Monday, 20 May 2019

The Hierophant’s Daughter (The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy) by M. F. Sullivan - Blog Tour

Book Title: The Hierophant’s Daughter (The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy)

Author: M. F. Sullivan

Publisher: Painted Blind Publishing

Cover Artist: Nuno Moreira

Genre/s: LGBTQ Cyberpunk/Horror, Sci-fi/Fantasy (Adult)

Heat Rating: 1 flame (A romantic relationship between the couple but no intimate scenes or sexual situations are described in the book. The book fades-to-black before any love scene).

Length: approx. 100k words/ 298 paperback pages

It is Book I of The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy

Release Date: May 19, 2019

Dive into the first volume of a bleak cyberpunk tahgmahr you can't afford to miss. What would you sacrifice to survive?


By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind's intergenerational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.

It will also take a miracle to resurrect the wife of 331-year-old General Dominia di Mephitoli, who defects during martyr year 1997 AL in search of Lazarus, the one man rumored to bring life to the dead. With the Hierophant's Project Black Sun looming over her head, she has little choice but to believe this Lazarus is really all her new friends say he is--assuming he exists at all--and that these companions of hers are really able to help her. From the foulmouthed Japanese prostitute with a few secrets of her own to the outright sapient dog who seems to judge every move, they don't inspire a lot of confidence, but the General has to take the help she can get.

After all, Dominia is no ordinary martyr. She is THE HIEROPHANT'S DAUGHTER, and her Father won't let her switch sides without a fight. Not when she still has so much to learn.

The dystopic first entry of an epic cyberpunk trilogy, THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER is a horror/sci-fi adventure sure to delight and inspire adult readers of all stripes.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble


The Flight of the Governess

The Disgraced Governess of the United Front was blind in her right eye. Was that blood in the left, or was it damaged, too? The crash ringing in her ears kept her from thinking straight. Of course her left eye still worked: it worked well enough to prevent her from careening into the trees through which she plunged. Yet, for the tinted flecks of reality sometimes twinkling between crimson streaks, she could only imagine her total blindness with existential horror. Would the protein heal the damage? How severely was her left eye wounded? What about the one she knew to be blind—was it salvageable? Ichigawa could check, if she ever made it to the shore.

She couldn’t afford to think that way. It was a matter of “when,” not of “if.” She would never succumb. Neither could car accident, nor baying hounds, nor the Hierophant himself keep her from her goal. She had fourteen miles to the ship that would whisk her across the Pacific and deliver her to the relative safety of the Risen Sun. Then the Lazarene ceremony would be less than a week away. Cassandra’s diamond beat against her heart to pump it into double time, and with each double beat, she thought of her wife (smiling, laughing, weeping when she thought herself alone) and ran faster. A lucky thing the Governess wasn’t human! Though, had she remained human, she’d have died three centuries ago in some ghetto if she’d lived past twenty without becoming supper. Might have been the easier fate, or so she lamented each time her mind replayed the crash of the passenger-laden tanque at fifth gear against the side of their small car. How much she might have avoided!

Of course—then she never would have known Cassandra. That made all this a reasonable trade. Cold rain softened the black earth to the greedy consistency of clay, but her body served where her eyes failed. The darkness was normally no trouble, but now she squinted while she ran and, under sway of a dangerous adrenaline high, was side-swiped by more than one twisting branch. The old road that was her immediate goal, Highway 128, would lead her to the coast of her favorite Jurisdiction, but she now had to rediscover that golden path after the crash’s diversion. In an effort to evade her pursuers, she had torn into a pear orchard without thought of their canine companions. Not that the soldiers of the Americas kept companions like Europa’s nobles. These dogs were tools. Well-honed, organic death machines with a cultivated taste for living flesh, whether martyr or human. The dogs understood something that most had forgotten: the difference between the two was untenable. Martyrs could tell themselves they were superior for an eternity, but it wouldn’t change the fact that the so-called master race and the humans they consumed were the same species.

That was not why Cassandra had died, but it hadn’t contributed to their marital bliss. And now, knowing what she did of the Hierophant’s intentions—thinking, always, what Cassandra would have said—the Governess pretended she was driven by that ghost, and not by her own hopelessness. Without the self-delusion, she was a victim to a great many ugly thoughts, foremost among them being: Was the fear of life after her wife’s death worth such disgrace? A death sentence? Few appreciated what little difference there was between human and martyr, and fewer cared, because caring was fatal. But she was a part of the Holy Family. Shouldn’t that have been all that mattered? Stunning how, after three centuries, she deserved to be treated no better than a human. Then again, there was nothing quite like resignation from one’s post to fall in her Father’s estimate. Partly, he was upset by her poor timing—she did stand him up at some stupid press event, but only because she hoped it would keep everybody occupied while she got away. In that moment, she couldn’t even remember what it was. Dedicating a bridge? Probably. Her poor head, what did the nature of the event matter when she was close to death?

That lapse in social graces was not the reason for this hunt. He understood that more lay behind her resignation than a keening for country life. Even before he called her while she and the others took the tanque to the coast, he must have known. Just like he must have known the crash was seconds from happening while he chatted away, and that the humans in her company, already nervous to be within a foot of the fleeing Governess, were doomed.

Of the many people remaining on Earth, those lumped into the group of “human” were at constant risk of death, mutilation, or—far worse—unwilling martyrdom. This meant those humans lucky enough to avoid city-living segregation went to great lengths to keep their private properties secure. Not only houses but stables. The Disgraced Governess found this to be true of the stables into which she might have stumbled and electrocuted herself were it not for the bug zaps of rain against the threshold’s surface. Her mind made an instinctive turn toward prayer for the friendliness of the humans in the nearby farmhouse—an operation she was quick to abort. In those seconds (minutes?) since the crash, she’d succeeded in reconstructing the tinted windows of the tanque and a glimpse of silver ram’s horns: the Lamb lurked close enough to hear her like she spoke into his ear. It was too much to ask that he be on her side tonight.

Granted, the dogs of the Lamb were far closer, and far more decisive about where their loyalties stood. One hound sank its teeth into her ankle, and she, crying out, kicked the beast into its closest partner with a crunch. Slower dogs snarled outrage in the distance while the Disgraced Governess ran to the farmhouse caught in her left periphery. The prudent owners, to her frustration, shuttered their windows at night. Nevertheless, she smashed her fist against the one part of the house that protruded: the doorbell required by the Hierophant’s “fair play” dictatum allowing the use of electronic barriers. As the humans inside stumbled out of bed in response to her buzzing, the Disgraced Governess unholstered her antique revolver and unloaded two rounds into the recovered canines before they were upon her. The discharge wasn’t a tip-off she wanted to give to the Lamb and her other pursuers, but it hastened the response of the sleeping farmers as the intercom crackled to life.

“Who is it?” A woman’s voice, quivering with an edge of panic.

“My name is Dominia di Mephitoli: I’m the former Governess of the United Front, and I need to borrow a horse. Please. Don’t let me in. Just drop the threshold on your stables.”

“The Governess? I’m sorry, I don’t understand. The Dominia di Mephitoli, really? The martyr?”

“Yes, yes, please. I need a horse now.” Another dog careened around the corner and leapt over the bodies of his comrades with such grace that she wasted her third round in the corpses. Two more put it down as she shouted into the receiver. “I can’t transfer you any credits because they’ve frozen my Halcyon account, but I’ll leave you twenty pieces of silver if you drop the threshold and loan me a horse. You can reclaim it at the docks off Bay Street, in the township of Sienna. Please! He’ll kill me.”

“And he’ll be sure to kill us for helping you.”

“Tell him I threatened you. Tell him I tricked you! Anything. Just help me get away!”

“He’ll never believe what we say. He’ll kill me, my husband, our children. We can’t.”

“Oh, please. An act of mercy for a dying woman. Please, help me leave. I can give you the name of a man in San Valentino who can shelter you and give you passage abroad.”

“There’s no time to go so far south. Not as long as it takes to get across the city.”

It had been ten seconds since she’d heard the last dog. That worried her. With her revolver at the ready, she scanned the area for something more than the quivering roulette blotches swelling in her right eye. Nothing but the dead animals. “He’ll kill you either way. For talking to me, and not keeping me occupied until his arrival. For knowing that there’s disarray in his perfect land. He’ll find a reason, even if it only makes sense to him.”

The steady beat of rain pattered out a passive answer. On the verge of giving up, Dominia stepped back to ready herself for a fight—and the house’s threshold dropped with an electric pop. The absent mauve shimmer left the façade bare. How rare to see a country place without its barrier! A strange thing. Stranger for the front door to open; she’d only expected them to do away with the threshold on the stables.

But, rather than the housewife she’d anticipated, there stood the Hierophant. Several bleak notions clicked into place.

One immaculate gray brow arched. “Now, Dominia, that’s hardly fair. Knowledge of your disgrace isn’t why I’ll kill them. The whole world will know of it tomorrow morning. You embarrassed me by sending your resignation, rather than making the appearance I asked of you, so it is only fair I embarrass you by rejecting your resignation and firing you publicly. No, my dear. I will kill these fine people to upset you. In fact, Mr. McLintock is already dead in the attic. A mite too brave. Of course”—he winked, and whispered in conspiracy—“don’t tell them that.”

“How did you know I’d come here?”

“Such an odd spurt of rain tonight. Of all your Jurisdictions, this one is usually so dry this time of year! Won’t you come in for tea? Mrs. McLintock brews a fine pot. But put that gun away. You’re humiliating yourself. And me.”

About the Author 

M.F. Sullivan is the author of Delilah, My Woman, The Lightning Stenography Device, and a slew of plays in addition to the Trilogy. She lives in Ashland, Oregon with her boyfriend and her cat, where she attends the local Shakespeare Festival and experiments with the occult. 

Find more information about her work (and plenty of free essays) here.


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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Connections in Death (In Death #48) by J.D. Robb

370 pages


When recovering drug addict Lyle Pickering is found dead of an overdose, it looks like a tragic accident. But his sister Rochelle knows better, and so does Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Lyle was murdered, and the evidence points directly to his old street gang.

As Eve and husband Roarke track the killer through the city’s dive bars, drug dens and strip joints, another body is discovered. With connections growing between the living and the dead, and the body count on the rise, Eve knows she needs to close this case fast, before the killer’s lust for power turns the city’s streets into a bloodbath.


As you may know, I’m kinda addicted to the In Death series by J.D. Robb. I haven’t missed a single book in the almost 50 titles long series and can honestly say that I enjoyed every single one of them. Some of them I adored, some made it on to my ‘extra special’ list, and others were ‘just’ good reads but, if I remember correctly, not a single one of these books ended up disappointing me or warranting a score less than four stars, although the vast majority scored five.

Connections in Death was one of the rarer four stars stories. Not because there was anything wrong with the book, as such, but because it seemed to lack that wow factor. I mean, Eve is still as snarky as she always is, and still has her usual hang-ups about the English language, and hitting the nail on the head every time a saying exasperates her. Her interactions with Roarke remain clever, tender, sexy, and heartwarming, while her verbal exchanges with Peabody made me smile, as they always do.

And yet, somehow all of it was a little bit less than it usually is. The snark wasn’t as sharp, the intimate scenes with Roarke weren’t as sexy, and her verbal jousting sessions with Peabody lacked some of their usual fire. And the same can be said for the mystery in this book; it just didn’t have the depth I’ve gotten used to and I can’t help feeling a bit too much time was given to what happens after the arrests have been made.

I’m probably not making myself very clear here. If I’m honest, I have to admit it’s not easy to put my finger on exactly what didn’t feel right to me this time. I just know I didn’t feel the same desperate read to keep on reading. The story just didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat as the In Death books usually do. At the same time I have to admit that the last chapter, in which Roarke helps Eve find peace with everything that has happened, truly warmed my heart and ensured that I was satisfied and uplifted when I closed the book.

Having said all that, I would have read this book even if I’d known all of the above in advance. These are really minor quibbles. There’s nothing wrong with the story as such, it just wasn’t as fabulous as some other titles in the series have been. And I’m already looking forward to the next In Death book; it can come soon enough for me.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Leverage in Death (In Death #47) by J.D. Robb

385 pages


What would you do to protect your family?

When Paul Rogan sets off a bomb at his office, killing eleven people, no one can understand why. He was a loving husband and father, with everything to live for. Then his wife and daughter are found chained up in the family home and everything becomes clear. Rogan had been given a horrifying choice—set off the bomb or see his loved ones suffer and die.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows the violence won’t end here. The men behind the attack were determined, organised and utterly ruthless. In this shocking and challenging case, both Eve and husband Roarke are heading into serious danger.


This is the 47th book in the In Death series, and I’ve read all of them. So, it wasn’t a huge surprise that J.D. came up with rather horrific crimes in this book. It wasn’t the first time and it almost certainly won’t be the last. It has been a while though since a plot didn’t only horrify me but also left me wondering ‘what would I do?’, ‘how far would I be prepared to go to keep my family safe?’.

My heart broke for Paul Rogan when this story opened. In fact, I almost skimmed my way through the first chapter and Paul’s ordeal because it was too painful and suspense-filled to read in detail.

The subsequent investigation was as intriguing as it always is and the climax had me reading on the edge of my seat…literally. Not that either of those facts surprised me; I wouldn’t expect anything less.

But, just in case you’re worrying that this is the book in which J.D. Robb went all dark, foregoing the usual banter and sexiness, allow me to reassure you. Of course, Leverage in Death was filled with her trademark characters having the sort of interactions I’ve loved them for ever since the first book. I’ll never stop laughing out loud at Eve’s observations about things most of us don’t think about twice, like this conversation about thumb sucking between Eve and Peabody.

“How good could your own thumb taste?”
“It’s not the taste, it’s the sucking action. Oral satisfaction and comfort.”
“So, basically, they’re giving themselves a blow job?”

I also love that no matter how perfect Roarke and Eve are for each other, their on-page relationship never gets too sugary. In this book they even engage in a massive battle of wills only to end it with a fabulous session of angry sex. Because that’s just how they role.

The fact that I read this book from start to finish in one day, really says it all. I adored this book. I even shed a few tears while reading the last two pages. As I said, over 47 books these characters have turned into close friends and when they experience all the happies, my eyes leak a little.

I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I am that even after all these books the In Death series has lost none of its magic. I’m so happy I’ve still got #48 waiting for my attention; it almost makes up for the fact that once I read Connections in Death I’ll have to join the thousands of readers eagerly awaiting the next In Death story.

Monday, 6 May 2019

The Rose by Tiffany Reisz

400 Pages

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harlequin Audible

Author Tiffany Reisz returns to the world of The Red with an imaginative sequel full of lust and magic, and the dangers unleashed when the two are combined… 

On the day of Lia’s university graduation party, her parents—wealthy art collectors with friends in high places—gift her a beautiful wine cup, a rare artifact decorated with roses. It’s a stunning gift, and one that August Bowman, a friend of her parents and a guest at Lia’s party, also has his eye on. The cup, August tells her, is known as the Rose kylix, and it’s no ordinary cup. It was used in the temple ceremonies of Eros, Greek god of erotic love, and has the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life.

But Lia is skeptical of August’s claims of the cup’s mythology and magic—after all, he’s a collector himself, and she suspects he just wants to get his hands on this impressive piece of art. So he dares her to try it for herself, and when Lia drinks from the Rose kylix she is suddenly immersed in an erotic myth so vivid it seems real—as though she’s living out the most sensual fantasy with August by her side…

Realizing the true power of this ancient and dangerous relic, Lia is even more wary of giving it up, though August insists it is only safe with him. He’s willing to pay the full value of the cup, but Lia has another type of trade in mind. One that finds them more tangled up in each other—and in fantasy—than either was prepared for. 


“Falling in love is brave and dangerous,” August said. “Like climbing a mountain or going to war. Foolish too, just like climbing a mountain or going to war. You shouldn’t hate yourself for doing something brave and dangerous.””

Before I start this review, I have three confessions to make.

  • I’ve been a Tiffany Reisz fan ever since I first read The Siren, almost seven years ago.
  • I’ve been obsessed with the old Greek myths for as long as I can remember.
  • I half read and half listened to this book.

As I mentioned above, I’ve been fascinated by the Greek myths since I was a young girl. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wrote an essay on the Trojan war while I was still in primary school. If I remember correctly, I enjoyed reading my mother’s book about Greek myths more than I did the actually writing, but in my memory, the whole experience was exquisite.

Not quite as exquisite as reading The Rose was though. Before I started reading this book, I knew that offering me a book based on those myths andwritten by one of my favourite authors, equalled handing me a one-way ticket to paradise. But even that certain knowledge before I started the story couldn’t prepare me for the pure joy that was losing myself in The Rose.

The Rose did not disappoint. This book is a showcase of that special talent Tiffany Reisz has when it comes to layering her stories. On the surface this is a rather fluffy, fairy-tale like, and very sexy fantasy. But that’s only true if you limit yourself to what is in plain sight. If you look a little deeper, you’ll appreciate how much research must have gone into the Greek mythology referenced in The Rose. What’s more, the author doesn’t limit herself to a retelling of those myths, she adds to them, gives them slightly different meanings or outcomes, or provides answers where the original myth only leaves us with questions.

Lia was an utter delight. Just twenty-one years old, she has the whole wanting to be an adult and treated as such, but still reverting back to childish reactions, thoughts, and emotions, down pat. For a long time, August remained a bit of a mystery to me. He was obviously gorgeous and smart not to mention incredibly kind, but for a long time I didn’t feel as if I knew him at all. Of course, that was exactly as it should be because Lia doesn’t know him that well, and we experience the story through her eyes.

I retrospect, I have no idea why I even gave that vagueness in August a second thought. I should have known there would be a reason…a very good reason…an utterly delightful (although not completely unexpected) reason for his mysterious aura…and of course I have no intention of what that reason might be. Read the book. 😊

This wouldn’t be a Tiffany Reisz story if it wasn’t filled with clever observations, sparkling conversation, and delightfully original statements and ideas.

“You’re like a kitten with a switchblade (…) Give a switchblade to a kitten and the kitten somehow gets cuter, and also, even the switchblade becomes cute. That’s you.” - August

Only Tiffany Reisz could come up with an escort agency, ran by a twenty-one year old member of the British aristocracy and called the Young Ladies Gardening & Tennis Club of Wingthorn Hall.

And I’m not surprised that her charming romance gave me considerable food for thought:

“If a story is suppressed or obscured, it’s because somewhere along the way it scared the shit out of a man.”

Oh, and just in case you’re curious. I can honestly say that this book is as big a joy to read as it is to listen to. Both the written and the spoken editions come highly recommended.

*Sighs* I could easily write another 700 words about this book, but I’ll spare you that. I’m just going to leave you with this conclusion:

Whimsical, highly erotic, and astoundingly clever, The Rose is yet another of Tiffany Reisz’s stories that managed to blow my mind away.

Related review: The Red

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Love is a Walk in the Park by V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey

143 pages

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Sullivan Haines knows exactly what he wants out of life. Fame as a Broadway dancer and to find the man of his dreams. Sadly, his love life is a dismal mess, his roommate is PMS personified, and working at a dingy dance studio teaching old people how to tango and foxtrot is not exactly the bright lights. Actually, life in the Big Apple is pretty rotten, until he and his dog run into tall, dark, and oh-so-handsome Duane Hart in the park. Their pooches hit it right off, but can the two men find romance along the park’s winding paths? 

Duane Hart hasn’t had a lot go right in his life. His girlfriend recently broke up with him, taking everything that wasn’t nailed down or in his roommate’s name. Well, everything except the Yorkshire terrier that he didn’t want to get in the first place, and that she now refuses to take back. However, when he meets a handsome stranger and his pit bull in the dog park, will the blooming heat in his chest be able to convince him to start dating again? Or will fate prove love isn’t a walk in the park, after all? 


Love is a Walk in the Park is a most adorable, sweet, and uplifting story. It sucked me in right from the start and kept me reading when there were about a million other things I really should have been doing but…good book. 😊

Sullivan and Duane were fabulous main characters. On the surface they are as different as it is possible for two men to be. While Sullivan is all femme, outrageous, and in your face gay, Duane is more subdued, sober, and a manly-man. Together they are pure magic as they move from attraction to infatuation and beyond. Their polar opposite natures made me smile at least once every page while the way in which those differences only seemed to make them more perfect for each other warmed my heart.

But, as adorable as Sullivan and Duane are, I have to say they had a fight on their hands when it came to claiming my affections. And they were up against tough competition in the form of Tiberius the Great and Princess Pizazz Periwinkle, the first a Yorkshire Terrier belonging to Duane and the second being Sullivan’s Pitbull. The dogs are about as mismatched as their owners, both when it comes to which human they own and compared to each other but, as with Duane and Sullivan, that only serves to make them more fabulous.

In fact, with one notable exception, I loved all secondary characters in this book. The story is filled with good people and wonderful friendships. While these people were forever teasing each other, they were also ready to look out for their friends at a moment’s notice when the need arose.

Love is a Walk in the Park is basically a feel-good story. However, that doesn’t mean Sullivan and Duane are spared their nightmarish moments. I’m not going to go into any details except to say that love and friendship really do work minor miracles in this story, leaving me to a happy ending that felt perfect for our protagonists and was very satisfying for me.

Overall, I have to call this first Locey collaboration a resounding success and I can’t wait to see what V.L. and Stephanie will come up with next.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

The Accidental Baker by Clare London - Book Blitz

- Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Length: 16,000 words approx.


Donnie Watson's baking disasters are legendary, but this Easter, his mismatched chocolate eggs bring accidental but astonishing results to four downhearted gay men. The chocolate sweets spill onto the pavement of a small parade of local shops—and go on a matchmaking tour like no other! From a bankrupt and betrayed baker, to a homeless but hopeful man, to a conceited bar owner in need of a reality check, and finally to the hapless but caring Donnie himself. 
After all, Love means you can have chocolate too!


This is an absolutely delightful story, utterly feel-good and then some.

The Accidental Baker comes with a wonderful hint of magical realism, all in the form of misshapen but heavenly-tasting chocolate creations.

The chocolate ‘whatever-you-want-to-call-thems’ (because they don’t come close to resembling the bunny and other shapes they were supposed to be) manage to get away from poor hapless Donnie only to end up in locations where they can be found by those who need a little helping hand (or should that be helping chocolate) in the love department.

And that’s all I’m willing to say about the story itself. Read it, enjoy it, and I challenge you to not end the book with a huge grin on your face.

Clare London is in a league of her own when it comes to writing fabulous and fascinating stories which, despite being a short read, manage to give a full story and create the impression that we know the characters a lot better than should be possible given the length of the story.

The Accidental Baker is a highly recommended short read for anyone who needs something to brighten their day and lighten their mood. Because, in my humble opinion, Clare London creates the same sort of magic with her words that Donnie creates with his misshapen chocolates. 😊

Author Bio

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!

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Monday, 22 April 2019

A Man of Some Importance by Jacqui Kelly

302 pages


He wants to be President, but will his inconvenient past get in the way?

Patrick Devoy Kavanagh lives a double life. In public he is a man at the top of his game – celebrity lawyer, chat-show regular and patron of a number of children’s charities. But behind the scenes he is drowning in debt, his legal practice is haemorrhaging clients and his PA is expecting his child.

The only way he feels he can escape his creditors is to raise his media profile and in doing so he ruthlessly exploits his family and friends. So successful is he that he is told in a radio interview that he should run for President. Patrick mulls this over and decides this is a great idea. He has all the skills, he can talk for Ireland – and it would sort out his money issues.

And so begins the march to the Áras and the promise of something for everyone.

But will his campaign succeed? There are many obstacles in his way, most of his own making, which threaten to blow his own family apart as the soap opera which is the race to become Uachtarán na hÉireann plays out.

I’m not sure what to say about this book. I don’t want to be all nasty, but I really, really didn’t like the story. I always have a hard time seeing the good side of a story in which the main character has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and the fact that he keeps on getting away from it doesn’t make things better…far from it in fact.

Basically what we’ve got here is the story of an unscrupulous lawyer, Patrick Devoy Kavanagh who will literally use anything and everybody—including his current wife, his ex-wife, his children, his pregnant mistress, the partner in his law company, etc— in his life for his own ends. To be perfectly honesty, I’m not sure I was more upset with him being a crook or with all those people around him facilitating his behaviour and supporting it.

*Sighs* I can’t deny that a large part of my dislike stems from the fact that the behaviour as portrayed by our presidential candidate is not exactly unheard of in Ireland (and probably quite a few other countries, but I can’t speak about those). The brown envelope culture of bribery and under the table payments and agreements is all too common here, as is the almost casual acceptance that politicians and lawyers just operate that way and sure, he’s such a cheeky chappy, great company, so we’ll just ignore all the backhanded stuff.

The book just felt wrong. The first three quarters of the story is basically a litany of all his bad (at best) and illegal behaviour while the last part boils down to him being rewarded for being a selfish bastard. Maybe, if Patrick had had one or two redeeming qualities, if he’d shown even an ounce of human decency at some point, to someone, I might have smiled while reading the story and have appreciated it as a darkly comical look at Irish society. Since I didn’t manage to find a single moment where I could make myself believe that maybe Patrick wasn’t all bad, none of it worked for me.

I also wasn’t overly impressed with the name dropping. While side characters such as journalists all had made up names, those were so close to names of real life and currently active media people it felt a bit like lazy writing. And I also can’t help feeling that the book could have done with at least one more round of editing/proofreading.

After all of the above, you may ask yourself why I still give the book three stars (well, two-and-a-half stars rounded up). The reason is rather simple. While the main character in this story didn’t have a single redeeming quality, the book itself fares a little better in my estimation. This is a fast read, with events following each other at an almost impossible pace. And, for a book I didn’t really like, it read ridiculously easily. Although, that’s probably just as well. I’m not sure I would have had the patience to force my way to the end of the tale if it had been a tough read.