Quick Reads Reviews: Cut Off by Mark Billingham and Clean Break by Tammy Cohen. #QuickReads #TheReadingAgency

QR packshots square

It’s a huge pleasure and such an honour to support this year’s Quick Reads! I was over the moon when I was asked if I’d like to share news of this wonderful initiative because it is devoted to giving more people the chance to read and spread the love of books! This is really close to my heart – I’m thrilled to be involved! As well as more information about this year’s authors and their books, I’m sharing my reviews of Cut Off by Mark Billingham and Clean Break by Tammy Cohen, which are both fabulous!

 You can find out more about #QuickReads, which launches today, by following the hashtag on Twitter and visiting the following link for the Reading Agency Website. There is also a fantastic event being held at Foyles Charing Cross Road to celebrate the launch – follow the link here to find out more!

 

QR packshots square

Six enticing Quick Reads titles from well-loved authors will be released by The Reading Agency on 1 February 2018. The selection of titles written by bestselling writers Fern Britton, Dorothy Koomson, Mark Billingham, Kit de Waal, Tammy Cohen and Vaseem Khan span the globe from Mumbai to Ghana, from Cornwall to inner cities and explore a wide range of themes including friendship, secrets and lies, marriage and the horror that losing your phone can bring.

The Quick Reads titles for 2018 are: 

 

· Cut Off by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown): A punchy, taut urban thriller about that moment we all fear: losing our phone! For Louise, losing hers in a local café takes a sinister turn. Billingham has sold five million copies of his novels and has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Award for Crime Novel of the Year.

· The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton (HarperCollins): As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven. The former presenter of This Morning, Britton is now a Sunday Times bestselling author and this story is full of her usual warmth and wit.

· Clean Break by Tammy Cohen (Transworld):  A dark and twisty portrait of a marriage coming to its bitter end, from the mistress of domestic noir. Can Kate rid herself of her jealous husband before it’s too late? Cohen’s acclaimed novels include The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives and Someone Else’s Wedding.

· Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton): An enchanting Baby Ganesh Agency novella from the bestselling Khan set in the bustling back-streets of Mumbai. Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick have two days to solve the mystery of a missing – and very costly – car for its gangster owner, or there’ll be a heavy price to pay.

· The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson (Arrow): A gripping short read featuring a wedding, family drama, and old secrets. Tessa is thrilled when her daughter arrives in Ghana to get married but memories of the last time she was there haunt her; can she lay the ghosts of the past to rest or will they come back to haunt her daughter’s future? Koomson is the bestselling author of 12 novels including The Ice-Cream Girls, My Best Friends’ Girl and most recently The Friend.

· Six Foot Six by Kit de Waal (Viking): A charming novella from Costa First Novel Award shortlisted author de Waal about finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. Everything changes for Timothy, a 21 year old with learning difficulties, when local builder Charlie calls on him for help. De Waal worked in criminal and family law and was a magistrate for many years before her international bestseller, My Name is Leon was published.

 

 


My review

of

Cut Off by Mark Billingham:

 

Down from London for the weekend to recharge her batteries, Louise is enjoying lunch with her two friends when she looses her phone. Sent into a panic, she scours the cafe but the only thing she can find is an old, dirty phone in its place. Praying that the woman who sat next to her will call once she’s realised the mistake, Louise returns to her seaside retreat. After a mere few hours, she receives contact and her hope is restored. They meet on the beach. But what follows is something far removed from the panic of a missing phone. Something that sends Louise’s life curtailing into a dark place. Somewhere she won’t be able to return from.

I think Mark Billingham has found a genius way of gripping his readers. He’s taken something simple like losing a phone and charged it with menace. Phones are not only a means of communication, they are our connection to different pockets of life; business, pleasure, they are the thread linking us to friends, to family. It’s a device to keep our lives ticking over. I was glued to the pages, wondering where Mark Billingham would take the story. 

I read Cut Off in one breathless sitting. This is a wonderful piece of fiction. Cut Off  will devour your attention and chill you to the bone. Bravo! 

 

co1.jpg


 

My review

of

Clean Break by Tammy Cohen:

 

Kate has split up from her husband Jack and finally she is free. She is no longer bound by his whims and temper; she can blast out her music, dance around the kitchen, do as she pleases, absolved of the suffocating past she once shared with him. For the first time in a long time, she is utterly happy. She can have a fresh start with new horizons. Their children are confused and angry but they will settle down, adapt with time. Life is on the up. And yet something isn’t right. Jack is oddly calm, his disposition, so dissimilar to the controlling, foul-temped man she was married to fills her with unease. As tension abounds in the house, Kate begins to feel as if she is being watched, hidden eyes that dog her every step. The macabre atmosphere is thick and unbreakable but what is worse is the sudden change in her husband.

Jack has been an absent husband and father for years. He’s prone to bouts of rage and snatches of time when he loses all manner of control – and in those moments, things can take a turn for the worse. This character gave me the chills. 

Lies, manipulation, deceit. Welcome to the marriage of Kate and Jack – this is a short thriller that will leave a long and lasting impression. With its superb writing and gripping plot, Clean Break sucks you in and swiftly persuades you to read just one more page … until you find you have finished it all!

 

cb.jpg


 

Below is a little more about the authors and what they say about the Quick Reads  initiative:

 

Cut Off by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown): A punchy, taut urban thriller about that moment we all fear: losing our phone! For Louise, losing hers in a local café takes a sinister turn. Billingham has sold five million copies of his novels and has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Award for Crime Novel of the Year.

· The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton (HarperCollins): As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven. The former presenter of This Morning, Britton is now a Sunday Times bestselling author and this

Tammy Cohen (Clean Break, Transworld):  
Tammy Cohen (who previously wrote under her formal name Tamar Cohen) has a growing backlist of acclaimed novels of domestic noir including: The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives, and
Someone Else’s Wedding. Her break-out psychological suspense thriller was The Broken, followed by Dying for Christmas, First One Missing and When She Was Bad. She lives in North London with her partner and three (nearly) grown children, plus one badly behaved dog.

Vaseem Khan (Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car, Hodder & Stoughton):
Vaseem Khan first saw an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road in 1997 when he arrived in India to work as a management consultant. It was the most unusual thing he had ever seen and inspired his series of crime novels.  He returned to the UK in 2006 and now works at University College London for the Department of Security and Crime Science. Every day that he is there he is astonished by the way modern science is being used to tackle crime. Elephants are third on his list of passions. Great literature and cricket come first and second, not always in that order.

Dorothy Koomson (The Beach Wedding, Arrow):
Dorothy Koomson grew up in South London and is the author of 12 bestselling novels including The Chocolate Run, Marshmallows for Breakfast, The Woman He Loved Before and The Friend. Her third novel, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club and sold over half a million copies. Her novels, The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013 and a TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was first shown on ITV1 in 2013. Dorothy lives in Brighton where many of her novels are set.

Kit de Waal (Six Foot Six, Viking):
Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer, and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. Her first novel, My Name is Leon, is an international bestseller. It was on the shortlists for the Costa First Novel Award and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.

QR 2018 Packshots Horizontal2

 

Mark Billingham, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:
“I am thrilled to be part of the Quick Reads initiative. It’s hugely important to support literacy and to encourage those for whom picking up a book does not come quite so naturally as it does to others. Reading a book is stepping into another world and anything that nudges that door open should be welcomed. It’s an honour to be a Quick Reads author.”

Fern Britton, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:
“I had one, much older sister as I was growing up so no siblings to play with. Finding books was my greatest joy. Fairy stories with lovely colourful drawings, Enid Blyton adventures and then The Chronicles of Narnia really shaped my imagination. The Quick Reads initiative is enormously important and offers great stories for anyone.”
Tammy Cohen, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:
“I was lucky enough to grow up in a house filled with books so I’ve always known how a book can be friend, teacher, comfort, inspiration, conversation-starter, table-leg-propper-upper; how it can fill long journeys and even longer nights. I can’t even begin to imagine a life without reading, which is why I was so delighted to take part in the Quick Reads scheme. If I can help just one adult discover the life-changing joy of books, I’ll consider it one of my proudest achievements.”

Tammy Cohen, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:
“I was lucky enough to grow up in a house filled with books so I’ve always known how a book can be friend, teacher, comfort, inspiration, conversation-starter, table-leg-propper-upper; how it can fill long journeys and even longer nights. I can’t even begin to imagine a life without reading, which is why I was so delighted to take part in the Quick Reads scheme. If I can help just one adult discover the life-changing joy of books, I’ll consider it one of my proudest achievements.”

Vaseem Khan, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:
“I firmly believe that reading is the foundation for learning. Growing up as someone from a less economically advantaged background reading was both my escape and my inspiration. Today I am a writer because of reading. But reading doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Quick Reads’ great insight is to realise that even those who find reading a challenge hanker for exciting, well-written stories that are simple to read. I am delighted that Quick Reads has given me the opportunity to inspire others by providing at least one such story.”

Dorothy Koomson, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:
“I am thrilled to have written The Beach Wedding for Quick Reads 2018. I’ve been a long-term supporter of this scheme, which helps people who aren’t confident readers or who have got out of the habit of reading for pleasure. I believe reading is very empowering and I support all things that encourage people to build their ability with it.”

Kit de Waal, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:
“It’s a real privilege to be asked to write something for Quick Reads.  There were no books in the house I grew up in.  I only started reading and writing later in life and discovered how important books are and that everyone, no matter what your ability or circumstances, can enjoy reading and have that sense of accomplishment when you turn that last page.  Books can change lives – sometimes for a minute, sometimes for a lifetime. Quick Reads can be part of that change and I hope I have been part of it too.”

 

quickreads15

About The Reading Agency:
The Reading Agency is the leading charity inspiring people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment. Working with our partners, our aim is to make reading accessible to everyone. The Reading Agency is funded by the Arts Council.  http://www.readingagency.org.uk

 

 

QR 2018 Packshots Horizontal2

Huge thanks to Annabelle Wright at ED PR and The Reading Agency for my review copies and for involving me in this year’s Quick Reads!

Advertisements

One thought on “Quick Reads Reviews: Cut Off by Mark Billingham and Clean Break by Tammy Cohen. #QuickReads #TheReadingAgency

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s