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

The Killing Kind Jane Casey 5* #Review @JaneCaseyAuthor @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #Legal #suspense #PsychologicalSuspense #BookReview #TheKillingKind #CrimeFiction

As a barrister, Ingrid Lewis is used to dealing with tricky clients, but no one has ever come close to John Webster. After Ingrid defended Webster against a stalking charge, he then turned on her – following her, ruining her relationship, even destroying her home.

Now, Ingrid believes she has finally escaped his clutches. But when one of her colleagues is run down on a busy London road, Ingrid is sure she was the intended victim. And then Webster shows up at her door…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an intelligent, layered psychological suspense where the main protagonist is a barrister. Her interpretation of events is concise, considered and critical. Ingrid has elements of unreliability that are notable for the protagonists in this genre, but with a few exceptions, she is trustworthy. John is a sociopath. Complex, he keeps his true intentions secret until the climactic conclusion.

The legalistic setting has intrinsic interest. The plot is twisty and the characters shadowy, creating an ethos of menace and mystery. The lines of right and wrong are blurred, and the differences between justice and the law explored through the events that unfold.

This is a compelling story with convincing characters and a set of events that are frighteningly real.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Bridesmaid Nina Manning 5*#Review @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks #Psychological #Suspense #Friendship #Secrets #Lies #Psychsuspense @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #TheBridesmaid #BlogTour #BookReview #publicationday @claire_fenby

‘Promise me? If you hear any secrets, never tell me. That would make you a most treasured friend. More than a friend really. You’re almost like a sister to me…’

Your best friend….

From the moment they met as children, Sasha knew that beautiful, wealthy, and confident Caitlin would always be her absolute best friend.  Sasha would do anything to make Caitlin happy.  

Even keep her darkest secrets…

The years have passed, but their friendship remains.  And when Caitlin announces she’s getting married there is only one choice for the role of bridesmaid.  

Sasha will make sure Caitlin’s wedding is as beautiful and perfect as she is.  Won’t she? 

Your worst nightmare?

But Sasha is growing tired of always being in Caitlin’s shadow  – always the bridesmaid, never the bride.  And as the big day approaches, cracks begin to appear between the two woman.  Secrets and lies swirl between the two friends like confetti. Both of them are hiding dark secrets, both of them are lying. 

Could the secrets that once bound these two friends, rip them apart for good?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Toxic friendships, dysfunctional families and class divide are all explored in this psychological suspense. Three timelines are woven together to deliver an absorbing story that has many noir elements. Sasha’s friendship with Caitlin is unequal at best. The two girls are divided by class and familial expectations. Sasha’s family works at the house, Caitlin is the owner’s treasured granddaughter. The story of how the girls meet and grow up together is merged with a fateful birthday party where everything changes and the wedding where revenge is sought and revelations abound.

The characterisation is good, but Caitlin and Sasha still manage to keep their secrets until the end. There are many disturbing themes explored believably in this story. Poignant and shocking with a surprising ending.

Nina Manning

Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. Her debut psychological thriller, The Daughter in Law, was a bestseller in the UK, US, Australia and Canada. She lives in Dorset.

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Read my review of The Daughter in Law

Read my review of The Guilty Wife

Read my review of The Housemate

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Suspense

Pandora Susan Stokes-Chapman – An Extract… 4*Review #HistoricalFiction #histfic #LiteraryFiction #Georgian #London #Mystery #Legend #Greek #Intrigue #Pandora #Extract #Review

An exclusive sample of Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman, featuring the first thirteen chapters.

A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.

There is a fine line between coincidence and fate…

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young man seeking acceptance into the Society of Antiquaries. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore her parents’ shop to its former glory, and to escape her uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has ever known about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora deals with themes of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

Out on 27 January 2022

Pre-order now. Amazon UK

I received an extract of this book from Random House UK Vintage via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I have read an extract of this book, thirteen chapters, and I am intrigued to read what follows.

Set in Georgian England, the story weaves a mystical ethos as it introduces the main players of this Greek-inspired story. It centres on a recovered vase taken from a shipwreck. Pandora has aspirations to be a jewellery designer but is thwarted by misogyny. Her parents died mysteriously, leaving her in the care of her uncle Hezekiah who hasn’t respected her parents’ legacy. Edward is a young man with ambition. He wants to study antiquities and be accepted by the professional society, but his class stimies him despite being sponsored by a young aristocrat who appears emotionally attached.

The scene is set for Pandora and Edward to meet as her interest in her uncle’s latest acquisition intensifies. The extract ends as Pandora finds the vase…

This is atmospheric, with complex characters and an intriguing mystery. The legend suggests the reader can envisage what come next but can they. The historical detail and lyrical prose make this an absorbing and immersive reading experience that I would like to continue.

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

Lost Souls Jenny O’Brien 5*#Review @ScribblerJB @HQStories #CrimeFiction #DetectiveGabyDarin #Wales #BlogTour #LostSouls #BookReview @rararesources #MondayBlogs

A MISSING GIRL. A RACE AGAINST TIME.

Ten-year-old Elodie Fry vanishes overnight, along with a rucksack filled with her meagre belongings. Acting DI Gaby Darin and her team are fighting the clock to reunite Elodie with her distraught mother – but was Elodie kidnapped or did she run?

Later that day, a local undertaker uncovers a nasty surprise: the remains of an unidentified second adult among a late pensioner’s ashes. Torn between the two investigations, Gaby decides the gruesome discovery at the crematorium must wait – the team are desperate to find Elodie before they lose her trail.

But as she follows the evidence, Gaby realises the two cases have a sinister connection… and there’s a killer on the loose.

Can Gaby find the missing girl alive… or is she already too late? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Another emotional and exciting medley of police procedural and psychological suspense featuring Detective Gaby Darin. Set in Wales, this is an atmospheric mystery beginning with a young girl running away, a strange discovery in crematorium ashes and an unsolved missing person’s case.

As events in Gaby’s life continue from previous stories, it’s best to read all the books in the series in order. The crimes are menacing and well-described. The investigative team dynamic is authentic, and Gaby Darin is a likeable protagonist.

Well-plotted with believable characters, there are plenty of twists and an addictive balance of action, emotion and investigation in this story. It keeps the reader engaged and guessing who committed the various crimes.

Jenny O’Brien

Born in Dublin, Jenny O’Brien moved to Wales and then Guernsey, where she tries to find time to write in between working as a nurse and ferrying around 3 teenagers.
In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer. Readers can find out more about Jenny and her books on her blog:
(jennyobrienwriter.wordpress) and she can also be found on
Twitter and Instagram as ‘scribblerjb’.
Facebook (Jenny O’Brien Guernsey Writer)

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Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Suspense

The Distant Dead Lesley Thomson 5*#Review @LesleyJmThomson @HoZ_Books #TheDetectivesDaughter @Aria_Fiction #BlogTour #BookReview #TheDistantDead #MurderMystery #Mystery #Blitz1940 Q&A

A woman lies dead in a bombed-out house. A tragic casualty of the Blitz? Or something more sinister?

Cleaner-turned-detective Stella Darnell connects a murder in Tewkesbury Abbey to a decades-old mystery in wartime London. From the number 1 bestselling author of The Detective’s Daughter.

LONDON, 1940

Several neighbours heard the scream of the woman in the bombed-out house. One told the detective she thought the lady had seen a mouse. Another said it wasn’t his business what went on behind closed doors. None of them imagined that a trusting young woman was being strangled by her lover.

TEWKESBURY, 2020

Beneath the vast stone arches of Tewkesbury Abbey, a man lies bleeding, close to death. He is the creator of a true-crime podcast which now will never air. He was investigating the murder of a 1940s police pathologist – had he come closer to the truth than he realised?

Stella Darnell has moved to Tewkesbury to escape from death, not to court it. But when this man dies in her arms, Stella, impelled to root out evil when she finds it, becomes determined to hunt down his killer and to bring the secrets he was searching for into the light…

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

My Thoughts…

The Detective Daughter series delivers an original twist on the classic murder mystery genre. Stella, the detective’s daughter, has a cleaning business and a detective agency with an eclectic mix of employees. The main protagonists are believably eccentric and flawed. This story reads well as a standalone, but the series is addictive and engaging and worth reading in its entirety.

This dual timeline story explores a wartime murder during the London blitz and murder in Tewkesbury in 2019. The connections between the two stories are revealed in a suspenseful way and involve Stella, Jack and the other team members across London and Tewkesbury.

The recent murders are catalysed by The Death Cafe, a group that discusses death that Stella is drawn to. The story has important character development for the main protagonists in addition to the well-plotted murder mystery.

Evocative with vivid sensory imagery, the reader is drawn into a world of deceit and murder that is chilling and disturbing. The historical and contemporary are interwoven convincingly and give the story its classic murder mystery ethos.

This story’s atmospheric settings and vibrant characters elevate the simple murder mystery into something that resonates.

Q&A : Lesley Thomson

What inspired you to write about a blitz murder?

I spent first part of 2020 clearing and sorting stuff in the attic in preparation of moving. I unearthed a photocopy of a message that Jose Wahlberg, a convicted Nazi spy, wrote to my grandfather – who I never knew – the night before Wahlberg was hanged Pentonville Prison in 1940. My mum had showed me the cigarette packet on the back of which Jose Wahlberg had thanked my grandfather for his kindness. Mum would reflect on how hard it must have been for her dad ,  prison officer, to comfort the young man hours before his death. On the  internet I found newspaper articles about Wahlberg’s capture and how the British were treating spies and, as often happens point of inspiration takes me somewhere else.

In The Distant Dead, I mention the incident in passing, I was inspired to explore 1940 London in which my mum and her family had lived. Blackouts, the deafening roar of planes, the massive thuds as bombs fell and the constant smell of burning. The murder rate went up and, with a depleted police force, fewer were solved. You could pass off a murder victim as a bombing casualty. Stuck in Lockdown, I found key similarities between 1940 and our own restricted lives.  Even the slogan – We’re all in it together – was the same.  This was enough for me to find a bridge to the past.

Did you undertake any research with this novel?

I read books on the Home-front including a doorstop-sized biography of Churchill by Andrew Roberts, I devoured published diaries by women living through the Blitz. Newspapers of the time were fascinating as were the propaganda films made by British Government agencies such as Fires Were Started and Britain Can Take it.’ Tewkesbury Abbey was my other inspiration and long before I started The Distant Dead, I had spent many hours there. I was sorry not to be able to visit in 2020.

Out of the entire Detective Daughter’s series, which one was your favourite to write and why?

For me, I think it’s up to the reader to have a favourite novel.  Were you to have asked me this question each year, starting when Ghost Girl came out, I’d tell you the same. This novel. I relish steeping myself in the world of my story, honing my writing ability and creating new characters and ideas. I want each novel to be my best yet. Therefore, The Distant Dead is my current favourite and I loved every minute of working on it right to proof stage.  

If you could have any job in the world (other than an author), what would it be and why?

I’d want something that involves long drives in a nice car, preferably a Jeep, with music playing. I used imagine being a taxi driver, but these days I’d rather be alone in the car to think or sing raucously and out of tune to, for instance Robbie Williams’s Angels or say, True along with Spandau Ballet. So if there were a job, which involves delivering Jeeps to far-flung corners of the country and back, I would apply.

What are you currently working on at the moment?

I’m writing The Companion, a standalone set in Sussex, featuring a disparate bunch of oddballs who live in a stately home converted into luxury apartments. There’s a serial killer at large – dubbed the media, The Family Man  – due to the victim profile. This means that an ever watchful fear and suspicion pervades the mood of the community. Is it him, is it her? Who can you trust? As ever with my novels, I hope The Companion will offer the reader frissons of dread and unease laced with laugh out loud moments.

What can we expect to see from Stella next?

In 2023, I hope. She’s already knocking at my door with another mystery…

Lesley Thomson

Lesley Thomson is the author of the Detective’s Daughter series of West London-set mysteries featuring private investigators Stella, a cleaner, and Jack, a tube driver. The first novel, The Detective’s Daughter, became an ebook phenomenon in 2013, staying at number 1 in the digital charts for 3 months. Since then, the series has gone on to sell 800,000 copies worldwide. Lesley is an active member of the UK crimewriting community, and appeared at several crime festivals in 2019, including CrimeFest, Harrogate, Morecambe & Vice and Capital Crime. She lives in Lewes with her partner and her dog

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, New Books, Noir, Parenting and Famlies, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

The House Guest Charlotte Northedge 4*#Review @charnorth @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #TheHouseGuest #psychsuspense #relationships #publicationday

The perfect family. The perfect chance. The perfect lie.

A stunning novel about motherhood and betrayal

When Kate moves to London after the disappearance of her sister, she’s in need of a friend. A chance meeting leads Kate to Della, a life coach who runs support groups for young women, dubbed by Kate as ‘the Janes.’

Della takes a special interest in Kate, and Kate soon finds herself entangled in Della’s life – her house, her family, and her husband. It’s only when she realises that she’s in too deep that Della’s veneer begins to crumble, and the warnings from ‘the Janes’ begin to come true.

Why is Della so keen to keep Kate by her side? What does Kate have that Della might want? And what really lies beneath the surface of their friendship?

Kate trusts Della, and Della trusts Kate.
Their downfall is each other.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Relatable characters and a well thought out plot make this psychological suspense an absorbing, chilling and sometimes poignant story.

Kate’s sister left home when she was ten, and she never saw her again. She spent her subsequent years making up for her sister’s disappearance whilst never recovering emotionally from her loss. As an adult, Kate is in London pursuing a lead about her missing sister. She is vulnerable when she meets life coach Della, who draws her into her life like a spider capturing prey into their web.

The story takes many unexpected twists seen from Kate’s viewpoints but remains believable because of unreliable protagonist Kate’s sense of abandonment and susceptibility to manipulation. Themes of societal expectation of women, social class, family relationships, obsession and loss are recurrent. As the story progresses, the noir elements dominate, making it both addictive and disturbing to read.

The ending is impactful and offers hope and a sense of closure for both Kate and Della.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Suspense

The Silent Suspect Nell Patterson 4*#Review @Writer_Nell @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #TheSilentSuspect #BritishSignLanguage #CrimeFiction #PaigeNorthwood

On a quiet street, one house is burning to the ground…

By the time sign language interpreter Paige Northwood arrives, flames have engulfed her client’s home. Though Lukas is safe, his wife is still inside. But she was dead before the fire started…

Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife. But then he goes silent – even when the police arrest him on suspicion of murder.

Is he guilty, or afraid? Only Paige can help him now…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Paige, the British Sign Language interpreter, has important decisions to make about personal relationships in this story, which are sidelined when she receives a video call asking her to call 999. This dramatic start is the beginning of a twisty story with multiple layers. Paige takes on the mantle of amateur sleuth, putting herself at risk. Social worker Sasha is pivotal in this story, but she is manipulative, and secretive making Paige vulnerable.

The gentle pacing reflects the complexities of the investigation and the limitations Paige experiences as an amateur detective. The diverse characters are relatable, and the story reflects the communication problems and lack of understanding faced by the deaf community in an enlightening way.

Although readable as a standalone, this is a good series, and this book is more enjoyable if you have read them all.

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

The Players Darren O’Sullivan 5* #Review @darrensully @HQStories #PsychSuspense #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #suspense #ThePlayers

A stranger has you cornered.

They call themselves The Host.

You are forced to play their game.

In it one person can live and the other must die.

You are the next player. You have a choice to make.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy your crime fiction addictive and sinister, this book will keep your turning the pages. It involves a series of deadly games where every move has a consequence. The concepts of good and evil are explored, as the players are faced with moral dilemmas with life-changing results. The games are violent and vividly described but only to build the suspense and ethos of terror.

The reader gains insight into The Host’s mind and their pursuer DI Karen Holt, a suspended police officer who is still reeling emotionally from her latest case. Karen is a strong but unreliable protagonist and the best chance of catching The Host. This is a disturbing, immersive and shocking read, but it’s the question, what would you do in this situation? That resonates.

The intensity increases with each game, every outcome tinged with poignancy, until it reaches its climactic conclusion.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

Her Last Holiday C.L.Taylor 4* #Review @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK #HerLastHoliday #BookReview #psychsuspense #suspense

You come to Soul Shrink to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of 2 people. But he has never let on what happened to the third suspected victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric, claustrophobic and intriguing best describe this psychological suspense told from three female viewpoints in dual timelines. Fran is seeking answers for her sister’s disappearance at a wellness retreat two years previously. The sisters are not close, Fran being much older, and the family dynamic comes across as toxic.

The story has many twists, and all the women have issues making them unreliable protagonists. The story’s lynchpin is Tom, the leader of the retreat who is multifaceted and keeps secrets. This is an addictive book with mostly unlikeable characters, but this doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable read that keeps the reader’s attention with its well-paced reveals and unexpected conclusion.

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

Buried For Good Alex Coombs 5*#Review @AlexHowardCrime @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #PIHanlon #Scotland #BuriedForGood #noircrime #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

On a remote island, everyone is a suspect…

When Private Investigator Hanlon is hired to protect famous yoga instructor Camille Anderson on her Scottish island retreat, she thinks this may be her simplest job yet.

But when an attack on Camille’s life goes wrong, it soon becomes clear that there is a murderer on the island – and Hanlon will stop at nothing to track them down.

With only a small group of guests the suspects are clear, but as the body count rises Hanlon must step up to find out who the killer is before it’s too late…

A tense, atmospheric page-turner from Alex Coombs.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The latest book in the PI Hanlon has action, self-realisation, romance and suspense. The plot is layered with many suspects, two crime threads and a cast of characters who are not what they seem.

I have enjoyed all the books in this series, but after reading the previous series where Hanlon is a police officer, I appreciated her creative character more. She is a clever and courageous woman with undoubted issues, but her many positive traits outweigh these and make her likeable.

The story takes place in Scotland on an atmospheric island, Glasgow and the rural west coast. There is a murder mystery ethos to the first part of the story, with all the suspects marooned on an island battered by severe weather. There are also elements of psychological suspense and the supernatural which keep the reader guessing.

The clues to the final reveal are all there but well hidden. The suspense building leads to a climactic ending and a positive personal conclusion.

Alex Coombs

Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He is the author of the highly acclaimed DCI Hanlon series.

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