The Siege of Mr Kahn’s Curry Shop – by Charlie Robinson
“How do you live a life when you don’t have a past? I need to know – for me.”
I was already familiar with Charlie Robinson’s storytelling, thoroughly enjoying his sense of humour and witty writing style on his blog. I already knew he was working on his first novel – two decades in the making, as he put it. Then, once I saw the cover, the title and the synopsis, I instantly wanted to read The Siege of Mr Kahn’s Curry Shop as I had a feeling it wouldn’t disappoint.
“This is life – sometimes we make a success of things and sometimes we don’t. More often than not, we don’t, but we carry on and we need to carry on without bearing a grudge.”
Well, I was right. I may have mentioned this before, I don’t particularly enjoy writing reviews. But I will occasionally share about fellow authors from our little WP community, writers whose work I appreciate.
“He felt afraid for the first time in his life and he guessed what it could be. He was afraid that now he had her, he could lose her.”
There is a sense of honesty and realism to Charlie Robinson’s writing which, together with all the twists and turns of the plot, makes you not want to put down the book. A person can be the hero and the villain at the same time, depending on the chosen perspective, young Billy Lynch will learn to accept. Complex characters gradually reveal layers to their personality and the circumstances behind their actions and development. Whether their image changes for the better or for the worse, none of them is one-dimensional or boring.
“She hadn’t experienced this before: the fights, the never-ending confrontations between Lard and himself, the racist and homophobic violence in town on Saturday nights. He hadn’t allowed her to see his struggle, trying to bring some decency to it all. He was expecting her to have the same philosophy as he had.”
In many ways, this is a coming of age story, and many readers (such as myself) might find it relatable, even if they reached their maturity in a different decade and/or place. It’s also a good reminder that many aspects of our society – which we now take for granted – were very-very different until not that long ago.
“Billy Lynch was responsible for every bad thing that had ever happened to him.”
As I don’t want to give away any interesting plot details of Billy Lynch’s adventure, I will only add that it’s worth giving this book a chance and I’ll leave you with the author’s synopsis.
Thank you for an interesting, entertaining read, Charlie. Keep on writing! One question, though… will there be a sequel? (Hoping for a positive answer… 🙂 )
“We can let the past rule us, or we can look to the future.”
Bradford in 1974.
Billy Lynch wants a better life. He also wants the truth.
Why did his father leave fourteen years ago?
Where did he go?
Why is the local drug dealer supporting a National Front march?
Does the stunning Auntie Riya really have the answers, can Billy trust her?
Billy’s love for Mr Khan’s daughter, Alina is discovered by the local skinhead leader, Lard.
This sparks a chain of disastrous events and Billy is drawn back into a past he was trying to escape. The consequences of one kiss, mean nothing will ever be the same again.
Just Before Sunrise – by Carol Balawyder
I’ve said this before, and I will say it again – every book by Carol Balawyder that I’ve read was a treat. Just Before Sunrise, her most recent crime novel, was no exception. The fact that it took me so long to share about it reflects poorly on my time management skills, not on the book’s merits.
“When the person you love the most in the world dies, your heart breaks from loneliness. Nothing can take away that kind of lonely.”
Regardless of the genre she chooses, Carol Balawyder is a fine observer and analyst of human nature, creating deep, complex characters struggling with life’s adversities and difficult choices. Just Before Sunrise is no exception, the compelling flow of the novel enthralling the reader.
“What it often comes down to is that these women are afraid of having to face their loneliness. They prefer to put up with the hurt and betrayal than have to live alone.”
It’s not easy to write a gripping crime story when revealing early on “who dunnit”, but Carol manages it beautifully. It’s not only about murder. It’s about everyone involved directly and indirectly – a colourful, unexpected mix of characters – about what makes them who they are, their history, traumas, hopes and feelings. So if you enjoy a good crime story, Just Before Sunrise is a captivating novel worth considering.
Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.
But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…
Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way home for delinquent girls, she doesn’t think twice.
She soon falls for Charlie, the attractive boy next door, who has a seriously dark side. She is drawn into his murderous schemes, doing anything he asks her to, risking her own safety for the promise of a future with him. When she finds herself party to murder, and she realises he is more concerned with his older female accomplice than with her, she must learn to trust her instincts and use all of her courage to get out of their trap alive.
As a subplot there is the rocky romantic relationship between an older woman and a younger man who become involved in investigating the murder for which young Maya is accused of committing.
Just Before Sunrise is a story about loss and survival. About loneliness, betrayals and deadly desires.