Posts by chatterb0x

Herding Cats: The Art of Amateur Cricket Captaincy by Charlie Campbell

Herding Cats

In 1985 Mike Brearley published The Art of Captaincy, revealing how he steered Middlesex and England to victory with his team of first-class cricketers. He got the absolute best out of his players, inspiring Ian Botham to new heights against the Australians in 1981. Few cricketers have had a greater impact on the amateur game than these two.

Every captain would love Brearley’s degree in people, as well as a hardhitting all-rounder like Botham. But theirs was a barely recognisable game from the one we play on often dishevelled grounds up and down the country with ragtag teams of ageing, deluded or hungover friends and acquaintances. Now, Charlie Campbell offers us a New Testament to Brearley’s Old Testament, as he guides us through the realities of captaining an amateur team.

Herding Cats picks its way through the minefield of an amateur’s season: from the excitement and hope of pre-season nets, to the desperate scramble to gather 11 players for a frosty game on a far-flung, desolate pitch; from decoding the casual phrase ‘I bat a bit’, to setting a field of players who can’t catch or throw; from handling the most delicate egos, to dealing with a case of the yips; from frequent moments of despair, to sudden and joyful glimpses of unexpected glory.

For all those of us who recognise ourselves, our teammates, our friends and partners in the shambling joy of amateur cricket more than in the top-class international game, Campbell lights a path through a weekend world of play at the beating heart of the world’s second most popular sport.

Narrated by Mark Meadows.

The Book Club by C.J. Cooper

The Book Club

The book club was her idea, of course.

It was her way into our group. A chance to get close.

I knew from the day she arrived that she couldn’t be trusted.

And I was right.

Alice didn’t come to the village for peace and quiet.

She came for revenge.

Narrated by Mary Woodvine.

Dog Rose Dirt by Jen Williams

Dog rose dirt

What if your mother had been writing to a serial killer?

A convicted murderer with a story to tell
 
Serial killer Michael Reave – known as The Red Wolf – has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal and ritualistic murders of countless women.
 
A grieving daughter with a secret to unearth
 
Ex-journalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide and discovers something chilling – hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades.
 
A hunt for a killer ready to strike again

When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like his victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather.

If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.

Narrated by Emily Pennant Rea.

Traitor in the House by Caz Finlay

Blood is thicker than water…

Traitor in the House

Old Game…

When several young prostitutes are found murdered in Liverpool, DI Leigh Moss knows there is only one person she can turn to for help with the case.  Gangland queen, Grace Carter, knows the streets of Liverpool better than anyone and can ask questions Leigh can’t…but will Grace help?

New Rules

Grace doesn’t trust easily, but when she discovers that her family might be linked with the gruesome murders, she decides to give Leigh a chance. But helping Leigh is risky and as Grace is dragged deeper into the murky world of vice, her own life is put in danger.

Can these two sworn enemies work together?  Or is that a line they will never cross?

Narrated by Katy Sobey.

Legacy of Steel by Mathew Ward

Legacy of Steel

A year has passed since an unlikely alliance saved the Tressian Republic from fire and darkness – at great cost. Thousands perished, and Viktor Akadra – the Republic’s champion – has disappeared.

While the ruling council struggles to mend old wounds, other factions sense opportunity. The insidious Parliament of Crows schemes in the shadows, while to the east the Hadari Emperor gathers his armies. As turmoil spreads across the Republic, its ripples are felt in the realms of the divine.

War is coming . . . and this time the gods themselves will take sides.

Narrated by Kristin Atherton

History by Miles Jupp

History

A satirical, tragicomic story about a man on the edge from actor and comedian Miles Jupp.

Clive Hapgood is feeling stuck. The private school he teaches at is consuming his life, no thanks to wretched headteacher Julian Crouch. The gentle country life Clive envisaged has stifled him and left his marriage on the brink. What he needs is a holiday – something to remind him and Helen what life used to be like. But when things don’t go to plan, and an incident at school begins to weigh heavy on his head, Clive’s life starts to unravel in front of him. Has he got it in him to turn things around, whatever the cost? After all, it’s his own time he’s wasting…. 

Written and narrated by Miles Jupp.

 

Chatterbox Chatter with Miles Jupp

Silent as the Grave by Bill Kitson

Silent as the Grave

Christmas 1979. Former TV reporter Adam Bailey is invited by his old flame Harriet and her husband, Sir Anthony, to Mulgrave Castle for the festivities. He reluctantly accepts, intrigued by their request for him to investigate the family curse.

But within hours of arriving, a blizzard rolls in that leaves the castle and its guests stranded. And when one of the visitors is murdered, Adam and Harriet’s sister, Eve, set out to solve the crime. But with danger stalking their every move, they must work fast to uncover the mystery before more lives are lost.

Is the killer a member of the house party? Or has the family curse struck again?

Narrated by Mike Rogers.

Secrets in the Dark by Ceril Campbell

Secrets in the Dark

Innocent Phoebe has only known a life of privilege.

Street-smart Paula has had to make her own way in the world.

When the two girls meet as teenagers, they form a deep sisterly bond, recognising in one another a yearning for love and for lives that are different from the ones they were born into. But when they each suffer a personal trauma, they are torn apart and set out on very different paths.

So begins a rollercoaster journey throughout the 1970s of extreme highs and lows for Phoebe and Paula, as they travel from the epicentre of cool on the Kings Road, Chelsea, to the glamour of Paris, LA and the South of France.

It’s a scandalous world of sex, drugs, celebrity and wealth – alluring, addictive…and deceptive.

Narrated by Catrin Walker Booth.

Spreading Wings by Mary Jane Staples

Spreading Wings

Sammy Adams is always on the look-out for a new business opportunity. When he hears from his son David about the new-fangled supermarkets that are becoming all the rage in America, he immediately starts looking for a suitable site in South London.

Meanwhile, legacies of the last war continue to haunt the Adams family. The mystery of Katje Galicia, the Polish woman who knows something of Sir Edwin Finch’s past, becomes a major police enquiry while a beautiful German girl appears, bringing wartime memories back to Tim Adams and his wife Felicity.

Tim and Felicity have much to rejoice over, while the younger members of the Adams family are starting to spread their wings.

Narrated Annie Aldington.

My Brother the Killer by Alix Sharkey

My Brother the Killer

At 8.00am on Monday 18th June 2001, Danielle Jones left home dressed in her schoolgirl uniform―and promptly vanished.

The 15-year old’s body was never recovered, but Danielle’s parents soon learned that her ‘Uncle Stuart’, a close family friend, had concealed a decades-long history of sexual violence against teenage girls. Despite the absence of a body, Stuart Campbell was jailed in 2002 for Danielle’s abduction and murder, and sentenced to life in prison. But how did Stuart Campbell become a violent sexual predator? What set him on a path of lies, abduction, treachery and murder? And how do you come to terms with his actions if he’s your own flesh and blood?

Part true crime biography, part memoir, My Brother the Killer examines the factors that shaped a bright and handsome little boy into a recidivist criminal, and eventually into one of Britain’s most notorious killers. Stuart’s older brother Alix Sharkey takes readers on an intimate journey through their violent childhood, troubled teens, and eventual estrangement, culminating with Stuart’s arrest and national infamy during one of the UK’s most unusual murder trials. Sharkey traces his brother’s secret life and details the hideous crime that―having snuffed out one young life and shattered many others―brought the two brothers face-to-face again. Along the way, he explores some terrifying questions: what happens when you discover a deadly sexual predator in your family? And can any man explain―or atone for―his brother’s heinous crimes? And with the clock ticking as Stuart Campbell awaits a possible parole, can he be convinced to come clean and end the agony of Danielle’s family, finally giving up the location of her remains?

A unique and devastating family memoir, My Brother the Killer examines the consequences of fear, lies, shame and silence, and the true costs of keeping dark family secrets.

Written and narrated by Alix Sharkey.

Lighting the Fuse by Lucy Lewis

Lighting the Fuse

Imagine standing over a bomb – you need to make a choice. Remember, your life depends on it.

In this extraordinary memoir, Lucy Lewis reveals the hidden world of bomb disposal training and how she came to be the UK’s first female bomb disposal expert. From joining Sandhurst to rushing to her first bomb disposal call-out, Lucy’s story is full of high stakes and tense situations that for most of us, are beyond comprehension.

Lucy’s story however is also a deeply inspirational one – joining the military in the 1980s just as women were taking on more dangerous roles, Lucy’s every move was watched and scrutinised. This didn’t hold her back however, and this is how she broke through the ceiling, fought against sexism and achieved something no woman had ever done before.

Lighting the Fuse is an eye-opening memoir, that reveals the hidden world of being a woman in the military and how a young woman with an ordinary background, made history – not just once, but twice.

Narrated by Deryn Edwards.

Changing Times by Mary Jane Staples

Changing Times

It is 1953 – Coronation year – and like all of Cockney London the members of the Adams family are looking forward to the celebrations. Chinese Lady, now Lady Finch, worries that her friends will think she is too grand to mingle with them . But her husband has a more pressing worry – the sudden appearance of the lovely but mysterious Katje Galicia, who knows more than she should about his own chequered past.

Young Jimmy Adams, meanwhile, is enjoying working at the family clothing factory, where at the retirement party for two of the oldest employees, Bert and Gertie Roper, he meets their lively granddaughter Clare. Before long he has offered her a job on the switchboard, and has hopes of seeing her after working hours as well. And brave Felicity, blinded in the blitz, thinks she notices a glimmer of light appearing in her dark world – but dare not tell her husband, in case it is just her imagination…

With the young Queen now on the throne, times are changing for the Adams family.

Narrated by Annie Aldington.

Unlost: A journey of self-discovery and the healing power of the wild outdoors by Gail Muller

Unlost

As Gail took her first steps on the 2,200-mile trek through the wilderness of the USA, she had no idea what lay ahead of her, but she knew she felt burnout from city life, lost and broken – ready to heal a mind and body that she had battled with for so long.

From the resilience-building mountain climbs, painful injuries and harsh reality of braving the raw elements, to the unexpected friendships forged with other hikers and the kindness of strangers offering food and shelter – with every step, Gail started to let go of a past dominated by chronic pain and reconnected with herself in a way she’d never been able to before.

A love letter to the healing power of the wild outdoors and an incredible testament to the strength of the human spirit, Gail’s story is for anyone who has ever felt stuck in a rut, lost or scared. She shows us that even in our darkest times, it’s possible to find our inner grit, face our fears and feel hopeful.

Written and narrated by Gail Muller.

London at War: A Nation’s Capital Survives by Alan Jeffreys

London at War

London was a city on the front line in the Second World War. It suffered hits from nearly 12,000 tons of bombs, with nearly 30,000 civilians killed by enemy action. The Blitz changed the landscape of the city. Many famous landmarks were hit, including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London – even the Imperial War Museum. Some areas, such as Stepney, were so badly damaged that they had to be almost entirely rebuilt after the war. But it wasn’t just the city’s physical landscape that was transformed. With the arrival of large numbers of Commonwealth and overseas service personnel, London became much more cosmopolitan.

After 1942, vast numbers of American servicemen were deployed in the capital, and it was also a busy transport hub and a popular destination for troops on leave.This book tells the story of these momentous years in London’s history through IWM’s unique collections. Using personal accounts from letters and diaries, objects, photographs, maps and documents it gives an up-close and revealing insight into those turbulent years in the capital, experienced by those who lived there.

Narrated by Simon Shepherd.

Fallen by Suzanne Wright

Fallen

Only a few are brave enough to fall . . .

When Raini desperately needed help, she went to the one person who she knew could save her dying friend . . . her secretive and ruthlessly powerful anchor, Maddox. His price was that she grant him access to her life, yet he’s still determined not to form the anchor bond with Raini. That rejection stings, even while she can’t stop her body – or her demon – reacting to his presence.

Maddox is a descendent, a rare breed of demon possessing angelic blood – and Raini knows he’ll let someone close when hell freezes over. As a succubus, she’s used to men wanting her uncontrollably – and used to having all the power. But while Maddox wants her strictly on his own terms, for the first time she can remember Raini’s struggling to keep her own emotions in check.

Yet when someone – or something – starts to target Raini, Maddox’s protectiveness goes into overdrive. Suddenly he’s finding it harder to keep his secrets and his distance, for nothing seems to matter as much as Raini. As the threat escalates into all-out war, they both have to decide: can they trust the other to catch them if they fall?

Narrated by Cat Doucette.

Palaces of Revolution: Life, Death and Art at the Stuart Court by Simon Thurley

Palaces of Revolution

The story of the Stuart dynasty is a breathless soap opera played out in just a hundred years in an array of buildings that span Europe from Scotland, via Denmark, Holland and Spain to England.

Although the Tudors are the nation’s favourite royal dynasty, the story of the Stuarts is much more exciting. It’s the remarkable tale of James I, whose favourite son dies and is succeeded by his second son, Charles, an aesthete incapable of ruling. Charles I goes to war against his own people – he loses, and is executed. His son, also Charles, gets crowned king in Scotland but, exiled, holds court in Europe. England under Oliver Cromwell, meanwhile, is still a monarchy in all but name. When Cromwell dies nobody knows what to do. Short on options, Charles II is restored to the throne; but he has no legitimate children and, unlike Henry VIII, does not divorce his queen – the heir is his brother, a bigoted and narrow-minded Roman Catholic. When he comes to power he turns everyone against him and is driven out and replaced by his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her Dutch husband William of Orange. Mary tragically dies and William leaves no heir, the throne going to James II’s younger daughter Anne. She also fails to have issue and the Stuarts are extinguished as a royal line.

Simon Thurley shows us these places in graphic detail. It takes us from Royston and Newmarket, where James I appropriated most of the town centre as a sort of rough-and-ready royal housing estate, to the steamy Turkish baths at Whitehall where Charles II seduced his mistresses. The book is thus about the everyday life of the monarchy, presented chronologically, through the buildings in which they lived. It will present new stories and information about the period not only in the text but through maps and plans that bring life to the Stuart age.

Written and narrated by Simon Thurley.

The Way To Impossible Island by Sophie Kirtley

The Way To Impossible Island

Born with a serious heart condition, Dara has been waiting for his Big Operation forever, and this summer it’s finally going to happen. The moment his heart is fixed he’ll row out to the island in the bay all by himself just like he’s always dreamed. But when his op is postponed, Dara snaps. When will he get to live his real life? Maybe the adventures he dreams of are just silly fantasies.

And then he finds a girl hiding in the boat shed. She wears animal skins. She has a real live pet wolf. She is, simply, impossible. Could Mothgirl really be from the Stone Age? And what is she seeking on Lathrin Island? As Dara and Mothgirl set out on a wild, windswept sea journey Dara begins to realise that when you stop worrying about what’s impossible, you can do anything.

A brave, life-affirming middle-grade timeslip adventure about finding your family and finding yourself, from the author of The Wild Way Home.

Written and narrated by Sophie Kirtley. 

Appointment At The Palace by Mary Jane Staples

Appointment At The Palace

Excitement is running high in the Adams family. Mr Finch, after a long career in secret government work, is to be knighted – which means that Chinese Lady will become a real ‘Lady’! What with having to find a new outfit suitable for the occasion, and worrying about whether she’ll have to curtsey to the King, the redoubtable matriarch of the Adams family scarcely knows if she’s coming or going.

Her grandson Paul, meanwhile, working for the Young Socialists, is worried at what his fiery colleague Lucy will say if she learns that he has titled connections. And Sammy, trying to rebuild his clothing business after the War, is horrified at the growing fashion for denim jeans, which even the young ladies of the family seem to be wearing. Should he forsake his beliefs that girls should dress like girls and start stocking these objectionable garments?

All differences are resolved, as the great day dawns when the Adams family goes to the Palace for their proudest moment.

Narrated by Annie Aldington.

The Sunny Nihilist: how a meaningless life can make you truly happy by Wendy Syfret

The Sunny Nihilist

Nihilism is making a comeback, and for younger generations the idea that existence is meaningless is cause for celebration, not despair.

Written directly for burnt-out Millennials disillusioned with the search for meaning through career success, a beautiful life and a beautiful Instagram account, The Sunny Nihilist explains why achievement has not made us happy. Looking anew at a philosophy usually associated with grumpy pessimists, writer Wendy Syfret examines how meaning pervades our modern experience of work, love, religion and wider society, and asks whether a touch of upbeat nihilism could actually lighten our loads.

Making the case for rejecting the cult of purpose and accepting our un-importance in the universe as a positive reality, The Sunny Nihilist urges us to be cheerful in the face of it – because if nothing matters, we might as well be happy and good to each other.

In an era defined by stress and selfishness, self-care, and obsessive individuality, emptiness can offer absolution.

Narrated by Shaelee Rooke.

Catalyst Gate by Megan E. O’Keefe

Catalyst Gate

In the final book of this explosive Philip K. Dick Award-nominated space opera, the universe is under threat and an ancient alien intelligence threatens to bring humanity down – unless Major Sanda Greeve and her crew can stop it . . .

The code has been cracked. The secrets of the Casimir gates have been revealed. But humanity still isn’t safe. The alien intelligence known as Rainier and her clones are still out there, hell-bent on its destruction. And only Sanda can stop them.

With the universe’s most powerful ship under her command and some of the most skilled hackers, fighters and spies on her team, it will still take everything she has to find the key to taking down an immortal enemy with seemingly limitless bodies, resources and power.

Narrated by Joe Jameson.