its own strength. Physical wounds may heal more quickly than the mental scars but perhaps absolution is possible and will bring with it the knowledge that life is fleeting and should be embraced and not escaped.
The compelling action in Absolution is complemented by writing of the absolutely highest calibre throughout. Paul E. Hardisty has created an unforgettable story which touched me deeply and though I finished the book with the tears pouring down my face, I was left feeling inordinately satisfied and privileged to have read this wonderful conclusion and indeed the whole magnificent series.

Absolution is published by Orenda Books and can be purchased or pre-ordered here. Don't forget to follow the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.


About the Author
Canadian by birth, Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist.
He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa.
He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels.
In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war.
Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes.
He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia with his family.
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Comments

  1. This is amazing! Thanks so much for the blog tour support Karen x

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