(Review of SLUR)
“WoW what a start, you are taken to the 1980′s (my favourite era!), into the North of England. When Julie is accused of a crime she doesn’t commit, even her nearest and dearest do not believe her!
I love the detail and atmosphere the author creates, the 80′s has a certain feel and I am sure Manchester in the 80′s had an atmosphere all of it’s own! The characters are also a thrill to read, I can’t imagine being in Julie’s situation but it really did make me wonder what I would have done. The relationship between the characters is also great to follow, sometimes characters do not work together but the main characters blend well, I liked watching Julie and Vinny grow.
I am a sufferer of depression and found this was covered well in the novel, it can be hard to portray in a book but I think the author has given the character more depth and made Julie more believable in her situation.
This is a great read that for me was also thought provoking. It is always enjoyable when someone gets their comeuppance.
I look forward to more from this author Heather Burnside.”
Crime Book Club
(Review of SLUR)
“Slur was gritty and engaging, leaving me wanting to know whether Julie was ever going to clear her name. I thought that the way that the book switched from present events to the memories of Julie was greatly effective and gave me the information I needed to piece the story together without being overwhelming or boring.
I felt that the descriptions were effective and the characters seemed realistic. I was familiar with the dialogue used (as I live in the UK) and felt that it fitted with the story well. I also thought that the glossary included at the back of the book was a nice touch. The story left me guessing throughout. I greatly enjoyed the two very different personalities of Julie and her friend Rita and though that the ending fitted well.”
(Review of SLUR)
Martina Cole-esque gritty read
“Having read Mannion’s excellent non fiction reads, I was very interested to see how this debut fiction novel would turn out, and I was not let down. Believable characters, great dialogue, and a tale that unfurled as the characters came into their own. Great ‘Northern’ read, but with the helpful glossary, this book will translate to any audience easily. Well edited and formatted, I read the whole thing in a few hours and loved it. Another string to the author’s bow.”
Rachel Dove, Author and Book Reviewer
(Review of SLUR)
“I’m really quite impressed with this debut novel, I had a hard time putting my kindle down, and often was thinking of the characters when I wasn’t reading… From the very first opening chapter, this book starts off with a bang, and sets the pace for the rest of the book… A strong 4 stars from me. Good, intriguing plot, great dialogue between the characters. All in all a very enjoyable read! I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author.
I certainly hope to see a bright future!”
Kimberley’s Reading Corner
(Review of A Gangster’s Grip)
Gripped by this Gangster’s Tale
I’ve read pretty much everything Burnside has written; her short stories collection Crime, Conflict and Consequences, and the first book in the trilogy Slur, and it’s safe to say I’m a fan. I love well-rounded characters and clever interactions in books, which is why I’m such a fan of Agatha Christie. Burnside is also good at this, and is so skilled in creating relatable characters and believable dialogue. Another thing to love is that her books are so readable, it’s easy to get lost in them. When I first read Slur, I was so absorbed that I more than once almost missed my tube stop. Good news, Gangster’s Grip is no exception; the tense and heavy plot doesn’t stop you wanting to plough on to the shocking yet inevitable ending.
Set in 1996, a time when Manchester was dealing with a serious drug and gang problem, Gangster’s Grip is the story of a normal family, who through a mixture of love and intimidation, become too mixed up in that world. The feeling of desperation and constant threat runs through the whole book, and is almost enough to make you want to stop reading, if you weren’t so invested in the characters. Being a big fan of realism I also appreciate the way the book doesnt pull any punches; the ending leaves you reeling.
Although this is number two in the series, I do believe Gangster’s Grip would easily work as a separate story. So if you haven’t read Slur, (although I do recommend it), you will not be missing out by diving straight into this one. As much as I liked Slur, you can tell that Gangster’s Grip is Burnside’s second novel as it feels a little more polished and well-paced. You may miss the characters being introduced, but the stories are not intertwined and you’d miss very little by reading this as a stand-alone book.
The third part of the Riverhill Trilogy is rumoured to be out in June this year, so do yourself a favour and catch up with this series before then. If you like realistic gritty home-grown drama, this is for you.
The Book on My Desk: www.thebookonmydesk.co.uk