Review: ‘A Life Discarded’ by Alexander Masters

Published by: Fourth Estate

Publication Date: 5th May 2016

I.S.B.N.: 9780008130770

Format: Hardback

Price: £16.99


Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discarded has all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap.

A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.

A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as ‘I’, is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thrilling detective story, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is also an account of two writers’ obsessions: of ‘I’s need to record every second of life and of Masters’ pursuit of this mysterious yet universal diarist.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book, as much a biography of the mysterious diarist as an autobiography of Masters and his friends during the five years he worked on the diaries and writing this book. I sped through it in a matter of hours, the writing kept me transfixed.

Masters is a sensitive biographer, disclosing new information as he learns it, and dealing honestly with his qualms when he learns that the diarist, Laura Francis is still alive. The writing is fluid and engaging, humorous at times and honest.


I’ve just started studying the life-writing component of my MA Creative Writing. My tutor suggested we should start reading biographies if we didn’t already to get an idea of the diversity of the form. I’ve read biographies in the past, but this was a refreshing change. It only took me four hours to read this book, so I started another one, before I decided to write this review. The book I’m reading at the moment is a biography of Queen Victoria, in the form of fiction. They’re different ways of writing biography but they both work well.


Back to uni…on Wednesday

And I cannot wait!

Apart from anything else I’ll finally have some money. But that is only a minor consideration. I’m really looking forward to getting back to studying, handing in my assignment and being sociable for one day a week.

I had a last minute read-through of my assignments this morning and noticed a few things I’d missed before, so I’ve just spent half an hour fixing them. I’m getting organised for going back on Wednesday. The little laptop is on charge, and I have finally worked out how to use my digital voice recorder. I need to put the spare batteries in my back-pack just in case, and my laptop charger once I finish charging it up.I thought I’d got the little laptop charged up weeks ago, but I must have forgotten to shut it down properly and drained the battery.

I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I just need to check train times. My ankle is too bad for me to walk to Habrough to catch the train so I’ll have to get the bus to Grimsby instead. I know what time the train leave Habrough, I don’t know what time it leaves Grimsby. And the bus timetable has changed, so I need to check that too.

I’m really excited. Can you tell?


Update: I have now checked my bus and train times, all is well. I shall get an early bus, go for a coffee at a local indie cafe, pop in to the wool shop and then catch my train in a nice, relaxed fashion. And I will not stress about any of this anymore. (Well, I keep telling myself that.)

Review: ‘Body in The Box’, by E.R. Fallon

Published By: Joffe Books

Publication Date: 19th December 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781912106004


The frail body of a young boy is found discarded in an old cardboard box. Even in a hard-edged town used to deadly crimes, this touches a nerve.

BODY IN THE BOX is the first book in the Stygian Town mystery series featuring three very different homicide detectives.

Detectives Dino Copper and Terry Jackson have been partners and friends for years. Now a new detective is drafted in to join them: Rebecca Everhart. They must quickly learn to work together on the biggest case of their careers, the disturbing discovery of the ‘Body in the Box’, as it’s known by the captivated media and the city’s worried citizens.

The case takes the three detectives deep inside the lives of the insular Eastern European immigrant community and the world of unlawful medical practices. The case also evokes an eerie childhood memory of Dino’s, where a boy from his neighborhood vanished and was never seen again.

What appears to be a straightforward, modern-day murder case has more to do with the past than the present, and the detectives come to a genuinely unnerving — and life-threatening — conclusion.

Continue reading “Review: ‘Body in The Box’, by E.R. Fallon”

Book Review: ‘Nowhere To Run’, by Jack Slater

As usual, book received in return for an honest review. I’m going to do something I wouldn’t normally bother with but in this case I think it’s necessary, and add a content warning because of the subject matter.

CW: Child abuse, abduction, paedophilia, murder, suicide


Publication Date: 6th January 2017

Published By: HQ Digital

Format: ebook

Price: £1.99

I.S.B.N.: 9780008223588


A missing child. A dead body. A killer on the loose.

Returning to Exeter CID after his son’s unsolved disappearance Detective Sergeant Peter Gayle’s first day back was supposed to be gentle. Until a young girl is reported missing and the clock begins to tick.

Rosie Whitlock has been abducted from outside her school that morning. There are no clues, but Peter isn’t letting another child disappear.

When the body of another young victim appears, the hunt escalates. Someone is abducting young girls and now they have a murderer on their hands. Time is running out for Rosie, but when evidence case relating to his own son’s disappearance is discovered the stakes are even higher…

Continue reading “Book Review: ‘Nowhere To Run’, by Jack Slater”

Editing book one – I’m not as appalled by my writing as I thought I would be

Evening dear readers,

Sorry no review yet, I’ve been working on editing ‘Hidden Fire‘.Continue reading “Editing book one – I’m not as appalled by my writing as I thought I would be”

2017 – onwards and upwards

2016 wasn’t a great year for a lot of people and there were political and cultural events that really mucked it up, but for me personally it wasn’t all horrible. Rather than dwelling on the upsetting stuff I’m going to list the positives from last year.

  • I made new friends, some of whom I’ve become very fond of;
  • I tried to be sociable, I even tried dating;
  • I travelled abroad for the first time ever;
  • I started my MA in Creative Writing.

This year, I can only go forwards.Continue reading “2017 – onwards and upwards”