Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Friendship, Guest post, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Do Her No Harm Naomi Joy #GuestPost @naomijoyauthor @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #Secrets #Lies #DomesticSuspense #Friendship #DoHerNoHarm

One unsolved murder. A best friend determined to right the wrongs of the past.

On the 21st August Tabitha Rice disappeared without a trace. All the signs point to murder, but no signs point to a murderer. The easiest answer is her husband, Rick. But he protests his innocence and there is little proof he is the murderer.

Annabella knows there is more to the story than what the police are telling. Tabitha was her best friend and she vows to uncover the truth.

As Annabella delves further into the past, she uncovers sides to Tabitha that she never saw coming, and she finds herself asking the question… Was this murder? Or is there more to Tabitha Rice’s story than meets the eye?

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Guest Post Naomi Joy -The inspiration behind Do Her No Harm

My novel Do Her No Harm – a play on the Hippocratic oath declaration Primum non nocere, ‘first, do no harm’ – was inspired by the current state of the non-surgical cosmetics industry in Britain. It’s not very well known, and it certainly surprised me, that in the UK, it is legal for procedures like Botox and dermal fillers to be injected by anyone, regardless of their training or experience.[1]

I was equally stunned to find out that Botulinum toxin – Botox – is the most poisonous biological substance known to humankind[2] – a couple of teaspoons would be enough to kill everyone in the UK – and yet it is so routinely used in an industry that is not currently well regulated.

The industry has seen a boom in recent years thanks, in part, to Instagram. The perfect pouts and filtered faces created in clinics across the country have led an increasing number of people to seek out cheap cosmetic surgery in order to emulate what they see on the platform. As a result, an increasing number are suffering the serious consequences of being injected by untrained and unprofessional individuals. In 2018, Save Face, a national register of accredited practitioners, received a whopping 934 complaints from patients regarding unregistered practitioners.

Another documentary, The Botox Bust, took this one step further and found beauticians across the country happy to give Botox to an undercover reporter without a valid prescription, and a struck-off doctor supplying Botox over the phone. The BBC’s One Show found that 17 out of 23 providers visited were happy to offer lip fillers to a 15-year-old.

I found all of this fascinating and just knew I had to write about it. In Do Her No Harm we meet Annabella, an aesthetic nurse who uses these toxins every day. In fact, her entire personality has been shaped by cosmetic procedures, nipping and tucking each time she wants to reinvent herself. With the news that her best friend, Tabitha, is missing, Annabella’s life begins to spiral: her only focus finding out what happened to Tabitha and bringing her kidnapper to justice.


[1] https://www.saveface.co.uk/about-us/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1128745/

Naomi Joy

Naomi Joy is a pen name of a young PR professional who was formerly an account director at a prestigious PR firm in London. Writing from experience, she draws the reader in to the darker side of the uptown and glamorous, presenting realism that is life or death, unreliable and thrilling to page-turn.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Psychological Thriller

One Perfect Morning Pamela Crane 4*#Review @MentalMommyPam @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #AudioBook #Friendship #Secrets #HarperCollinsAudio #domestic #noir #PsychologicalThriller #OnePerfectMorning

She’s made her bed, and now he’s lying dead in it…

Mackenzie, Robin and Lily have been inseparable since college. Twenty years on, they all live in the same neighbourhood with their perfect homes, perfect families, perfect lives.

But in their idyllic suburban town, no one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors. For each of these women is crumbling under the weight of a secret, a betrayal, a lie.

And when the worst happens, will the unbreakable bond of their friendship survive, though it’s started to fray at the edges?

One dead husband. Three women with motives. And they’re all best friends who have each other’s backs – or do they…?

A sharp, twisty and utterly addictive suspense novel.

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I received a an audiobook from Avon Books UK – Harper Collins Audio UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I listened to an audiobook copy of this story, which is absorbing and enjoyable.

The narrator is professional and brings each of the characters to life through her different voices. It’s easy to feel part of the dialogue with her narration.

The story begins on the precipice of something awful and then goes back in time to discover what events lead to this moment. Predominately told from three points of view it explores the women’s longstanding friendship and the secrets they hide with each other and alone.

The characters are diverse and relatable you are invested in their lives. You empathise with them because of their flaws and mistakes. The logical plot has many twists and features domestic abuse, rape, and murder. The crimes are heinous, but not overly graphic, but the emotional and physical damage is believable.

The conclusion ties up any loose ends and gives hope, and possible future dilemmas for Lily, Mackenzie and Robin.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

My Darling Amanda Robson 4* #Review @AmandaRauthor #Audiobook #Narrators Laura Costello Matt Addis @themattaddis #Psychological #suspense #domestic #noir AudibleUK #BookReview #HarperCollinsAudio @AvonBooksUK #MyDarling

A new couple moves in next door.

And nothing will ever be the same again…

I watched you move in and thought we might be friends.

I saw you watching from the window – and knew I’d have to keep you away from my husband.

I started to trust you. Confide in you.

I started to mistrust you. Suspect you.

I was confused when I blacked out after an evening at your place. Was I really that drunk?

I came up with a plan. A plan to make you both pay . . .

Sexy and sinister – this book will keep you up all night . . .

Amazon UK Audible UK

I received an audiobook copy of this book from Harper Collins Audio – Avon in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is compelling domestic suspense that is well suited to the audiobook media. The narration is professional, and it’s easy to differentiate the characters. It’s helpful to have a male narrator for Alastair as he appears so frequently. Told from Jade, Emma and Alastair’s points of view this is a twisted story of abuse, betrayal, relationships, and revenge.

Although the adult characters are hard to empathise, they are believable and fascinating., Jade has mental health issues, and it’s her actions that precipitate the events that follow. Emma is also emotionally fragile. Alastair has severe anger issues which make him prone to violence. Thomas is the least well defined of the characters.

Detailed and intricate the plot’s many twists make it difficult to visualise the ending. The conclusion is probably as just as it can be, but the last one standing is not necessarily a good person.

This is an addictive book to listen to, even though the characters are few and the settings domestic, the sometimes shocking plot twists and suspenseful ethos make this a story that you have to finish.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Friendship, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Do Her No Harm Naomi Joy 5*#Review @naomijoyauthor @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #Secrets #Lies #DomesticSuspense #Friendship #DoHerNoHarm

One unsolved murder. A best friend determined to right the wrongs of the past.

On the 21st August Tabitha Rice disappeared without a trace. All the signs point to murder, but no signs point to a murderer. The easiest answer is her husband, Rick. But he protests his innocence and there is little proof he is the murderer.

Annabella knows there is more to the story than what the police are telling. Tabitha was her best friend and she vows to uncover the truth.

As Annabella delves further into the past, she uncovers sides to Tabitha that she never saw coming, and she finds herself asking the question… Was this murder? Or is there more to Tabitha Rice’s story than meets the eye?

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

My Thoughts…

This is an intense domestic suspense story. It explores how ordinary people become dark and dangerous.

The story begins with an intriguing situation, full of dramatic irony, the reader knows something is wrong, but the protagonist doesn’t. The story is multi-viewpoint both past, and present. The characters are unreliable protagonists, but they are relatable, and you sympathise with their situations at times. The historic viewpoint illuminates the characters’ motivations, but not all of them until the end.

The author cleverly reveals enough information to make the reader believe they know the twist, but they don’t as there is more than one, which makes this absorbing to the last page.

Naomi Joy

Naomi Joy is a pen name of a young PR professional who was formerly an account director at a prestigious PR firm in London. Writing from experience, she draws the reader in to the darker side of the uptown and glamorous, presenting realism that is life or death, unreliable and thrilling to page-turn.

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Inspiration for Do Her No Harm – Naomi Joy Guest Post

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Literary Fiction, Suspense

Blurred Lines Hannah Begbie 4*#Review @hannahbegbie @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #Paperback #BookReview #BlogTour @RandomTTours #BlurredLines #domestic #suspense #women #FridayReads

She spoke out. I stayed silent. What would you do?

When Becky walks in on her boss with a woman who isn’t his wife, she’s horrified, but says nothing. She owes Matthew too much.

But when the same woman accuses him of rape, Becky is trapped in a nightmare. Was what she saw rape – or is Matthew, her trusted mentor, telling the truth? Becky must try to ignore her own traumatic past and its terrible hold on her.

As Becky attempts to untangle these blurred lines, she risks everything, even her home and family, to find the truth…

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I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction – Harper Collins UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Becky faces a traumatic moral dilemma Told from Becky’s point of view, her past affecting her present emotions and reactions. This story uses contemporary issues and weaves them into an intricate plot. An unreliable protagonist means the reader doesn’t know who to believe, wherever their empathy lies.
This is an immersive story. It includes the reader, what do they think? Not everything is what it seems, and this story illustrates this well.

Blurred lines is an absorbing, emotional read.

Hannah Begbie

Hannah Begbie studied Art History at Cambridge University. She went on to become a talent agent, representing BAFTA and Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning writers and comedians for fifteen years. She also enrolled in The Novel Studio course at City University, winning that year’s new writing prize. The book she developed there became her debut novel, MOTHER, which later went on to win the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers from the RNA. She lives in north London with her husband and their two sons.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Suspense

Imperfect Women Araminta Hall 4*#Review @AramintaHall #Narrator Helen Keeley @orionbooks @HachetteAudioUK #ImperfectWomen #Psychological #Suspense #Family #drama #Women #Friendship #lies #secrets #Audiobook #Review

From the author of Our Kind of Cruelty comes an enthralling, irresistible novel of psychological suspense about three women and the destructive power of buried secrets.

When Nancy Hennessy is murdered, she leaves behind two best friends, an adoring husband and daughter, and a secret lover whose identity she took to the grave. Nancy was gorgeous, wealthy, and cherished by those who knew her—from the outside, her life was perfect. But as the investigation into her death flounders and her friends Eleanor and Mary wrestle with their grief, dark details surface that reveal how little they knew their friend, each other, and maybe even themselves.

A gripping, immersive novel about impossible expectations and secrets that fester and become lethal, Imperfect Women unfolds through the perspectives of three fascinating women. Their enduring, complex friendship is the knot the listener must untangle to answer the question Who killed Nancy?

Imperfect Women explores guilt and retribution, love and betrayal, and the compromises we make that alter our lives irrevocably.

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I received a copy of this audiobook from Orion Publishing UK and Hachette Audio UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a story about three women who met at college and have kept in contact. Eleanor, Mary and Nancy are different personalities, but their bond is strong. When Nancy dies the guilt, lies and secrets emerge, as Eleanor and Mary try to find out who killed Nancy.

Told from the women’s viewpoints in differing timelines, it is introspective, and audio is the perfect media for this. The mystery of who killed Nancy is the underlying theme, but the emphasis is on the lies and secrets the women keep and how these affect them.

The narration is professional and brings the characters and stories to life. Initially, some of the voices irritate, but as the story progresses, you get used to them.

The story is dark and poignant, but the women are believable and relatable and easy to empathise. The slow pacing intensifies the emotion and suspense in this contemporary insight into relationships.

Posted in Blog Tour, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Extract, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller

Her Darkest Fear Nina Manning #BlogTour @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks #PsychologicalThriller #Extract #AudioExtract #BlogTour #BoldwoodBlogTour #BoldwoodBloggers #FridayReads

ONE MOTHER’S PAST COULD COST HER EVERYTHING…

Frankie Keegan is struggling.
While she tries to make strides in her career, life at home is slowly unravelling as she is haunted by the secrets of her past.

SOMEONE ELSE REMEMBERS…

As the dark nights draw in, the anniversary of the loss of her brother looms and Frankie is drawn back to the memories of that fateful night 20 years previously. As she descends into a guilt-ridden state, she begins to suspect that someone else is also remembering that night and they are determined to terrify her…

Can she confront her past before it’s too late?

From the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law, a gripping psychological thriller about family, secrecy and grief – with a twist you won’t see coming.

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Her Darkest Fear – Nina Manning – Extract

Her Darkest Fear – Nina Manning – Extract

Prologue

I stood at the top of the stairs and held my breath as my anxiety spiked and my heart pounded in my throat. But I could no longer hear the noise that had drawn me there. As I stood, my foot perched ready to take the first step, I wondered if perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me. Maybe the events of the last few days had finally caught up with me. But faces were hovering in front of me. Those people I had trusted. And those who I had hurt.

All those years ago I was trying so hard to make a difference in any way I could. But I was young. And I was foolish. I knew the past would never be able to bury itself, and I had not been able to rest for twenty years because the horrors of that day would stay with me until I took my final breath.

But now it was time to face the past head on. I tightened my grip on my weapon and began the descent to the kitchen. I knew I was now in grave danger. I knew that I had to protect my children and face the person who had found their way into my home.

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

Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Mystery, Noir, Suspense

For Better, For Worse, Jane Isaac 4* #Review @Aria_Fiction @JaneIsaacAuthor #DCBethChamberlain #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #FamilyDrama #Domestic #noir #FamilyLiaisonOfficer #Author #Interview #BlogTour #BookReview #PoliceProcedural

Stuart Ingram was once a respected local councillor…

The first time the police knocked on Gina’s door, they arrested her husband.

The second time, they accused him of child abuse.

But he died a guilty man.

This time, the police are here for Gina – to tell her that her husband is dead. Murdered, just two weeks before his trial.

Gina always stood by her husband. Even when everyone else walked away. She believed the trial would clear his name. But now Stuart is dead.

And his wife is the suspect.

It’s a race against time for DC Beth Chamberlain to uncover the truth – especially when a second man turns up dead.

Domestic noir meets police procedural in this pacy thriller.

Previously published as Presumed Guilty.

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

My Thoughts…

Beth Chamberlain is a likeable, realistic character. Dedicated to her career, despite the problems in her personal life. As a family liaison officer, she needs great people skills and well-disguised investigative talent. She is uniquely placed to discover family tensions, and gain the trust of the victims’ relatives and find out the true story.

A historical suicide, a deliberate hit and run, which results in a man’s death. Emotions and suspense build, as the investigation proceeds. Further crimes, throw up more questions, than answers. The relentless investigation, finally finds the answers, leading to a devastating conclusion.

The story explores the concept of trial by social media, and the consequences, both personal and establishment, of this contemporary trend. The wife of the murdered man, who has stood by him, shows her strength of character in the face of public antagonism, against her late husband and her family.

The connection between the various crimes is cleverly interwoven. The police investigation is authentically portrayed. The domestic noir and suspense build gradually, giving the plot added depth and adding the ending’s impact.

Dark crime, complex characters and relatable police investigation team, make this addictive reading. Looking forward to the next one.

Author Interview – Jane Issacs – ‘For Better For Worst’ Blog Tour

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog, Jane. I’m thrilled to be here!

Is there a particular event or person who inspired ‘For Better, For Worse’?

Ooh, I can’t say there was a particular event or person that inspired this story, more a combination of things I’ve read and watched in crime news and documentaries over the years. I was particularly struck with someone wrongly accused – or were they? Also, the challenge of being married to someone who holds a dark secret and when that secret is uncovered, the fallout of how they deal with it and ultimately how it affects the family unit.

The idea of a wife standing by her husband and the whole debate of did he/didn’t he seemed such an enticing project to work with.

 What comes first in your story creation process, character, plot or setting? Why do think this is?

I think it’s a combination of things that come in stages, like building blocks, and form the foundation of the story. Often one element influences another. For Better, For Worse is the second title in the DC Beth Chamberlain, Family Liaison Officer, series. Beth’s detective character and the setting of Northamptonshire were already established for the series, although I did have to research particular locations and site the new family. As the plot unravelled in my mind, I realised we needed another point of view in Gina Ingram (the councillor’s wife) and built her character into the story.

 Do you find dialogue easy to write? How do you create authentic-sounding dialogue in your novels?

I think dialogue can be very tricky to get right. I often imagine speaking it as I write and draft it without speech marks initially to avoid slowing myself down, then tidy it up later.

How do make you protagonists’ responses to a traumatic event believable?

Ooh, good question! Lots of research, talking to people who have been in the situation and reading in and around a similar event in the news or in books. Plus, I like to imagine myself in their shoes, if possible and see how I would react. Even after I’ve drafted a scene, I’ll come back to it and rewrite it several times before I’m completely happy.

Do you enjoy, or have time to read? What are your favourite genres?

Yes, I love to read and do so as much as I can. Crime fiction will always be my first love – I revel in the twists and turns of a good mystery, and love a page-turning psychological thriller. I recently read The Lying Room by Nicci French and couldn’t put it down!

That said, I do like to intersect my thrillers with other books. I’m currently reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd which is a beautifully written and uplifting literary novel.

Are there any other genres you would like to write in? If so, what are they, and why do they interest you?

I think the idea of creating your own fantasy world would be really interesting. I loved the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, though I’ve no plans to move at present!

Jane Isaac

Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane loves to hear from readers and writers.

Sign up to her book club at http://eepurl.com/1a2uT for book recommendations and details of new releases, events and giveaways.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Guest post, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

The Other You J.S. Monroe 5* #Review @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction @JSThrillers #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #Police #Noir #Domestic #Suspense #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost

Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.

At least she has Rob. Young, rich, handsome and successful, Rob runs a tech company on the idyllic Cornish coast. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health. When she’s with him, in his luxury modernist house, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.

Until, one day, she looks at Rob anew. And knows, with absolute certainty, that the man before her has been replaced by an impostor.

Is Rob who he says he is? Or is it all in Kate’s damaged mind?

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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…

This is a chilling, complex and curious thriller, with psychological and technological themes. Told from three points of view. The reader lives the complete story. Whilst, it keeps you turning the pages, it starts your mind thinking too, what if?

The story has many strands. The unusual skill of the female protagonist, as a super recogniser, which now lost, has left her unsure and vulnerable. The secret world of the new man in her life, and his attitude towards her that makes their interactions often claustrophobic. The themes of doppelgangers, and his apparent obsession with his.

The story is full of underlying detail, which sets the scene convincingly, and evidences the author’s copious research. There are many twists, and the ending is memorable.

If you’ve read this author’s psychological thrillers before, you may be waiting for something to happen that you don’t expect. It does, but its impact is more powerful than you may imagine.

Clever writing, intense suspense, and originality make this a must-read for those who like to explore the darkness and vastness of the human mind.

Guest Post – Super recognisers, by J.S.Monroe

There are some unlucky people in this world who cannot remember a face. Try as they might, they can’t recognise the most familiar people in their lives: relatives, friends, even their own reflection. The condition is known as facial blindness, or prosopagnosia, and it’s estimated that about two per cent of us are sufferers. In 2009, Richard Russell, a Harvard psychologist, wondered if these people were on a spectrum and, if they were, what happened at the other end? Were there those who cannot forget a face? Enter the “super recognisers”, a term coined by Russell for the one per cent of us who indeed have a preternatural gift for remembering the human face. A super recogniser might only have seen someone for a split second at a bus stop five years ago, but if he walked passed them again tomorrow, he would remember them.

In my new thriller, The Other You, my main female character, Kate, is a former super recogniser. She used to work as a civilian for the police, studying mug shots and then identifying criminals on CCTV footage, or working in the field at large public events, spotting known troublemakers in crowds. I spent a lot of time reading up on the subject, as I found it increasingly fascinating. The part of the brain where human faces are processed, for example, is called the fusiform gyrus and it appears to be a lot more active in super recognisers than the rest of us.

My research eventually took me to Essex, where I met a super recogniser called Emma. She only discovered her ability in her thirties, but she’d always had a good memory for faces, recognising someone in the swimming pool who had served her in Tesco’s years earlier, or spotting extras who kept on cropping up in different films. “It’s a bit embarrassing when you go up to someone familiar and smile and they look at you blankly because they don’t remember your face,” she says. Emma used to be in the Metropolitan Police but she now works a super recogniser for a private security firm. After a shift of spotting people, she’s mentally drained. “Your brain’s working overtime, taking screenshots all the time, scanning faces like a robot.”

Talking of robots, super recognisers are proving more than a match for facial recognition software, which is currently experiencing a global boom. The artificial intelligence algorithms deployed to identify faces, matching people in live situations to databases of criminals, are getting better, but it remains a far from exact science. When South Wales Police deployed facial recognition software at the Champions League Final in Cardiff in 2017, more than 2,000 people were wrongly identified as criminals – a failure rate of 92%.

Compare that with the success of super recognisers working for the Metropolitan Police. After the London riots in 2011, the Met amassed 200,000 hours of CCTV footage, but software managed to identify one criminal. One! The Met’s team of super recognisers, by contrast, identified more than 600. One extraordinary individual, PC Gary Collins, identified 180 alone, including a man who had concealed his face with a bandana and beanie. Collins recognised him from just his eyes – he’d last seen him two years ago.

“Algorithms will get better, but people change appearance and we as humans are primed to see through those changes,” says Josh Davis, professor of Applied Psychology at the University of Greenwich, who works closely with super recognisers and police forces around the world.

There’s something about the human face, it seems, that can’t be analysed solely by metrics. When we see someone, we imbue their face with meaning. He reminds me of my father; she looks like my old English teacher. The distance between our ears, or our mouth and nose, only tells half the story. Faces are uniquely human and humans – the super recognisers – remain, for the time being, the best at identifying them.

J.S.Monroe

J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was Weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full-time writer. Monroe is the author of eight novels, including the international bestseller, Find Me.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Suspense

Magpie Sophie Draper 4*#Review @sophiedraper9 @AvonBooksUK #FamilyDrama #Suspense #Folklore #Derbyshire #Secrets #Guilt #Loss #Domestic #Psychological #BlogTour #BookReview #PublicationDay

#Magpie

Claire lives with her family in a beautiful house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.

But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.

Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth?

A dark mystery with a twist

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#BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

I finished reading this story feeling incredibly sad, the ending is haunting, full of loss and wasted opportunity, and what if…

This story begins like the domestic thriller, I thought it would be, but it is essentially a suspenseful family drama. Claire’s home life is materially perfect, but under the surface, it is a maelstrom of claustrophobia, discontent and simmering hatred. She wants to escape, from her house’s emotionless perfection, and her empty marriage.

The story is told from Claire’s point of view, before and after Joe’s disappearance; her story is full of resentment, and as it is in the first person, intensely personal. Duncan’s point of view is after Joe’s disappearance, except for one later chapter. This is told in the third person, so his point of view is more objectively portrayed.

This is a family drama, interwoven with strange occurrences that echo what Claire is experiencing. She is an unreliable protagonist, tortured by a past secret, which has dominated her future life. Duncan is essentially an unlikeable character, abusive, and a serial philanderer. It is only when the reasons for this emerge that his behaviour becomes easier to understand. Joe their son is autistic, and he finds the coldness of his parent’s marriage hard to cope with, choosing solitude and the company of his dog in preference to theirs.

This is an unhappy, but believable story. The pace, for the most part, is slow, and the events ordinary and repetitive, because it portrays their life. The twists when revealed have more impact because of this.

The setting is atmospheric and described in detail. The folklore surrounding Claire and Duncan’s home provides an interesting strand of the story, and Claire is haunted by it, in her precarious emotional state.

Guilt and secrets underpin this drama, which is suspenseful, but not in the way you may expect. The ending is well-written and devastating. It draws all the plot threads, and the main characters together in a heartbreakingly tragic way, that resonates.

Poignant family drama, with a suspenseful thread, that explodes into an unexpectedly powerful conclusion.