Saturday 18 December 2010

My Dad Reviews...

As you may be aware, Dear Reader, my Dad is a frequent commenter to this blog (under the pseudonym 'Anonymous'), occasionally dropping a facetious comment (which he believes are funny, for some bizarre reason). You may also be aware that he reviews books for me from time to time. Well, when I arrived yesterday, to spend Christmas with my Mum and Dad, almost as soon as I walked through the door he accosted me in an accusing manner.

"You're missing a Scottish crime fiction author from your website."

"Hello, Dad. How are you? I love you. Lovely to see you."

"Never mind that. I read a book by this author and it's very good. And she's not on your list."

"Well, I'm really sorry about that. Let me just dump my suitcase and take my coat off and I'll rectify the situation. What's her name?"

"I can't remember."

"OK, what's the book called?"

"I can't remember that, either."

"Do you remember what the main character's name was?"


"This might be a little bit tough, then, eh Dad? Are you sure it was a woman?"

"Of course I'm sure it was a woman, you foolish child. It's an excellent book. I really enjoyed it. Oh, it's set in Whitley Bay, and the author was born in Scotland."

A-ha - tangible clues, at last. But wait, Memoro The Amazing Memory Man had not yet finished.

"I remember her name was like a man's name... Michaela...that was it."

OK, now we were getting somewhere.

"Oh, and her surname was a town on the Isle of Man, I remember."


"That's it! Michaela Douglas. And it's a one word title."

Excellent. I opened Google. Typed in "Whitley Bay" +"crime fiction" +Michaela Douglas.

Nothing. I said as much to my Dad.

"You're obviously not looking properly," was his response. "I know, I put it in one of the bookcases so that other people can read it."

I've mentioned before that my parents live in a flat in a lovely retirement community (a place where my Mum does all she can to put her neighbours off reading anything I write). So off we toddled, up the corridor, to the bookshelves. No Michaela Douglas. Gone. Just a space where my Dad had put the book.

We stood, looking at the bookcase for a wee while. Enter David, one of my Mum and Dad's neighbours - a very cheerful and cheeky gentleman.

He saw us looking at the bookshelves.

"Looking for a book?"

"I put a book here yesterday, a good book. And now it's gone," said my Dad.

"Oh dear, that's a shame," said David. "I'm reading a good book at the moment. I found it in the bookcase yesterday. About a murder. Set in Whitley Bay."

Dad and I looked at each other.

"Who is it by?" I said, excitedly.

David thought for a moment. "Do you know, I can't remember."

"What's it called?" said my Dad.

David thought for another moment. "I can't actually remember that, either. But it's in my living room."

By this time, I had begun to think that not only did the book not actually exist, but that I, myself, was actually in a book. Written by Kafka. Off we trotted to David's flat. Where we eventually found the book with a one word title, written by Michaela Douglas. Only it was a two word title. Written by Danielle Ramsay. My Dad was right - a name like a man's name and a town on the Isle of Man...just...not the correct ones.

As an addendum to this story, on the way back down the corridor we met Brian, the man who my Mum had tried to persuade not to read my book last time. "Oh, it's the author lady," he said.

"I'd like to read your book," said David.

We were outside the open door of my Mum and Dad's flat at the time. From inside came the panicked cry. "No, you don't." Yes, she was at it again. But David would not be stopped. "It's got a lot of swearing in," said my Mum. "And I don't know where she knows those words from. Our Donna never swears." I tried to look angelic. Both Dad and David looked at me, dubiously.

Oh, one more thing. David has promised to review both BROKEN SILENCE and OLD DOGS. So next time, this post may be titled "My Dad and My Dad's Mate Review..."

Anyway, without further ado, a reminder of my Dad's tastes and then a review of BROKEN SILENCE by Michaela Douglas...errrrr...Danielle Ramsay. And Dad, I've now added her to the author list.

My Dad:

DISLIKES: romance, books that have too much swearing in - I heard a lot of harrumphing when he was reading OLD DOGS. Also doesn't like horror, and books with vampires, pterodactyls and the living dead in them. Also, something called an ungoliant. No, I have no idea either - I think my Dad has been at the sherry.

: thrillers, spy novels, war stories and books with elves in (the elves can swear their little heads off as far as he's concerned). Oh, and maps. He bloody loves maps. If you ever meet him, for goodness' sake don't ask him for directions. Not even to the bathroom.

BROKEN SILENCE - Danielle Ramsay
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: October 2010
This is a book that you will love or hate. It is a first novel by this author and is set in Whitley Bay, in the North East near Newcastle. It tells the story of a young girl, Sophie Washington, who is found murdered and mutilated. The crime is investigated by DI Jack Brady, assisted by his partner DS Harry Conrad. She has been known by DI James Matthews who was with her on the night she died, and who originally started to investigate the murder.The chief suspects are the people who should have been able to help her - her step father, ex school teacher, and of course James Matthews.

The story takes you through the underworld of Whitley Bay and the undergrowth of a local park where all the low life of the area congregate. Brady, who has just returned to work after being shot and losing his wife through divorce, is, of course, feeling very sorry for himself. He stumbles through the investigation to a successful conclusion, to his own surprise and that of the reader.

This is a story well worth reading, even though I had guessed the identity and reasons of the killer before I was three parts through. It was well written and the characters were believable. I enjoyed the setting too. I'd like to read more by this author. I can only recommend it be put on your TBR lists.


  1. Donna - It's so interesting that your dad was so sure he remembered the title and author one way, but it turned out to be something completely different. Related, but different. I'm glad after all that effort to remember that you were able to figure out what he'd read and put this review.

  2. I'll have a gander at Broken Silence. We used to go to Whitley Bay for school trips when I was young.

  3. Margot - knowing my Dad, it's not surprising :o)

    Paul - hopefully, there were no murders on your school trips :o)

  4. Love this post.. reminded me of my father. Big mystery reader but with totally different that time. Wish he were alive today. I now read the type of book he read, and we would, I imagine, have great discussions. Cherish your time together.

  5. Brilliant post. It reminds me of every conversation I've ever had with my parents. My favorite: they wanted to know what I thought of a particular movie, but couldn't remember the title, the cast or the plot. I jokingly asked if it was in color, to which my mother replied "Of course it was!" Later she remembered the movie. It was the Coen Brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There. Which, of course, is in black and white.

  6. Great story and the review makes me more keen to read this book which has somehow made it to my TBR pile. It's nice to know I'm not the only one with odd parents who sometimes try to disown me (or at least my creative outputs). I once had three photos in an exhibition which were of naked or semi-naked people - my mother told all her friends I was having an exhibition because she was proud and then told them all not to go because of the nudity :)

  7. Poetic license is not dead after all.

  8. Janet - indeed I will, my dear.

    Vince - hahahahahaha! Perfect.

    Bernadette - our mothers must be related. My Mum told the local bookshop to order several copies of OLD DOGS. Then went back in and told them to cancel the order because of all the swearing.

    Dad - you know every word is true :o)

  9. I think I love your parents. Are they up for adoption?

  10. Michael - sadly, no. However, according to my Dad, *I* now am...Can't think what his prolem is... :o) Mind you. everything's negotiable. If you're coming to Crimefest in May, they'll be there, I'm sure they have their price...

  11. Off to put Michaela Douglas (I know, I know, but I have spent my book budget anyway) on my list without further swearing (you - not me - I am the vicar´s wife and I swear I never swear)

  12. Does your dad buy books at the Barnes & Noble in Palmdale, California? He sounds awful familiar...

  13. I had the misfortune to be given a copy of Broken Silence and found it was one of the worst books I have ever read. It was so badly written it was a joke! The terrible sentence construction, the tell not show abuse and the way the author is obviously writing about her own fantasty life (the gorgeous, intelligent ex-wife with the long red hair...the Victorian 3 story house...the high end consumer items ....oh you wish!) makes it laughable. With so much psychological projection I sense a narcissitic personality in our offering. Dreadful, simply dreadful!