Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…
Fast-paced, totally addictive suspense fiction that draws you in from the first lie until the final terrifying twist. Written from Finn and his missing girlfriend’s point of view, you learn their past and current thoughts, without slowing down the story.
Finn is troubled he has a shady past that occasionally resurfaces with devasting results, his obsessive love of Layla his missing girlfriend makes him an obvious suspect in her disappearance but his well-placed lies and excellent legal advice leave him free to rebuild his life. Twelve years later, Finn has moved on, but random events collide to make him believe the past hasn’t done with him yet.
Focusing on Finn, his current girlfriend, a longtime friend and ex-girlfriend, the cast of this sinister thriller is small. As the menace escalates, Finn cannot trust anyone, and this sense of isolation builds his anger to boiling point.
The gripping final chapters reveal an unexpected twist, with horrific consequences for the story’s major players. I guessed this before the end, but even then, the ultimate revelation is not quite as I envisaged. For me, part of the enjoyment is trying to foresee the outcome before the story’s end.
The tagline #forgetsleep is true. I read this book through the night yesterday.
I received a copy of this book from HQ books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
30 July 2018:- P.S. There is another ending to this story, which will please the romantics amongst us,
but the first ending wins for dramatic impact.
Four friends, a terrible secret, and one week to stay alive…
Grace doesn’t have a family. That was taken away one dreadful day when she was just six, and her twin brother Peter was killed. Instead, she has her best friends and flatmates – Jasper, Franklin and Aaron – and nothing can tear them apart.
Living in London, and trying desperately to make a living, the four friends are rapidly running out of money and hope. So, when they find a discarded suitcase in a skip, they can’t believe their eyes when its contents seem to answer all their prayers.
But then there is a knock on their door, and a very disgruntled thug with revenge on his mind gives them one week to return his belongings, or they will pay with their lives. Soon the fractures in their friendships begin to show, and when one of them ends up fighting for his life, the stakes are raised even higher.
Will any of them get to the end of the week alive, or will the best of friends become the deadliest of enemies…
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2mMlsKp
Fifteen Years Later
It was raining. The streets of London were awash with water. It gathered in rivers beneath the kerb and dripped down from gutters. Grace stepped out of the tube station and smiled as the first wet drops splashed against her. She walked boldly down the street, head held high, savouring the sensation as the rain soaked through her thin trench coat and began to damply settle against her skin.
She moved as her name suggested – with poise and elegance. With the measured steps of a prowling cat, she wove her way through the congested street, dipping beneath low hanging umbrellas and skirting around the larger puddles. Grace was like the water; fluid with her motions and able to fit through the smallest gap. Her body was slight and lithe and when she walked her feet were always turned out, the tell-tale mark of a dancer.
To Grace the rain was glorious. She laughed to herself as she tilted her head up to meet the pewter sky above.
That’s what her mother believed rain to be. And whenever the sky darkened she’d pluck the twins from their beloved swing set in the local park and hurry them back to their cramped flat. It was a sin to get wet.
“The sorrow,” she’d lament as she closed the curtains and turned up the heating, “you can’t let God’s tears and sorrow touch you else it’ll sink in.”
As she moved further away from the station, the bodies swarming along the street thinned and Grace was able to stretch out her arms. The rain washed against her, purifying and icy. Her hair that was held in a tidy bun became sodden, the tan shade of her coat darkened. Still, Grace dawdled, stretching out every step on her way back to her flat. She was never in a rush, especially when it rained.
“You’ll catch your death acting like that,” a stern-faced woman with a northern accent commented as she scurried past, shielded beneath her Radley umbrella. Grace wanted to laugh in the woman’s face. It was people who brought death, not water. But it wasn’t the stranger’s urge for caution, but her Manchester twang that made Grace begin to hurry home. She had once spoken with a similar cadence, but during her years spent at a prestigious ballet school, she’d learned to phase it out, adopting a more clipped, formal accent.
She didn’t need another reminder of home. Nor had she wanted to give the rest of the girls in her class another reason to see her as an outcast. Grace was already strange in their eyes. They came from homes with front doors, back gardens, places where parents came in pairs.
Up ahead a battered blue door flung open, and a handsome dark-haired guy burst out. He headed directly for Grace, extending his arms which made his long wool coat fan out behind him like a cloak.
“Jesus Christ,” he exclaimed as he reached her. “What have I told you about your damn rain fetish? Now get your ass inside.”
“I don’t have a fetish, Franklin,” Grace assured him as she followed him into the small communal hallway which led up to their two bedroom flat.
“Yes, you bloody do,” Franklin feverishly shook off the minuscule cluster of raindrops which had landed on him during his short time outside. He behaved like the dark clouds lingering over London were releasing acid rather than water. “Whenever it rains I find you swanning around outside like you think you’re Kate Bush. Now get in, hurry.”
“I am hurrying.” Grace ascended a steep staircase, made a sharp right turn and found her front door. It was of bare, unvarnished wood. She gently kicked the base, and it opened without protest. Franklin followed her inside and paused to secure the many deadbolts on the inner side of the door.
Believable characters that are easy to empathise. A realistic, plot and a vibrant easy to imagine setting all make Best Friends worth reading. The pacing is perfect, and the internal and external conflict balance is good.
Four young adults share a small flat and face a constant battle of paying the rent without sacrificing their dreams. They are drawn together because of they are all artists, an actor, dancer, musician and writer. They all have something missing in their family lives, ranging from being different to their siblings to suffering years of unthinkable abuse as a child. They are family, but this bond is tested when something they thought would be their salvation turns sour.
The friendship is tested to breaking point, but each of them face up to their fears and, finds something worthwhile from the traumatic two weeks they experience. For me, the plot isn’t as exciting as the blurb suggested, but the character development and the conflict within the group make it worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.
I’ve reviewed the three books in the Amber Alert Series , here’s what the books are about.
Anna was taken…
Taken from her home to live out a sick game that a guy has been playing for the last ten years.
With no certainty that anyone is looking for her, and seemingly hours away from home, she’s forced to play housewife with a man that has had twelve other ‘wives’.
Each of them now dead…
With 12 rules and the obvious exits blocked, from the previous girls attempts to flee. Is Anna’s only way out to play along and become a ‘loving wife’? Or will she die during the chase?
Would anyone even know what happened to her?
Or would she be labeled as a runaway?
And where is she in the first place?
Mature Content Warning. Recommended for ages 17+ due to violence and sensitive subject matter.
Audrey Thomas had been raised by overprotective parents and is sick of it…
After the kidnapping and recovery of her mother, Anna Cowles, eighteen years ago, parents had a harsh awakening as they realized any child could be taken for any reason.
New laws were set in place to protect children, but those same children, ignored the rules and went out of their way to get into trouble.
Audrey has always done what she wanted, no matter what the consequences were…
But what happens when her choices lead her to being taken by the one man people feared everyday for the last eighteen years, right up to his execution.
Will she make it out like her mother did?
Or will she suffer the fate of the previous twelve girls?
Mature Content Warning. Recommended for ages 17+ due to violence and sensitive subject matter.
There’s a copycat on the loose, and he’s playing the part of the notorious Steve Bennett, a serial kidnapper and killer.
Twelve known girls have already been taken from over the country, but none have returned. With the orignial house of the mass kidnapper and murderer destroyed, where is he hiding the girls?
Are any of them still alive or is he living up to Steve Bennett’s MO and killing them off before getting a new girl?
Are these girls his wives or are they something much worse? Jessi Sparks is about to find out for herself.
This is the case she has been waiting for, and she won’t let it slip through her fingers. She will risk everything to finally put an end to mass kidnappings, but will she risk her own life just to finally finish this?
I was roughly shoved into the back of a black car. The door slammed shut, the front door opened soon after and he got in. There was a click, as the car was locked. He threw the car into forward, and took off at an insane speed leaving everyone I knew and cared for behind.
I watched in terror as trees whizzed by, leaving the familiar surroundings behind as the road went from pavement to dirt and the buildings were replaced with large trees and fallen branches. I didn’t know where we were going, but I wanted to go home. The locks wouldn’t budge; the child safety lock prevented my escape the moment he had locked me in this god-forsaken car. I had lost my phone in the struggle, and I was stuck in here.
There were scratch marks and dark spots on the seat. It looked as though someone had tried to claw their way out and I couldn’t blame them. Every hair on my neck were standing on end with fear blazing through me. My throat was sore from the screaming, but all the drivers had ignored my pleas for help. They simply kept driving without another sideways glance in my direction.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked again, my voice hoarse from the screams and crying. It was answered the same way, with silence that slowly crept in and made me shudder.
“Where are we going?”
“Be a good girl and take orders. Now shut up!”
I wished more than anything to be back at home and under my bed, away from him. The road turned to gravel as we came upon a rundown house, its shudders were falling of the hinges, but what caught me was the windows were boarded up. To prevent escape, I felt a shiver travel up my spine as the car came to a slow stop.
He got out of the car and didn’t unlock the doors until he was at the door. That small click would have brought me relief at any point in the car ride other than now. I pushed against the other side of the car as he reached one long hand in and grabbed me by my ankle and roughly yank me out of the car on to the gravel. A scream ripped through my throat as the gravel cut into my skin and my head hit the side of the car.
“Get up!” he ordered. My head was spinning from everything that had happened, but when I didn’t move, he moved me.
His hand grabbed take a large chunk of my hair before he lifted me out of the car, ignoring my cries of pain. He roughly dragged me to the house, I couldn’t get my feet to walk and fell often.
The door was solid, he had to slam his body against the wooden blockade and force it open. There was a creak as it slowly opened from his blows, and he threw me inside onto the hardwood floor. There was no carpet, anywhere It would be possible to hear every step from anywhere in the home. The house was bare to the bones, the walls held no photos or phones, rooms remained empty of furniture unless it was bolted to the ground. A new wave of fear ripped through me in realization that he had done this before, he had taken precautions for it.
Written from a first person point of view, the reader immediately experiences all the emotions of Anna, the lead character in this suspenseful story. There is a naivety to the writing, which is in stark contrast the horrors revealed as the plot progresses. Anna is a courageous character and from her vivid description and reactions it’s easy to imagine her terror. This is peek through your fingers suspense as Anna realises few people can be trusted. There are some lovely relationships formed in this story between unlikely individuals thrown together by circumstance. The ending is thrilling and makes you want to see what happens next.
This story is set many years after the conclusion of Amber Alert; it deals with similar themes but doesn’t have the menace of the first book in the series, although there is plenty of mystery and suspense. The story is complete but reading the first book in the series ‘Amber Alert’ is essential to appreciate the danger faced by the heroine. Again full of unusual relationships this book provides a steady link between the ‘Amber Alert’ and ‘Apprehended’ the last book in the series.
The final book of the ‘Amber Alert series’ completes the story started twenty years previously. Another serial kidnapper and possibly murderer is taking young women. Whilst there are similarities with the antagonist in the first book, the copycat has subtle differences. There is a suspenseful twist that takes the story in an unexpected direction. The characters’ emotions convey the horrors of their abduction and avoid the need for overly graphic descriptions. The ‘love at first sight’ theme continues in ‘Apprehended’. The ending completes the series in a satisfying way.
I received copies of the books in this series from the author in return for honest reviews.
Sara Schoen began writing in middle school, but did not officially dedicate herself to writing until high school when encouraged by her writing partner. Before then, Sara had not thought about trying to publish her works because it seemed unlikely that anyone would take a chance on someone so young. Despite her previous thoughts, she published her first book, Amber Alert, at the age of nineteen, and began rewriting and editing a spy series that she spent years writing when she was younger. With a lot of hard work and determination, now that same series, which is close to her heart, is a bestseller.
Sara is a Biology Major with a minor in Environmental Science and a minor in Spanish at James Madison University, and spends her time writing, studying, and ghost hunting. While writing is a great hobby that turned into a passion to share with others, school is her priority.
Throughout her publishing journey, Sara has had an amazing support system from her family, friends, and significant other, who were with her every step of the way. She hopes to continue to write, and wants to inspire others to reach for their dreams no matter how far they may seem. She truly believes that dreams can come true at any age, if you put in effort and chase after what you want.
Wendi Wise is a troubled young woman who snorts her breakfast through a straw and spends more time in rehab than in the real world…
Her life is seemingly out of control.
But now she has a plan.
That plan involves a sharp set of butcher knives.
She’s going back to where all of her troubles began…
Wendi was lured away from a local skating rink, at the age of thirteen, and held captive in a place she calls ‘The House of Horrors.’ Dumped off blindfolded on the side of a dirt road, Wendi soon discovered that she was addicted to the drugs they fed her while she was captive.
Too scared to go home, and having a new habit to deal with, she hopped on a bus, vanishing from the family she loved.
Vanishing from Flocksdale…
The town of Flocksdale is littered with fliers with a grainy image of young Wendi, and the words ‘Have You Seen This Girl?’ written below.
Now, eight years later, she’s on a mission—a mission to find the mysterious house from her youth and the monsters who dwell inside it.
Currently Free to download on Amazon
This is a gripping, often shocking, suspenseful, mystery thriller, exploring the adult themes of abduction, child abuse and murder. Written from the first person point of view of a teenage girl and then a young woman, Wendi Wise’s story doesn’t graphically describe the abuse she suffers. Yet it manages to convey its horror vividly, through Wendi’s feelings at the time and subsequent addiction, as a result of the abuse she has suffered.
This story is dark but as it progresses it lightens, as Wendi’s emotional strength allows her to rebuild her shattered life. Some of the characters restore your faith in human nature but most are truly demonic. This is an edge of your seat read, who can she trust? Will getting revenge destroy her fragile mind? The ending is realistic and provides hope in a dark world. The quality of the writing, and the complex characters, definitely makes this book worth reading.
I downloaded a free copy of this book from Amazon UK.
Gillian Dempsey must find a reason to go on…
Easier said than done after a rare virus robs her of both parents. Left alone and confused, the mourning nineteen-year-old flees to her three best friends, who receive her with open arms.
Her parents give her more than an inheritance—they give her a second chance at life…
When Gillian is left with some properties in her parents’ will, she assigns them to a real estate agent to manage. Joel Matthews takes the job, but he quickly becomes more than a business associate. After a string of fortunate coincidences, Gillian and Joel spend a passionate night together—after which Joel all but vanishes from her life.
But they still have unfinished business, and Gillian won’t allow him to slip away—especially with her heart.
Life is a roller coaster of tragedy and joy…
Gillian reels him in, and soon the two are married. Gillian’s heart expands even more when they receive the news of their first pregnancy. But after the baby is born, things aren’t the same. Joel becomes distant…resentful. And then the abuse begins. Darkness consumes their marriage—only to get worse.
While Gillian tries to hold her family together, it seems Joel is doing everything to tear them apart. But just one slip of his temper makes all the difference, because this time, there’s no turning back.
Maybe being abused can be endured, as long as Nobody Knows…until someone ends up dead.
FREE on Kindle Unlimited
Rebecca, one of four kids to her parents who are both primary school teachers, was born in Wollongong on the south coast of Australia before moving to the country with her family. After a few years of embracing all that country life had to offer, the family relocated to Port Macquarie with its white sand beaches. After a brief period enjoying the sun and the surf they finally settled in Canberra where Rebecca still lives today. But all through her childhood a notepad and a book where never far away. These days Rebecca is an avid reader, and when she isn’t buried in a book or cheering on her beloved football team she’s spending time with her husband Robert and their overly spoilt dog Levi.
Perfection is Just an Illusion
(Swimming Upstream Series: Book One)
Amazon ~ FREE on Kindle Unlimited
Swimming Upstream Book 2
Amazon ~ FREE on Kindle Unlimited