Monday, 22 July 2019

Spotlight & Review: Smile Of The Stowaway by Tony Bassett

Smile Of The Stowaway by Tony Bassett

A married couple, a stranger from far away and a murder that rocks their lives. Desperate to reach England, a bedraggled immigrant clings precariously beneath a couple's motor home as they cross the Channel. Once holidaymakers Bob and Anne overcome their shock at his discovery and their initial reservations, they welcome the friendly stranger into their home in defiance of the law. But their trust is stretched to the limit when the police accuse the smiling twenty-three-year-old of a gruesome murder. Could this man from six thousand miles away be guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Former national newspaper journalist Tony Bassett tells how Anne turns detective, battling against a mountain of circumstantial evidence and police bungling to discover the truth. This gripping first novel concerning a death in a remote Kentish country cottage is packed with mystery, suspense and occasional touches of humour.
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A thought-provoking beginning...what would you do if an asylum seeker appeared on your drive after stowing away under your motor-home after returning from France? For Bob and Anne, it's a reality as Yusuf Osman makes his unexpected appearance on their driveway.

I always enjoy fictional books which challenge the reader's mind and this is such a novel. It provokes you into thinking about the decisions Bob and Anne make and whether in a similar situation you would do the same as them. There's a fine line between doing what your head tells you what you should do against what a compassionate heart wants. In this case, compassion wins only for it to backfire, but does it?

Told from Bob's point of view he gives a different perspective to the dilemma he and his wife encounter after deciding to aid the foreign stowaway. I fully related to Anne's concerns about how their assisting Yusuf could impact their safety. Additionally, how it changes the dynamics of their relationship too. Yet, it's Yusuf's murder charge, plunging his life into chaos which overshadows everything else as they begin to seek out the truth to prove his innocence.

The author has written an even-paced crime novel, set against a delightful rural setting of the fictional villages of Chasehurst and Chivingden, Kent. The narrative is relevant by today's standards by portraying a realistic scenario. When neighbour Stephen Rigden's dies mysteriously it's not surprising an outsider like Yusuf would be a 'man of interest' to the investigation. After all, trying to pin the blame on an illegal alien is just too easy, right? Wrong in this time but it isn't long before a shocking murder occurs. With circumstantial evidence stacked against him,
is the man who risked his life fleeing Eritrea capable of such a crime?

Many twists and turns keep the readers focus
ed on the intriguing narrative, and like any 'who's done it,' the revealing of the villain brings a satisfying and poignant conclusion leaving the reader wondering 'what now' for the smiling stowaway?

***review copy received courtesy of the publisher via Rachel's Random Resources*** 
Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life' magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People' where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard', broke the news in the `Sun' of Bill Wyman's plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People' of Rod Stewart's secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People', he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway', is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years. He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren. He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.
Twitter: @tonybassett1
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