Review of Gypsy by David Menon

Good morning everyone! Just two days to go until the weekend-it’s getting closer! Now a few weeks ago I interview the lovely David Menon, and reviewed one of his novels. Today I have the pleasure of reviewing another one of his novels, ‘Gypsy‘. He’s also been kind enough to give us a little piece on why he wrote ‘Gypsy‘.  So without further ado, grab your coffee, get settled, and enjoy!

 

‘ … it was a Wednesday morning and I drove down from my home in Manchester to the peak district town of Matlock to meet up with some old friends from nearby Wirksworth. As I pulled up in the centre of town, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gypsy’ was playing on the car radio and it’s always been one of my favourite Stevie Nicks songs so I waited until it had finished before I went on my way. The song is about going back to when life was simple and somehow easier to manage, so I thought, what if I’d come back to Matlock for the first time in years? What if life had been intolerable back then because of lies and catastrophies that had almost destroyed me and I was coming back to finally put things right? Why had I stayed away so long? Why hadn’t I come back in the intervening years? What if I’d become a great success in my chosen profession but there was still a dark secret waiting to try and destroy me again? I’d been a ‘Gypsy’ and gone all over the world but could I cope with more murder, love, loss, and betrayal? These were all the reasons why I’d left town in the first place. And could I deal with finding out the truth about my own identity whilst tracking down a killer from thirty years ago? … ‘

That’s how it happens to us writers … a favourite song on the radio, a town you’ve always found inspiring, an imagination that takes you into some kind of parallel universe. You know how it is, Miranda. And from all that, the story, plot, and characters of ‘Gypsy’ found their way into my head and there was no way I could ignore their story.

 

When Danny Holdsworth returns to Matlock, the Derbyshire Peak district town of his birth, after being away for thirty years, his intention is to find the killer of his best friend, Nigel Slater, who was murdered back in 1982, a crime for which Danny was once a suspect but which still remains unsolved. Now a respected international journalist, Danny decides to use his temporary position as editor of the Derbyshire Times to campaign to finally bring Nigel’s killer to justice. But almost as soon as he’s back he runs into his old flame, Caroline, who’s very unhappily married to Danny’s childhood nemesis, Ben Reynolds. Caroline would like to rekindle her romance with Danny but he’s interested in someone else, someone much closer to Caroline than is comfortable for either of them. Ben’s haulage business is in deep trouble and he resorts to desperate measures with shady Russian businessmen to try and save it, risking the lives of himself and his family in the process, until Danny suggests a way out. Against this background, Danny believes he’s getting close to finding Nigel’s killer when he discovers a connection between the crime and his own identity that shocks him to the core and makes him wish he’d never come home. Some secrets should be left buried with the past.

 

 

Good Points

David Menon mentioned to me that this book ‘was his baby’, and I can see why! I am blown away by Mr Menon’s first offering. The characters were definitely my favourite-and being from the North of England, I chuckled a little at his embittered Northern ladies made their way onto the pages, as I’m sure I know a few! All of them were vivid, colourful, and (I felt) true to life, and I the main protagonist really shone through, with both his good and bad. There was also enough drama in this novel to put any soap opera to shame! You all know I don’t give away spoilers in my reviews, but the main character, ‘Gypsy’, does something to one of the female characters and someone close to her that will make you go, “Uh oh!”. The suspense was cleverly weaved in, and crafted so that you were questioning everything all the way until the ending-which was unexpected and I didn’t see coming at all. The story flowed very well, it was fast moving, but nothing was missed and skipped.

 

Bad Points

That now I’m going to have to read the rest of David Menon’s novels? Seriously, I couldn’t find anything wrong with this novel, and I was impressed that this was his first novel.

 

Overall

This is a wonderful offering, and if you haven’t got a copy yet-go and do it now! The book is a finely tuned detective story, with element of homosexuality, Russian businessmen, vivid Northern women, and the past, all crafted in and delivered in an amazing package. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to devour the story.

I give this book……5/5 Stars!

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Interview and Review with David Menon

Good morning people! I have a treat for you today! Not only do we have a review, I also have another fabulous author interview! Today we have David Menon, author of Fall From Grace, here with us at the blog.

I’m 51 years old, I was born in Derby but I’ve lived all over England including Berkshire, Manchester, and Blackpool. I now live in Paris with my partner John who is a retired diplomat. My mother was English and my father was Indian, my favourite food after French cuisine is curry.
I worked as cabin crew for British Airways for 24 years and for the last 12 of those I was the onboard manager flying on 747 and 777 aircraft around the world and being responsible for a cabin crew of up to 16. One of my ‘claims to fame’ is that I once made a cheese sandwich for the actress Julia Roberts on a flight to Los Angeles, and I once mistook Matt Damon for Leonardo diCaprio.
I’ve always been politically motivated and I joined the Labour party back in 1986. I stood for election twice, once to the European parliament, and once to the Westminster parliament, but although I remain active, mainly in the northwest region, I don’t intend to stand for office again. I left BA in 2009 under a scheme of voluntary redundancy so that I could finally set out to achieve my lifelong ambition to become a writer of crime fiction.    
I love my fictional Manchester DCI, Sara Hoyland. She likes wine, men, and sex, she has an interesting backstory but she isn’t some terribly emotionally injured adulterous drunk that a lot of detectives in crime fiction are. She likes to get the job done and she won’t stop until she feels the truthful result has been achieved. She would have no time for sending the wrong suspect to prison and won’t give in to pressure until she feels the job has been done and the right culprit apprehended. If they were to make a TV series of the books, I’d love Katherine Kelly, who played ‘Becky’ in Coronation Street, to play her.

Hello David, it’s a great pleasure to have you here, welcome to my blog!

Random question first as always in my interviews! You used to work as cabin crew for BA for 24 years before you became a writer; I bet you met some interesting people there! Do you have any stories for us nosy people?

I do have lots of stories from the 24 years but I’m kind of afraid of being sued! All I will say is that a very famous British TV actor who plays very ‘smooth’ types was once arguing with me at the boarding door because he couldn’t be upgraded to First Class, even though he had no entitlement to First and his justification for ‘needing’ to be upgraded was that he’d spent all day interviewing Sharon Stone. Puh-lease! Actually, a lot of people, not celebrities just regular passengers, try it on with regard to upgrading but I have to say that airline staff, both on the ground and in the air, have heard it all before and at the end of the day, you wouldn’t go into Tesco, pick up a can of baked beans and expect it to be upgraded at the check out to a bottle of scotch just because you fancied a drink! Other than that, there was the white lady who refused to sit in the middle of a group of black people on a flight from Toronto, just because they were black. So I upgraded the black people and left the lady in economy. She was furious because of course she’d wanted the upgrade but I wasn’t going to pander to her disgusting racism. i felt very happy going home that morning. I never experienced any technical emergencies in 24 years but I and my crew did get surrounded by an angry mob of people in a West African country who threatened to take us all hostage if we didn’t allow them on the flight to London. The flights had been overbooked all week and I did understand their point of view but it was probably the scariest moment. I had to negotiate to get us away which wasn’t easy either. But we were okay in the end, thankfully, and they all did get away over the following couple of days.

Wow! Lots of stories then-but we won’t press you for any more, I promise. We don’t need the police back after the other author incident! *wink* So your newest novel, Fall From Grace, sounds really interesting. Can you tell us more about it?

Yes, it’s the first in a series to feature my fictional Manchester DCI, Sara Hoyland. In it she has to investigate the extradition case of a Derbyshire man who’s been revealed as a Nazi war criminal and has been given sanctuary by a woman of similar age who’s the richest titled lady in the land, a fervent Nazi supporter and the owner of Gatley Hall. But the more Sara and her team investigate the more they uncover about the activities of this couple during world war 2 that led to a potentially innocent man going to the gallows for murder in 1940. There is also a connection between the titled lady and a social worker in Salford who’s coming to terms with the loss of his beloved dying father and the fact that he hasn’t heard from his soldier lover Jake, out on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, for weeks. Young girls are also going missing from a local estate and once Sara cracks the link between it all it’s a race to stop any murders happening today as a consequence of what happened ovber 70 years ago’.

So what inspired this novel?

I’ve known for a long time that the British aristocracy, going right up to the then Queen herself, were wanting the British government to make an appeasement agreement with Hitler that would’ve protected the British empire which was the source of their wealth. I was also fascinated by the idea of what would’ve happened if Rudolf Hess had succeeded in negotiating with the British and by a documentary I saw in which some British aristocrats, now very old, still were unapologetic about their fondness for Hitler. I wanted to see how I could match all of that with a contemporary crime story to introduce Sara Hoyland and the story just grew from there.

A very interesting subject to write about. And an important point in history, it’s a great idea you have had to write about it. What books do you normally read? Do you read books in your genre, or books very different from it?

I read mostly crime fiction because it’s the genre that genuinely excites me the most.

And why do you write in the genre you’ve chosen?

Because the crime fiction genre is best for reflecting everything to do with society. Everything to do with gender, sexuality, rich, poor, privilged, disadvantaged, it can all be covered. I’m interested in ordinary people pushed into extraordinary situations and seeing what they do. I’m also interested in writing for those people out there for whom life never quite works out because of the malicious actions of others.

So what advice would you give to others who wanted to become indie authors?

Keep writing, keep at it, keep believing in yourself and your talent. Don’t be put off by anyone or anything. Becoming an indie author means you’ve got control of your work, so put it out there and see what happens.

If you could be a character from one of your books for a day, who would you be and why?

Well I’ve got a character in my book ‘Gypsy’ who is engaged to his fiance until he finally breaks it off because he’s gay. Thirty years later he’s back on friendly terms with her until she finds out that he’s having an affair with her 24-year old son! There’s a small world for you.

I can see that ending only one place-trouble! 🙂 And where can we find your novels?

David’s novels can be found at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, and Waterstones.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Well the second in the DCI Hoyland series, ‘Beautiful Child’, is out now as an ebook and will be out as a paperback in the autumn. The inspiration for this came from the forced migration of children from childrens homes in England to Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. Sara has to investigate a series of apparently random murders arouind Manchester that are linked to a Catholic church in Salford where there used to be a childrens home where many were sent from. There’s also a prisoner in HMP Manchester who’s nearing the end of a life sentence for murder and is being given counselling before his release. He has a strong Australian accent so at first Sara doesn’t think he could have anything to do with the murders. But then she starts to think otherwise and when the wife of one of her officers is caught up in it and murdered, she knows she has to crack this one and soon.
I’m also writing the third in the series called ‘Outside the Rain’ which starts off with a terrorist bombing of Manchester’s Piccadilly station when Sara is there with her sister-in-law who ends up being killed in the attack. All the fingers are pointed at a group of Islamic terrorists but Sara isn’t so sure and becomes convinced that British intelligence is hiding something from both her and the public. But if she is going to expose the truth she’s going to have to risk her career for the sake of it.
You can also expect a novel from me in the autumn called ‘Storms’ which is a sort of follow up to my previous novel ‘Gypsy’ and is set in the Derbyshire Peak district. This is a dark tale of the long term effects of child sexual abuse and when one man gets his revenge on his former abuser.
I’ve also got a collection of short stories coming out called ‘Kind of Woman’ which all have a kind of Roald Dahl ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ type ending.
Sara Hoyland will also be back in at least three more stories that i’m planning for her, I’ve got anothere detective series in the planning stages set in Blackpool, and I’ve got a story that is set entirely in Australia which I’m excited about but I don’t want to give too much away at the minute.

Lots to keep you busy for us readers then. And final random question! We all love James Bond, and you say that you think that Daniel Craig is by far the best Bond since Sean Connery, but…..if you could choose anyone else to play Bond, who would it be, and why?

Well if it was today, I’d say Clive Owen because he’s ‘got it’ where Bond is concerned but I’d rather Daniel Craig did at least three more and then they gave it to an actor called Danny Miller who until recently played the part of ‘Aaron’, the troubled teenager on ‘Emmerdale’. He’d be a perfect Bond because he can do mean really well but he also has flashes of emotion and humour which are all important for the Bond role. Even if he didn’t get the Bond role I do think Danny is going somewhere.

You can find out more about David Menon on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Thank you for being here, David, any parting words?

My parting words – ‘Please buy my books and then tell me what you think!

 

And now scroll down for my review of David’s novel, Fall From Grace….

 

Paul Foster is a social worker trying to make a difference. But what links him to an aristocratic Nazi sympathiser accused of harbouring a war criminal? And what has happened to his soldier boyfriend Jake over in Afghanistan? In this, the first DCI Sara Hoyland mystery, the intrepid detective with a murky past enters a long-forgotten world of political intrigue. Long-held grudges and several families’ secrets re-surface to further muddy the waters.

Grab your copy from the links above!

 

 

 

 

Good Points

I thought this was one of the best detective thrillers I’d ever read. There, I said it. It was written with a crisp, flowing style, where not a single word was out of place. The characters were strong and leapt from the page; however, this was a description-driven story, and the characters still shone through. Which moves us onto the descriptions, which were vivid and well-thought out, everything that you needed to see in that one passage. I also loved the basis for the story, I thought it was a great (almost forgotten) part of history to add the the book, and it definitely gave it even more of a touch of realism. The other important point of this book is that it encompassed several of humanities’ social problems, weaving it into the crime story with ease. The twists and turns in this book were amazing, each one leading you to a conclusion that three minutes later was swept away altogether.

 

Bad Points

The amount of twist and turns-and this isn’t really a bad point, but I had to put something. 🙂 I personally love lots of twists and turns, I do it in my own books, but I can see some (very few!) people getting confused by the different sub-plots happening at once.

 

Overall

This is a fantastic start to what I hope will continue to be a great detective series. The writing was perfect, the storyline original and great to follow, the characters were engaging…..everything you want from a good novel and more. I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants a new crime thriller with a twist of something different in it. I thought this book was superb, and I cannot wait to see what else David Menon has up his sleeve.

I give this novel……5/5 Stars!