Book Review Blackthorn Book Tours – Alejandro’s Lie by Bob van Laerhoven

About Alejandro’s Lie

Terreno, 1983, Latin America. After a dictatorship of ten years, the brutal junta, lead by general Pelarón, seems to waver.


Alejandro Juron, guitarist of the famous poet and folk singer Victor Pérez who’s been executed by the junta, is released from the infamous prison “The Last Supper.” The underground resistance wants Alejandro to participate in its fight again. But Alejandro has changed.


Consumed with guilt by the death of his friend Victor, whom he betrayed to his tormentors, Alejandro becomes the unintended center of a web of intrigue that culminates in a catastrophic insurrection, and has to choose between love and escape.


A love story, a thriller and an analysis of the mechanisms that govern a dictatorship, Alejandro’s Lie is a gripping novel about violence, betrayal, resistance, corruption, guilt and love.

My Review

Guitarist and songwriter Alejandro Juron is released from prison after ten years and faces a city alien to him. The slums, the political complexities of a crumbling dictatorship in the fictitious nation of Terreno (resonant of Chile), not even the music makes sense, the thriving local scene he was a part of having given way to American disco.

At home in Terreno’s infamous slum the Pigsty, Alejandro remembers the old days in Victor Perez’s folk-band Aconcagua, and Victor’s wife Lucia. He remembers the night he lost them both after various leftist groups were rounded up into a football stadium on a pretext and then either murdered on the spot or tortured and jailed, and the part he played in their demise. 

The story opens on Alejandro caught up in a street protest in the city, on his observations, recollections and his anguish, and his brief encounter with university secretary and Lucia lookalike Beatriz Candalti. On the same night of the protest, the nefarious paramilitary police raid the pigsty on the pretext of a hunt for communist infiltrators. Killing is casual, the brutality of the regime made plain.

Alejandro sets about reconnecting with whoever is left that is willing to help him leave Terreno, a quest that takes him straight back to Beatriz, precariously divorced and desperate to escape her father and ex-husband’s clutches. Through the lens of Beatriz, Bob van Laerhoven captures the essence of Latin machismo, the way that cultural habit underpins governance at every level and oppresses the powerless at every turn.

The stage is set for a complex political thriller brimming with vile and corrupt characters in a regime majoring in oppression, secrecy and arbitrary curfews as Beatriz risks her life to help Alejandro flee the country. The narrative is sprinkled with excerpts of poetry and song lyrics that capture the mood of the times, the aching for a return to peace and freedom, and capture the inner workings of Alejandro’s tormented soul.

Skilfully told in short, sharp chapters, Alejandro’s Lie is a taut, well-developed and intelligent read. Clean prose, an astute attention to detail, great characterisation and artfully constructed action scenes altogether make for an exemplary thriller. The novel has a cinematic quality to it, all dark streets and gunshots, casual violence and simmering passion. I’m a reader who is easily bored. When I remark that I found Alejandro’s Lie very hard to put down, that’s high praise and sincerely meant. 

https://www.amazon.com/Alejandros-Lie-Bob-Van-Laerhoven/dp/4867528862/


Spiritual Leadership by Alice Bailey

Announcing the release of two booklets on spiritual leadership written in 1921 and 1922 by Alice Bailey, not seen for a hundred years.

The two booklets in Spiritual Leadership written by Alice Bailey (herself) in 1921 and 1922, are now available on Amazon. In writing the introduction to this slim volume, my own thinking sharpened. These booklets represent the single most significant moment in the history of Alice Bailey, when she was in between being an active member of the Theosophical Society and founding her own worldwide movement.

About Spiritual Leadership

Spiritual Leadership contains two booklets written by breakaway theosophist Alice A. Bailey in 1921 and 1922, that address the issues facing the Theosophical Society at that time.

The booklets represent a pivotal moment in the transition from Alice Bailey’s failed takeover of the society towards the foundation of her own organisations which took place in the months that followed.

Written a hundred years ago, these short texts convey something of the occultist’s own spiritual aspirations and ambitions, and serve as an important historical moment in the history of theosophy.

A Matter of Latitude FREE on Kindle November 13 through 17

It’s not often that one of my books is available for free! A Matter of Latitude (Canary Islands Mysteries Book 1) is an Amazon #1 bestseller and will be available for FREE as a Kindle from November 13 through November 17. You can purchase from Amazon here. You can find out more about this book below.

★★★★★ – “If you enjoy international stories full of drama and culture, this is definitely one to put on your list.”

★★★★★ – “The author was brilliant in her descriptions and really brought some scenes alive for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense and interesting characters.”

When Lanzarote anti-corruption activist Celestino is T-boned on a lonely road, he knows the collision was no accident. Wounded and fearing for his life, he hides in an abandoned fishing village, waiting for a chance to make it home.

Meanwhile, his wife Paula is distraught and sets out to look for him. Paula’s search for her husband quickly descends into mayhem, danger and intrigue. Before long, she realizes she’s being followed. She needs answers, and fast.

But where is Celestino, and will he ever make it back alive?

http://mybook.to/latitude

Find out more about A Matter of Latitude here

The Unlikely Occultist: 0.99 US/UK Kindle 11/6 through 11/10

The Unlikely Occultist will be available for 0.99 as a Kindle purchase in US/UK from November 6 through November 10. You can purchase from Amazon here. You can find out more about this book below.

***** “Blackthorn’s book offers a fascinating portrait of a woman dismissed by mainstream thinkers and religions, a woman whose current obscurity is all the more poignant considering the grandeur of her ambitions and her hopes for a healed world.” – Misty Urban, Historical Novels Society, Issue 88 May 2019

***** “[Isobel Blackthorn] has given us back the idea of Bailey, and the inspiration to re-read her work and re-examine her remarkable ideas…Blackthorn is to be thanked for her scrupulously-researched novel…” – Walter Mason, New Dawn Magazine, July 2019

***** “A very interesting and unusual read!” – Tina for the TripFiction Team, July 2019

About The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey

Librarian Heather Brown discovers the fascinating life of Alice Bailey – a long forgotten occultist.

Back in 1931, Alice is preparing to give a speech at a Swiss summer school. But how can she stave the tide of hatred and greed set to bring the world to its knees?

Soon after, Alice is put on Hitler’s blacklist. What she doesn’t realize is the enormity of her influence to the world, and the real enemies who are much closer than she thinks.

A dynamic and complex figure, Alice Bailey’s reach was huge. She was influential among people and organizations of global power, especially the United Nations, and is widely regarded as the Mother of the New Age.

Yet today she is maligned by fundamentalist Christians, Theosophists, Jews, academics and above all, by conspiracy theorists. Are any of these groups justified in rejecting the unlikely occultist?

Click here to read more about The Unlikely Occultist

The Cabin Sessions: 0.99 US/UK Kindle 11/3 through 11/9

The Cabin Sessions will be available for 0.99 as a Kindle purchase in US/UK from November 3 through November 9. You can purchase from Amazon here. You can find out more about this book below.

***** “I was gripped in horrified fascination by Blackthorn’s subtle story.” – Zoe, Audible

***** “The author creates a story and unfold it bit by bit while painting a picture that comes alive as you watch. This type of writing is so much more precise and artistic than many of today’s author’s who put out garbage that somehow becomes best sellers.” – Paul Estrada

***** “Enticing and intriguing and entertaining.” – Eddie Generous 

About The Cabin Sessions

The Cabin Sessions brims with psychology and atmosphere.

A storm is rolling into the narrow mountain pass when hapless musician Adam Banks stands on the bridge over the river that cleaves the remote village of Burton. The night is already blighted by an astrological omen, and Adam thinks of turning back. Instead, struggling against rising panic, he resolves to fulfill his obligation to perform the guest spot at The Cabin Sessions. He cannot let down his mentor, Benny Muir.

But bad news awaits him. And at least one fellow musician he would rather not meet.

Told from third person viewpoints of Adam and Philip, the town’s plumber, the evening is mapped out in slow eerie detail – that at once manages to evoke Burton’s fanatical cult history while also acting as a harbinger of the disaster to come. In between these two male viewpoints, is the delicate first-person voice of Eva, the breath holder, whose recollections shed an unsettling light on the characters in The Cabin.

Read an Excerpt here

The Legacy of Old Gran Parks: .99 Kindle 10/28 through 11/01

The Legacy of Old Gran Parks will be available for .99 as a Kindle purchase from October 28 through November 01. You can purchase from Amazon here. You can find out more about this book below.

***** “Just buy it. It’s brilliant.”

***** “Blackthorn’s writing style flows like a river in a barren land. Unobstructed. Understated. Unequalled.”

***** ” If you are a fan of Tarantino movies, you are more than likely going to enjoy this”

About The Legacy of Old Gran Parks

Southern Australia, 1983. While Middle-aged stalwart Miriam rolls into town in her broken down car, Frankie – a deer hunter – is up in the forested hinterland with her gun.

Meanwhile, fisherwoman Old Pearl sits on her front deck with her dog, a glass of whiskey in her hand, and Emily, the English backpacker, scrubs out the pie-encrusted kitchen at the roadhouse.

But all is not well.

Gran Parks is stirring.

Four troubled women. One restless spirit.

Who will survive?

Read an excerpt here. https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/the-legacy-of-old-gran-parks

New Release set in Canary Islands – Sing Like a Canary

I’m thrilled to announce the release of Sing Like a Canary (Canary Islands Mysteries Book 5)

This book is very special as it is loosely based on experiences my mum had during her time in a police crime squad that nailed a notorious London gang in the 1970s.

Here’s the blurb:

Retired police officer Marjorie Pierce is on her way to Lanzarote to track down her old informer, Billy McKenzie. Billy ended Marjorie’s career, and she needs an explanation; an apology.

Present and past soon collide when gangsters Eric and Mick Maloney turn up on the island with revenge in their veins, and Marjorie has to race against the clock to get to Billy before the brothers.

But who is complicit and who can be trusted… and who really betrayed Marjorie all those years ago?

A multi-layered mystery packed with suspense, Sing Like A Canary is the fifth book in Isobel Blackthorn’s Canary Islands Mysteries Series, and can be enjoyed as a standalone even if you haven’t read other books in the series.

Here’s a taste:

You can find details of the other books in this award-winning series here https://isobelblackthorn.com/canary-islands-novels/

On La Palma, the Cumbre Viejo Volcanic Eruption and Bananas

I’ve been following the volcanic eruption on La Palma from the get go, having already heard about the earthquakes they were having. I’ve been on Google Maps exploring the area now under the lava. I’ve read articles mostly from Spanish news sites and seen the footage posted on Twitter and YouTube. Footage of lava racing down flanks of the Cumbre Vieja ridge. Footage of houses being consumed by a wall of lava as it pushes onwards on its inexorable journey to the sea. Fat tongues of lava fanning out, crushing and burying banana plantations and vineyards. Roads and infrastructure, gone. Schools, churches, everything gone. Whole villages gone. And new land being created on the coast.

As the author of many novels set on the islands, I felt I had to write something about this at once magnificent and catastrophic event, but it’s been hard to come up with anything fresh considering the widespread news coverage. So I thought I would write a little about what matters most to me and possibly to the citizens of La Palma: bananas.

I’ve never been to La Palma, but the Canary Islands are connected to each and to have lived on one – Lanzarote in my case – is to have an awareness of them all. And as a writer, I have researched what it is like to experience major volcanic events. Not only the lava, but the explosions sending spumes of ash skyward to fall like rain far and wide, the constant roar, the toxic gases. The fear and fascination, and then the loss of livelihoods and most if not all possessions.

What impressed me when I was researching and what impresses me now is the tenacity of the Canary Islands’ people. The way that since first arrival they have clung on in these inhospitable if dramatically beautiful places and found ways to exist. Five of the islands – Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma – are the tips of enormous volcanoes poking out above the sea. Beaches are few, flat land scarce, and towering cliffs and ravines many. Although the climate, by anyone’s standards, is near perfection.

Before modern development, if you were to live on the islands, you would have needed to fish and farm. Farming meant taking advantage of what little rain was to be had, especially on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. It meant finding where the soil was good and the aspect right, often terracing the steep slopes. It meant cultivating land right to the edge of precipitous cliffs and ravines. No one with a fear of heights (like me) would have coped. The ingenuity of Canary Island farmers is impressive. As is their tenacity.

Taken from Google Maps. Highest elevation 2,423 metres

On La Palma, when locals realised about seventy years ago that the west coast offered the perfect climate conditions for growing bananas, they trucked in top soil, set up extensive irrigation systems and started planting. At some point, tunnels were blasted through the little island’s mountainous centre to connect east and west, making it easier to transport the crop to the port. All along the little bit of cultivatable land right beside the sea, banana plantations sit cheek by jowl. Bananas form a vital part of the La Palma economy. About 60,000 bananas are exported each year and the industry is run as an agricultural collective overseeing every aspect from growing and harvesting to packing and shipping.

The more the lava of this current eruption fans out, the greater the damage to these plantations. There is so little suitable land along the west coast that there may be no starting over for those plantation owners who have lost everything. This is what has struck me the most and why I feel deeply for the people caught up in this.

Farmers collect bananas from their farms full of ash from the erupting volcano on La Palma ANDRÉS GUTIÉRREZ (eldia.es)

I wonder if the tourists now flocking to watch this eruption care much about the destruction of homes and livelihoods. Or if they are just there for the fascination. Maybe even peeling a banana!

Some Alice Bailey Genealogy used for her Biography

I was going through a pile of old papers this morning and came across some documents I thought worth sharing. These documents concern theosophist Alice A. Bailey, born Alice Ann La Trobe-Bateman (1880-1949).

Alice Bailey
Alice Bailey at Ascona 1932. Photo courtesy Rose Bates (www.alicebaileyarchives.com), edited and colourised by Steven Chernikeeff

Researching Alice Bailey’s genealogy proved straightforward when it came to her father’s line as the aristocratic La Trobe-Bateman family were high-achieving with a number of notable figures including first lieutenant-governor of Victoria, Australia, Charles La Trobe, and renowned water engineer John Frederic La Trobe-Bateman.

When it came to Alice Bailey’s mother’s line, things were more challenging, but a subscription to Ancestry helped. I ordered Alice Bailey’s birth certificate and her mother’s birth and marriage certificates from the General Register Office, London, UK, just to make absolutely certain that my research was accurate.

I also ordered Alice Bailey’s parent’s marriage certificate.

With this information, I started searching through the Census records. And I came up with a sketch of Alice Bailey’s mother’s family. They belonged to the respectable middle class. I thought I would share my rough sketch in the raw with all of the crossings out and a few thoughts. It’s messy, but that’s research. I used this to inform the first chapter in Alice A. Bailey: Life and Legacy.

I pored over all these documents, as I did all the research material I used to compose the biography. For me, it was a once in a lifetime undertaking and I am very pleased I took the trouble to do it. If Alice Bailey is of interest to you, I hope you are drawn in by these documents as I was.

Alice Bailey biographical novel wins book award!

I’m thrilled to announce that The Unlikely Occultist has won the Honorable Mention Award in the Realistic Fiction category of the 2021 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.

Reviewed By Deborah Lloyd for Readers’ Favorite:

Shortly after her loving Aunt Hilary’s funeral, Heather faced a challenge at her job. At the State Library in Victoria, Australia, she was assigned the task of assessing a one-hundred box collection donated by the late Professor Foyle. She was a professor of religious studies, with a strong interest in Alternative Spiritualities, often called New Age. Heather soon became engrossed in the professor’s writings, and how her own belief system was affected by the study of this collection is a fascinating aspect of this book. Author Isobel Blackthorn has crafted a thought-provoking, insightful book in The Unlikely Occultist: A Biographical Novel of Alice A. Bailey. The journey of Alice is told in a chronological format, including both her personal life and her work in the spiritual realm.

This biographical novel is written in an easy-to-read, flowing manner. It describes the facts of Alice Bailey’s life – the early years of strong Christian beliefs; her commitment to service; the expansion of her spiritual beliefs; the telepathic connection with several Masters; her marriages and mothering three daughters. It also includes how some spiritualists accepted and others vilified her prolific writings and presentations. How Isobel Blackthorn interweaves the life of Alice of the last century and the life of Heather at the present time is truly masterful. This book provides a context for anyone interested in Alice’s teachings and books, the Arcane School, or organizations she or her followers founded. A novel based on historical facts, The Unlikely Occultist is truly an exceptional read.

You can read more about this novel on my website or read an extract here https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/unlikely-occultist-story-of-alice-bailey

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