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Book Review – ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ by Pete Adams ~ @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

On Monday I took part in the blog tour for ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ by Pete Adams and did a spotlight post.  You can see it here:-


I now have my review of this book for you all.  It was originally planned for Wednesday but that wasn’t to be.  I would like to thank both Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours and the author for my review copy.  Before you find out what I thought about ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ here is the book blurb again.


Book Blurb

Surviving a terrorist explosion, a tutu incident, and a night of celebratory drinking, hungover hero DCI Jack Austin proposes an ill-advised alliance with a newly-turned criminal informant.

After a string of high-profile murders is committed, Austin goes deep undercover – and uncovers a villainous scheme that threatens the Star Chamber.

His world turned upside down, Austin needs to rely on courage, skill and improbable luck. But can he bring the perpetrators of the far-reaching scheme to justice?


My Review

Having read the first two books in the series I was really looking forward to getting stuck into ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’. I love the author’s style of writing; the words just jump off the pages. I also find that I never quite know what to expect next.

I felt as if I was meeting up with old friends again. I really couldn’t wait to catch up with Jack and Amanda as things seemed to be hotting up for them. OMG! Jack is just totally hilarious. The things he comes out with and seems to get away with.

There was just so much packed into ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ and things seemed to happen at full speed. I really feared for Jack when he went and did what he felt he had to do. It showed how dedicated he was though in both his work and his beliefs. I would describe Jack as a cat with nine lives, although he would probably say he is more like a dog. So much has happened to him in such a short space of time and he is still living to tell the tale.

Some very interesting revelations came to light in this book, one of which I think the author was hinting at all along. I have so many questions though and can’t wait to see how things progress for Jack, Amanda and their families.

Pete Adams has done a good job of introducing a number of the characters and has mentioned various parts of the storyline from the previous books for the benefit of new readers. However, I would still advise to read the series from the start to get the full picture.

I really do not want this series to end and am just so glad that there are two more books to read. After that I don’t know what I’ll do.


Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1568113734&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+barrow+boys+cadenza&qid=1568113857&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Pete-Adams/9781077738805?ref=grid-view&qid=1568113887010&sr=1-1


Blog Tour – ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ by Pete Adams ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ with a spotlight post.  The third book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, it was published as an eBook on the 28th July 2019 by Next Chapter Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour.

I am totally loving this series so far and you will be able to find out on Wednesday exactly what I thought about ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ so do keep a look out.


Book Blurb

Surviving a terrorist explosion, a tutu incident, and a night of celebratory drinking, hungover hero DCI Jack Austin proposes an ill-advised alliance with a newly-turned criminal informant.

After a string of high-profile murders is committed, Austin goes deep undercover – and uncovers a villainous scheme that threatens the Star Chamber.

His world turned upside down, Austin needs to rely on courage, skill and improbable luck. But can he bring the perpetrators of the far-reaching scheme to justice?


About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.



Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256


Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1568113734&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+barrow+boys+cadenza&qid=1568113857&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Pete-Adams/9781077738805?ref=grid-view&qid=1568113887010&sr=1-1



Guest Post about Pete Adams

I hope you’re all enjoying my Urbane Blog Event so far.  I have something very different for you now, a guest post about Pete Adams, written by his hat.  I had the privilege of meeting Pete a couple of times last year.  He’s an amazing man with lots of wonderful ideas and as you will see below, he has an extremely talented hat.  Pete is exactly as he is online.  His sense of humour is just the same, if not worse.  I hope Pete will be able to read this as he’s so tall, he might not be able to see the screen or his hat might cover his eyes.


I am often open to a bit of frippery, especially from a writer I admire, and today, complete with meretricious adornment, I present Pete Adams, author of The Kind Hearts and Martinets series, that he says is a trilogy in 8 books (we are off) and the fourth book of that trilogy, Ghost and Ragman Roll, is published by Urbane on the 20th April 2017, following on from the success of A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza, said by German author Skadi Winter, to be “The best contemporary British novel she has read in a long time”.

Book 3

Book 4, published 20th April 2017

I have known Pete since he signed with Urbane and certainly he is a most talented writer, his Kind Hearts and Martinets books in a genre that is hard to define – Urbane say, they are “Crime thrillers that will make you laugh.” Pete says it is down to his muse, Jane Austen, or it could be Mary Poppins (not the penguins he says), it is sometimes difficult to tell; his central characters being DCI Jack (Jane) Austin and Detective Superintendent Amanda Bruce, is she Mary, and is she responsible for the underlying social message in Kind Hearts? One reviewer said Pete Adams books made him “laugh, cry and think”. They certainly have a unique and captivating style, and I have to agree with Urbane that this series is growing an enthusiastic following, marked by the demand for advance review copies of Ghost and Ragman Roll, available for preview in March.

Pete Adams is a versatile writer, and his short, off the wall, stories, are starting to find success as well, and we hope to see them in his own anthology soon – his story Pop Dead – the Pension Papers was included in an anthology called Dark Minds, Published by Bloodhound, and is a best seller in UK, USA, Canada and Australia, one reviewer saying “Pete Adams your story in Dark Minds is a piece of genius”.

Pete reads these stories at literary cafe evenings and he says they go down really well, as you can see; well, we have to take his word for it:

He has also written, and illustrated, three books of nonsense tales, for children and grownups who have not grown up, called Whopping Tales, and beta readers have lauded it as masterful, likening them to the Spike Milligan books. Hope to see these published sometime soon as well.

And now? Pete the Poet?

Pete says he was inspired by the poet; Tess Rosa Ruiz and her book Falling into Us, also published by Urbane. He wrote his first poem to Tess, and Pete has read this at poetry evenings; says it went well, especially as he had arranged for the exit doors to be locked. Apparently Tess liked it but Pete suggested we take his word for that.



Sonya – So Pete – what inspires you to write?

Pete – It’s about having dreams and the belief in yourself to write them down.

Sonya – Oh no, he’s gone into Bard mode; Pete stop prancing around the room with a beret on and answer the question, please – He settles:


My muse, Jane Austen and Mary Poppins.


I’m a Dreamer

In a cloud,

cuckoo land,

dream in hand,

head, disengage,

words on a page,

I’m a dreamer,

a believer?


‘A bleedin’ Dreamer’,

Muse named,

Cheer up sleepy Jane,

Quizzically, tamed,

Oh, what could that mean?

To a, daydream believer,

an un-be-lieving queen?


Alarm, never ring,

words to bring.

‘neath Jane’s wings

Off the page, Mary sings,


what does it mean,

a practically perfect queen?


Happy I dream,

White knight, a laptop steed,

Mary Jane,

a-muse me,

dreams freed

no words decried

I’m a believer,

I couldn’t stop if I tried.


Sleep in my eyes,

the razor stings,

before Jane sings,

Oh, what, can it mean,

cheer up Mary, Jane,

nothing, to me,

lest you believe,

I’m a daydream believer,


Depart you arcane,

cheer up sleepy Jane

Not here mundane,

You know what I mean

for me’ for Mary and for

homecoming Jane,

and stories seen.


I hope you all enjoyed reading about Pete Adams.  I’ve certainly learnt a thing or two.  His hat wrote a really good piece about Pete and I really think it should try and find a publisher too  Such talent should not be wasted.


In all its excitement, Pete’s hat forgot to give me some important links.

‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ can be bought from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/a-barrow-boys-cadenza/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-detective-Martinets-ebook/dp/B01080YCJQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489138659&sr=1-1&keywords=pete+adams

‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Ragman-Roll-Hearts-Martinets/dp/1911583034/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489138659&sr=1-3&keywords=pete+adams

My owner is on Twitter – @Peteadams8


Interview with Pete Adams

Pete Adams

Pete Adams latest book, ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ was published last year.  I asked him a few questions.


Could you tell me a bit about your Kind Hearts and Martinets series please?

I see Kind Hearts and Martinets as Good -v- Evil ; a politician or civil servant, a powerful Corporate magnate, or just a Machiavellian character, will carry on with a despotic action when reasonable argument demonstrates that it is just plain wrong; he feels he is right. In each book of the eight book trilogy, there is a theme of stubborn refusal to tilt the tiller from the set ‘path’; it is a simple fact, everyone else is wrong.

Each book stands on its own and can be read as a separate novel, although there is a continuing thread suggestive of a malign conspiracy, but of what, and that is carried through to book 5, where all of the threads are woven to a neat conclusion? Really? Things are not that simple surely, and after all, there are another three books.

The series of books also looks at how people react to the martinet persona and consequent actions, and how those with the ‘courage’ to act, often cannot see the irony in their actions, in so much as they are also convinced they are correct in what they do; is this the dilemma of life? And do the ends justify the means? I think this is why, of the eight books, I like book two, Irony in the Soul, because it sets the course for the subsequent books but examines the irony in the motives not only of the perpetrators but also the main protagonists, the dipstick DCI Austin, who has never solved a crime in his life but has a heart of gold, and his long suffering, over a short period of time, partner in work and in love, Detective Superintendent Amanda Bruce.

I like to see Kind Hearts and Martinets as a series (trilogy) of books with a narrative ranging from adventure, to violence, to abject misery to insuperable and often illogical love, to the conclusion that change is not always for the best, but change we must if we are to move on.


How many more books in the series are there to come?

It is a long story, if you pardon the pun, and Kind Hearts is a trilogy in eight books – explanation can be offered if sought, but that is another saga.

Books 1 and 2, Cause and Effect and Irony in the Soul, I self published on Kindle and I then signed with Urbane for book 3, A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza, out in June 2015 and formally launched at Waterstones in October 2015.

Book 4, Ghost and Ragman Roll is a rollicking adventure and introduces some additional characters that get taken on in later books and more of the mystery is unveiled – the manuscript for this book is with the Publisher now.

Book 5 – Merde and Mandarins – the five books are wrapped up; the end – not likely but a moment to pause and reflect, enter book 6.

Book 6 – The Duchess of Friesian Tun – I stepped out of the novel framework and wrote this as a ‘stage-set’ narrative (certainly a challenge that I loved) where the story of Kind Hearts and Martinets is mulled over by a set of ‘off-the-wall’ characters, loosely based on The Canterbury Tales but where the characters go nowhere; the ‘play’ contained principally to one set, with aside vignettes – I am really pleased with it.

Book 7, Rhubarb in the Mammon, and the story is re-launched but seemingly as a new narrative, but later on, as it slides inexorably into book 8, the stories clearly meld. Rhubarb is finished but I can’t leave it alone because I love it so much, but also because it has a partner in the sequel, and so I go back and amend things to suit events in book 8.

Book 8, Umble Pie, New scenarios, new characters whom I love to bits, and old favourites who return for the barnstorming finale to Kind Hearts and Martinets, it even left me breathless as the story travels from serious (but makes you laugh) to an edgy though epic conclusion. Umble Pie is my hardest task so far – I set myself the challenge of weaving a ‘real’ transference of narrative to the sequel / and a ‘surreal’ onward narrative; the DNA spiral of Kind Hearts and Martinets.  I have the first draft complete and will return to it in a few weeks to commence editing and rewriting.

Book 9, Larkin’s Barkin’ is off from the starting blocks and currently passing from synapse to synapse as I walk my dog along the seafront; completely new.

I also have, by way of a madcap distraction, written and illustrated, two ‘nonsense’ books based around imaginary adventures with my granddaughter, called Whopping Tales – they are children’s books, not for children, but for adults who have not grown up. I will post you an example of my illustrations, my granddaughter and I. I have written two short books so far, and a third is about halfway and I’m on a mission to complete it this month and seek a niche Publisher for the upcoming Christmas market.

fevvers and isla

Book one is out to a panel for comment; authors, professional reviewers, and readers who contact me, and I have to say that the response is tremendous and has given me a great momentum to make this project happen. I will package the comments up as part of my submission, so, if any of your readers are interested I can send the MS, it takes about 2 hours to read and allow a further half hour for falling off your chair laughing.


Where did you get the idea for this series from?

Simple – from real life, its social injustices, its unfairness and its evil, countered by the bountiful love of most people who do not have to pass along a path predetermined by some martinet twat who cannot conceive that people are individuals, that life is richer if not mapped out by someone with their own agenda. In other words, and one of my best reviews said this “the books are crime thrillers that make you laugh, cry and think” and in that, each book tackles serious issues both in narrative and in character development, but does it in a slightly larger than life way, not so much a literary lampooning cartoon , but not far off it, and here I always quote Peter Ustinov, “Comedy is a funny way of being serious” and this is what drives me, that and I’m a sucker for a good story, and romance, I love romance..


Are you anything like your main character, Jack Austin?

A lot of people suggest this but quite simply, Jack Austin is an ugly, overweight oaf, with far too much confidence for his own good, and barrels through life regardless of what obstacles he may encounter, relying on the fact that it will all be alright at the end of the day, whereas I am…

…Let me get back to you on that one.

But, the very perceptive of readers correctly observe that Jack, nicknamed Jane, Austin, is a rather obvious, crass even, foil for the characters that do the real work in the novels, and most of them are very strong women; it just happens to be my experience in life.


How long do you spend writing each day?

Oh dear, not long enough. I started writing late in life, I had to have been about 56 -7 and it’s as though there are not enough hours in the day to keep doing the thing I love most, apart from my family that is. Having said that I am an architect by day and I have to focus on my practice, but rarely a day goes by that I do not write, and I feel it on those days I don’t.

I am often up in the middle of the night and write, and if I am free to write with no other distractions, I will generally start around five in the morning and stop about lunchtime, when I take my dog for a walk along the seafront – its wonderful living beside the seaside, and not just because of the ice creams, ‘Giss a lick of yer ice cream mister…’.

After that I like to read, catch up TV, but most of all read if my eyes are not too tired and then I like to write reviews of the books I have read.


Do you have a favourite place to do your writing in?

I am not blessed with the opportunity to have an option of a favourite place. I have an old house that was 80% renovated when the recession hit – my lubbly jubbly writing study is not complete, and so I write under the stairs alongside the central heating boiler, the washing machine and tumble drier, but it is cosy and it has produced eight novels and two and a half Whopping Tales – I am not sure how I will react when I have the luxury of a big room and a desk? Probably cry and sit beside the washing machine and tumble drier, mid-cycle…absorbing the inspirational vibrations of a 1400 spin.


Are you working on any other writing projects?

Book 9 is started, Larkin’s barkin’ – new characters that already I love, and I am finishing book three of Whopping Tales and this is getting such a tremendous response that I may have to think where it goes after publishing.


What’s the best bit of advice you have ever been given regarding writing?

You don’t need this, and you don’t need that, and what does this serve in promoting the story, and you can’t say that, can you, really? Oh, and move over I want to put some laundry in the washing machine.


Do you see yourself still writing in five years time?

I cannot ever see myself stop writing, I love it so much.


Now that you’re getting used to social media would you say it is of benefit to you?

Absolutely, and I resisted my Publisher ‘suggesting’ Twitter for so long and that was a mistake; I now have my book being read in Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the USA and I’m followed by the Trans Siberian Railway (you need to look out my book page for that) , in fact I’ve just had some brilliant reviews from the USA in Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, very big coverage in America. My Publisher and I have great hopes that my books will go well across the pond, pretty much how the Janet Evanovich books went well in the UK, unless he means the pond in St James’s Park; I’ll get back to you on that, promise not to duck the issue.

If I were asked my opinion on what gets the most responses for an author, I would say that it is coverage from book bloggers, and interviews such as your own Sonya, and, I find the questions help me crystallise my own thoughts and motivation, and the bonus, it’s just so nice to have exchanges with people who, like myself, love books – I always respond to messages from readers and bloggers and they are most considerate of my ineptitude in using social media, electronic gadgetry and the fact that I press return too many times and send back gobbledygook (editor – palese sort taht bit).


You have a crazy sense of humour.  Have you ever thought about becoming a comedian?

People always say that I should be on the stage, there’s one leaving in ten minutes; the old ones are brilliant aren’t they, and there is no doubt I am old (though as you will see from my picture, I don’t look it). I used to do after dinner speaking and loved it, was better at MC’ing dinners though, where I could ad lib in reaction to events. I once MC’d a Lord Mayor’s dinner in Portsmouth, at half time I was requested to ease up as the people had paid to eat their dinner and couldn’t do it laughing. But, as I have aged, I think it is not worth the stress, especially if they are expecting you to be funny all the time – sometimes I want to be serious – Nah, just kidding; except in actual fact, my books are very serious indeed and it says all that I believe about today’s society; still, misery is optional.


What do you like doing in your spare time?

It has to be reading. I do like TV but invariably it is all recorded stuff or catch up and I absolutely love Nordic Noir, in books and TV – it gets down to real life with real characters, not phoney Hollywood people with sparkly teeth and fat wallets.

I used to play rugby really badly and if the ball would only have stopped hitting the wicket, I wasn’t bad at cricket – I love watching both sports now.

My family is important to me and I’m proud of my kids, my daughter who travelled the world and then came back and qualified as a midwife with an amazing degree, and gave me Isla Rose (my granddaughter who narrates in Whopping tales) and my son, now at Conservatoire, studying classical violin performance and jazz guitar – I absolutely love classical music and my son is getting me into Jazz; Snarky Puppy, I know, but listen to them and that is what my son plays.


About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect living in Portsmouth, where he sets his books. With a writing style shaped by his Bermondsey and East-End of London family, Pete’s Kind Hearts and Martinets series of books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; crime thrillers that make you laugh, with a dash of social commentary. A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza is book 3; he’s currently writing book 8 – so, lots to come.



Facebook: book page where Pete also reviews other books; he enjoys this page; fun posts, reviews of his books, interviews…silly pictures…  https://www.facebook.com/Peteadamsauthor/?ref=bookmarks 

Twitter: @Peteadams8 – I’m new to this, so still like a monkey with a machine gun.

Amazon author page: books:-

Cause and Effect – Book 1:  http://amzn.to/1WiW5dk

Irony in the Soul – Book 2: http://amzn.to/1YNRrFL

A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza – Book 3:  http://amzn.to/1YNRxgr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7432389.Pete_Adams



Book Cover


Matthew Smith is kindly giving away three copies of ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’.  To enter just leave a comment about this interview.


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd April 2016.

The winners will be randomly chosen within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.


Good luck! 🙂


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