The echoes of war live long in the mind…
Injured and terrified after an attempted abduction, desperation drives artist Kate Ward to the idyllic scene of her ex-husband’s recent suicide. Labelled a hysterical, grieving divorcée, no one believes she is being pursued by two violent men demanding answers she cannot give. Not the police, not the doctors, and not the guests at the Aberystwyth hotel she has come to in an attempt to find out what happened to her charismatic photographer ex-husband, and why her sanity—and her life—are now at risk.
Kate can trust no one, not even the reclusive war-veteran-turned-crime-novelist, Adam Hitchen, a reserved widower and the only source of kindness in a shadowy world of suspicion and fear. And as ghosts old and new rise to haunt her, Kate must rely on all her strength and courage to uncover the shocking truth hidden within a twisted web of lies…
This story isn’t the traditional World War 2 or post-war story. It’s a mystery with elements of a psychological thriller set in post-war Wales and England. The central theme of the story is Kate’s journey of self-discovery. After years of having her self-esteem eroded, facing extreme danger, hardship and loneliness force her to acknowledge her real worth.
There is a clever mystery to solve and carefully built suspense, in this twisty plot, which is a little slow paced in parts. Character-driven this story has a complex protagonist who feels utterly alone, yet this doesn’t quell her survival instinct, and she continually faces her demons and forces her adversaries to meet her head on. The cast of characters are not easy to empathise with, but they are beautifully intricate and seen through Kate’s eyes many take on sinister characteristics. The reader is left wondering whether the threat she perceives is real or paranoia.
The story has various settings, all of which are vividly described with just the right amount of historical detail to make the period setting realistic.
An original, authentic period mystery that keeps you guessing, with a strong female protagonist who is easy to empathise.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Office jobs can be stressful. Aoife’s may be lethal.
Aoife’s life is finally on track. She’s happily married, pregnant with her first child and has the world’s best mother-in-law. But when Aoife accepts a job as an office temp, her entire life begins to unravel.
Is one of Aoife’s colleagues a murderer? Is Aoife the next target? Why is her husband unconcerned?
Three Days Later
‘‘Morning,’ Aoife shouted over the noise of the hoover. ‘Josie, isn’t it?’
Josie switched off the hoover and put both hands on her hips. ‘You’re the new one, right? Did you take my key?’
‘The key to the HR office. That Delia one says the office has to be locked every night, so Laura gave me a key. I keep it in the cupboard with the J-cloths and the dishwasher tablets. It’s never gone missing before.’
‘I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about it, but I can let you in now.’
‘Are you having me on? Do you know what time it is? I already wasted half the morning looking for the blooming key. I have grandkids to get to school. You think I’m going to start cleaning the office at this hour? It’s not my fault someone nicked the key.’
‘No, of course not. I’ll explain to Laura why you couldn’t clean the office, and I’m sure she’ll get you a new key. Is there anything else I can do to help?’
Josie smiled. ‘Sorry, love, it’s not your fault. It’s just that snooty cow gets up my nose. You know she wrote me a note once? Two inches high each letter was. Does she think I can’t read? “THERE IS DUST ON MY TABLE. DO NOT LET ME SEE DUST HERE AGAIN.” I’m telling you, it’s a good thing I’ve never run into her. I’d give her a piece of my mind, you can be sure of that.’ She unplugged the hoover. ‘What are you doing here at this hour, anyway? You should be taking it easy in your condition.’
‘You sound like my husband. He won’t let me take the train “in my condition”, so we have to be in Dublin before rush hour. Why he thinks that’s better for me than an extra hour in bed, I’ve no idea.’
‘You’re lucky to have him. My young one’s fella took off the minute he heard she was pregnant. Never saw him again, any of us.’ She picked up the hoover. ‘I’m off. You take care of yourself now, love.’
Aoife made herself a cup of tea, read her newspaper and phoned Jason. She had been hired to do a compliance check on the HR files, but, as she didn’t have keys to the filing cabinet, she couldn’t start work until Laura arrived. She finished her tea and headed for the office.
The interconnecting door to Delia’s office was slightly ajar. As Aoife removed her coat, several loose coins fell out and rolled around the room. Holding on to the desk for balance, Aoife got down on her knees and shuffled around, collecting them. The last one had rolled into Delia’s office. Aoife shoved open the door and picked it up. She was manoeuvring herself into a standing position when she noticed the shoe. Black suede with a gold buckle and a six-inch heel. It was lying on its side in the middle of the floor. As she straightened up, Aoife saw two stockinged feet dangling in the air. She let her eyes travel up to the woman’s knees, then, covering her mouth with both hands, she clamped her eyes shut and backed out of the room.’
Psychological thrillers depend on perfect pacing and carefully built suspense to work, and this novel has both. The ordinary setting makes the story believable, and lots of suspicious characters could be behind the incidents that make Aoife fear for her life.
Her home life is not idyllic, but is her husband just disinterested, or is there something more going on? Working as a temp in an office doesn’t usually involve danger, but after her dreadful, first-day discovery, Aoife knows this is no ordinary office.
If you enjoy working out whodunnit and can keep track of numerous false leads, you will enjoy this well-written thriller, which not only leads our heroine into danger but also questions her decisions and morals.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Libby Noble is done with men who live on the edge, but sexy British billionaire Alex coaxes her out of her comfort zone—professionally and very personally! She’ll agree to play his game…but only by her rules!
A refreshing new take on the ‘battle of the sexes’.
English billionaire Alex, who likes risks and getting what he wants, engineers a face to face meeting with a successful New Yorker Libby. There is an instant sizzle, but can they work together? Or will the barely held in check passion make keeping it professional impossible?
The plot is simple. Physical attraction and gratification dominate the story but accompanied by growing emotional attachment and a lowering of barriers between Alex and Libby. Physical closeness makes sharing their past tragedy and guilt possible and helps them both believe that love may be worth the potential for pain if it all ends badly again.
The characters are likeable if a little unrealistic. The conflict is primarily internal, but Libby’s emotional battle keeps the reader wondering whether she is capable of letting love into her life again.
Fast-paced, the characters aren’t memorable, but I don’t think this is the role of this type of book. The perfect story for escapism, passion and a happy ever after.
I received a copy of this book from Mills & Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.