Cover Image: Curse the Day

Curse the Day

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Member Reviews

I really enjoy Judith O’Reillys writing, there is a brilliant fluidity, whilst giving enough detail without over egging the pudding with the descriptives the way some authors do. This is the second book with the detective Michael North. however it works well as a stand alone too. He is appointed to protect the wife of Tobias, founder of an AI system that can imitate human thought- what soon transpires is this is something potentially dangerous, and many people want to lay hands on it- at any cost. A dark detective story with a scientific edge, up to the minute modern, and a great read.
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Curse the Day by Judith O'Reilly

When Esme Hawke is attacked in her own home and kills her assailant in self-defence, her uncle is determined to keep her safe. Because he knows this won’t be the last time an attempt is made on her life. Her husband Tobias is the genius boss of the Derkind Institute. He is the creator of ‘Syd’, which represents a breakthrough in Artificial Intelligence. Syd mimics human thought and has the ability to learn. Esme isn’t the only one to be fearful of what Syd can do if released from its confinement within the Institute’s machines. Others want control. Esme is a target and so too is Tobias. Michael North, an ex-assassin with a bullet in his brain, is forced to take the case, to keep Esme safe at all costs, and he must do that with the help of teenage genius hacker Fangfang. Then Tobias is murdered. It was his moment of glory. Now North must save Esme and contain Syd. But, most of all, North must keep Fangfang safe.

Curse the Day is the second thriller to feature Michael North but I don’t think you need to have read the first one to enjoy this. I hadn’t read the first and it didn’t affect my reading. The author reintroduces us to her characters and we’re quick to get to know them, especially the charismatic, fatalistic North and the immensely likeable and troubled Fangfang. These two people, each so different, are made for each other. They are tied together. And it’s that relationship which gives Curse the Day such a resonance. North has very little in his life so, what he has, he will die and kill for to protect.

These are great characters but even more memorable are the fantastic action sequences. The opening of the thriller is electric and so, too, is the scene in which North arrives back in the UK. This is exciting stuff! The story is entertaining and the baddies as bad as you’d like. Most of all, though, I loved Fangfang and enjoyed Michael North’s background (ie the bullet in the head), which makes him very different from other action heroes. I do love action thrillers and so I’m pleased to discover a new hero to get to know.
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The fact that this book has taken me much longer to read than it would have under normal circumstances is not a reflection on the book - just of the situation we are currently living in. Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC of the book.

This was my kind of book. 

The opening chapter had my heart in my mouth and that was me gripped and looking forward to the rest of the book.

Michael North. Ex agent of The Board. Shot in Afghanistan and still has the bullet in his brain. Could die any second. Killed the men who ordered the assassination of his lover. 

In Berlin, he is rescued from a rigged card game which has turned into a life or death situation, by Hone aka ‘the one-eyed man’ - an MI5 agent. Hone had tracked North down to ask him to protect his niece, Esme,who happens to be the wife of genius head of Derkind Tobias Hawke. She was attacked in her home by an intruder who tried to murder her. 

Hawke has invented a highly advanced form of AI, he calls Syd, with the support of the government. The AI he has developed is decades ahead of anything else invented, being able to not only reason but apply common sense. Hawkes’ wife has reservations and does not want Syd to be let loose on the world yet she feels Syd could be a danger to humanity. Syd is due to be unveiled imminently at a gala to be held at the British Museum. 

Although not keen on taking the job, North receives a plea for help from his friend Fangfang and arranges to be smuggled back to the UK......in a coffin!

What follows is a race to stop Syd from connecting to the world. 

Add to the mix a dodgy Home Secretary, an escape through the sewers of London and a giant pet man eating octopus and we have a must read!

Published in Hardback 2nd April 2020.
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Judith O’Reilly’s Curse the Day is one hell of a rollercoaster ride that will certainly get the blood pumping! A high stakes, high octane and fast-paced thriller where the action never stops, Curse the Day is an exciting and jaw-dropping read that grabs readers from the very first page and keeps them gripped throughout.

All eyes are on scientist Tobias Hawke as he is about to unveil a scientific breakthrough that could change the course of humanity. With everyone desperate to discover just what Tobias Hawke is going to unveil, the great and the good are all gathered at the British Museum for the global tech gala of the year. But just when Tobias was about to reveal his findings, something shocking and unexpected takes place: terrorists storm the entire building, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. But worse than that, they seize Hawke’s masterwork and thus become in possession of something so explosive that the course of humanity and the entire world as we know it could seize to exist. All of Hawke’s plans and desire to become a leading light in his field are smashed to smithereens. What is going to happen now? What are these terrorists’ intention and can anyone get to them before major chaos and destruction ensues?

It is up to former assassin and spy Michael North to catch these nefarious criminals, but it’s certainly not going to be a walk in the park. North needs to use his skills, talents and resolve to find these killers- because the alternative simply does not bear thinking about. Can North fulfil this impossible mission? Will he rise to the challenge? Or is he about to be plunged into an overwhelming mire from which he simply cannot extricate himself? With his wife Esme and teenage hacker Fangfang by his side, North will not give up until he has located the AI. But as the three of them untangle a twisted and dangerous conspiracy sweeping across the entire strata of British society, will North survive long enough to uncover the whole truth? Or will he be stopped at the eleventh hour…for good?

Judith O’Reilly’s Curse the Day is a nail-biting and pulse racing adventure featuring a terrific hero who gives James Bond and Jason Bourne a run for their money: Michael North. A fast-paced, exhilarating and nerve-twisting read full of shocks, chills and spills, Curse the Day is an electrifying blockbuster that is just crying out for a screen adaptation.

A top-notch thriller that will leave readers on the edge of their seats, buckle up and enjoy Judith O’Reilly’s tense and taut thriller, Curse the Day.
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Thank you to Head of Zeus and Netgalley for this copy.
Oh My God !!!!! Move over Thriller writers of the world , there is a new kid on the block, by the name of Judith O'Reilly. This book was an absolute joy to read from the first page to the last one. Strap yourself in for the ride of a life time in which you wont be allowed to get off until the very last page. Fast Paced, gripping, action packed with a sprinkling of humour through out. The characters are brilliant especially Fang - she is just the best.
Cannot wait for the next one. 5 stars all the way.
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Action-packed with heart, CURSE THE DAY by Judith O'Reilly was the perfect escapist read and I cannot wait to read more from her.

Michael North has given up on life after a bullet lodged itself in his brain and he lost the woman he loved. He has exacted his revenge on those who took her life but serving his country and fighting for a cause seems meaningless at this point. But when a young friend of his needs his help, he cannot let her down, and Michael soon finds himself hunting down a killer while trying to protect a clever and very determined woman. As the world of AI reaches new bounds there are those who will maim and murder to make it theirs to control. Can Michael protect those he cares about while uncovering the whole, ugly truth? Or has his luck finally run out? 

Wonderfully paced and filled with energy and dynamic characters, CURSE THE DAY was just what I needed to put my worries aside for a few hours. Part conspiracy story, part thriller, there is never a dull moment in this story and I devoured it in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed Judith O'Reilly's writing flair and her knack for making characters come alive in a very real way, and I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to forget about the real world for a while.

CURSE THE DAY by Judith O'Reilly is a firecracker of a story and is sure to please thriller and action fans alike - a must-read!
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Curse the Day is the second instalment in the superb Michael North series and this is another fabulously gripping and high-stakes adrenaline-fuelled outing. There is often a trade-off between intelligent plotting and heart-thumping suspense in action thrillers but this provides both of these things in spades without the need to scrimp on one of them. Entrepreneur and technological genius Tobias Hawke has been brutally and mercilessly murdered shortly after his wife Esme was forced to kill an intruder who intended on raping and offing her in her own home but it has understandably left her scarred. Toby is the head of the Derkind Institute a company whose expertise lies in artificial intelligence and Hawke’s abilities in this highly competitive international field mean that when he manages to develop a groundbreaking AI named Syd he paints a target on his back. With Syd having been pilfered during the commission of Tobias’s murder, North must battle with his elite hacker colleague, Fangfang Yu, to find the perpetrator and recover Syd.

This is an action-packed, high-octane cross between an action thriller and a technothriller and moves at breakneck pace with a tonne of intensity and tension and is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining page-turner. O’Reilly pens some fantastic action scenes that have you on the edge of your seat but does not neglect the characterisation despite this very much being a plot-driven tale. Just as prolific fiction producers’ publications tend to go down in terms of quality, those who take longer to pen their thrillers often ensure the quality goes up and that is definitely the case here with this long-awaited sequel. It’s a real gem that remains on the right side of believable and has some interesting opinions about the topical issues of technological advancement, society and life in general. Michael North is a troubled but likeable ex-military man who can be rather apathetic but once he believes in himself he proves he’s a dogged pursuer of truth. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Head of Zeus for an ARC.
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Michael North attracts danger and violence. Living with a bullet in his head carries a death sentence, which makes him reckless about his future. With his quirky team, the only family he knows, he lives his life at a fast pace, with little regard for tomorrow.

This fast-paced political thriller has a conspiracy at its heart, with every twist deepening the deceit and increasing the menace. North and his team are diverse and easy to like. They have a great team dynamic, which provides a few lighter moments, to temper the tension.

Complex characters complement an addictive, contemporary, informed plot, which flows well and has an ending with impact.

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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A fast paced, high octane thriller with a kick-ass protagonist who had a bullet which had rewired his brain and an AI which was wanted by the world over. What more could I want?

Somebody tried to murder Esme. Then her husband Tobias Hawke was murdered. The AI Syd went into the lockdown mode. What was the AI hiding? Esme's uncle called North back to UK using threats to protect his niece. North and his 14-year-old hacker friend, Fang, get cracking.

My first book by author Judith O'Reilly captured my interest with North in the spotlight. I loved his entry into the country where death dogged his footsteps. Ably supported by his team, it was fun to run with him through all the action scenes. And there were plenty that peppered the pages of the book.

Twists were many, and I was shocked by the reveal, most unexpected, the author wrote this book with a pen dipped in adrenaline, making her main character think on his toes. Not a moment was wasted.

I loved Fang, a genius brat, she captured my heart with her wisecracks along with her knowledge. Her love for North was well evident even when she called him a moron-person. Overall, a fun action thriller, well recommended for fans of this genre.
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Without hyperbole, the Michael North series is now one of my iron-clad favourites. Each entry is fresh and different, while North himself is a dazzlingly enjoyable creation with a very cool central conceit - he has a bullet already in his head, and could die at any moment regardless of what is happening around him. This time we are talking about artificial intelligence, and poses a number of ethical head-scratchers amidst the gleeful mayhem - and it is that very balance (amongst so many other things) that O'Reilly gets so right. There is a definite sense of humour and depth to the bone-crunching bigger picture, which leaves Curse The Day a constantly surprising, heart-felt, desperately exciting super-thriller - and a truly standout action-adventure novel, which left me both smiling and breathless.
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A book I was very much looking forward but just failed to hit the mark with me. Whilst I like the character of Micheal North and the pacing of the story I never quite loved it. It’s an enjoyable romp with dastardly villains and a fun and up to date style and storyline. A book I wish success for as it really should be every thing I wanted in a story.
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A gripping action packed, fast paced and entertaining technothriller.
It was a fun read and I liked the well crafted plot, the cast of characters and the world building.
It's the first story I read in this series and won't surely be the last.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Tobias Hawke was the tech genius boss of the British Institute for Deep Learning. Now his body has been found in his lab: he has been brutally murdered. 

Hawke was on the brink of an astonishing breakthrough in the field of Artificial Intelligence. His creation, 'Syd', a machine-learning device that mimics human thought, promised to change the face of humanity forever. But, in the wake of her creator's murder, Syd has gone into emergency shutdown procedure. What secrets are her neural networks hiding? 

Michael North, ex-assassin and spy-for-hire, is the man to find out. But he can't work alone. Teenage hacker Fangfang, and Hawke's widow, a prize-winning ethicist, have their own reasons to solve the murder. But can they uncover the truth before it's too late? 

My thoughts about this explosive 2nd Michael North adventure was breathtaking brilliantly written fast paced a lot of suspense and action that is taking you on a journey that will grip you from the beginning till the end judith O'Reilly has written a fantastic thriller can not wait for part 3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐💥💥💥💥💥
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Curse The Day is an adrenaline pumping non-stop action thriller with high stakes and dark moments. Even though I have not yet read the prequel, I had no trouble getting engrossed into the story and characters. The thriller felt well-balanced, combining an interesting narrative with enjoyable characters and fast-paced action sequences. 
A promising endeavor of this novel was the integration of Artificial Intelligence into the thriller elements. This book touches on the behavioral and ethical aspects of what it would mean to enculture and teach an AI entity to act responsibly with the power to either aid or eradicate humanity, something I would love to see explored further in future novels. 
The protagonist, Michael North, is a fascinating character to read, with a tragic past fueling his violent actions in the present, creating a vigilante of sorts. His character takes a journey of redemption and forgiveness in this book, leaving the future open for further insight into Michael North. As a new character for me, Michael North came across as a no-nonsense hero with the desire to push through any hurdles in his way. His journey from self-pity to self-realization made him a highly likable character in my book. The relentless action sequences, with accurate weaponry and adrenaline-pumping pacing, allowed for nail-biting shootouts and hand-to-hand combat sequences displaying his tactical prowess. He is joined by his allies, as unconventional as can be, which made the read even better for me due to enjoyable interactions between the characters. The jovial banter between the team created a lighter tone in the midst of the dark undertones of the thriller, to keep readers from feeling too gloomy. 
The thriller packs twists and turns that smack you in the face as you read through the book, and the elements of mystery and race-against-time thrills kept me glued to the book. The book definitely incorporates dark and emotional moments, fueling characters and readers alike in their motivations to make sure the antagonists pay for their evil doings.
I definitely recommend readers to give Curse The Day a read, and enjoy the delightful combination of action, mystery, and thriller elements along with the idea of a sentient Artificial Intelligence that can revolutionize the world.
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I have to thank Net Galley for a pre publication copy of this book.
What a roller coaster. We first meet the troubled Michael North in Killing State, a fast paced novel that has you darting up and down the country, with his role as
Ex military and working for a pseudo government organisation doing wet work. Curse the Day finds North drinking himself to an early death in the seedier parts of Berlin. And as with anyone with a past, his is about to come back to haunt him. Forced to return to London to do off the book work for the service in order prevent the mother of his friend,FangFang, from being expelled from the UK. We were introduced to FangFang in Killing State and her character develops further in this.And then there is her grandmother..... You expect the heroes to be heroic, and the villains villainous but it is the secondary characters that make the story.
The story is about Artificial Intelligence, where it is an where it is going. We have it already, smart houses self-driving cars, whether we like it or not, we cannot uninvent it so we live with it. Like all good story tellers you start with a truth, what we know and you stretch it, but not beyond what you could believe, and then let it run. 
This a fast paced political thriller that puts Judith up against the best. It has taken the best part of three years for Michael North to return to print. It has been well worth the wait.
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A smashing sequel to Killing State, with thrilling pace and detail to match! Returning characters like Fangfang continue to be a joy to read, her humour appearing at just the right moments. Solid action scenes & interesting outlook on the future of society with AI. Interesting to see North embrace this change in his life, being dragged back into help and really hoping for a sequel with how it ended.
Really enjoyed new characters like Plug providing outlooks into North's past as a soldier, would love more of that in the sequel or even a novella about his time in the Army or his training/first mission for the Board.
A good choice for those like a thriller with a kick!
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This is a likeable thriller from Judith O'Reilley featuring ex-assassin and ex-spy Michael North, set initially in Berlin but moving for the major action in London. Michael is still deeply grieving the loss of the woman he loved, he has wiped out seven individuals responsible for her killing. North has a bullet in his brain that cannot be removed, he could die at any minute, but this does not worry him in the slightest, he feels he has nothing to live for. He is a man with a death wish, pressured by the one-eyed man from MI5, Hone, to return to London to protect and keep alive the prize winning ethicist, Esme Sullivan Hawke, the wife of famous tech genius, Toby Hawke. Esme was almost raped and killed at her home by a deadly intruder, she managed to kill him, but is haunted by her actions.

Toby Hawke is the boss of the Derkind Institute, a cutting edge company widely thought to hold the key to keeping Britain's AI global leadership ahead of others in a hugely competitive international field. He has developed the most innovative AI system, named Syd, set to revolutionise the world with its capabilities and abilities that has been programmed to mimic human consciousness. He is set to unveil and launch Syd at a major opening attended by global players, politicians, and journalists. Wanting this technology in their own hands is the Home Secretary, Ralph Rafferty and a man with absolutely no scruples whatsoever, General Kirkham. When Toby is murdered and Syd taken, Armageddon looms, and it is up to North to do all that he can to ensure this doesn't happen. He is aided by his giant of a friend, Plug and 14 year old genius hacker Fangfang Yu, with her Joe 90 glasses, not to mention her rude and sarky attitude.

O'Reilley's thriller is enjoyable, filled with suspense and tension, an entertaining thrill ride. However, for me, the storytelling did not always feel like a seamless reading experience. It is plot driven, which is true of many thrillers, but on occasion, this left the characterisation a tad wanting and a little too much like a comic book hero strip for my tastes. Having said all that, there was much that kept my interest throughout and, no doubt, there are likely to be many other readers who will love this more. Many thanks to Head of Zeus for an ARC.
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