Thursday, 24 April 2014

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: Underground 2: Girl Seven - Hanna Jameson

Release Date: 24/04/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus


What is the price of revenge? The day her parents and sister were murdered, Seven did not cry. Instead, she tried to forget. She vowed that one day she would be free from the sight of their blood. But Seven could not forget. And now that she is part of London's criminal underworld, she knows men who can maim; men who can kill. But they all have a price. Will Seven betray her frinds to avenge her family? A breath-taking thriller laced with fierce, sparse prose, GIRL SEVEN is the new turbo-charged novel from Dagger-shortlisted Hanna Jameson.


When I originally heard about this book I was more than intrigued, I liked the idea of a young girl taking the lead in a murder revenge story but for me, the main thing that needed doing was for the author to present a lead character that not only the reader could associate with but also was carefully balanced to be emotionally damaged after her ordeal. As a reader this was going to be a tough thing to accept and if this didn’t come off just right it would leave the reader in not only a sense of disbelief but also alienated from the rest of the story.

What Hanna brought to the fore was a character that hit the spot, backed up with good dialogue and of course a sense of pace that carried the story forward. That said the plot line was fairly simplistic and whilst there weren’t any surprises all round did give me a book that I enjoyed purely for the principle characters complexity.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

FANTASY REVIEWS: The Greatcoats 1: Traitor's Blade - Sebastien De Castell

Release Date: 06/03/14
Publisher:  Jo Fletcher Books


Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King's Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King's head on a spike. Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters. All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King's dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn...


A new author from the Jo Fletcher stable and whilst I’ve been hearing good things about this book from friends (yes you Andrew Guile) it’s a title that I’ve been meaning to get round to but was waiting for a special time to sit back and savour. What occurs within is a cracking fantasy story, one that will appeal to fans of David Gemmell with cracking action, some wonderful twists and when backed with great prose alongside a wonderfully solid fantasy world all round gave me goose-bumps as I read.

Add to this good dialogue, a story that likes to keep moving as well as a superb support cast and all round I was a more than happy reader. I just can’t wait to see what the world will throw at the Greatcoats next.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

LADY ELEANOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY REVIEW: Life Sentence: A True Story about Life, Lunacy and Fame - Robert LaSardo

Release Date: 01/03/14
Publisher:  Create Space Independent Publishing


After a long, and deeply philosophical, conversation with Robert LaSardo, I eagerly awaited this book that you are about to read. I was not disappointed. Left deep in thought, I sat in a long contemplative silence. While I always enjoyed Mr. LaSardo as an actor, I discovered I like him even better as who he is, behind the face he shows the public. Often, if you are in the public eye, you develop a persona (ego) and become someone that society, fans and publicists want you to be. You can sometimes lose aspects of yourself. The truly courageous ones overcome this through strength of character and merge the two halves of themselves to be whole. In the end, people will either love you for who you are, imperfections and all, or they will pull back, fading away because you spoiled the 'image' they had of you. It is sad that the creative person loses a part of themselves so that they can be known and make a good living. Yet, it is the love of art, writing and acting - the real, inner person we are is what made us do it in the first place - that can often become extinguished by the machine of ratings, demands of talent agents, advisers or by the shine of fame and glamour. Throughout his career, Robert LaSardo has found his niche in Hollywood, playing the devious criminal. Often evil personified in his roles, he has played the villain we love, on the award-winning series Nip/Tuck and on both CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami. We also see his more recent performances in Ghost Whisperer and his own independent film Never Down, he continues to win the hearts of his audience. In Life Sentence: a true story about love, lunacy and fame, you will encounter the man behind the villain he plays, and come to understand the depth of his heart, his will and desire to accomplish despite the hardships that will make you cry. This book will make you feel the triumph of his success, as you are drawn into his life. ~ From the introduction.


I’ve been a fan of Robert LaSardo since I originally saw him in Nip/Tuck, so when he released his poetry books I was pretty stunned, not because he released them but purely for the fact that I’d stereotyped him based on not only his looks (with his tattoo’s) but on the character he’d portrayed. Those books were emotionally raw, real and quite frankly awesome so much so that I felt that I had to write reviews on them.

It was a sheer pleasure and when Robert wrote in December to wish us Merry Christmas I was not only surprised but it went to show that he was a down to earth in touch with the real world human being, so when I heard about his autobiography coming out, it was something I wanted immediately and couldn’t wait to get my hands upon.

So when it arrived, it was devoured in quite a short time and whilst I could have written the review much earlier, it’s a review that has taken me time to sit back and digest as well as how to phrase as the emotional aspects detailed within the title are open, frankly brutal in places and has gone on to show how the real Hollywood works.

Starting out in Robert’s early life, the reader is given the cold hard facts about him having to deal with a split family with his mother suffering from mental illness, it was difficult to read and whilst many would have bypassed this to concentrate on their story from later on ie their arrival in Hollywood, his openness about it brought tears to my eyes. I felt special being allowed into his life, as his words portrayed a truth that many others wouldn’t have the courage to face let alone talk about.

Yet as the book carried on he continued to talk about his life from child into adult hood alongside his time in the Navy and how upon de mobbing his return to his love of acting from his humble beginnings through to Hollywood, but not the Tinseltown that many think of as glitz and glamour, the downright real world version where money is scarce and home is a motel as you struggle making rent each week. A pretentious town where people you looked up to and met years before have been chewed up and spat out wandering round crazed and almost forgotten.

The book is harrowing, the tales about auditions frightening and to have an account from an actor who most would think lived in a big house (including myself) with a huge bank balance (he doesn’t) really has a less stable life than most “average people” do. Yet throughout it all, despite being stomped and downtrodden so many times its his clear passion for acting that comes through with each of his characters such as Nip/Tuck’s Escobar whose portrayal pushed not only the audience to the max but the character himself.

If you want real peak beneath Hollywood’s skirt, that contains amazing writing and a truth that rings out then you really have to read Robert’s work (poetry included.) He really is an inspirational guy. Thank you Robert.

Monday, 21 April 2014

TV TIE IN REVIEW: Grimm: Below the Surface: The Insider's Guide to the Show - Titan Comics

Release Date: 11/03/14
Publisher:  Titan


Acclaimed show runners David Greenwalt (X-Files, Buffy, Angel) and Jim Kouf (Ghost Whisperer, Angel) reveal all about the development and ongoing creation of the show. A full behind-the-scenes guide to the show, from costumes to special effects to make up and more, with exclusive production designs and images direct from the ABC studios. It includes cast interviews.


I’m a huge fan of Grimm and whilst I didn’t get on with the books, the show is something that I love to snuggle up in bed and enjoy. I love the idea and whilst its simplistic to a certain point of view its one that really gives the reader something special to sit down with as the modern world meets the land of fairytales in a cop show format.

This book takes you behind the scenes, helps you understand the characters and gives the reader a unique experience that really is a joy to sit back with, especially when you can put some of the information to the relevant episode. All round a cracking little book and one that I really have found a whole lot of fun.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

URBAN FANASY REVIEW: Once Upon a Time in Hell - Guy Adams

Release Date: 02/01/14
Publisher:  Solaris


Heaven? Hell? There's no difference. Angels, demons, we're all a bit of both. This could be the most wondrous place you ever experience or so terrifying it makes you pray for death. Not that death would help you, of course; there's no escape from here...Wormwood has appeared, and for twenty-four hours the gateway to the afterlife is wide open. But just because a door is open doesn't mean you should step through it...Those who have travelled to reach the town are realising that the challenges they've already faced were nothing compared to what lies ahead. The afterlife has an agenda of its own, and with scheming on both sides of reality, the revelations to come may change the world forever.


I’m always a huge fan of something a little different so when this book from Guy Adams landed I was more than a little intruged at the concept within. As usual, Guy’s characters have a rounded feel that fit well into the timeline which he has created. They have a homely feel almost as if, as a reader, you’ve known them for quite a few years. Add tot his a real kickass storyline, a huge supporting cast that helps take the story forward and all round I was a more than happy reader.

Throw into the mix, a pace that really does keep the reader glued alongside dialogue that works wonderfully well and all round I was a more than happy reader.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Bone Angel Trilogy 1: Nameless - Mercedes M Yardley

Release Date: 20/01/14
Publisher:  Ragnorak Publications


Luna Masterson sees demons. She has been dealing with the demonic all her life, so when her brother gets tangled up with a demon named Sparkles, ‘Luna the Lunatic’ rolls in on her motorcycle to save the day.

Armed with the ability to harm demons, her scathing sarcasm, and a hefty chip on her shoulder, Luna gathers the most unusual of allies, teaming up with a green-eyed heroin addict and a snarky demon ‘of some import.’

After all, outcasts of a feather should stick together...even until the end.


OK, this is a new book from a new publisher and whilst the book blurb didn’t sell it a hundred percent to me, I was more than interested. So with a quiet day on hand, I sat back and got started. What unfurls within is a story that works incredibly well, the lead character is not only chaotic in her own way but a person that’s struggling against her own inner turmoil as she seeks to not only make sense of what’s happening to her but also to her family.

Its definitely something different and when you add a solid supporting cast to the mix, works very well all round. However my major gripe is to do with one of her flaws, the character kept calling the love interest by his full name whenever mentioned. That really took a huge part out of the enjoyment and whilst I could see what the author was doing in trying to help the principle character keep her distance for me it was a major distraction and kept breaking the momentum that I felt was building up wonderfully.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next in this fresh new world.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Mordheim: City of the Damned Questions Answered: Rogue Factor

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Rogue Factor have kindly taken the time to respond to some of our game queries to do with the forthcoming Mordheim: City of the Damned.  We can't wait to get our hands on the title and with the sheer volume of warbands to play, we're going to have a hard time picking our favs.  (Although to be honest I think that I'm going to go a little Ratty for the first time.  LOL)

So, without further ado, Vincent Gallopain, Rogue Factor's PR Manager answers our questions:
Falcata Times:  With the board game of Mordheim stopping officially a decade ago (it’s been up to the fans to develop since) what makes now the right time for it to step onto the VG Platform?

Vincent Gallopain:  Good question! I think that we literally “created” that timing. When brainstorming ideas for our first project there were a lot of tabletop game license ideas that emerged. Out of the lot, Mordheim was the one game that the whole team really enjoyed playing in the past, so we decided to pitch our vision of a videogame adaptation to Games Workshop… and it quite stirred their interest.

FT:  What is the biggest challenge of bringing what was essentially a board game to the VG platform?

VG:  In order to deliver the unique feeling of the board game to a videogame adaptation, we started by breaking down what makes Mordheim so appealing. From the chaotic doomed city to the hardcore rules, we isolated each and every layer of uniqueness. That being said, you should not expect the videogame to be an exact replica of the board game though, we are making something new with the intellectual property. So keep in mind that Mordheim: City of the Damned will be an adaptation of the board game, not a digital version of the board game per se.

FT:  How different are the various warbands that you can play and how do you stop one being more powerful than another? (For example in the board game the Shadow Warrior band was considered too powerful and banned in a tournaments.)

VG:  Just like in the board game, every warband has its specialties. We can't discuss about every detail at the moment, but we can already tell you about the four first warbands present in the game at launch: The Human mercenaries from the Empire, The Skaven Clan Eshin, The Sisters of Sigmar and The Cult of the Possessed. So far we have no plan to add any warband that wasn't part of the original game or its official expansion by Games Workshop. Therefore, you don't have to worry about the warband you mention as it was a player's creation.

FT:  What are some of the design options will the gamer have? IE can they choose the paint scheme of their troops, insignia etc.

VG:  The customization details are still in discussion but we can already tell you that the players will be able to play around with colors to give their warbands a unique look.

We hope tha this has more than piqued other gamers queries and we can't wait to see how the title develops,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

CRIME FICTION REVIEW: The Detectives Daughter 2: Ghost Girl - Lesley Thomson

Release Date: 10/04/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus


It is a year since her father's death, but Stella Darnell has not moved on. She still cleans his house every day, leaving it spotless as if he might return. Terry Darnell was Detective Chief Superintendent at Hammersmith police station, and now Stella has discovered an unsolved case in his darkroom: a folder of unlabelled photographs of deserted streets. The oldest photograph dates back to 1966. To a day when Mary Thornton, just ten years old, is taking her little brother home from school in time for tea. That afternoon, as the Moors Murderers are sent to prison for life, Mary witnesses something that will haunt her forever. As Stella inches closer to the truth, the events of that day begin to haunt her too...


To be honest I read Lesley’s debut last year, the Detectives Daughter and whilst I wasn’t fully enamoured with the principle character as I couldn’t really get a handle upon her, I thought that there was enough there for me to give the second book a go.

Unfortunately for me, the problems that I had with the original remained in this the second book in short the principle character again. That’s not to say that the story wasn’t carefully constructed, it was and the tale did generate some solid leads alongside twists but at the end of the day, when I can’t stand a lead character I have a hell of a job keeping going. All round, I’ll probably give Lesley’s next book a miss however if the character does become more amenable to the reader I’ll definitely pick it up.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Prepare for Space Battles with Entropy - Artplant

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Artplant have let us know about a new MMO that we think a lot of our readers will have  good bit of fun with, Entropy.

Here's what they had to say:

Artplant, the award-winning studio behind Battlestar Galactica Online, has launched the first major feature update for Entropy, its ambitious interstellar space MMO. ‘Hostile Takeover’ introduces an innovative faction conflict system that allows players to fight for control of the star systems across Entropy's frontier. 

Players contracted with one of the game's three mega-corporations can now work together to destabilise star systems controlled by their rivals and create opportunities for attack, or protect their own star systems from the actions of opposing players. This ongoing conflict culminates in battles fought in and around heavily defended space stations to decide the fate of entire star systems.

“I love the way that the feature is making every action meaningful,” says Jack Wulff, Entropy's producer and chief executive officer of Artplant. “Your journey shapes the universe around you. Our players have been requesting more focused and meaningful PvP events, and with support for up to a hundred players in the same match, we expect some truly epic battles."

Early access can be obtained here:

Hopefully we'll see you in the epic battles to come,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

VIDEO GAME NEWS: The Evil Within Gameplay Trailer - Bethesda

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our contact at Bethesda has managed to obtain the latest trailer from the forthcoming "The Evil Within."

Here's what they had to say:
"We’ve just released a new gameplay trailer for The Evil Within, the new survival horror game from legendary game director, Shinji Mikami. The Evil Within is in development for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC and will be available in North America on August 26, 2014, and throughout Europe on August 29, 2014.

Developed by Shinji Mikami and the talented team at Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within embodies the meaning of pure survival horror.Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story are combined to create an immersive world that will bring you to the height of tension. With limited resources at your disposal, you’ll fight for survival and experience profound fear in this perfect blend of horror and action.

While investigating the scene of a gruesome mass murder, Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners encounter a mysterious and powerful force. After seeing the slaughter of fellow officers, Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead. Facing unimaginable terror, and fighting for survival, Sebastian embarks on a frightening journey to unravel what’s behind this evil force.
For more information on The Evil Within, visit or recently updated site at"

We hope you're getting as excited about this as we are.

All the best,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Wolfenstein: New Order, new trailer - Bethesda

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our Allies at Bethesda have managed to get the latest trailer for Wolfenstein: New Order, our from occupied territory.  The game will be launching simultaneously in North America, Europe and Australia on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC!

And now for your enjoyment the trailer:

Currently under development at MachineGames, Wolfenstein: The New Order, the first-person action-adventure shooter, reignites the franchisewidely recognized for pioneering the first-person shooter genre. Set in the 1960s, the monstrous Nazi regime has used mysterious advanced technology to win World War II. They now rule the globe with an iron fist. Wolfenstein: The New Order sends you across Europe on a harrowing mission to bring down the Nazi war machine. 

Finally remember that as an added bonus, everyone pre-ordering the game will be invited to access the DOOM beta with their copy ofWolfenstein: The New Order. For more information on the DOOM beta access pre-order bonus, as well as applicable terms and restrictions,please visit::"

We hope you're as excited as we are,    

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

Monday, 7 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor News and Release Date - Warner Brothers Interactive

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers Interactive have let us know about the latest updates for the forthcoming Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Firstly we have the release date which is currently set for the 7th October 2014 for the following formats:
Xbox 360
Xbox One

So far its looking like a game that we're both (Lady Eleanor and I) are going to be vying for play time with and comparing our experiences and skills against each other.  (She's more a charge in and smack the hell out of things, whereas I like to snipe where possible.)

In addition to  this we also have the latest trailer:

And we've been told about a pre-order bonus:
Fans who pre-order  Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will get access at the game’s launch to  The Dark Ranger exclusive bonus pack. Available at all participating retailers, the pack will provide exclusive content and challenges for players including:  
  • Dark Ranger Character Skin
    • Begin your own quest for vengeance with a new Dark Ranger character skin that embodies Talion's darker side
  • "Test of Power" Challenge Mode
  • Face Sauron's Captains and defeat them to earn powerful Runes and gain a head start in the game
  • Test your speed, skill and strategy and measure yourself against your friends on the leaderboards 
  • Access to Exclusive Leaderboards for "Test of Power" Challenge Mode
    • Test your speed, skill and strategy and measure yourself against your friends on the leaderboards in this challenge mode

    Hopefully this will have whetted your appetite so remember to keep your blades sharp and your wits sharper.

    Gareth and Lady Eleanor

VIDEO GAME NEWS: New Bot and Gameplay Trailer Revealed for Transformers: Universe - Jagex

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,

Our friends at Jagex Game Studio have managed to let us know about some of the latest news in thier forthcoming Massive Online Tactical Action game (MOTA) Transformers Universe.  

Here we have a brand new trailer as well as a couple of Bot Reveals:  

Here's the first bot reveal, Autobot, Catapult:
She moves in the shadows with the strut of a notorious gunslinger and reads cross-winds like a circling hawk. Place Catapult at long range with her Phase Chamber primed, sniper rifle cocked and license-to-terminate activated; she'll drop her mark grill-down in the dirt for keeps. A mysterious loner, the only trace this Autobot exists is a tag scratched into every 'Con she dispatches to the scrapyard.

And if you play with the Decepticons you get, Shellshock:
Retirement was never one of Shellshock's plans: he's been holed up in his armory feverishly waiting for the call. Faceplate-deep in munitions and customising his beloved miniguns, he ensured burst rates, muzzle velocities, calibers and cartridges all got a little love. A career killer, you won't have to ask him twice to rejoin the fight. Put this slayer in mid-range with a directive for destruction and Shellshock will have a blast every time.

Beta Testing is still open (which you can sign up for it here.)
For more information visit their website and remember Transformers Universe launches in June.

Let the Oil and Energon flow,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

Friday, 4 April 2014

DVD REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutagen Mayhem: Season 2 Vol 1 - Paramount Home Entertainment

Release Date: 31/03/14
Publisher:  Paramount Home Entertainment


The first five episodes from the second series of the children's CGI-animated cartoon tracing the origins of the sewer-dwelling, superhero foursome Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. The episodes are: 'The Mutation Situation', 'Follow the Leader', 'Invasion of the Squirrelanoids', 'Mutagen Man Unleashed' and 'Mickey Gets Shellacne'.


OK, I’m of the generation that remembers these half-shell heroes originally and lets be honest, they were damn awesome way back in the 90’s. So with the new film coming out in August, I wanted to see what our favourite ninja’s were to the new generation (and I ended up watching this with my nephews.) What occurs within is a tale of pure kickass action and whilst the animation has gone over to CG these days, its something that not only entertained the nephews but myself as well whilst I got introduced to the brand new villains that weren’t about from the old days.

All round I was more than entertained and lets be honest, if you’re younger family members are looking forward to the new film as much as my lot are, these new series DVD’s may well save your sanity as well as help to educate you in all things turtle.

All in a great bit of fun and for £7 you can have a lot of peace of mind. Well worth it.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Elder Scrolls Online Infographic - Bethesda

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
With The Elder Scrolls Online launching tomorrow, we had some fun receiving and reading through the infographic from Bethesda.  It contains a lot of weird and fun facts and lets face it, if you've seen South Park's World of Warcraft Episode one of the facts that they've included here will more than make you laugh.

(Please click on it to see the full info.)

The Elder Scrolls Online launches tomorrow for the PC and Mac with the Xbox One and PS4 versions coming live in June.

Sadly Lady Eleanor and I won't be marching through with you on the PC as we're waiting to double team on the Xbox One.

Hopefully the testing for Xbox One will go well, and if we manage to get early access we will bring information to you readers about how well it works (or doesn't) as well as getting in depth with how the next gen copes with the demands of this wonderfully colourful world.

All the best,

Gareh and Lady Eleanor

CRIME FICTION REVIEW: By It's Cover - Donna Leon

Release Date: 03/04/14
Publisher:  William Heinemann


By Its Cover is the much anticipated twenty-third instalment in Donna Leon's bestselling crime series, where Commissario Brunetti is better than ever as he addresses questions of worth and value alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra. When several valuable antiquarian books go missing from a prestigious library in the heart of Venice, Commissario Brunetti is immediately called to the scene. The staff suspect an American researcher has stolen them, but for Brunetti something doesn't quite add up. Taking on the case, the Commissario begins to seek information about some of the library's regulars, such as the ex-priest Franchini, a passionate reader of ancient Christian literature, and Contessa Morosini-Albani, the library's chief donor, and comes to the conclusion that the thief could not have acted alone. However, when Franchini is found murdered in his home, the case takes a more sinister turn and soon Brunetti finds himself submerged in the dark secrets of the black market of antiquarian books. Alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra, he delves into the pages of Franchini's past and into the mind of a book thief in order to uncover the terrible truth.


Donna Leon was an author that I came across a while ago. I loved the way that she brings Italy to life for me, the way that the characters add a depth of flavour to the tale and of course when mixed with double dealing alongside corruption, really kept me glued to the story.

It’s a wonderfully dark story, brings the elements within carefully to life which when added with an author who believes in showing rather than telling all round gave me a good few hours of reading pleasure. Delicious.

Monday, 31 March 2014

NEWS: Deja Review - March 2014

Hail Mighty Readers,
Here are this months book reincarnations (covers may not match the new incarnation), please click on the cover to go to that titles review:


Sunday, 30 March 2014

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Assassin's Reign - John Murray

Release Date: 13/03/14
Publisher:  John Murray


The forces of King Charles are victorious; their Parliamentarian enemies in deep crisis. In the west, the crucial port city of Bristol has fallen, and Royalist eyes fall quickly upon neighbouring Gloucester. Its walls are weak, its garrison under strength, and its governor - Sir Edward Massie - suspected of harbouring sympathy for the King. Stryker and his men are with the army as it converges on Gloucester, still reeling from the loss of a close friend at the bloody Battle of Stratton. Ordered to infiltrate the rebel city on a mission to discover whether Massie will indeed surrender, Stryker reluctantly embarks upon his most desperate mission yet. But Gloucester's defenders are more resolute than any had imagined, and catastrophe soon befalls him. With his life seemingly forfeit, Stryker is spared by an unlikely saviour; Vincent Skaithlocke, his former commander. The mercenary has returned to England to fight for Parliament, and offers Stryker his protection. As old friends adjust to life fighting for opposing sides, Stryker begins to question his own loyalties ...but a chance discovery makes him realise that all in Gloucester is not what it seems, for a hidden menace threatens his own life, and that of King Charles himself.


The fourth outing for Captain Styker and one that really will test not only the mettle but the heroes limits as the author weaves a staggeringly addictive story. The prose is sharp, the pace wonderfully diverse and when the reader gets to the heart of the matter they’re in for a treat as our heroes latest mission will pull him in many directions.

Back this up with some masterful storytelling, cracking supporting cast members with a firm grasp of weaving historical records into the tale to give it depth all round generates a series that HF fans just have to read.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Release Date: 13/03/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus


Everything about the man is a mystery: the secluded ranch in the Black Hills, the women who live with him, the secret philanthropies, the private airstrip, the sudden disappearances. And the persistent rumors that his wealth comes from killing people. Game warden Joe Pickett owes Wyoming's Governor a favour, so he can't refuse the clandestine order to head north and find out what Medicine Wheel County's reclusive multi-millionaire is up to. Joe's not the first investigator to arrive in Medicine Wheel, but after his predecessor burned to death in a hotel fire, will he be the first to leave alive? As winter's first storm closes in, Joe will that there's more than one stone-cold killer stalking the Black Hills.


Life is not only hectic but complex for series hero Joe Pickett as events from past exploits catch up with him pulling him in all directions. Not only does this latest adventure throw him back into unsavoury company of Governor Rulon but the return of Nate Romanowski.

Its fast paced with top notch action and when thrust into a community that likes to keep its own secrets really does give the reader the chance to explore the tale from the principle players point of view as investigations pry away at the darker side. Its cracking prose and of course when added to a stunning background from previous exploits will more than please readers looking for solid crime fiction.

Friday, 28 March 2014

YOUNG ADULT CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: Theodore Boone: The Activist - John Grisham

Release Date: 27/03/14
Publisher:  Hodder


Theodore Boone, young lawyer, has had a lot to deal with in his thirteen years, everything from kidnapping to murder. But he's come through it all and, with the law on his side, justice has always prevailed. Sometimes, though, the law doesn't seem so just. His friend Hardie Quinn is about to have his family home bulldozed to make way for a bypass. Hardie is not the only one affected: other homes, businesses and schools lie in the path of the road. Theo has to tell his friend the bad news: for once, the law isn't on his side, and there's very little anyone can do to end the destruction. Theo joins the campaign to stop the road. But when he stumbles on a terrible secret about the corrupt men behind the plan - a secret it is illegal for him to know - Theo must figure out how to keep the developers from breaking the law...without breaking it himself.


Another Young Adult story from an established adult author that goes to prove that their skills are just as captivating for a younger audience as they are for older fans. The tale does what Grisham does best bringing cracking characters to the fore as the investigation wends its way with wonderful touches that young readers will more than identify with.

Back this up with wonderful prose and a high octane pace all round gives you something special to savour. Definitely a cracking book and my favourite JG title to date.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Batman: Arkham Knight: New Screen Shots - DC, Rock Steady Games and Warner Brothers Interactive

Hail Might Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers, DC and Rock Steady Games have released some new screenshots for the forthcoming game Batman Arkham Knight.  Also included is a shot of the new super villain Arkham Knight.

So, for your viewing pleasure these brand new shots.  We really can't wait to embark, and yes, the cardboard batterangs have reappeared...  

Please remember that if you preorder you'll also get to play Harley Quinn. as well as the fact that this title is next gen and will only be released on the following formats:  
Xbox One

All the best,  

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

SATIRE REVIEW: Look Who's Back - Timur Vermes

Release Date: 27/03/14
Publisher:  MacLehose


Summer 2011. Berlin. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of ground, alive and well. Things have changed - no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, though - as a brilliant, satirical impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable, happens, and the ranting Hitler takes off, goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own TV show, becomes someone who people listen to. All while he's still trying to convince people that yes, it really is him, and yes, he really means it. Look Who's Back is a black and brilliant satire of modern media-bloated society, seen through the eyes of the Fuhrer himself. Adolf is by turns repellent, sympathetic and hilarious, but always fascinating. Look Who's Back is outrageously clever, outrageously funny - and outrageously plausible.


I originally heard about this book from a publisher and whilst I was a little wary in regard to the subject matter, I thought that it would be more than interesting to see what could occur in an alternate history timeline especially with the modern advances in technology.

What this book is, and the reader has to remember, is that it’s a satire, which whilst it may not always come across as such with the translation, is something that can and will at times scare the reader as they can see how things that we take as every day now can be turned to further a cause as well as a get a message across.

The Hitler within the pages is a person that the reader will find fascinating, the way he has to adapt to our world, the way he see’s modern problems and the way in which a mind can twist words to play not only to the reader but also to the other cast members within. All round, it’s a book that is quite easy to read multiple pages of, has what feels like a firm hand on the modern world and all round gives the reader something to not only think about but to question which overall is perhaps the main point of a satire.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Wolfenstein: New Order Co-Ordinated Worldwide Release - Bethesda

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our Allies at Bethesda have managed to let us know that Wolfenstein: New Order, will be launching simultaneously in North America, Europe and Australia on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC!

Hopefully you're as excited as we are, so here's hoping you'll join us on a co-ordinated strike on the day of release.

Currently under development at MachineGames, Wolfenstein: The New Order, the first-person action-adventure shooter, reignites the franchisewidely recognized for pioneering the first-person shooter genre. Set in the 1960s, the monstrous Nazi regime has used mysterious advanced technology to win World War II. They now rule the globe with an iron fist. Wolfenstein: The New Order sends you across Europe on a harrowing mission to bring down the Nazi war machine. 

Finally remember that as an added bonus, everyone pre-ordering the game will be invited to access the DOOM beta with their copy ofWolfenstein: The New Order. For more information on the DOOM beta access pre-order bonus, as well as applicable terms and restrictions,please visit::"

We hope you're as excited as we are,    

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

FICTION REVIEW: Kindred - Octavia E Butler

Release Date: 27/03/14
Publisher:  Headline


On her 26th birthday, Dana and her husband are moving into their apartment when she starts to feel dizzy. She falls to her knees, nauseous. Then the world falls away. She finds herself at the edge of a green wood by a vast river. A child is screaming. Wading into the water, she pulls him to safety, only to find herself face to face with a very old looking rifle, in the hands of the boy's father. She's terrified. The next thing she knows she's back in her apartment, soaking wet. It's the most terrifying experience of her life ...until it happens again. The longer Dana spends in 19th century Maryland - a very dangerous place for a black woman - the more aware she is that her life might be over before it's even begun.


As a huge fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon I’m always on the look out for something that has a similar flavour but also takes its own path as worlds not only collide but gives the reader a heart rending tale where you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen.

Here within this book Octavia really gives the reader a story that not only fulfils an emotional aspect but one that really takes you on a journey as the dark past comes to not only life but generates something special. The prose is reasonable, the pace solid enough, but for me, it’s the vivid characters that Octavia creates within that really kept me glued. I loved the way that the characters emotions made them believable and how they developed alongside the story. All round a tale that I enjoyed as it was something a little different for me. Thank you for a wonderful read Octavia.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

SCIENCE FICTION CRIME REVIEW: The Happier Dead - Ivo Stourton

Release Date: 13/03/14
Publisher:  Solaris


The Great Spa sits on the edge of London, a structure visible from space. The power of Britain on the world stage rests in its monopoly on "The Treatment," a medical procedure which transforms the richest and most powerful into a state of permanent physical youth. The Great Spa is the place where the newly young immortals go to revitalise their aged souls. In this most secure of facilities, a murder of one of the guests threatens to destabilise the new order, and DCI Oates of the Metropolitan police is called in to investigate. In a single day, Oates must unravel the secrets behind the Treatment and the long-ago disappearance of its creator, passing through a London riven with disorder and corruption. As a night of widespread rioting takes hold of the city, he moves towards a climax which could lead to the destruction of the Great Spa, his own ruin, and the loss of everything he holds most dear.


Whilst a lot of readers can be put off a crime novel when Science Fiction is involved, you really have to give it a go as its not that far fetched giving readers the chance to see a believable world of tomorrow where the rich stay richer and the poor are downtrodden as the march of progress is slowed./halted for the rich whilst the poor are treated worse than dirt.

Its captivating, it has an almost Victorian feel and when added to a principle character who is thrust into a world he is more than uncomfortable in really keeps the reader on their toes. Back this up with great prose, some cracking author sleight of hand and a mystery that really keeps you glued as events unfurl all round opens the reader to a cracking new world for future exploits.