Good afternoon and welcome to only the second update of 2022! "But how, why?" I hear you ask; "What good is a blog, if it's not updated regularly?" Well, where to start...?
The March update was so late in coming, because work had been quite full on and there simply wasn't time to write here, much to my chagrin.
From mid-March until this weekend, I've been even busier, working on a variety of projects and I've often wondered (panicked!), as to how everything would fit in to the amount of available time I had; it did all fit, but only just.
To give you an idea of what I've been up to, since March 13th, I've prepped and recorded five audiobooks, a stand-alone short novel, ten short stories, (as part of an anthology), an audio drama, two animated trailers and a voice over - my brain is full - but who's complaining!
Some of the things I've been working on are now, or soon to be, available, so here, in reverse order, are the latest releases since March:
The Botanist: Washington Poe Book 5
I swear I'm one bad mood away from calling it black magic and going home....
Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he'd still have his thumb left. There's the insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw, of course. He's known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn, for years, as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter Victoria.
And then there's Estelle Doyle. It's true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street, but this time has she gone too far? Shot twice in the head, her father's murder appears to be an open-and-shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints going in. Since her arrest she's only said three words: 'Tell Washington Poe.'
Meanwhile, a poisoner the press have dubbed the Botanist is sending high-profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.
For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe's life....
Written by M.W. Craven, Produced by Neil Gardner & Performed by John Banks
11 hrs and 18 mins
The Botanist by MW Craven audiobook review — a killer instalment in the Washington Poe series. This hunt for an ingenious serial killer is full of biting observations and makes excellent listening, writes Christina Hardyment.
Mike Craven’s Washington Poe series goes from strength to strength. His Cumbrian DS has an unconventional approach to suspects and superiors, and an irrepressible and unusual sidekick. Introduced in The Puppet Show, the first book in the series, Tilly Bradshaw is at the brilliant end of the spectrum, innocent of tact and insistent on fact. Once an agoraphobic mouse, in Poe’s fifth outing she is venturesome, quick to find oddities in the behaviour of a serial killer who specialises in poisoning thoroughly reprehensible people as he pursues notoriety.
Slowing Poe and Bradshaw’s hunt for the ingenious killer is the distraction of the star pathologist Estelle Doyle being arrested for the murder of her father in a house surrounded by snow, with only her footsteps leading to it, a locked room mystery. The firearm residue on her hands is an added complication. Meanwhile, the equally impossible serial murders continue . . .
Born in Carlisle, where he now lives, Craven left the army to take a degree in social work and was a probation officer for 17 years before becoming a full-time writer. His experience richly informs his books, which are satisfyingly full of biting observations on modern times, and are made excellent listening by John Banks’s urgent, involved delivery.
I rarely post reviews, though it's such a great thrill to have praise from The Times, I thought I'd make an exception. I'm about to make another, this time, a personal comment from Publishing Assistant Danielle Louis, via Twitter:
"I forgot that there was only one person narrating #TheBotanist, narrators like John make readers / listeners like me love and enjoy #Audiobooks!"
I have thanked Danielle for her very kind words and reading them again now, I'm still overwhelmed by such a generous comment; it's always reassuring to know that I'm not just mumbling into the void! So, 'thank you' again Danielle.
* * * * *
Sherlock Holmes: The Fiends of New York City
Summer, 1901. For days, heat has been rising. London swelters; a long-expected storm promises to break.
In Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes is visited by a peculiar American who arrives with a warning about a strange new kind of murderer. In the West End, Dr John Watson is watching his wife, the actress, Genevieve, prepare for her greatest role to date - only for her to be confronted by a terrible ghost from the past.
There are surprising connections between these events, a web of apparent coincidence which soon draws in others: Colonel Sebastian Moran, Mycroft Holmes, a dangerously ambitious young politician and - waiting patiently for the moment to finally make her move - the mysterious organising power at the head of the underworld, the Seamstress of Peckham Rye.
Written by Jonathan Barnes, Directed by Ken Bentley and Performed by:
Nicholas Briggs - Sherlock Holmes
Richard Earl - Dr. John Watson
Juliet Aubrey - The Seamstress
John Banks - Inspector Lestrade / Colonel Sebastian Moran
Timothy Bentinck - Mycroft Holmes
Lucy Briggs-Owen - Genevieve Dumont-Watson
Jemma Churchill - Molly Black
Tim Faulkner - Jacob Black
James Joyce - Inspector Silas Fisher
James MacCallum - Jasper Cranfield / Jackson
Glen McCready - Doorman / Actor-Manager / Speaker of The House
* * * * *
The Bone Wolf King
The Doan Series: Book 1
Cam didn’t free the terrifying Bone Wolf King from its prison, but everyone blames him anyway.
Now, he’s on the run with the mysterious Elenna Whitewinter, a girl from a race of shapeshifting deceivers. Elenna knows how to defeat the monsters slaughtering the people of High Home, but no one trusts her…except Cam.
Hunted and alone, Cam and Elenna set out to kill a creature—that no one has seen in two hundred years—in order to save the people who want them dead. But for Cam, what Elenna tells him about his identity is the hardest truth to accept, a truth that will change his life forever...
Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Back to Earth
Time and again, the Doctor finds himself returning to his favourite planet. Dropping in on history or the present-day, whether it’s kings, commuters or ordinary people, he’s never met anyone who wasn't important...
1.1 Station to Station by Robert Valentine
A deserted railway platform can be the loneliest place on Earth. But when Saffron is stranded at Underbridge station, she meets echoes of the past - and a fellow lost traveller. And the Doctor knows that something is hunting them...
1.2 The False Dimitry by Sarah Grochala
Moscow, 1605: the old Tsar is dead - but some blame unnatural forces. Perhaps the mysterious Doctor in the palace can help?
A successor advances on the Kremlin with an army, preparing the country for war. But Tsarevich Dimitry is not what he seems...
1.3 Auld Lang Syne by Tim Foley
Every December, Mandy Litherland gathers the family at Foulds House to see in the New Year. Not everyone appreciates her efforts. At least the caretaker seems friendly - if a little weird.
Mandy hopes she’ll see him again next year - but perhaps she already has...
Directed by Helen Goldwyn and Performed by:
Duration: 225 minutes
* * * * *
Throne of Light
Roboute Guilliman has broken the orkish advance that threatened Fenris, but an ancient foe has returned to threaten the very heart of humanity—the Segmentum Solar.
Haley continues the riveting story of the Indomitus Crusade as it
sweeps across the galaxy, still reeling from the opening of the Great
The Indomitus Crusade continues its war across the stars. The primarch Roboute Guilliman has finally broken through the orkish threat bedevilling the sectors near Fenris, and makes ready to push on his bid to stabilise the Imperium Sanctus—but old and bitter foes stand in his way.
Kor Phaeron, the Dark Cardinal, threatens the previously stable core of the Segmentum Solar. Waves of rebellion instigated by his infiltrating priests suggest an imminent, large-scale invasion by the Word Bearers Legion. Worse yet, the Dark Cardinal's warriors are targeting the Black Ships, threatening to starve Terra of the pyskers the Emperor needs to survive.
Through this turbulent warzone, Inquisitor Rostov continues his search for the Hand of Abaddon. Yet when strange, miraculous visions are traced back to the astropathic relay on Srinagar, his quest is diverted—for the visions foretell hope for the Imperium, a hope the fanatical worshippers of Chaos will do anything to snuff out....
The Panthers will have to face a mission they did not expect, one full of dangers and mysteries in a place they do not want to go. There they will discover a terrible threat and mysteries buried in the ice by the passage of time.
Will the Snow Panthers survive this mission? What mysteries will they discover buried in the ice? Will they learn anything about its origins?
Find out while you listen to fascinating adventures with a group of unique characters that you will love.
Poe's just hanging around on a Saturday afternoon....
Dangling from a hook in a meat packing plant isn't how Detective Sergeant Washington Poe wants to spend his weekend.
He's been punched and kicked and threatened, and when a contract killer arrives, it seems things are about to go from bad to worse. He goes by the name of the Pale Man, and he and his straight-edged razor have been feared all over London for 20 years.
But Poe knows two things the Pale Man doesn't.
Although it might seem like a hopeless situation, Poe has planned to be here all along.
More importantly, a nerdy computer whizz-kid called Tilly Bradshaw is watching his back. And now things are about to get interesting....
A Space Marine Conquests audiobook:
Concerned by his Chapter’s diminishing numbers, Logan Grimnar entrusts Njal Stormcaller with finding a remedy for the Space Wolves' plight - a remedy that may lie in the least likely of places, on the damned world of Prospero.
Space Wolves and Thousand Sons are eternal foes, and this audiobook explores events from the Horus Heresy and the Space Wolves' circumstances in the 41st millennium in interesting and exciting ways.
The grand halls of Fenris grow ever quieter in the wake of the Space Wolves' arduous campaigns. Concerned by his Chapter’s diminishing numbers, the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar entrusts Njal Stormcaller with a task - to find a remedy for their plight.
When a 10,000-year-old enemy embeds itself in the Rune Priest’s mind, it claims that the salvation he seeks lies where an ancient enmity began - on Prospero, the ruined home world of the Thousand Sons Legion.
Alongside an eclectic company of injured Space Wolves, thralls, and a trickster who is more hindrance than help, the Stormcaller sets forth. But it soon becomes apparent that greater mechanisms are at work.
It is no longer only the fate of the Sons of Russ that is at stake, but that of the entire Imperium.
Written by Gav Thorpe Produced by Kylia Whitehead
Performed by John Banks
Duration 9 hours 24 minutes
The Dark Rangers threaten the survival of Rangers and the kingdom. Will our friends be able to unmask their leader and stop them before the conspiracy is completed?
An appeal has been made to convene The Great Council. The Ranger leaders will meet to study the threat of the dark secret faction and find a way to end the threat. The Snow Panthers will be immersed in the conspiracy and will play a critical role in its resolution. They will also continue their investigations to discover who is trying to end the lives of Lasgol and Egil, and the relationship between the attempts.
Will they manage to catch the leader of the Dark Rangers? Will they stop the conspiracy that threatens them and the throne? Will they find out who is behind the attempts on their lives?
Find out while you live fascinating adventures with a group of unique characters that will make you fall in love with them.