Wednesday, December 17, 2014

MASK OF THE VERDOY BY PHIL LECOMBER Review and Giveaway




  • Publisher: Diablo Books (October 9, 2014)
  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0993047203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0993047206
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches

BLURB:

LONDON, 1932 … a city held tight in the grip of the Great Depression. GEORGE HARLEY’S London. The West End rotten with petty crime and prostitution; anarchists blowing up trams; fascists marching on the East End.

And then, one smoggy night …

The cruel stripe of a cutthroat razor … three boys dead in their beds … and a masked killer mysteriously vanishing across the smoky rooftops of Fitzrovia.

Before long the cockney detective is drawn into a dark world of murder and intrigue, as he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the very security of the British nation.

God save the King! eh, George?

THE 1930s … thinking debutantes, Bright Young Things and P. G. Wodehouse? Think again—more like fascists, psychopaths, and kings of the underworld. GEORGE HARLEY’S London is a city of crime and corruption … of murder most foul, and smiling, damned villains.

In part an homage to Grahame Greene’s Brighton Rock, and to the writings of Gerald Kersh, James Curtis, Patrick Hamilton, Norman Collins and the other chroniclers of London lowlife in the 1930s, Mask of the Verdoy also tips its hat to the heyday of the British crime thriller—but unlike the quaint sleepy villages and sprawling country estates of Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot, George Harley operates in the spielers, clip-joints and all-night cafés that pimple the seedy underbelly of a city struggling under the austerity of the Great Slump.

With Mussolini’s dictatorship already into its seventh year in Italy, and with a certain Herr Hitler standing for presidential elections in Germany, 1932 sees the rise in the UK of the British Brotherhood of Fascists, led by the charismatic Sir Pelham Saint Clair. This Blackshirt baronet is everything that Harley despises and the chippy cockney soon has the suave aristocrat on his blacklist.

But not at the very top. Pride of place is already taken by his arch enemy, Osbert Morkens—the serial killer responsible for the murder and decapitation of Harley’s fiancée, Cynthia … And, of course—they never did find her head.

Mask of the Verdoy is the first in the period crime thriller series, the George Harley Mysteries.

Contest: 

Phil will be awarding a $40 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Impressions: 

This was an excellent first novel by Phil. The cover of this book draws you into a killer story filled with mystery, intrigue, history, an an amazing plot that all crime and detective junkies alike can fall in love with.

Set in London during the 1930's you read pages filled with corruption, violence, debutantes, gangsters and laymen alike who have their lives turned upside and inside out during the Great Depression.

This was a fast paced read, with some intriguing  characters that moved the plot along. Twists and turns throughout with a surprise ending make this an easy one to recommend. I cannot wait to see what this author does next.
 
Excerpt: 





JUST THEN HARLEY heard a shriek from the direction of the fire escape.

He dashed back across the roof and lowered himself carefully onto the ironwork, shuffling as quickly as he dared back to the open window.

‘George … George!’

It was Vi. But her shouting wasn’t coming from Miss Perkin’s room, it was coming from further along the fire escape—from his own house. He made the extra few yards and then yanked up the sash window and threw himself awkwardly into the room.

Harley took in the scene with a professional’s eye: the dark puddle congealing on the floorboards; the mother-of-pearl-handled razor gripped loosely in the grubby, nail-bitten fingers; the leaden pallor on the boyish cheek.

There was a call from the floor below.

‘Police! Anyone there?’

‘Up here, Burnsey! Top floor!’ shouted Harley, already at Aubrey’s throat, searching for a pulse.

A thump of heavy footsteps announced PC Burns’ arrival.

‘Oh, Jesus Christ!’ said the policeman, removing his helmet and rushing over to crouch down beside the bed. ‘Any luck?’

But as Harley drew back the only sign of life Burns could see in the boy’s face came from the two tiny facsimiles of the guttering gas mantle, dancing in the dull pupils.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Phil Lecomber was born in 1965 in Slade Green, on the outskirts of South East London—just a few hundred yards from the muddy swirl of the Thames.

Most of his working life has been spent in and around the capital in a variety of occupations. He has worked as a musician in the city’s clubs, pubs and dives; as a steel-fixer helping to build the towering edifices of the square mile (and also working on some of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as Tower Bridge); as a designer of stained-glass windows; and—for the last quarter of a century—as the director of a small company in Mayfair specializing in the electronic security of some of the world’s finest works of art.

All of which, of course, has provided wonderful material for a novelist’s inspiration.

Always an avid reader, a chance encounter as a teenager with a Gerald Kersh short story led to a fascination with the ‘Morbid Age’— the years between the wars. The world that Phil has created for the George Harley Mysteries is the result of the consumption and distillation of myriad contemporary novels, films, historical accounts, biographies and slang dictionaries of the 1930s—with a nod here and there to some of the real-life colourful characters that he’s had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with over the years.

So, the scene is now set … enter George Harley, stage left …

Phil lives in the beautiful West Country city of Bath with his wife, Susie. They have two sons, Jack and Ned.

https://www.facebook.com/GHMysteries

http://www.georgeharley.com/

@GHMysteries

http://www.amazon.com/Mask-Verdoy-George-Mystery-Mysteries/dp/0993047211

http://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Phil+Lecomber&search-alias=books-ca

http://www.bookdepository.com/Mask-Verdoy-Phil-Lecomber/9780993047206

 

 
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