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The Indietribe Newsletter


A very warm welcome to Charlie Bray's Indie Book Reviews. If you wish to buy any of these books, click on the front cover to buy from or the link following the description to buy from


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 Special Run by Lena Jo McCoy


I'm old enough to remember Skippy, the bush kangaroo, and even Lassie come home. I guess many more are able to remember Free Willie and millions can probably remember Marley and Me.

We'll always have a soft spot for animals that communicate well with us, and, on occasions, even perhaps talk to us. Although when you start a real conversation with them, that's probably the white van you can hear pulling up outside.

Special is a very special dog that saw her mistress murdered and took two bullets as well. Slowly the dog recovers but, quite understandably, seeks revenge. Now the dog, like all dogs is a bit conversationally challenged when it comes to recruiting help. But then so was Skippy, but remarkably its owner always used to ascertain that a young boy had got stuck down a mine shaft. And it helps if you've got psychic powers and this wolf/dog has.

So the book is not short on scary bits, but, whilst Special Run is a fully fledged paranormal novel, what sets it apart is Lena Jo McCoy's ability to pull on your heart-strings, bring out pretty strong emotional, reach for the hankie type feelings, whilst simultaneously scaring you half to death.

So in effect, you've got a bit of a rom-com, a special relationship between a dog and a woman, which ambles along nicely. Then you've got a scary paranormal layer, which is even more effective as it's set in the present day, and not the well-worn cliche of  horrors awaiting to greet us in the near future. The quest itself, the search for revenge or justice, actually takes the form of a very skilful murder mystery.

So, really we're looking at an exceptionally well-written cross-genre novel, which showcases the undoubted talents of Lena Jo McCoy.

Trust me, if you're an animal lover, a paranormal fiction follower, a reader of rom-coms, or a murder mystery aficionado, you should really buy this book.

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Urbino, Unexpectedly by Marcia Chiara Marsciani


Clara is a contradiction in terms from the start. She sees her world in black and white, in that it's all laid out for her, mainly at the instigation of her parents. Her existence at law school, the city of Milan, her peers are all laid out neatly in her mind. They represent a very cut and dried, very monochrome world, which follows the pattern expected by her parents, but fails to ignite any enthusiasm in her. Effectively, she has been shunted down a siding, imprisoned in a conventional world that, in reality, she has no appetite for.

And here is the contradiction. She, herself, is not black and white. She is a complex individual who does not fit into any stereotype.

But colour floods into her life in the form of Leonardo. He brings her intense joy and, perhaps more importantly, enables her to focus her mind on what is important to her. She begins to gain the confidence to make her own decisions, to find her own way.

Happy days may have arrived, but Clara finds that it is not plain sailing ahead. Her conventional family and friends become adversaries who balk at her desire to break away from the path that they expect for her.  She finds herself in a constant struggle to break away from the magnets that shackle her, and becomes torn between the undoubted comfort zone that constantly beckons, and the intense excitement of life beyond it.

Urbino, Unexpectedly is very much a journey of self discovery, but Clara is not alone. The skill of Marcia Chiara Marsciani ensures that the reader accompanies her, and supports her, every inch of the way.

A lovely book which I heartily recommend.

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The Girl in White Pajamas by Chris Birdy


The death of Bud, a police officer in Boston, U.S.A. is the trigger that launches this complex mystery.

The deceased's brother, Bogie, visits for the funeral, but seems quite content to leave the pursuit of the killer to the police, and the mourning to his drunken, dysfunctional family. He sees his attendance at the funeral as little more than an opportunity to visit Isabella, the young daughter whom he has never met.

His quest is made easier when his estranged partner contacts him, seeking his help to protect her from someone who is trying to kill her. He finds he still loves his ex and is besotted by his young daughter. His mind is made up there and then to concentrate his efforts upon them, and turn away completely from the mystery surrounding his brother's death.

But life is rarely that simple, as Bogie finds out. It becomes apparent that it is impossible to segregate the two and a complex web of lies and deceit is spun.

The only constant in Bogie's unfolding world of uncertainty is the girl in white pajamas.

Chris Birdy has written a thoroughly absorbing thriller mystery.The plot rattles along at pace and the descriptions ensure that you're down there with the characters.

Generally, the plot is dialogue driven, and benefits greatly from this.

It is a must read for followers of thrillers, mystery and suspense.

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Tesla by Mark Lingane


Mark Lingane is one of my favourite self-published authors and I'm delighted he has kept up his remarkably high standards in his latest offering, Tesla.

This novel may well be aimed at a teen to young adult readership, but there's no law against an old man like me enjoying it, and enjoy it I did.

It's always a struggle trying to categorise Mark Lingane, a struggle I have encountered many times in the past. Is he a writer of humour, action, science fiction, paranormal, romance, erotica. You know what, I don't care any more. He's an ace wordsmith and if he wants to defy all categories, well, that's fine by me. As an old man, I'm not even going to try to fathom out how he now leans towards steampunk, cyberpunk and dystopian. Hope you're all still with me.

The hero of this tale is Seb, a twelve year old who talks a lot. They're after him, these strange beings that have evolved from humans and Suffolk Colt lawnmowers, and he relies upon Melanie, an ailing heroine to save him.

You sometimes need to leave your comfort zone to enjoy Lingane. This book is not conventionally written. You are jolted too sharply and too often to snuggle down in your armchair. But what teenager and young adult wants to mould with an armchair anyway. Indeed, it's because Mark understands the young generation that he relates to them so well. He has even written in a special style to woo them away from their games machines and into his book. Good on yer, Mark.

A great read, as are all his other books. Tesla is evidence of a very talented writer.

Go for it…you know you want to.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews as much as I enjoyed writing them. I look forward to publishing more reviews soon. Meanwhile... Happy reading, Charlie.


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