Book Review: Bully Boy Blue, by John Nicholl

Publication date:  13th March 2017

Bully Boy Blue reinforces this author’s trademark to confront sensitive topics head on. This standalone novella may be mini but it’s incredibly mighty.

It voices the raw realism of domestic abuse, capturing the undiluted cruelty of the perpetrator and the torment that his target endures day after relentless day.

The non-believers who dismiss ‘distress signals’ due to the authority of the abuser’s identity shows just how easily victims can be kept captive in a life that is not their own, until all that remains are extreme solutions with unexpected consequences.

Making no attempt to conceal the harrowing daily challenges, it’s not a pleasant read by any stretch of the imagination. But I found it extraordinarily compelling, if only to learn more about the catalyst that may end Kathy’s despair.

In my very recent experience the condensed format of the shorter story makes it difficult to harness substance, atmosphere and characterisation, but Bully Boy Blue ticks ALL the aforementioned boxes. Within the limited time frame of just over seventy pages a genuinely intriguing progression results in the most perfectly satisfying conclusion, which is both powerful and impressive.

Rating:  4/5

 (My thanks to the author for providing a copy of this title for which it is my pleasure to offer an unbiased review.)

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Every aspect of Kathy’s life is dominated by her abusive bully boy husband. Now she’s pregnant and in fear for her life. Can she ever escape him?

A gripping page-turner of a psychological thriller packed with suspense. Discover John Nicholl’s chilling new novella today.

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(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

John Nicholl, an ex police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written three dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which have been Amazon international bestsellers, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA. John is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or the media, and can be contacted via his author website at: http://www.johnnicholl.com. Rights enquiries should be directed to Mr Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.

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Book Review: Portraits Of The Dead, by John Nicholl

Publication date:  1st September 2016

Portraits of the Dead - My Review

Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl - CoverThis is the third book I have read by John Nicholl. He’s an author who appears to have a impossible understanding of unthinkable situations, where the degree of vileness that can be inflicted upon another human being is presented in a wholly plausible way. Portraits of the Dead is no exception as it projects the sadistic realism of a sick-minded individual to provide a psychologically warped reading experience.

Looking at the expressions in the photographs adorning the sound-proofed walls Emma’s daily activities take place in, she can only guess what happened to the ‘guests’ that once stayed in the room she now occupies.

Throughout her imprisonment this student’s thoughts turn to escape, ending her suffering, or objecting to the situation she finds herself in, none of which are recommended by her anonymous captor who goes to great lengths to ‘educate’ Emma so she will ultimately respect the freakish contract between them.

She is expected to feel privileged to be at his mercy and grateful for the trouble he’s gone to when creating an environment where his demeaning fetishes can thrive – he may conceal his features but it’s clear to see he’s irritatingly patronising and has some whopping unresolved issues.

While she may lose her dignity and smash through the mental and physical pain threshold, she does what she can to hang on to the fact that there are people out there looking for her, aren’t there? With no concept of time or day, her world of obedience is captured on camera by the conceited psychopath who demands she embrace the submissive role he’s bought her in to play in his weird theatre of one – her. A desperate Emma looks to work things to her advantage, but it becomes clear that non-compliance will not be tolerated.

Emma’s gradual realisation of her plight is pitched to grim perfection, as is the intent of the man behind the crime who is truly hateful and will make your skin crawl. What I especially liked were the non-heroic, frustrated detectives who were fraying round the edges from the friction of everyday policing while trying to locate the student’s whereabouts. Also, the inner battles of the characters’ thoughts between dialogue exchanges as they evaluate their current circumstances before responding drew me further into the darkness, even though my natural instinct was to back away.

Portraits of the Dead is a fast paced, standalone thriller with a plot of mind-messing depravity. John Nicholl is undeniably an author who confidently stands on the edge and dares to jump into the unpleasant abyss of twisted crime. Expect multiple shockwaves to rush the natural stillness of the excellent Welsh setting and keep you on your (curling) toes.

Rating:  4/5

(I received a digital copy of this title from the author in exchange for an unbiased review, with my sincere thanks.)

Portraits of the Dead - Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

The greater the evil, the more deadly the game…

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when Emma, a local nineteen-year-old university student, is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.

A gripping page-turner of a serial killer thriller packed with suspense. If you like Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons and Karin Slaughter, discover John Nicholl’s chilling new thriller today.

How far would you go to save your life?

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Portraits of the Dead - Author Profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK – includes links to my reviews for the author’s other work)

john nicholl author photoJohn Nicholl’s debut novel: White is the Coldest Colour, a chilling dark psychological suspense thriller, draws on the author’s experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker. The novel entered the Amazon UK top 100 bestsellers chart after just 15 days, and became one of the 25 most read books on Kindle, reaching # 1 in British Detectives and Vigilante Justice. It also reached # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological Thrillers in France, # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological & Suspense in Spain, and # 1 in British Detectives and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, where it reached # 10 of all books in the Kindle store.

The gripping sequel: When Evil Calls Your Name, was published on the 31st of December 2015, and quickly reached # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Women in the UK, # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Criminals and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, and # 1 in Violence in Society in the USA.

Portraits Of The Dead, a gripping serial killer thriller, is available for pre-order from the 14, August 2016, with a 1st of September release date.

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE

Other books by John Nicholl

Other books by John Nicholl

 

Audio Book Review: White is the Coldest Colour (Dr David Galbraith Book 1), by John Nicholl (narrated by Jake Urry)

Release date:  26th May 2016

Listening length:  9 hours and 10 minutes

White Coldest My Review

White is the Coldest Colour Audio Book CoverI previously reviewed the Ebook version of this story and the Author has kindly provided an Audio copy in exchange for an unbiased review. You might think that a little pointless considering I already know how things go. Oh yes, I know just how nauseatingly vile this abuser character is. Yet this audio book added a whole new level of creep to his ‘affairs’ and found I was listening more intently to the story than the first time I’d encountered it.

The repugnant nature of this book is difficult to accept at first. It doesn’t skirt around upsetting scenes and your immediate reaction might be to avoid them. But this warts and all account of the lowest form of predator is 100% gripping, even if it does make your blood boil.

The author’s portrayal of a child abuser’s identity and his close circle is meticulously laid before you with a steady building block approach until the suspense is incredible. Despite his disturbing fixation on his innocent targets and maintaining undeniable contempt for everyone around him, he successfully convinces everyone of his child psychology professionalism using his perfectly timed compliments and charismatic determination.

But I also heard the cutting viciousness of his private insults and the sickening plots he hatched, and knew I was powerless to intervene. Who else could challenge him? His wife? His colleagues? His victims? You cannot help but tackle each new chapter with fresh hope that someone, anyone, will confront the evil beast.

This was my first audio book experience and if I’m completely honest I was overwhelmed by it. I adore ‘real’ books and have never considered listening to one before now. I couldn’t believe how the atmosphere and the character’s nuances could be portrayed with such precision, but they absolutely were. Without a doubt the narrator of this audio book, the talented Jake Urry, has captured the dark essence and stomach churning mood of the plot (virtual round of applause for a cracking performance).

Irrespe­­­­ctive of the book format, and while it’s a bleak rather than an ‘entertaining’ read, you’ll hang on every compelling word. Previously rated as 4.5/5 for the Ebook, but for the audio I simply must award 5/5 for the outstanding combined performance from Mr Urry and of course the author, John Nicholl.

Rating: 5/5

And should you wish, you can read my review for the ebook here.

(I received a copy of this audio book courtesy of the author in exchange for an unbiased review, with my thanks.)

White Coldest Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters. Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

The novel is entirely fictional, but draws on my experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker, manager and trainer. During my career I was faced with case after case that left me incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality. The story is set in 1992, a more naïve time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children. The book contains content that some readers may find disturbing from the start. It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

BUY THE AUDIO BOOK

BUY THE EBOOK

White Coldest Author Linksjpg

john nicholl author photo

White is the coldest colour is a chilling dark psychological suspense thriller which draws on John Nicholl’s experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker.

The novel entered the Amazon top 100 bestsellers chart after just 15 days, and reached # 1 in British Detectives and Vigilante Justice. The author wrote articles relating to child protection for newspapers and a national social work magazine during his career, but this is his first novel. He lives in rural West Wales, has been happily married for many years, and has three adult children and one grandchild.

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE   |   FACEBOOK

ALSO AVAILABLE

Dr David Galbraith (Book 2) – Audio Book

When Evil Calls Your Name bu John Nicholl - Audio Book Cover

Although I’ve reviewed the Ebook version of this title, sadly I’ve not had time to listen to the audio book (yet!). Although I have no doubt it too will deliver yet another sinister and twisted ‘reading’ experience…

 

Book Review: When Evil Calls Your Name (Dr David Galbraith Book 2), by John Nicholl

Publication date:  31st December 2015   |   This edition: Kindle (review copy)

When Evil Calls Your Name MY REVIEW

When Evil Calls your Name Kindle CoverThis is Cynthia’s story. It’s a follow up to White is the Coldest Colour written in her own unique words. We now watch as she takes the tentative steps of complete honesty, from her formative years in happier times, until we reach the tragedy where time stood still, then we’re left to stare wide-eyed at the warning signs she failed to interpret until it was too late.

The format is quite different from book one, as this is written in a candid journal form, the details of which hope to offer a greater insight into Cynthia Galbraith’s experience of living her husband, a medical professional, whose main attribute was channelling his Jekyll and Hyde personality to enable him to indulge in his own sick fantasies.  Once again, the story is psychologically acute, touching on some dark and upsetting events.

To give you a little background, as a psychologist, Dr Galbraith (Dr Despicable more like), possessed the knowledge to manipulate those around him and yet his work earned him great status in his field. By the end of the twisted first book we knew precisely what he was capable of, but couldn’t quite believe it.

The words Cynthia commits to paper are part of a therapeutic healing process while she is committed to serving a prison sentence. It allows her to recount the horrendous events that have transpired and come to terms with the haunting visions in her mind. The journal contains the sequence of events leading up to her incarceration, plus the odd random thought to give clarity to her fragile state, including the opinion she holds of herself and of the people she finds herself ‘acquainted’ with behind bars.

There’s a twisted rhythm to this eye-opening sequel. Just like book one time passes flashes by when reading, as Cynthia’s voice speaks volumes this time round. The inclusion of subtle, disturbing details within a relationship that are missed early on could be difficult to project, and yet the author did this with ease. Conveying how someone’s entire life can alter course to this degree in around 270 pages is quite outstanding.

For anyone who hasn’t met ‘Dr Vile’ yet, I suggest you visit White is the Coldest Colour before embarking on Cynthia’s disturbing journey. Whilst this is brilliantly written in its own right, you will despise the hateful character who is the source of many an innocent’s anguish much, much more if you do. Otherwise you could find yourself wondering what it’s all about at first, as it does take a little while to get to the nitty-gritty for those unfamiliar with previous events.

Although certain circumstances can be a little hard going at times and may not be to everyone’s tastes (it’s less psychological thriller and more psychological torment), I have no hesitation recommending both books.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the author for providing a digital copy of his book for review purposes.)

When Evil Calls Your Name BOOK SUMMARY

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

When twenty-nine-year-old Cynthia Galbraith struggles to come to terms with her traumatic past and the realities of prison life, a prison counsellor persuades her to write a personal journal exploring the events that led to a life sentence for murder.

Although unconvinced at first, Cynthia finally decides she has all the time in the world and very little, if anything, to lose. She begins writing and holds back nothing: sharing the thoughts she hadn’t dare vocalise, the things that keep her awake at night and haunt her waking hours.

BUY THE BOOK

When Evil Calls Your Name

John Nicholl

John Nicholl’s first novel entered the Amazon top 100 bestsellers chart after just 15 days, and reached # 1 in British Detectives and Vigilante Justice. The author wrote articles relating to child protection for newspapers and a national social work magazine during his career, but this is his first novel. He lives in rural West Wales, has been happily married for many years, and has three adult children and one grandchild.

Connect with author, John Nicholl:

TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   MICRO WEBSITE

Book Review: White is the Coldest Colour, by John Nicholl

Publisher:  Freedaread.com  |  Publication date: 7th April 2015  |  Edition: Kindle (Review copy)

White is the Coldest Colour_full jacketIn White is the Coldest Colour trust isn’t simply broken, it’s smashed to smithereens and the resulting fear can stop life in its tracks – forever.

Despicably vile. That’s Dr Galbraith for you. A child psychologist is sworn to protect and help innocents through troubled times, and yet this loathsome individual does his utmost to ruin lives to satisfy his own sick fantasies.

In public he is a beacon to represent everything wonderful about his profession. He is so admired he practically glows. In private, his depravity sinks to an all-time desperate low.

Children are referred to him with their problems and he has complete access on all levels. Why wouldn’t they? Everyone is oblivious to the other world he dwells in; a respected doctor and all round great guy, who would believe it?

I must congratulate the author for his ingenious method of introducing the Doctor.  Throughout the story a series of monologues and snippets of domestic life quickly builds a picture of the real man operating behind the scenes. We see his wife treated appallingly, until she has little or no existence, and what he really thinks about his patients and their pathetic, whining families. There’s an art to creating a character SO low that one would need to be physically restrained if they were standing in front of you. The utter conceit makes your skin crawl, it’s quite a feat.

Needless to say, the Dr Galbraith selects his victims carefully. He chooses a poor lad who is suffering as a result of his parents recent separation and NOTHING will stop him. The entire family is blissfully unaware of the Psychiatrist’s intentions, and he knows it. Yet his determination to get his own way could be his downfall. At the height of his frenzies he becomes almost Jekyll and Hyde-like until he regains composure. The Doctor’s mask is slipping, he’s on the verge of risking everything – and it’s brilliantly done.

This is a genuine ‘shout from the side-lines’ story and will have you relentlessly willing the good guys to put a end to the nightmare. The authorities don’t have an easy task and you sense the anguish in every chapter.

So, there is no doubt in my mind that White is the Coldest Colour will grip you entirely. Although be warned, it’s not an easy read. The overall theme surrounds child abuse and it can be fairly grim in places. But it’s also suspenseful and highly emotive, if your nerves and anger levels can take it, that is.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Rating: 4.5/5

(Huge thanks to the author for contacting me via Goodreads and providing a digital copy of his book for review.)

 White Coldest Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters. Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

The novel is entirely fictional, but draws on my experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker, manager and trainer. During my career I was faced with case after case that left me incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality. The story is set in 1992, a more naive time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children. The book contains content that some readers may find disturbing from the start. It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

John Nicholl

White is the coldest colour is a chilling dark psychological suspense thriller which draws on John Nicholl’s experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker.

The novel entered the Amazon top 100 bestsellers chart after just 15 days, and reached # 1 in British Detectives and Vigilante Justice. The author wrote articles relating to child protection for newspapers and a national social work magazine during his career, but this is his first novel. He lives in rural West Wales, has been happily married for many years, and has three adult children and one grandchild.

Connect with the Author

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE   |   FACEBOOK