The Whisperer, by Fiona McIntosh

He sighed. ‘I heard him again.’
‘The Whisperer…I’ve got to help him.’
‘What?’ Tess exclaimed. ‘You don’t even know who he is. Or where he is!’ She put a hand on his arm. ‘Griff, you don’t even know if this is something in your imagination.’

Griff has long had a special, secret ability: he can hear what other people are thinking. But now this ability is taking a strange turn, with Griff hearing cries for help, and even holding conversations, with someone he has never seen or met. Griff knows he must find and help the Whisperer, even though he has problems of his own.

Griff and his friend Tess, and her collection of magical creatures, are on the run from a greedy circus master who wants to use them both for money making schemes. If they stop to help the stranger who whispers in Griff’s head, they risk their freedom, even their lives. But Griff feels he has no choice.

Meanwhile Lute, the Crown Prince of the realm, is under attack from his Uncle Janko, who wants to seize the throne by murdering both the King, Lute’s father, and Lute himself. Lute is on the run, in the company of bandits. When Lute and Griff meet, both their lives will change forever.

The Whisperer is a wonderful fantasy read set in a realm sprinkled with magical creatures and magical forces, where unlikely heroes come together to ensure the triumph of good over evil. There is plenty of action, with both Lute and Griff, and their respective companions, on the run and in danger for most of the book.

Suited for readers aged 9 to 12, and perhaps a little older, this is a riveting fantasy read.

The Whisperer

The Whisperer, by Fiona McIntosh
Angus & Robertson, and imprint of Harper Collins, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Bye Bye Baby, by Fiona McIntosh

And with the memories came a white rage that burned away the terror. Suddenly I was calm and precise; there would be no sympathy for my victim. I knew that killing the members of the mocking Jesters Club was the only way I could kill the suffering of so long.

There is a serial killer on the loose, murdering middle aged men in meticulously planned attacks. DCI Jack Hawksworth assembles a team of Scotland Yard’s best talent to try to catch, and stop, the killer before anyone else dies. But there are few clues and no apparent motive for the killing, making this is a difficult case to solve.

In the meantime, Jack has a new lady friend, a tenant in his building. Perhaps Sophie might be the woman who can finally get under Jack Hawksworth’s skin. But his colleague, DI Kate Carter isn’t so sure. Her feelings for her boss are strong, and she doesn’t trust Sophie’s motives.

As Hawksworth’s team battle against time to catch the killer and stop more deaths, tension is high both within the team and among those who have reason to believe they, too, could be in the murderer’s sights.

Bye Bye Baby is a thrilling mystery, with readers taken on a roller coaster ride through twists and turns as the horror of a series of gruesome crimes is balanced with the highs and lows of the police characters’ personal lives. The first person perspective of the murderer, offered several times during the book, provides an interesting contrast and sense of difference to the book, with readers invited to feel sympathy for the killer.

A surprising, gripping thriller.

Bye Bye Baby

Bye Bye Baby, by Fiona McIntosh
Harper Collins, this edition 2009

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Beautiful Death, by Fiona McIntosh

Jack wasn’t enjoying the banter. He was watching the victim’s dark hair heavily unfolding, reminding him of Lily. A sharp tug of fear passed through him. He hated listening to this with Lily’s whereabouts unknown. He needed to make that call and set things straight with the team in charge of her missing person case…now he was staring at a mark on the corpse, just near her shoulder. He felt his breath catch.

On his last case, DCI Jack Hawksworth found himself just a little too closely involved when he realised he was romantically involved with a serial killer. Now, though, he’s back at work and newly assigned to a big case. Someone is killing seemingly random victims, taking their kidneys and faces as trophies. Jack and his team must stop the killer – but, soon, Jack finds he is again more closely involved than he’d like- when one of the victims turns out to be his new girlfriend. Jack should remove himself from the investigation, but now that it’s personal he is even more determined to solve the case.

Beautiful Death is a gripping crime novel combining crime with medical and scientific possibility, in the underworld of black market trading in body parts. Set in and around London, the story still manages to include references to Australia, where the author resides, reminding the reader of that link. In the end, though, the setting – whilst well evoked – is merely a backdrop to an intriguing mystery, a chilling series of events and the absorbing lives of a diverse cast of characters.

This is the second book featuring Detective jack Hawksworth, and readers will look forward to more.

Beautiful Death

Beautiful Death, by Fiona McIntosh
Harper Collins, 2009
ISBN: 9780732284473

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

King of the Beasts, by Fiona McIntosh

The Queen began to weep, but Saxten continued, more gently now. ‘Isn’t this why Sherloc watched over me and finally called me back? You have already set up this confrontation, without knowing it. I am all we have between Severo’s rule and the true Kings of Drumminor. I have been blessed with a magic that gives us our one chance.’

Since discovering he was not an ordinary boy, but in fact the heir to the throne of a faraway land, Saxten has had to face many challenges. Now, in this final title in the Shapeshifter series, he must face a new, final challenge. He must seek out Coravel, the fearful king of the beasts, and seek his help in destroying Severo. But if Saxton wants Coravel’s help he must be prepared to make a huge sacrifice.

The Shapeshifter series is a set of four short fantasy titles which together form part if Omnibus’ new Fantastica imprint of accessible fantasy stories for primary aged readers. As the fourth title in the series, King of the Beasts is best enjoyed after the reading of the previous four titles, though it could be read in isolation.

Great for young fantasy fans and as an introduction to those new to the genre.

King of the Beasts, by Fiona McIntosh
Omnibus, 2007

Severo's Intent, by Fiona McIntosh

Saxten was winded. He lay on hard ground. His eyes were closed, but he saw sparkles behind his lids. Gradually he became aware of birds singing and his own breathing as it slowed. The air smelled a bit strange – not bad, just different.
‘Are you hurt, boy?’ It was the voice of the old man.
He opened his eyes to slits. ‘No, I’m all right, I think. The wolf?’
‘Severo will have to find his own way back,’ the man said triumphantly. ‘I closed the portal behind us.’

Saxten thinks he’s a fairly ordinary boy, despite being unhappy at his new school, but when he starts being followed by a big dog that no one else can see, he doesn’t know what is going on. Then, when a man appears in a painting his family has always owned – and, again, only Sexton can see him – Sexton gets scared. Soon, though, his fear turns to disbelief when the man starts talking to him and tries to get Sexton to come with him to escape the dog. Sexton’s life will never be normal again.

Severo’s Intent is the first title in the new Shapeshifter series, part of Scholastic’s Fantastica imprint. Its short length, with a high-action plot makes it ideal for readers new to the fantasy genre, as well as reluctant readers who might be deterred by longer fantasies.

Young readers will look forward to the next instalment in the series.

Severo’s Intent, by Fiona McIntosh
Scholastic, 2007

Odalisque, by Fiona McIntosh

Aware that all eyes in the room were trained on him, Boaz took his father’s hand. It felt dry, too cold, as if death had indeed arrived…’Boaz…You are the Chosen One. No-one else! You alone. Never forget it!’ he forced out. The stricken physicians watched the last struggling breath arrive and expel in a desperate gasp.

At fifteen, Boaz finds himself the new Zar of Percheron and surrounded by those who would manipulate him for their own ends – his mother, Herezah, the new Valide; the Vizier Tariq; and Salmeo, the Grand Master of the Eunuchs. Fortunately, he also has a handful of genuine friends, including the Spur, Lazar, head of Percheron’s security, Pez, the mad jester and Ana, an odalisque purchased to begin his new harem. As Boaz struggles to establish himself , he will need all the support these friends can give him – but they have struggles of their own to confront.

Odalisque is a breathtaking new fantasy title, the first in a trilogy. Readers will find themselves caught up in the intrigue, the drama and the treachery of the palace and its harem. There are scenes of horror which are so intense the reader is gasping for release, yet unable to put the book down. The story sweeps along through the rooms and corridors of the palace and into the surrounding landscape, visiting diverse characters and witnessing events both cruel and dramatic. There is an ending, of course, but an ending which leaves the reader desperate for the next instalment.


Odalisque, by Fiona McIntosh
Harper Collins, 2005