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10 October 2014

By all Men's Judgements
Brad Cotton
Prinia Press
Publication Date
April 2014
novel, Western


Knowing she doesn’t have long to live, Liza Meacham summons local newspaper writer Nathaniel to her bedside to share a story she’s kept to herself for seven decades. It’s the story of a man named Joseph Tilley, a man she came to know quite well. With her granddaughter, Madeline, also by her side, Liza begins to reveal how an innocent Oklahoma farm boy fell into a life of crime to become a notorious outlaw in the early 1920s. 

Over the following weeks Madeline and Nathaniel begin piecing together the mysteries that remain where Liza’s recollection leaves off. The secrets they uncover may change their lives forever – if they can find their way to the end . . . and to the truth. 

My review:  
This sweet story needs more exposure.

I absolutely loved this book from the very first page and it is clear that Brad Cotton can tell a story and keep you hooked. The book has structure and the writing style is not over-complicated. (I have a pet-hate for long and windy sentences in books. Books are meant to entertain - I don't want to read an academic essay)

By all Men's Judgements plays in two different time frames. Firstly, there is grandma Liza, her niece Madeline and writer Nathaniel in present day. Liza is terminally ill and knows she has not a lot of time left so calls local writer Nathaniel to her house. She has a story to tell and wants Nathaniel to write it down. Not quite sure what to expect, Nathaniel and Madeline is quickly enthralled with the story - and so are we as readers. 

Liza takes us back to the 1920's Oklahoma where young Joe witnesses his parents murder and gets send to stay with his cousin's family. Joe quickly develops a friendship with his cousin Buck.This is prohibition-age America, and Buck knows where money is to be made with home-brewed alcohol. They quickly start to make a name for themselves, starting out as rookies working for the big boss and almost innocently going about their business. But Joe, of course, can never forget what has happened to his parents. The story cuts back in intervals to Madeline and Nathaniel who slowly start to put the pieces of the puzzle together. 

There is a bit of a 'Western-like' feel to this story. I am not usually one for Westerns and surprised myself that I liked this book so much. It had me rooting for Joe and ... and I finished the book in 2 days. A story about friendship to the end, betrayal, courage. And yes, there is a twist at the end which I did not see coming.

Anything I didn't like? I think I would have liked a different cover. Maybe a 1920's style picture of Joe? The current cover picture is, in my humble opinion, a bit non-descriptive and as many readers do pick up their books by the cover (yes, it has been proven to be true!!), I think this lovely little book will be overlooked. 

9 October 2014
Just found this on Sky News today. So what do you think? I would say anything to support book sales,. In reality, of course, it is the big High Street book chains who, if anyone, profits. And as they are called in the article ' hotly anticipated hardbacks' it's probably authors who don't need a lot of publicity and sell in any event? Still, anything which promotes books and reading I suppose. 

High street book shops, facing competition from online retailers and supermarkets, will hope to receive a boost from Super Thursday.
The nationwide event sees the largest number of titles being published in a single day this year.
Some 315 of the most hotly anticipated hardbacks are coming out today.
Super Thursday is the book world's equivalent of Black Friday and Mega Monday - where there are promotional sales deals in the run up to Christmas.
And the event is aimed at getting more customers into high street book shops and increasing revenue.
There are now only just over 2,300 such shops in the UK with many closing due to customers opting for cheap prices at the supermarkets and on the internet.
Sheryl Shurville from Chorleywood Bookshop in Hertfordshire owns a very successful independent shop but has had to diversify to survive.
She puts on events and festivals to boost sales and is very enthusiastic about initiatives like Super Thursday as a means of increasing business.
She said: "Super Thursday is a great time of year for us. It creates a big buzz in publishing and in the book selling industry.
Westlife's Shane Filan
"So it creates a lot of interest which is really important at a time when we're up against a lot of competition from Amazon, ebooks and supermarkets.
"So anything that brings attention to the independent bookshop and the passion we have for reading and selling books is great for us".
Shane Filan's autobiography My Side of Life reveals all about his days in boyband Westlife.
It is just one of the many celebrity reads that publishers rely on over the festive period and Filan told Sky News it can only be a good thing to be included in the book push.
He said: "To be picked to come out on this day is a great thing to start off with.
"There's a lot of books out and it’s the one of the biggest ever for autobiographies so I'm chuffed to be chosen to be out this day."
Super Thursday is not new - it was first identified in 2008 - but it is only now the industry is pulling together and the latest tool in the fight against low price competition.
Katy Guest, literary editor of The Independent on Sunday, said it was about time the industry was unified in its approach.
She said: "Maybe the fact that publishers and booksellers are all coming together - instead of working against each other and pitting their books against each other for sales - will help."