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

Amazon UK

#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.

Posted in Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Family Upstairs Lisa Jewell 4* #Review @arrowpublishing @lisajewelluk @PenguinUKBooks #CornerstoneDigital #Century #FamilyDrama #DomesticThriller #Noir #Psychological #Suspense

In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.

In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note.

They’ve been dead for several days.

Who has been looking after the baby?

And where did they go?

Two entangled families.
A house with the darkest of secrets.

Amazon UK

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House- Cornerstone- Century via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Complex, damaged characters, a terrible tragedy, an innocent survivor, and a house full of secrets. Told from three points of view, the dark and suspenseful family drama is painstakingly revealed, through the eyes of the people who were there.

The relentless plot conceals as much as it reveals, evil is an undercurrent of this story, but it’s also about weakness, survival and emotional damage.

The contemporary, urban setting gives the plot its authenticity. In the current culture of child abuse scandals, the terrible events explored, and their outcome, seem credible and are all the more chilling because of this.

The story has a transparency that I didn’t expect. You can unpick what happened through the three narratives, and I did manage to unravel most of it, but you are never sure if the protagonists are reliable. They are emotionally damaged children, victims of abusive treatment.

The characters are well written, you do empathise with them, and dislike those who should have been taking care of them.

‘The Family Upstairs’ is a noir family drama, with a realistic contemporary setting and layers of suspense and emotional angst, that make you believe that it could really happen, in a world where no one looks too deeply into the inhabitants and events of the house next door.

Posted in Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Suspense

The Most Difficult Thing – Charlotte Philby @HarperFiction @BoroughPress @philbycharlotte @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #domesticsuspense #spy #psychologicalthriller 4* #Review #TheMostDifficultThing

On the surface, Anna Witherall personifies everything the aspirational magazine she works for represents. Married to her university boyfriend David, she has a beautiful home and gorgeous three-year-old twin daughters, Stella and Rose. But beneath the veneer of success and happiness, Anna is hiding a dark secret, one that threatens to unravel everything she has worked so hard to create.

As Anna finds herself drawn into the dark and highly controlled world of secret intelligence, she is forced to question her family’s safety, and her own. Only one thing is certain: in order to protect her children, she must leave them, forever. 

And someone is watching. Someone she thought she could trust. Someone who is determined to make them all pay.

Amazon UK

Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

A complex fusion of psychological and spy thriller with domestic suspense makes ‘The Most Difficult Thing’ an intriguing, poignant, riveting read.

Anna is leaving her children, her husband, her successful career because she has no choice, but does she? Told from Anna and later Maria’s points of view, the story moves between the present and the past exploring how Anna finds herself with such a terrible choice.

Anna is an unreliable protagonist, emotionally damaged from a tragic accident in her past, and her parents’ reaction to it, she seeks anonymity at university, changing her name, family background and meeting Meg and David. Her choices are always questionable once she leaves university. Ripe for manipulation, and craving acceptance and love, her life is tangled in a web of deceit and dangerous secrets that threaten her life and her sanity.

Maria is out for revenge and finds the opportunity for it in a fatalistic way.

The story is detailed, with many timeline changes. The menacing ethos of the plot is disturbing, the evil of rich, politically connected individuals, uses the protagonists as pawns in a chess game. The sense of hopelessness and loss is profound, but there is enlightenment in unexpected places and a glimmer of a chance of justice for the victims.

There are many twists in this story, some expected, some not. Particularly in the closing chapters, the story is challenging, you need to concentrate, otherwise, you will miss the clues to discover the true state of events. The book ends with a question, about Anna’s future, which could go either way.

Posted in Book Review, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

My Sister is Missing – #4*Review – Carissa Ann Lynch @HarperImpulse @KillerReads @carissaannlynch

A twenty-year-old local mystery that has never been solved.

A bone-chilling VHS tape depicting a horrific crime.

Neighbors with something to hide.

And a sister who is missing.

Emily has to find out the truth. But is her sister Madeline the victim…or the one to blame?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric tale, with a small town setting, twisty plot and well-crafted characters. Excellent pacing and flow make this such an absorbing and easy read. 

Told from Emily’s point of view, as she answers her sister’s request to return to her home town after many years of absence, you discover that Emily is not keen to return, but the reasons why only become clear as the story progresses.

Ordinary events take on sinister connations and everyone has secrets. Emily’s fear and not knowing who to trust comes across well in this story. She feels alone and vulnerable, but this is what makes her determined to solve her sister’s disappearance, whatever the personal cost.

A good domestic suspense novel, that draws the reader in, from the first page.