Sunday, 26 November 2017

Latest Review for Tabula Rasa

From Claire MS

Reblogged from Goodreads
Claire MS Goodreads Review of Tabula Rasa

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by The Book Club on Facebook and the author in return for a fair and honest review. All views are my own.
This is the fifth book in The Lambeth Group thriller aka Gavin Shawlens series – I must be honest that when I dived into Tabula Rasa I had not read the previous books and had no knowledge of the main characters. So the first thing to tell you is that this can be read as a standalone book.

The thriller launches straight into the territory of the underworld and secret agents, and an introduction for new readers, or a reunion for old to Zoe Tampsin – A Special Forces trained agent now working for The Lambeth Group. There is a description of extreme sexual violence at the outset, but don’t be put off as this is important in setting the story up. Her mission is to investigate the death of a government scientist and the mysterious “abduction” and guardianship of his son by a family of aristocrats, the Silsdens. This is where Zoe’s partner from previous cases, scientist Gavin Shawlens comes in to play as he is a personal friend of Lord Silsden’s son.

Odd couple Zoe and Gavin go undercover as an engaged couple to try to unearth the secrets of the Silsden family business but someone wants to stop them at every turn. The mysterious phrase Tabula Rasa is brought to their attention – can Gavin’s knowledge of the world of science help them to understand what it means?

I don’t intend to give any spoilers away here. But I will tell you is that this plot moves in so many directions and has twists and turns that are so unexpected that I defy you to be able to put it down! I hadn’t met Zoe Tampsin before, and whilst the books seem to be labelled the Gavin Shawlens thrillers, for me Zoe is the stand out character.

Gordon Bickerstaff has created a strong woman with a great sense of self-worth, duty and loyalty. She has grown up in the military with a serving father and brother, has served an exemplary career herself and is a natural leader. I love the way that she can slip so easily into and out of character, doing whatever needs to be done, fooling even those who know her, and yet her love and loyalty for her family and closest comrades is uncompromising. Her strength of character is tested to the extreme both mentally and physically in this book – she is the ultimate survivor and a wonderful female protagonist.

Based on this book alone I felt that I didn’t get to know Gavin Shawlens particularly well and he at times feels the weak link when put alongside Zoe and her team. It feels that Mr Bickerstaff is asking us to question the need for Shawlens and whether he can be relied upon to remember which “side” he is working with. The attention to detail of the science is superb, and I really like the fact that not everything goes to plan and the characters have to think on their feet, make life changing instant decisions and show their vulnerability. This feels like real life, if in a world very removed to my own!

I could not put this book down and felt exhausted when I did reach the end. For me there were so many things that I just did not see coming – the sign of a great thriller, surely? My first thought on completing the book – “WOW!”. My second…..well, let’s just say it involved a certain online book store and I now have the first 4 books sitting on my Kindle too – I loved it that much!
Five stars from me!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Latest Review of Deadly Secrets

Super Review of Deadly Secrets by Avona Loves Genres

Reblogged from Avonna (website) Deadly Secrets Review
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

If you are going to start a new thriller series or you want to try a new author of thrillers, you have got to read DEADLY SECRETS (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1) by Gordon Bickerstaff. This thriller has an eerily plausible story line, intricate plot, twists and surprises that gave me chills just thinking about how this could really happen.

Gavin Shawlens is a brilliant scientist who studies protease enzymes. He is also part of a secret British organization, The Lambeth Group that monitors universities and research scientists’ discoveries that could possibly do more harm than good.

Gavin has been offered an opportunity to test a new additive that could revolutionize the entire food industry. At first he does not believe the hype, but when he discovers the wife of one of the company owner’s is an old flame that he never got over, he agrees to their proposal. With incredible global financial implications, the stakes are high and Gavin becomes entangled in a power struggle between a global corporation, the Russians and corrupt officials at all levels of government.

I have so many feelings to share about this book. The main character of this series, Gavin Shawlens is very human. He is no James Bond. He runs away from danger to save himself to the detriment of anyone with him, usually but not always. He is brilliant, but socially awkward. I cheered for him, I yelled at him and I was embarrassed for him. The other characters are just as well written. Some are so evil, to be almost unbelievable, until you consider what money and power are doing in the real world today.

The science based plot seems quite believable. The description of the deaths by enzyme were equal parts disgusting and chilling (and might be too graphic for some). When you think you are at the end, this author twists you around and the peril continues. I love when that happens.
This is a great start to a new thriller series with a unique author’s voice and hero!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Tabula Rasa News

Tabula Rasa receives a Reader's Award from Chill with a Book


Reader's Comments

'I so enjoyed Tabula Rasa, fast moving with a very clever plot.'

'One of the best books I have read for a while.'

'Thanks to being a reader with Chill Awards I found this book. Normally I would not have read this kind of book, but I am so pleased I did. A great read that had not me so much turning the pages, but having to put my Kindle down as the tension became too much at times. Brilliant!'

'A fast paced read with a clever plot and truly engaging characters.'

'If you love thrillers you will love this book.'

'Fast paced action novel with a plot that keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next!'

'An original story of wealth, power and privilege and the covert operations.'


Sunday, 26 July 2015

About Gordon Bickerstaff

I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. On summer vacations, I learned plumbing, garden maintenance, and I cut the grass in the Meadows. I also learned some biochemistry and taught it for a while before I retired to write fiction.

I do some aspects of DIY moderately well and other aspects not so well. I live with my wife in Scotland, where corrupt academics, mystery, murder and intrigue exists mostly in my mind. I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.

I have been writing fiction since I retired in 2011. Until then, I had been writing academic and teaching material and there are a couple of academic books bearing my name. Retirement has allowed me time to do more of what I’ve wanted to do since I was a child – write stories for entertainment.

I published my first novel, Deadly Secrets, with Endeavour Press in 2013. followed by Everything To Lose in 2014. At the beginning of 2015 I decided to leave Endeavour Press and publish myself as an indie. 


Then in 2015 I published The Black Fox. To celebrate going indie I had my first two books completely re-edited and refreshed.

My fourth book in the series, Toxic Minds, was published in 2016. The fifth book, Tabula Rasa (clean slate) was published in May 2017.


A FREE sample of each book is available to download.