Book Review

Book Review: Fifty-One by Chris Barnham


Jacob Wesson is a timecop from 2040, sent back to WWII London to stop the assassination of Britain’s war leader. The assignment plays out with apparent ease, but the jump home goes wrong, stranding Jake in war-ravaged 1944. Jake’s team, including his long-time girlfriend, is desperate to trace him before something else goes wrong.

Stuck in the past, Jake must pull from his training and blend in. He clings to the one familiar face he can find, Amy Jenkins, a war widow whose life he saved during the assignment. Drawn to each other by their loneliness and thrown together amid the terror of war, Jake and Amy look to a future together.

But Jake’s future cannot let him go. And when his bosses finally find him in 1944, Jake faces a terrible choice: risk unraveling the modern world, or let Amy die.

My Thoughts

My biggest pet peeve with fiction is Deus ex machina and coincidences. I was frustrated many times while reading Fifty-One due to apparent coincidences in the plot, but in the end, it turns out they were not coincidences at all. (Wow!!) I usually can predict endings but not for this one, this one blew me away.

Barnham’s attention to detail is impressive and the little nuances through out the time travel plot are delightful. I enjoyed the historical aspects of war-torn London and the evident research that went into the writing.

This story is more a thought exercise than a romance – which I appreciated, though I do wish some key scenes would have been between Amy and Jake instead of through a different POV (I especially would have liked to have seen more of Amy’s reaction to 2040). But that is a small wish considering I couldn’t put down the last half of the book. And that ending…

Buy link

About the Author

Chris Barnham worked for two decades for the British government, advising Ministers on education and employment policies. In 2013, he decided it was time to make stuff up for himself. He now combines writing with running a small business, and active involvement in community politics in south London, where he has lived since the 1980s. His short fiction has appeared in a range of magazines, including Compelling Science Fiction, Black Static, the UK’s premier horror magazine, and the late-lamented Pan Books of Horror. His first novel, Among the Living, was published in 2012 (revised 2nd edition, 2017).

Chris lives in London, England, with three tall children and a scary wife. Whenever work allows, he spends as much time as possible out of town with mud on his boots. His latest walking challenge is the 630-mile South West Coast Path, around the Devon and Cornwall coasts. You can follow his (slow) progress on his blog.

Book Review

Book Review: In Defense of Innocense (Adult Thriller)

In Defense of Innocence_

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of this incredible debut thriller, In Defense of Innocence, which follows Janice Williams, the head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Child Sex Crimes Division.

Janice’s hunt for pedophiles is more than a job, it is her obsession. But limited by protocol and regulation, she is unable to keep up with a vigilante who vows to avenge children in ways Janice cannot. Now forced to protect those she has convicted, Janice’s resolve is further conflicted when it becomes clear the murderer has an inside connection.

The sensitive topic initially made me unsure about this book, but I loved every minute of this read and highly recommend the novel. The narriative keeps primary focus on Janice’s investigation and the unknown vigilante’s hunt, without treading into uncomfortable ground. It is a commentary about Candandian law and a fantastic turn on a thrilling man-hunt.

Beautifully written, In Defense of Innocence is a wild ride with multiple climaxes that keeps the pages turning. A masterful use of changing narration point-of-view furthers the storytelling and challenges the reader’s allegiance.

Who will you root for, those who enforce the law or the one who accomplishes what the law cannot? 

Dave WIn Defense of Innocence is a debut novel from Dave Wickenden. Wickenden says he is an individual who is grabs life by the reigns and doesn’t let go – and his bio backs up the claim. He spent time in the Canadian Armed Forces before the Fire Service, so is as comfortable with a rocket launcher as a fire hose. He has brought six people back from the dead utilizing CPR and a defibrillator and has assisted in rescuing people in crisis. He has learnt to lead men and women in extreme environments. He loves to cook, read and draw. Wickenden ran his own home based custom art business creating highly detailed wood and paper burnings called pyrography. One of his pictures of form Prime Minister Jean Chretien graces the walls of Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

At home in Canada, Wickenden and his wife Gina are parents to three boys and three grandsons. His two youngest boys are busy with minor hockey and fishing, so you can guess where you’ll find Wickenden when he’s not writing.

After 31 years in the fire Service and attaining the rank of Deputy Fire Chief, Wickenden retired to write thriller novels full time. He has been a member of the Sudbury Writer’s Guild since 2014.

In Defense of Innocence releases April 16, 2018 but you can pre-order it now. Wickenden’s second book, Homegrown, will be out in the summer of 2018. Both novels are published by Crave Press

Find In Defense of Innocence at: