Posts Tagged ‘Michael Cargill’

Review for Michael Cargill’s Saying Goodbye to Warsaw

test7-aLike any girl who is loved by her family, Abigail Nussbaum loves to chase butterflies, enjoys lying on her back looking for shapes in the clouds, and happily teaches young children to make daisy chains.

In the eyes of certain people, however, Abigail has committed a heinous crime. The year is 1940; the place is Poland; Abigail happens to be Jewish.

Along with half a million other Jews, Abigail and her family are evicted from their home and forced to live in the bombed out ruins of Warsaw, the Polish capital.

Although a handful decide to fight back, is the uprising strong enough to save Abigail’s spirit?

My Review:

If anyone remembers Saying Goodbye to Warsaw is not the first of Michael Cargill’s books that I reviewed. Last year, I also reviewed Underneath which I also enjoyed thoroughly.

Though Cargill is known for changing genres, his work generally follows unique and memorable characters and Saying Goodbye to Warsaw does not disappoint.

Cargill made this horrible moment in history come alive as the three three major characters–Abigail who starts the book at nine and turns ten, her older over-protective brother Leo and their mother try to hold on to some semblance of life and their own humanity as they try not to starve in the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw. Leo is particularly a standout character. His toughness and seemingly endless knowledge (to his little sister) are good foils for Abigail’s naivety and sweetness.

This is a very fast-paced read in a beautiful literary style. Without spoilers, it made me cry. It would make a robot cry. I loved this book!

Note: I received a free review copy from the author in return for a review.

My review policy is as follows: I only publicly review books I like. This review is my opinion. I don’t care if you disagree with me.  When I read, I want the story to come alive by that I mean it makes me care about the characters and brings me to that world.  A book which does that gets a good review.
Otherwise, I will email the author and tell them I’m not an appropriate reader for their book. I read science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, and anything that catches my fancy.  Generally I purchase the books I am reviewing, but occasionally I get review copies. If I get a review copy, I will say so.

Special Guest Michael Cargill Author of Underneath

Michael Cargill is an author from Surrey, England. I loved his book Underneath. His descriptions are so detailed without overpowering the narrative that his writing transports you right into the story/ I was glad he was interested in doing an interview!

Michael’s other titles include:  Shades of Gray, Slaughter in Barnaby CloseShelter from Thunder, and Diary of a Dork. You can also get a good sense of his humor by reading his blog at

Alright, here comes the questions!
Who is your favorite character in Underneath?
Tricky one, this.  Robert would probably be an obvious choice, but I rather liked Clare.  She is smart, organized, and likes a laugh.  She has empathy for those who need her help, and plenty of guts to take down any criminals.
Which character was the most fun to write?
Probably Robert.  As I was writing some of his lines, I was chuckling to myself as the thoughts popped into my head.  I was able to have some fun with him.
By the way, I laughed at some of his lines too.
What have you learned as a writer?
That the editing process is suicide inducing.  I never realised just how soul destroying reading your own work, over, and over again, could be.
I reckon that in the future, professional editors will offer a suicide assistance package.  They’ll make a killing.
Ha, Ha, I agree!
What was some of your inspiration/sources?
Nothing in particular for this story, really.  I popped onto Wikipedia for five minutes, to research what sociopaths were like.  I also know some people who are in the police force, so I was able to use some of the things they have talked about when it came to cop-shop stuff.
What are you reading right now?
I’m having a trip back into the world of non-fiction at the moment, reading a book on the Holocaust.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Stephen King by far, followed by honourable mentions for Michael Crichton, and John Grisham.
Stephen King is my favorite author too!
How much reading do you do within your chosen genre of thriller?
A fair bit, actually!  I never realised it until fairly recently, but I seem to write what I read.
What is your next project?
I’m actually working on a story at the moment.  It’s about antelopes galloping through a shopping centre, and they get told off for making a mess in the women’s toilets.
Nah, not really.  It’s set in a school, but I am still in the early stages really.  Ideas are bouncing around my head like a mad ‘un.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Practice, and don’t panic.  You really need to be aware of how much work goes into just one book – proof reading is a big part of it.  No-one can write a bestseller in one go.  If you write something, then feel embarrassed by it a few days later, then that’s good!  It means you see what needs to changed, which is how all authors work.
Thanks Michael!

Review of Underneath by Michael Cargill

Underneath was brought to my attention after Michael Cargill and I both did the 7500 word Challenge.

All I can say is wow! I wish I read this book two weeks ago before I did that Villains panel at Westercon. I would have told everyone who wants to see a realistic non-sympathectic socio-path to read Cargill’s novella.

Cargill  deftly creates the setting: a major city in modern Britain is so detail oriented that it made me remember my trip to the United Kingdom when he was describing the parks, the ticket machines, etc. I could visualize everything. Also by not naming the city, he gives the “this could happen anywhere” vibe to the story.

Hugh starts in a park describing the people around him while at first glance he is an “every man who likes squirrels” himself, he quickly gets bored and angry.  He leaves the park and gets on a train becoming more and more irritated by most things and people he sees–except a young woman named Abigail. Once off the train, he breaks open a car window, steals a coat and then gets infuriated because “it is a cheap copy bought from a no-mark,no-lable and sh**** shop, that sold nothing but cheap s*** for slugs who had no idea what good stuff was.” Then he trashes the car.

The two police officers, Clare and Robert, both feel realistic. They have their own issues. Robert eats constantly and Clares has aspirations of promotion, as they cross paths with Hugh’s rising violent acts. They investigate the car whose owner promptly begins blaming Polish illegal immigrants. Robert and Clare’s reactions are perfect. And remain perfect as they move through the story faced with the violence and prejudice of their lives as police officers.

Cargill keeps the tension up masterfully from the first page up until the end. However, the plotting and pacing felt off. It ended rather abruptly just as the action was about to start. It was rushed. I felt as if he had slowed down during the final scenes it would have even been even stronger. 

Finally this book is for ADULTS. The sociopath Hugh has the most lines and Cargill does not pander to the audience. While the sexual activity is implied, as an British author, Cargill assumes the reader understands their standards for appropriate behavior.  Eurotrip was right! The English swear at a whole other level than Americans.

To purchase please go to Amazon:

or Barnes & Noble

A nurse's perspective on current nursing news; Q&A; Covid 19; healthcare issues; stories about nurses past & present; political issues & endorsements

Novel News Network

Bringing you news on my favorite novels.

The Eclectic World of Christina

Author Christina Thompson

Elan Mudrow


James Harringtons Creative Work

A site of writings, musings, and geek culture, all under one domain!

Ajoobacats Blog

Doctor, student, yogini, teacher, reader and observer

World of Horror

A cozy cottage for writers and book lovers


Book reviews, recommendations and more

Sienna Saint-Cyr


Corey Truax

Husband | Father | Veteran | Author

Horror Novel Reviews

Honesty in the Terror

Sarah Doughty

Novelist, Poet, Wordsmith

Wanderess Bibliophile

“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”


This site is totally poetry...


A little about me, a lot about books, and a dash of something else

Planetary Defense Command

Defending the planet from bad science fiction

A Narcissist Writes Letters, To Himself

A Hopefully Formerly Depressed Human Vows To Practice Self-Approval