Dr Claire Peters flees her unfaithful husband, James, to work for The World Health Organisation in post-war Kosovo. Her husband follows, hoping for reconciliation. Both take lovers, she a French Captain in KFOR (Kosovo Force), part of UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) he a beautiful Kosovar, wife of a senior member of the KLA (Kosova Liberation Army), catapulting both into a mix of Kosovo politics and criminality. Intimidation and murder in the mountains and then threats on the life of Claire climax in the capital, Pristina.
This book is a novel. It is a love story and a mystery. All the characters are fictitious but the description of war-torn Kosovo as seen through their eyes and the background to the events described are true. Robert Hedley was recruited by the World Health Organisation as a consultant on medical education and health service development in 2000. For ten years before the war, Albanian Kosovars were treated as second-class citizens, encouraged to emigrate, denied access to the University for Law, Medicine and other careers. In Medicine, a ‘Parallel System’ was established where Albanian Kosovar students were taught Medicine in private houses with no access to the University Medical School. WHO fast-tracked a new medical education system, upgrading the training of Kosovar doctors, including medical education techniques to train future doctors, using experienced doctors from across Europe and other parts of the world. A new system of Primary Care was developed with a new curriculum for Family Doctors as well as a new curriculum for some Secondary Care Specialists at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Eventually, several years later, The Royal College of General Practitioners in London recognised the postgraduate training and examination for Family Doctors in Kosovo as equivalent to the diploma of MRCGP INTERNATIONAL.
I received a paperback copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This story scores highly for originality and factual detail. It’s clear from reading this book that the author has first-hand knowledge of the political climate at the time, the setting and the ethos of Kosovo. This is an atmospheric, tense novel with vivid but not overly graphic imagery.
It’s a tale of two doctors, married but estranged through the actions of the husband. When his wife decides to leave the country and make a new start, he follows. His motivations for this are not entirely clear since he professes to love her but starts an affair whilst in Kosovo. Claire is easier to empathise, but neither character’s emotional states and motivation are fully explored.
The story is suspenseful and there are some passionate moments, but this story’s strength is in the authentic, detailed setting, action scenes and realistic plot.
When Scarlett falls
asleep on a Caribbean beach she awakes to her worst nightmare – Katie is gone.
With all fingers pointed to her Scarlett must risk everything to clear her
As Scarlett begins to
unravel the complicated past of Katie’s mother she begins to think there’s more
to Katie’s disappearance than meets the eye. But who would want to steal a
child? And how did no-one see anything on the small island?
I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is not what I expected. The first few chapters make you think certain events have occurred, and following on from this, the list of suspects is few, but then you are transported back to 1997, and what you discover there changes your perception of what happened on the beach.
The flashbacks are in a series of photographs which trigger a specific set of memories of the unknown narrator. The introduction of new characters seemingly unrelated to the event on the Carribean island, and initially cause confusion for the reader, but gradually the connections can be made and the puzzle starts to form a coherent picture.
Scarlett is an unreliable protagonist, she has past secrets, which reinforce her unreliability. She is also immature and easily swayed by the stronger, more mature personalities she comes into contact with. Costa is an unconventional investigator, they make an unusual but effective investigating team.
The characters are complex and all are flawed, keeping secrets, behaving instinctively, rather than with caution. Can the reader trust any of them for a truthful account?
The plot is intriguing, there are plenty of clues but these are countered by misinformation, so when you think you know what happened you don’t.
Surprisingly, I did work out the ending but this didn’t detract from the story.
A compulsive, psychological thriller, with well-crafted suspense and some clever twists, and an overriding poignant ethos, worth reading.
Claire S. Lewis – Author Interview
What inspired you to write this story?
She’s Mine started as a little exercise that I wrote on ‘setting’ for a beginner’s online creative writing course. I chose a beach setting because I thought that would be a good way of using all the five senses – sight, sound, taste, touch and smell – in the description. You’re usually very engaged with your senses when lying on a beach! To make it more interesting, I added the plot element of a nanny falling asleep on the sand and waking up to find that the little girl she was supposed to be looking after had disappeared. When I later took the Faber Academy course on writing a novel, I used this piece as the opening chapter for my novel draft which became She’s Mine.
What is the first thing you decide when writing a story, the setting, the plot or characters? Why do you think this is?
When starting a story, the first thing that gets me writing is the plot. Sometimes a conversation or a news item or something I hear on the radio makes me think, ‘that would be a great starting point for a novel’, or ‘if you put that into a novel nobody would believe it’, and from that scene or idea, I develop a plot. Next, I imagine which characters would act out that plot and how they would interact with each other. And then I think about what would be an interesting or enticing setting or stage for those characters – usually, I like to pick locations that I know well and that I know I would love bringing to life in descriptions. So, in She’s Mine, much of the backstory is set in Oxford because I was a student there and it is a beautiful and atmospheric city that is still very vivid in my memory. I can easily wind back the clock and put myself in the place of my characters and imagine myself there, seeing and feeling it from inside their heads.
think the plot interests me the most because I like the idea of setting up a
puzzle and then gradually letting the readers into the mystery. The characters
are there to act out the plot. I am also really interested in exploring devices
such as the ‘unreliable narrator’ – like the nanny, Scarlett, in She’s Mine.
In addition, I enjoy playing around with changing narrative viewpoints so that
the reader sees parts of the puzzle or mystery through one character’s eyes but
has to read between the lines to work out the ‘truth’ that is eventually
revealed when the narrative perspective changes to another character. I use
this device a lot in my second novel. The plot is the starting point for all
Do you draw your characters from real life or are they purely a product of your imagination?
My characters are mostly imaginary – which is lucky because they tend to be quite dark and complicated! Of course, in some cases, I draw on certain personality traits of people I know in real life, or perhaps not so much personality traits but ways of speaking and interacting with other people. After reading the first draft of She’s Mine, my teenage daughter said to me, ‘So Scarlett’s basically me!’ I wasn’t conscious of writing this (and they certainly don’t have the same characters!), but she recognised herself in Scarlett’s narrative voice! So far all of my male characters have been flawed – weak, vain, untrustworthy, and the like. I wouldn’t say this is a reflection of the men in my life! In She’s Mine, my anti-hero Damien was in part inspired by a particularly unpleasant man I spoke to very briefly at an event some years ago! Sometimes it doesn’t take much to light the spark of a character…
What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?
love reading all sorts of fiction books as long as they are not too heavy or
slow moving! Particular authors/books that I have loved since I was a teenager
include Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited), Scott Fitzgerald (The Great
Gatsby/Tender is the Night), Graham Greene (The Confidential Agent/The Power
and The Glory), Nancy Mitford (Love in a Cold Climate) and Patricia Highsmith (The
Talented Mr Ripley). I think these books are brilliant because they are so beautifully
written with such intriguing stories, charismatic characters and entrancing
settings. I also love modern psychological thrillers such as Gone Girl, Girl on
the Train, The Cry and You. My all-time favourite novel is Gone With The Wind
which I devoured when I was growing up.
What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?
I had children, I was an aviation lawyer for Virgin Atlantic, but I’ve always
loved reading and books, and always dreamt of writing a novel. So after having been at home with the
children for a few years, I finally took the plunge and signed up for some
creative writing courses – both novel and screenwriting – to see if I could do
it – then I got hooked. I love writing fiction because of the freedom it gives
you to escape and get lost in other worlds. And I love psychological suspense
because I find the psychological part fascinating – imagining what’s going on
in other people’s minds – and the suspense part is so much fun to create because
it’s what keeps us reading – the ‘what if?’ and ‘what next’ that makes us want
to keep turning the page!
What are you currently writing?
I’m currently writing another story in the genre of psychological suspense about a beautiful young florist with a tragedy in her past. It’s wonderful to write because I’m researching the world of floristry and flowers (as well as getting to grips with the workings of dating apps such as Tinder which I’ve never looked at before!). The plot revolves around stalking (no pun intended!) but it’s not clear who is the predator and who is the victim…
you so much, Jane, for giving me the opportunity to write for your lovely blog,
Jane Hunt Writer!
the truth, but not the whole truth. What I don’t reveal to her is an incident
that took place in Christina’s bedroom the week before we flew out to the
British Leeward Isles. I don’t disclose it because the incident doesn’t put me
in a good light either! On Tuesdays, Katie does a full day at kindergarten so I
have a little time to myself. I’ve got into the habit of using Christina’s
en-suite, luxurious, walk-in power shower and expensive beauty products
following the weekly hot yoga class that I go to after dropping off Katie. So
last Tuesday, I had just finished my shower and wrapped myself in Christina’s
bathrobe when I heard her bedroom door opening and then the sound of her
antique roll top desk being unlocked.
thought she must have come back early from work for some reason. There was
nothing else for it but to come clean (literally!) and apologise for taking the
liberty of using her bathroom without asking first. So I took off her bathrobe,
draped a towel around me and opened the door. But it wasn’t Christina. It was
Damien with his back to me, checking the contents of the desk. Caught in the
act. Hearing the catch he started and turned in alarm. He reddened but quickly
composed himself and went on the offensive.
a vision of beauty!’ he sneered as I stood there, my wet hair dripping onto the
carpet. ‘I didn’t realise you and Christina were so intimate.’
didn’t realise you made a habit of going through her private papers!’ I snapped
back. I know very well that the desk, an old family heirloom shipped over from
the UK, is a strictly no-go area that she keeps locked at all times. He just
laughed and then cool as a cucumber, he slipped some documents into a green
cardboard file under his arm, locked the desk, pocketed the key and marched out
of the room.
mind your own business and keep out of our affairs. Or you’ll be going the same
way as the previous nanny,’ was his parting shot.
understood this was no idle threat. Christina’s so possessive and distrustful
that I knew if she got wind of this brush with Damien, she would imagine the
worst and I’d be out of a job. So I said nothing to Christina in New York and I
say nothing to the police officer now as she converses with me in the hotel
to keep my suspicions about Damien to myself – for now.
that was supposed to have been a ‘friendly chat’ the questioning is intense.
After asking about my relations with Christina and Damien she embarks on a list
of questions clearly aimed at working out a timeline for my movements this
afternoon. What time did I arrive at the beach with Katie? Did I speak to
anyone? Did anyone approach me or Katie? Did I notice anyone watching her? What
time did I fall asleep? What time did I wake up? When did I become aware Katie
was missing? What did I do next? Did I see anyone on the beach when I was
looking for her? How long did I spend searching the beach before raising the
alarm? What time did I tell Christina her little girl was missing?
is pounding and I feel like a criminal by the time the family liaison officer
finally puts her notepad away.
‘These questions are nothing to worry about,’ she assures me. ‘We just need to establish the timeline for the disappearance of the little girl.’ She ends the conversation by encouraging me to contact her ‘any time, any place’ if I need support or if I ‘remember’ anything else that may be relevant to the investigation. I half expect her to clap me in handcuffs and announce that she’s putting me under arrest when at last she says that I’m at liberty to go.
In a waking
nightmare, we struggle on through the grief-stricken hours of the day making
calls, badgering the search team for any new scrap of information and giving
interviews to reporters in the belief that getting Katie’s story out there
might somehow help in her rescue.
worst moment comes just after midnight when the operation is called to a halt.
I collapse onto a chair in a quivering heap. All the strength has gone from my
legs. Christina appears distraught, begging members of the police and emergency
services to go on searching.
nothing more we can do tonight. We’ll resume at dawn. You should get some
sleep,’ says the commander sternly. Holding our despair at bay and unable to
contemplate the thought of sleep, we pace the beaches and the rocky headland
for the next two hours, tripping over stones in the darkness, our steps lit
only by the moon and stars in the cloudless black sky and the light from our
lightheaded with exhaustion by the time I accompany Christina to her room in
the early hours of the morning. We sit out on the balcony mesmerised by the
sound of waves rolling on to sand. We are too tired to speak. I make tea and
give her three sleeping tablets from a packet I find in her wash bag. Once the
tablets take effect, I steer her to bed, her expression vacant and confused, as
she lets me pull the covers over her. It’s not until I shut Christina’s door
and go down the corridor to the room I’m sharing with Katie that it strikes me
again. Where the fuck is Damien? I haven’t seen him all day, not since he
handed me the cocktail at the pool.
open the door, there is Katie’s blue bunny, propped up on her newly-made bed.
The tears stream down my face. The bedtime story I was reading to her last
night is still open at the page we got to when her eyes finally closed. It’s a
beautifully illustrated copy of Peter Pan that Christina discovered in a
quaint little bookshop called the Book Cellar, one of her favourite haunts for
second-hand books. I glance down at the page. ‘The Mermaids’ Lagoon’ – Katie’s
favourite chapter. She loves the colour illustrations of the mermaids diving in
the waves. The doors to the balcony are open. I shiver in the sea breeze and
step out through billowing curtains.
stand there for a few moments still clutching Katie’s bucket.
Claire Simone Lewis studied philosophy, French literature and international relations at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge before starting her career in aviation law with a City law firm and later as an in-house lawyer at Virgin Atlantic Airways. More recently, she turned to writing psychological suspense, taking courses at the Faber Academy. She’s Mine is her first novel. Born in Paris, she’s bilingual and lives in Surrey with her family. Twitter Facebook
DI Kelly Porter is back, but so is an old foe and this time he won’t back down…
When a teenage girl flings herself off a cliff in pursuit of a gruesome death, DI Kelly Porter is left asking why. Ruled a suicide, there’s no official reason for Kelly to chase answers, but as several of her team’s cases converge on the girl’s school, a new, darker story emerges. One which will bring Kelly face-to-face with an old foe determined to take back what is rightfully his – no matter the cost.
Mired in her pursuit of justice for the growing list of victims, Kelly finds security in Johnny, her family and the father she has only just discovered. But just as she draws close to unearthing the dark truth at the heart of her investigation, a single moment on a cold winter’s night shatters the notion that anything in Kelly’s world can ever truly be safe.
Guest Post – Rachel Lynch Will DI Kelly Porter always stay in the Lake District?
With Kelly’s experience, it’s always possible that someone like her would be seconded or invited to join or help out elsewhere. Constabularies regularly share resources, and of course, crime is often national and even international (like in Dark Game). I can see Kelly going back to London, and I can also picture her further afield. Her reputation has grown over four books and continues to do so.
The settings so far have created a credible, dark and
mysterious world of crime that is different to that found in cities, but Kelly
will find herself in demand elsewhere in the future, that is certain. She is
eminently capable of helping other agencies too, such as government departments
and the military. Police procedural theory is always developing, as crime- and
criminals- become more daring and complex to evade ever tightening laws and
methods to catch them. Kelly loves catching criminals, who invariably think
themselves cleverer than the system. She also champions the families of the
victims, who suffer much longer after a crime has been solved.
The crime genre is a fluid one, and the illegal activity
contained within doesn’t have to always be the most shocking and depraved acts-
it can be about issues such as domestic abuse, school bullying, drug taking,
theft, embezzlement or arson. It’s the interplay between the protagonist and
the antagonists that is important to me. The criminal always sees themselves as
one step ahead of Kelly, but their confidence always quickly unravels as she
identifies even the smallest of mistakes. Like any human undertaking: crime
isn’t an exact science, and there are too many variables to go wrong:
technology, forensics, traitors, money trails, accidents and witnesses.
As long as Kelly Porter investigates serious crime, she’ll
take on cases large and small, because that’s what stokes the fire in her
belly. She’s seen too many devastated relatives, friends, brothers, mothers and
children to let any criminal get the better of her.
And she can do it anywhere!
Thank you for reading
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Starting with a tragic event, the reader is still reeling, when a young child faces danger at a fairground. This story deals with every parent’s worst nightmares.
The Lake District setting and weather is an important part of the story as three seemingly unconnected events, form part of the puzzle Kelly Porter has to solve.
The police and forensic procedure is an interesting part of the fast-paced plot, which is full of twists, clues, action, and emotional angst. The crime is contemporary and demonstrates the worrying infiltration of organised crime into rural areas.
Kelly Porter continues to be a great character, clever, and finally coming to terms with her personal demons. The police team and her family provide believable supporting roles and the antagonists are convincingly immoral and driven by money at the expense of human life.
I can’t wait to see where this series goes next.
Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work. Twitter: @r_lynchcrime
A murder that shocks a city… Shots ring out on one of Savannah’s most famous streets. A beautiful law student lies dead.
A case full of secrets and lies… Three men close to the victim are questioned. All of them claim to love her. All of them say they are innocent of her murder.
An investigation that could prove deadly… As crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy, the killer focuses on her. He’s already killed, one woman. Will he kill another?
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Authentic, fast-paced, with an absorbing plot and a likeable protagonist, A Beautiful Corpse’ is the second book in the Harper McClain series, the crime reporter investigates the murder of someone she knows and uncovers a web of fear, lies and privilege.
This story works as a standalone read and there is enough backstory on the main characters and previous events for this to be enjoyable. However, it’s so good, you’ll want to read the first book too.
The setting is atmospheric and bought to life by the details of the buildings, people and the social ethos. The characters are vividly portrayed and their motivations and interactions with each other believable. The life of a crime reporter is intrinsic to the story and is expertly written.
I like Harper she is driven and skilled at her job and hides her vulnerability well. Her relationship with the police officers, whose cooperation she needs to succeed, is explored and provides some important conflict in the story.
There is an overriding theme to this story, the search for Harper’s mother’s murderer, more clues are discovered in this book but it ends with new questions that may lead the crime reporter into personal danger if she pursues the truth.
The exciting ending is ultimately satisfying, tieing up the plot, but posing further questions for Harper, presumably to be resolved in the next book.
Two desperate criminals. Something she never saw coming.
In Manchester, two hardened gang members on the run take Catherine Blake and her one-year-old son hostage at gunpoint. She is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Held in a Transit van, Catherine needs a plan fast. But it means diving into her captors’ risk-drenched world, and playing them at their own game.
Catherine has been through cancer, miscarriages and five draining years of IVF in order to have her son Ethan. He is the most precious thing in the world. She may be terrified out of her wits, but she’d do anything to protect him. Anything, no matter the cost…
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
From the first page, this suspenseful thriller is intriguing.
Primarily told from Catherine’s husband’s point of view. He assumes the role of the story’s narrator, a unique and unusual role in this type of thriller. His insight is uncanny and the reader has to accept this until the pieces of the puzzle start to reveal themselves. When it becomes clear why he has this unusual insight into her thoughts, it’s probably not what you think, and so becomes a more compelling viewpoint.
Catherine is in a nightmare scenario and as the story unfolds you can understand what motivates her behaviour. Like me, you may wonder what you would do in the same situation. Catherine’s husband’s admiration of her is apparent throughout. She is a clever, driven character, who has fought to bring her child into the world and will never relinquish him. You empathise with her strongly but then, as you think it’s all over, it isn’t.
Gangland crime is at the heart of this plot but there are no stereotypes, the antagonists are believable and have no redeeming features, you are very much on the side of Catherine and Ethan her innocent child.
The twist is masterful and unexpected and makes the final chapters of the story enthralling.
Contemporary crime, authentic police procedures, and an intense, original plot, make ‘Trapped’ one of my favourite thrillers this year.
Guest Post – Nick Louth – Inspiration for Trapped
The original spark of inspiration for Trapped came after I read the brilliant novel Room by Emma Donoghue. I asked myself, could I write something that is even more claustrophobic than that? A story where the walls close in even tighter, where the threats are not mere confinement, but death. That’s when I came upon the idea of a woman and her child being imprisoned in the back of a squalid Transit van, inside a multi-storey car park surrounded by armed police. I wanted a dark, gritty setting, where the odds of survival were low. The next stage was to build a collision of temperament and outlook between prisoners and captors, to create a cauldron of conflict. Catherine Blake is the ultimate risk-averse mother, having finally given birth after years of trying, enduring miscarriages and IVF. Her protective nature involves shielding this precious child from even the most remote risks, by planning and foresight. Fretwell and Cousins, the gangsters who capture her and her child, are two men for whom long-term planning is a few minutes or at most a few hours. They get a kick from risk, a thrill from danger. Normally, these contrasting types of people do not run into each other. The power of the book comes from throwing them together in a believable way, under massive external pressure when the police arrive.
It’s not difficult to build scary gangsters, but what is hard is to steer away from the many cliches and stereotypes which infest the genre of crime fiction. In this case, I started with the names, courtesy of my own late father who used to tell me stories when I was a child of his national service in the 1950s. Amongst the many memorable characters, were the fearsome London hooligans Fretwell and Cousins, who intimidated even the sergeant major in my father’s regiment. The characters are completely different from those he described, but the names have a marvellous rhythm and are grafted onto two new characters. We spend very little time in the gangsters’ heads, but their actions reflect their impulsiveness. Our view into Catherine’s head is far more detailed and comes through her husband, who has a special all-seeing viewpoint that becomes ever clearer as the narrative progresses. His love for her and the ominous portents that he reveals are designed to create a shadow of foreboding right from the beginning. I’m very pleased with the reception that this unusual narrative voice has received from reviewers.
Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992 while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies and been translated into six languages.
The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017. Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.
A journalist must follow the clues, no matter how far that takes her.
Casey Benedict, star reporter at the Post, has infiltrated the lives and exposed the lies of countless politicians and power players. Using her network of contacts, Casey is always on the search for the next big story, no matter how much danger this might place her in, no matter what cost emotionally.
Tipped off by an overheard conversation at an exclusive London nightclub, she begins to investigate the apparent suicide of a wealthy young British man, whose death has left his fiancée and family devastated.
Casey’s hunt for the truth will take her from the glitz of St Tropez to the deserts of Libya and on to the very darkest corners of the human mind
I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury Publishing -Raven Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A young investigative journalist follows a lead that suggests some unscrupulous rich people are hunting the forgotten humans – refugees, for kicks. The trail leads Casey and her fellow journalist Miranda to North Africa, to discover the truth.
This is a high octane, political thriller full of action and violence. The investigative journalist aspect of the story is realistic. The events Casey uncovers are disturbing.
The writing style is factual. The first part of the book is hard to read, but the second half is more dynamic and faster paced.
This story authentically explores the human cost of this tragedy and poses the journalist with believable moral dilemmas.
It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.
Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.
But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol – before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.
Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.
But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?
I received a copy of this book from Thomas &Mercer via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
An unexpected event brings a terrible secret to the forefront of Beth’s mind, although her life since teenage has been blighted by the promise, she and her two friends made. Told mainly from Beth’s point of view this is a domestic rather than psychological thriller. The present-day story centres around her family and friends and is more of a suspenseful family drama.
Two further points of view are also key to the story, Carol, one of Beth’s school friends and Mathew, the private detective she and her friend Sally hire to find Carol.
The promise and the secret it protects isn’t revealed until two- thirds through the book, although there are clues before this. The late reveal doesn’t spoil the story, which explores Beth, Carol and Sally’s state of mind as the weight of keeping the promise intensifies. The plot is clever and there are two unexpected twists, which impact significantly on the characters and outcome of the story. These are believable but do stray away from the original storyline.
This story lacks the menacing undertone necessary for a psychological thriller, but it still an absorbing read, as the women struggle with their promise, their mental health and the truth’s they have denied for too many years. The ending is realistic and satisfying but it is the sadness of this story that resonates and makes it worth reading.
When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy, in particular, is fighting for his life.
It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Another interesting female detective with a past that threatens her professionalism. Anna is a likeable protagonist and her dilemmas are both realistic and relatable. She is the Senior Investigating Officer on a mass abduction case. She knows from personal experience what the parents are going through but can she be focused and objective enough to bring a successful outcome to a such a devastating event?
Having your children abducted at gunpoint is every parents’ nightmare and this is uncomfortable reading at times. The stories of the children and their parents help to set the crime in context and present many possible motives and suspects. The characters’ flaws make them believable and many of the parents are not easy to empathise.
Generally, this is a fast-paced story, which produces an authentic kidnap scenario. The suspense is created well and sustained throughout and the ending is satisfactory, although there are questions left for Anna that will no doubt be revisited in subsequent stories.
Tess Piper was fourteen when her adored twin sister Edie disappeared.
She has spent the last twenty years building a life away from her fractured family, desperate to escape the shadow of the past.
Only now she needs to confront the huge hole her sister’s disappearance left in her life because a body has been found. The police are shining a spotlight on the Piper family. And secrets are about to surface.
After all, it’s common knowledge that more often than not, these crimes are committed by someone close to the victim. Someone they trust. Someone they know…
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story is a fusion of family drama and psychological thriller and it works. Tess Piper is an unreliable protagonist, she is still grieving the disappearance of her twin sister twenty years later and lives her life on the edge as a memorial to her twin. She drinks and smokes too much and is estranged from her close family.
Told from the twins’ points of view, one historic and one present day, the background to Edie’s disappearance and its subsequent effect on Tess and her family’s life is explored. The characters are believable and in most cases hard to empathise, but you do understand why they are as they are.
When a body is found, Tess has to return home and confront the secrets she’s been hiding from. The story is easy to read but much of it is dark and you feel Tess and her family’s emotional angst. The plot is deceptively simple, but just as you think you know what happened, another piece in the puzzle is revealed and another player introduced.
This is an authentic family drama, full of poignant events. I did manage to work who betrayed Edie but not all the circumstances.
A well thought out domestic thriller with strong characters and a clever plot.
An eye for an eye. Cabhan Morton wants to leave the Russo crime family for good and live in peace with his daughter, Alice Rose. But the Russos won’t let him walk away without a fight.
A tooth for a tooth. Franny Doyle would do anything for Cabhan and Alice, but helping them escape the vindictive Russo brothers won’t be easy. The only place they’ll be safe is back in Essex with Alfie Jennings.
A daughter for a daughter… Franny knows she won’t be welcomed by Alfie with open arms – but she doesn’t have a choice. The Russos are out for blood and they won’t stop until Alice is dead…
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I haven’t read any of the author’s previous books, and so this affects my review of Fatal. As a standalone, the story works, but the characters don’t, you need to know their stories before the events in Fatal, and so to fully appreciate this story read Toxic first.
The story is fast- paced, violent and focused on the seedier side of life. This gives it the necessary authenticity for a gangland novel. Believable characters and a realistic plot make this an adrenaline packed read.
If you are a fan of gritty, organised crime based thrillers this will excite you.