Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, New Books, Noir, Scandinavian Crime, Suspense

Last One Alive Karin Nordin 4*#Review @KNordinAuthor @HQStories #Detective #ScandiCrime #Noir #Sweden #suspense #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #LastOneAlive #KjeldNygaard

They survived once. Can he save them this time?

When Detective Kjeld Nygaard is called to the discovery of a body in the burnt-out shell of a house, his heart sinks. He never wanted to see this house again. The house of a notorious serial killer. The house where he rescued Louisa Karlsson from being murdered.

But when they discover the body is in fact Louisa, the mystery deepens. It can’t be the old serial killer. He’s dead.

Then another body is found, again killed in the exact place where Kjeld saved them from another murderer. Another survivor dead.

With the clock ticking Kjeld and his partner Detective Esme Jansson are desperate to stop any more survivors from being murdered. But every clue they find leads to a dead end. Why is the killer picking off people Kjeld rescued? Could it be connected to another of his previous cases?

When Kjeld’s daughter is kidnapped – it’s a race against time to save her life. Can Kjeld stop the killer without paying the ultimate price or will he be the last one alive?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Chilling and claustrophobic, the second book in the Detective Kjeld Nygaard Scandi crime series draws the reader into a disturbing world of death. Attacks on survivors trouble Kjeld, as he struggles with guilt over his personal life and his connections to a serial killer. The dynamic between Kjedl and Esme, his partner, is believably written. We discover more about Esme’s personal life and find, she too, has secrets. The story intensifies as Kjeld tries to unravel the murders with their disturbing personal connection.

The story is rooted in Scandinavia, and this adds an engaging dimension, coupled with the complexly flawed protagonists, the menacing murders and the twisty plot.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

For Your Own Good Samantha Downing 4*#Review @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks @smariedowning #thriller #crime #suspense #PsychSuspense #ForYourOwnGood #Teacher #School #noircrime #humour

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant. Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud – though if they stopped to think, they would realise no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when he doesn’t let anything distract him – even the tragic death of a school parent. Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day. You’re sure you can prove it.

You just didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind..

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK – Michael Joseph Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review

My Thoughts…

A deliciously irreverent, multi-viewpoint novel that focuses on a disturbing teacher and his questionable methods. Witty humour mitigates the menacing ethos. Easily visualised, vivid characters have unreliable viewpoints that mar the reader’s omnipotent view. This is a story about control, power and wealth.

Gently paced and introspective but with humour, it delivers an addictive, page-turning read.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Couple at No. 9 Claire Douglas 5* #Review @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks @Dougieclaire #PsychologicalThriller #Crime #FamilyDrama #suspense #preorder

It was the house of their dreams. Until the bodies were found . . .

BODIES FOUND UNDER PATIO

When pregnant Saffron Cutler moves into 9 Skelton Place with boyfriend Tom and sets about renovations the last thing she expects is builders uncovering a body – two bodies, in fact.

POLICE INVESTIGATE

Forensics indicate the bodies have been buried at least thirty years. Nothing Saffy need worry herself over. Until the police launch a murder investigation and ask to speak to the cottage’s former owner – her grandmother, Rose.

OWNER QUESTIONED

Rose is in a care home and Alzheimer’s means her memory is increasingly confused. She can’t help the police but it is clear she remembers something.

A KILLER AT LARGE?

As Rose’s fragmented memories resurface, and the police dig ever deeper, Saffy fears she and the cottage are being watched.

What happened thirty years ago?

Why did no one miss the victims?

What part did her grandmother play?

And is Saffy now in danger?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Books – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric, chilling and poignant, this psychological suspense is a page-turning read. It’s a family drama spanning three generations with timeslips back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time I lived through.

The main protagonists are flawed and relatable, making the menacing events and revelations resonate. The twists are impactful with some, easier to work out than others. The balance of pacing and the gradual revealing of the lies and secrets keeps the reader absorbed until the end.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

#TheTherapist B.A.Paris #Audio #BlogTour 5*#Review @BAParisAuthor @HQStories #psychological #Suspense #domestic #relationships #secrets #lies #friendships #BookReview #PsychSuspense #audiogram #AudioQandA

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it.

Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

Amazon UK

B.A. Paris Q&A 4

I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The Therapist is an addictive blend of cleverly crafted characters, nail-biting psychological suspense and a puzzling plot. Alice and Leo move into the exclusive gated development in London to begin their lives together. Alice is unsure if London life will suit her, but Leo wants to live in London, and she wants to see more of him.

Told exclusively from Alice’s perspective, she soon reveals herself as an unreliable protagonist. A past family tragedy still defines her life, and she sees the change of lifestyle as a way of living again. Alice dislikes The Circle’s sinister ethos. A series of unexpected revelations intensify her emotional vulnerability to breaking point. Everyone has secrets, and Alice isn’t sure who she can trust. The house’s tragic history immerses Alice until her life starts to unravel, pushing her relentlessly towards danger.

Short passages from the past with undefinable characters intensify the sense of menace and suspense towards the climactic, twisted conclusion. The final shocking twist is well disguised. This is a book you won’t want to put down. It will have you checking you’ve locked the doors.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, New Books, Suspense

Death Comes to Bishop Well: The Shires Mysteries Anna Legat 5*#Review @LegatWriter @AccentPress # #CrimeFiction #Wiltshire #DeathComestoBishopWell #TheShiresMysteries #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

When Sam Dee moves to the beautiful Wiltshire village of Bishops Well, he expects a quiet life of country walks and pub lunches. OK, so his new neighbour, Maggie Kaye, is a little peculiar, but she’s very nice – and his old pal Richard Ruta lives just down the road.

But when Richard throws one of his famous parties, things take a sinister turn. Sam, Maggie and the rest of the guests are dumbfounded when Richard falls down dead. A horrible tragedy – or a cunningly planned murder?

With a village full of suspects – and plenty of dark secrets – just who exactly would want to bump off their host? Is there a connection to another mysterious death, nearly twenty years before?

Armed with her local knowledge, Maggie – with Sam’s reluctant but indispensable help – is soon on the case. But when the body count starts to rise, will sleepy Bishops Well ever be the same again?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Headline Accent via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This book, the first in The Shires Mysteries’series is a fusion of cosy and murder mystery with a twenty-first-century twist. Set in a small Wiltshire town, the inhabitants are ordinary but beneath the respectable exterior are the secrets that lead to murder.

Sam, a retired barrister, relocates to the town to escape the memories of his dead wife, which haunt him. Maggie is his neighbour with an unusual talent for seeing the dead. The unlikely couple, drawn together as amateur sleuths when one of the town’s celebrities dies in suspicious circumstances.

Intricate world-building slows the novel’s pace, but it’s essential to create a believable setting for this type of story. Excellent characterisation, so vital for this genre, draws the reader into the story. The suspects are numerous and the motives plentiful, and it’s fun to work out the perpetrator and motive. Authentically flawed characters, many with less than politically correct views, make this relatable. The older protagonists will appeal to many cosy mystery fans, but the story has a contemporary edge that widens its reader appeal.

Anna Legat

Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Website Twitter Facebook

Anna’s News, Rumours and Scandalous Revelations Newsletter Sign Up

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Man on Hackpen Hill J.S. Monroe 5* #Review @HoZ_Books @JSThrillers #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #Detective #Noir #Suspense #psychsuspense #BlogTour #BookReview #TheManonHackpenHill #preorder #2September

It isn’t unusual for crop circles to appear overnight on Hackpen Hill. In this part of Wiltshire, where golden wheat fields stretch for miles, the locals have got used to discovering strange mathematical patterns stamped into the earth.

But this time, it’s different. Not only because this particular design of dramatic spiralling hexagons has never been seen before. But because of the dead body positioned precisely in the centre of the circle. DI Silas Hart, of Swindon Police, is at a loss.

Only Jim, a scientist at secretive government laboratory Porton Down, knows the chilling truth about the man on Hackpen Hill. And he wants Bella, a trainee journalist on her first ever story, to tell the world. But Silas has other ideas – and a boss intent on a cover up.

As Bella and Jim race against time, dark forces conspire against them, leading them to confront the reality of their own past and a world in which nothing is as it seems.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story has an intrinsic sense of authenticity, which is in itself chilling given the disturbing elements it explores. It features the detective team of Silas and Strover, a familiar combination if you’ve read the authors other psychological thrillers. It begins with a disquieting prologue that sets the scene for what follows. Bella leaves Oxford for a fledgling career in journalism. Her complex past unfolds as the story progresses. Silas and Strover are investigating a death in a crop circle which leads them into the fields of secret laboratories and mental health issues. Jim meets Bella in a Wiltshire pub, accidentally he believes at first.

The story is told from these points of view. The police investigation is absorbing and allows the reader to make their deductions. Bella and Jim are both unreliable protagonists, but they are easy to empathise with. The plot is fast-paced with its short chapters. The use of sensory imagery makes the events easy to imagine. The plot twists are impactful. The story changes perspective dramatically but realistically and is addictive reading. The climactic ending is satisfying, delivering action, poignancy and positivity for the main protagonists.

rbt

Twitter Facebook

Read my review of Forget My Name

Read my review of The Other You

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Gothic Fiction, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Rock Paper Scissors Alice Feeney 5*#Review @HQStories @alicewriterland #RockPaperScissors #psychologicalsuspense #Marriage #anniversary #Relationships #secrets #lies #Holiday #BookReview #publicationday

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Reading this story is like opening Pandora’s box, compelling, creepy and full of unexpected consequences.

In an attempt to rescue their marriage after ten years, Amelia and Adam head to the remote Scottish Highlands. It’s clear from the beginning both have secrets and that they dislike each other. The setting is atmospheric and claustrophobic, and the writer’s excellent use of sensory imagery immerses the reader in the gothic setting.

Told from Amelia, Adam and later Robin’s viewpoints, the reader has an omnipotent view of the character’s motivations, but all three are unreliable, so who can you trust? There is also a series of secret letters which give the reader something to think about.

As the story progresses, the twists intensify. This story keeps you gripped until the very last word. You unravel part of the truth, but there is always more to discover. The characters are complex, damaged by their pasts, and have many unlikeable traits. Despite these, this story has a poignant ethos drawing the reader’s empathy.

The ending is believable, impactful and thought-provoking.

Posted in Author Interview, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Suspense, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

Circle of Betrayal Ruth O’Neill 4* #Review @ruthoneill1 #psychologicalsuspense #domestic #BookReview #kindleunlimited #AuthorInterview

Lena Farnham has it all: a job she loves, a wonderful husband, a huge house, and a baby about to arrive. She’s the happiest she’s ever been, and she can’t believe how lucky she is.

Unfortunately, Lena’s luck is about to run out.

Someone is following her, and not only that – they’re leaving frightening messages, and threatening her perfect life. Even worse? Her husband Sean doesn’t believe any of it.

When the baby finally arrives, however, Lena’s follower is the least of her worries. Everything in her life is about to change, but why? What did she do to deserve this? And what isn’t Sean telling her?

Lena embarks on a journey to uncover the lies, deceit, and betrayal from the one person she loves and trusts the most… her husband.

Even the most perfect people can have dark pasts – and even darker secrets. 

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

This story has an addictive quality essential for psychological suspense.

Lena is an unreliable protagonist, but this only becomes clear as the story progresses. She’s easy to empathise with. Sean, the love of Lena’s life, has secrets and is unlikeable. Various other viewpoints give the reader an omnipotent view.

Some of the plot twists are easy to discern, but there are suspenseful elements in this story. The more developed characters’ motivations make this an absorbing read. There is some repetition from the many viewpoints. Less information would make the plot more edgy and intense.

This disturbing, domestic psychological suspense immerses the reader in the characters’ lives. Its implications are immense and resonate.

I read this book on Kindle Unlimited.

Q&A with Ruth O’Neill

Which comes first when you are creating your novel, characters, plot or setting? Why is this?

For me personally, I always begin with the plot I like to know where I am going before I create my characters. Although I do have a strong idea as to how my characters will be integrated into my story, I do not really develop all aspects of their personality until the story unfolds and I can tweak their character to match what is happening.

What are the inspirations for your latest book, Circle of Betrayal?

I was inspired to write this book because I wanted to write a story about characters that have domestic noir issues. I love this genre, so for me it was incredibly exciting creating a story that turns into a minefield of betrayal and deception.

How do you make your dialogue authentic?

This is one of the most difficult things for me to develop; I would say that I’ve learnt a lot from reading different authors where dialogue was a strong part of their stories. This helped me understand how to allow dialogue to develop and be interesting. Dialogue must sound like it does in real life, so I do spend considerable time reading aloud what is being said and this helps me keep the flow of conversation realistic.

Why do you write psychological suspense?

I`ve always enjoyed reading such stories before I became an author, so it seemed a natural progression to combine my personal interest to my writing. I love the challenge of trying to keep readers glued to the page and keeping them guessing. Writing about the dark truths, lies, cheating, manipulation, and heinous crimes that happen under the veneer of everyday lives, and writing a plot full of twist and turns allows me to enter the minds of readers allowing them to wonder what’s going to happen next.

Describe your latest release in five words and say why they epitomise your story.

Tense, Twisty, Domestic, Captivating & Heart-breaking. These five words, including the title of my new release, Circle of Betrayal, epitomise what my story is really about as they are all integrated into the background of my story. They become more apparent as the revealing revelations come to a climax.

Can you share what the best things about being a writer are?

I find writing very therapeutic, my first book, Sunshine and Tears, was a story I developed from my own personal experiences, and I found it extremely rewarding. After so much positive feedback about the book and with so many ideas floating around in my head it seemed natural to just develop these ideas into books. The best thing about being a writer is being able to take so many of these ideas into a different world in which readers can become totally immersed in.

Receiving positive reviews from readers who have enjoyed my books gives me a real lift and being part of the writing community is enriching. I’ve made many friends in the last six years I’ve been writing and it feels amazing when I connect with people through my writing.

What are you currently writing?

I’m working on a new psychological thriller about three sisters. It’s a dark story with dark undertones which will hopefully drag the reader in and never let themgo!  

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Folk Tales, Horror Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Dog Rose Dirt Jen Williams 4*#Review @sennydreadful @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK #BookReview #Fairytales #Folklore #horror #psychologicalsuspense #DogRoseDirt

A convicted murderer with a story to tell

Serial killer Michael Reave – known as The Red Wolf – has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal and ritualistic murders of countless women.

A grieving daughter with a secret to unearth

Ex-journalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide and discovers something chilling – hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades.

A hunt for a killer ready to strike again

When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like his victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather.

If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story has many elements which make it absorbing and addictive reading.

Heather returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. She is not in a good place in her life and struggles to accept her mother’s apparent suicide. Heather, an unreliable protagonist, finds copious correspondence between her mother and a serial killer, ‘The Red Wolf’. Unsure what to make of it, and in the light of similar recent murders, she sends them to the police and begins an unorthodox investigation of the past and present crimes.

Atmospheric, and horrifically graphic in parts, it intertwines fantasy, folklore, horror and psychological suspense. The settings are cleverly crafted and provide a menacing ethos. It uses folklore and fairytales, drawing out their darkness, fusing them with psychological suspense and noir characters. It’s about good and evil, but the lines are blurred.

This story delivers the shocks of horror fiction, with the illusions and secrets of folklore, making this a creepy, disturbing and often grisly read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

A Gingerbread House Catriona McPherson 3*#Review @CatrionaMcP @severnhouse @rararesources #psychologicalsuspense #crimefiction #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs #AGingerbreadHouse

An invitation you can’t refuse. You should . . .

When shy, lonely Ivy meets a woman who claims to be her long-lost sister, she knows it’s too good to be true. She decides to trust Kate anyway. She wants a family. She wants someone to love.

She’s making a mistake.

Ivy enters Kate’s fairytale cottage, deep in the heart of Scotland . . . and she doesn’t come out.

She’s the first to go missing.

She won’t be the last.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Tash’s journey is just beginning . . .

Amazon Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Severn House and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a gently paced story that follows four women whose lives are inextricably linked. The scene is set in a macabre way, and graphic and gruesome description is a feature of this story. It’s about abuse, evil, identity and loneliness and these relevant issues resonate throughout. The story has a great sense of place, and this adds to its atmospheric qualities.

The gingerbread house with its fairytale connations is the perfect foil for this story which focuses on evil in many forms. There is an underlying ethos of sadness in this story that highlights the vulnerability of the three women drawn into the gingerbread house.

This is not an easy read, the themes are disturbing, and parts take on a nightmarish quality, but it is cleverly plotted with well-crafted characters who evoke empathy and dislike in the reader.

Catriona McPherson

Born in West Lothian and educated at Edinburgh University, Catriona McPherson has been a full-time fiction writer since 2001. She is the multi-award-winning author of the Dandy Gilver historical mysteries, the Last Ditch mysteries and a number of standalone psychological thrillers. She lives in northern California.

Website Facebook Twitter