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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

The Wild Girls Phoebe Morgan 4* #Review @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #PsychSuspense #Relationships #Friends #Botswana #TheWildGirls

In a luxury lodge on Botswana’s sun-soaked plains, four friends reunite for a birthday celebration…

  • THE BIRTHDAY GIRL: Has it all, but chose love over her friends…
  • THE TEACHER: Feels the walls of her flat and classroom closing in…
  • THE MOTHER: Loves her baby, but desperately needs a break…
  • THE INTROVERT: Yearns for adventure after suffering for too long…

Arriving at the safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They’re alone, in the wild.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is atmospheric psychological suspense that explores friendship, relationships, and secrets. The Wild Girls, four friends who grew up together, all different personalities but a close-knit friendship group until the night they weren’t. Two years later and no one is in contact. A surprise invitation to celebrate a birthday in Botswana brings back memories, some good, others troubling, but will they go? Of course, they do and find themselves in a hostile environment which quickly turns toxic.

The suspense building is good, but not enough is made of the Botswanan location. Told in three parts from multiview points some first-person, others third-person. The secrets are gradually revealed as the events of their estrangement become clear. The three women are unreliable protagonists and hard to empathise with. The story is well-plotted, and the final chapters are particularly twisty and impactful.

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

My Little Girl Shalini Boland 5*#Review @ShaliniBoland @Bookouture #Family #Secrets #Lies #Friendship #BookReview #psychsuspense #MyLittleGirl #FridayReads

Your daughter is missing. Did someone close to you take her?

Seven-year-old Beatrice has gone missing. Her mother Claire’s whole world has been turned upside down in just one moment and she can’t stop shaking. She’s desperate to find her precious daughter, but nothing about the day she disappeared makes sense…

The mother-in-law: Jill was meant to be looking after Beatrice. She says she didn’t take her eyes off the little girl but her version of events doesn’t add up… Claire has never got on with her, so why should she trust her now?

The husband: He should have been with their only child. Instead, he changed the plans without telling Claire. She didn’t think there were any secrets between them, but maybe she was wrong?

The first wife: Laurel has always been jealous of Claire’s family. Has her husband’s ex-wife taken her daughter?

Which one of them is lying? And who really knows where Beatrice is?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a compelling read. The author’s ability to take a traumatic incident and weave an ethos of menace and suspense is what makes her stories so addictive. Told from multi viewpoints, the reader gains insight into the two unreliable protagonists and the unknown antagonist.

The family unit is scrutinised, and the devastation a missing child causes is convincingly written. The believably written relationship dynamics immerse the reader into the characters’ traumatised world. The story keeps its secrets well, and although I did work out the antagonist, the author still has the final word.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, International Thriller, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

Vanished James Delargy 4* #Review @JDelargyAuthor @simonschusterUK #Vanished #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #PschSuspense #Thriller #Detective #Australia

From the groundbreaking author of 55 comes an extraordinary new thriller…

The Kane family, Lorcan, Naiyana and their young son, relocate from Perth to Kallayee, an abandoned mining town in the Great Victoria Desert to start over again, free from their chequered past. 
 
The town seems like the perfect getaway: Peaceful. Quiet. Remote. Somewhere they won’t be found.  
 
But life in Kallayee isn’t quite as straightforward as they hope. There are noises in the earth, mysterious shadows and tracks in the dust as if the town is coming back to life. 
 
But the family can’t leave. No one can talk sense into them.
 
And now, no one can talk to them at all.
 
They’ve simply vanished. 
 
Now it’s up to Detective Emmaline Taylor to find them… before it’s too late. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric, intriguing fusion of psychological thriller and police procedural. Written from multi viewpoints, it allows the reader an omnipotent insight into events both past and present from the unreliable protagonists’ viewpoint and that of the detective leading the investigation into their disappearance.

Based on betrayal, deceit and secrets, most of the characters are hard to like as they exhibit the worst side of humanity. The suspense-building uses sensory imagery to immerse the reader into the barren and unforgiving setting. This allows the reader insight into what the characters perceive and how it feels. Even ordinary occurrences are disturbing in the right circumstances.

The final twists are impactful and poignant.

James Delargy

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Therapist B.A.Paris 5*#Review @BAParisAuthor @HQStories #psychological #Suspense #domestic #relationships #secrets #lies #friendships #BlogTour #BookReview #TheTherapist #publicationday #PsychSuspense

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it.

Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The Therapist is an addictive blend of cleverly crafted characters, nail-biting psychological suspense and a puzzling plot. Alice and Leo move into the exclusive gated development in London to begin their lives together. Alice is unsure if London life will suit her, but Leo wants to live in London, and she wants to see more of him.

Told exclusively from Alice’s perspective, she soon reveals herself as an unreliable protagonist. A past family tragedy still defines her life, and she sees the change of lifestyle as a way of living again. Alice dislikes The Circle’s sinister ethos. A series of unexpected revelations intensify her emotional vulnerability to breaking point. Everyone has secrets, and Alice isn’t sure who she can trust. The house’s tragic history immerses Alice until her life starts to unravel, pushing her relentlessly towards danger.

Short passages from the past with undefinable characters intensify the sense of menace and suspense towards the climactic, twisted conclusion. The final shocking twist is well disguised. This is a book you won’t want to put down. It will have you checking you’ve locked the doors.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Revenge Fiction, Domestic Suspense, Family Drama, New Books, Psychological Suspense

The Perfect Nanny Karen Clarke, Amanda Brittany 4*#Review @HQStories @karenclarke123 @amandajbrittany @ThePSAA #psychsuspense #ThePerfectNanny #Revenge #BlogTour #BookReview

You trust her with your home, your husband, your baby… but she is about to destroy it all.

Sophy Pemberton is struggling to cope with the pressures of becoming a new mother. Her new-born son never settles in her arms and the unrelenting tiredness from late night feeds is all consuming.

So, when Liv Granger from the mother and baby group offers her services as a nanny, Sophy is overcome with relief. Now she can finally get some sleep… She can stop failing at being a mother.

But Liv has a secret. She is convinced that Sophy was accountable for her brother’s tragic death and she has been searching for her for years. And now that Liv’s found her, she’s outraged Sophy seems oblivious to the pain she has caused her family.

Sophy’s perfect house, perfect husband and perfect baby are too much for Liv to bear… and she’s going to make her pay.

THE PERFECT NANNY is an utterly gripping and suspenseful novel that will have you turning the pages long into the night!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is psychological suspense with a domestic setting that is told from two viewpoints Liv and Sophy.

Liv is targeting Sophy as she seeks revenge for the death of her brother. Sophy is struggling with motherhood, not helped by an over-enthusiastic mother-in-law and a constant state of exhaustion.

This is a multi-layered story, and whilst the revenge sub-plot is predictable, there is menace simmering elsewhere. Liv and Sophy are unreliable protagonists, but they are both victims, and the story has many poignant moments. Steady suspense building leads to a climactic ending with shocking twists and unlikely alliances. The story has a final terrible twist that resonates.

KAREN CLARKE writes romantic comedy novels and psychological suspense. When she’s not writing, she reads a lot, enjoys walking – which is good for plot-wrangling and ideas, watching Netflix, baking and eating cakes. And then more walking to work off the cakes.

AMANDA BRITTANY is the bestselling author of Her Last Lie and Tell the Truth, and her third psychological thriller, Traces of Her, was published in October 2019. Her debut, Her Last Lie, has raised almost £8,000 so far for Cancer Research UK from her eBook royalties, in memory of her sister. When she’s not writing, Amanda loves reading, walking, travelling and going to the theatre.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

The Invitation A.M.Castle 4*#Review @AliceMCastle @HQStories @ThePSAA #MurderMystery #psychological #suspense #BlogTour #BookReview #TheInvitation

Thirteen guests. One killer. No escape.

On an island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day, thirteen old friends meet at Tregowan Castle for a weekend of revelry.

By the next evening only twelve are still alive.

Amongst them is a killer – but who? As a storm traps them on the island and past betrayals and grievances are revealed, nerves fray and friendships begin to fracture.

But with no escape and no way of calling for help it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again. And when everyone is keeping secrets, anybody could be the next victim…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric and claustrophobic, this murder mystery and psychological suspense set in Cornwall is perfect for those who like armchair sleuthing. Four women who spent their university years together are reunited. Rachel, the host, has married well and shares a private island with her new husband. She has a plan, and from the outset, it’s apparent there are secrets to reveal and scores to settle, but when someone dies, the stakes are off the scale and the characters true natures revealed.

Flawed and unsympathetic characters define this mystery, and even though most are difficult to like, you want to know their stories and what happens to them. The story flows well, and the pace modulates with the action and suspense. There is a noir quality to this but within the framework of a classic murder mystery.

The setting works well, and the characters are relatable with enough surprises and twists to keep the reader guessing until the end.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Who Do You Trust? Kirsty Ferguson 4*#Review @kfergusonauthor @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #domestic #noir PsychologicalThriller #suspense #Trust #grief #love

A perfect sunny day, a family celebration, a heart-stopping hour that changes everything…

Dana has all she ever wanted – a husband she loves, her four-year-old daughter Kelsey who is the apple of her eye, and another baby on the way to complete her perfect family.


But then the worst fear that Dana has, comes true, and everything she thought she knew, she now starts to doubt. As her world comes crashing around her, who can Dana trust?  


Her husband Logan who seems to be getting worryingly close to Dana’s best friend Pippa?
Her new friend Melanie who has a sinister habit of turning up in the strangest places?


Her parents and her sister, who Dana knows are keeping a terrible secret from her?


Matt, who says he’s Dana’s friend, but sometimes she’s not so sure?
Or will Dana discover that it’s a dangerous mistake to trust anyone…

Join Kirsty Ferguson on this heart-stopping, plot-twisting, roller coaster read.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A twisty domestic noir where a tragic event leaves the main protagonist (Dana) vulnerable. Devastated, she doesn’t feel supported by her family and friends. This story explores the darker side of human nature when faced with unexpected tragedy. Most of the characters are unsympathetic, and it’s hard to empathise with them.

Dana is portrayed as an unreliable protagonist, but is she? Her grief and lack of emotional support push her to seek solace from people who have suffered similarly. This introduces new characters, increasing the story’s intensity and builds suspense. The writing is immersive told from Dana’s viewpoint and other characters’ perspectives. Many of the unlikeable characters appear superficial.

The final twists are chilling and dramatic.

Who Do You Trust? – Kirsty Ferguson – Extract

The dark-haired woman sat in the passenger seat of the old station wagon drumming her fingers along the arm rest. Dana was slightly annoyed with her husband, Logan, for making them late. She glanced in the back seat at their four-year-old daughter, Kelsey, who had fallen asleep, mouth open, summer sunlight streaming in on her pretty face. They were driving out to Dana’s parents’ property on the other side of town and they were running behind schedule. Looking out of the window at the bush bordering either side of the road, the sun glinting off the barbed-wire fences, Dana was reminded of her idyllic childhood. The rolled-down window allowed the sounds of the bush, trees groaning together, birds cawing overhead, the scent of the earth, to permeate the car. 

Logan drove down the rutted driveway towards the house, pulling up in a cloud of dust. Dana followed him as he took a still-sleeping Kelsey from the back seat and carried her into the spare bedroom. She watched as her husband laid her on the bed gently. Dana then kissed Kelsey’s forehead softly and left the door ajar so she could hear if she called out. 

Logan considered his job done and didn’t help Dana unpack the car, leaving her to carry in the camp chair, the salads and Kelsey’s bag. All Logan cared about was getting his cooler full of beer into the back yard where his brother-in-law, James, was already setting up his chair. He had positioned himself downwind of the BBQ where Dana’s father, Robert, was grilling hamburgers, sausages and onions for lunch, while her mother, Mischa, cut and buttered rolls, putting them in a colourful bowl on the wooden table that sat under the shade of the veranda. 

‘Hi, Mum, Dad,’ Dana said as she hurried through the front door, giving them a kiss in turn, then hugging her mum awkwardly with one arm, a potato salad wedged under her other arm. 

‘Let me take that for you before you drop it,’ her mum said, grasping the purple container and putting it on the table. Things were still strained between Dana and her mother, but Dana viewed the BBQ as a chance to repair, to heal the wounds she carried. Logan was supposed to be an emotional support to her today, but it looked as if he was going to be no help as he was already getting drunk with James. 

‘You’re late, love. Lunch is nearly ready. Thought you’d gotten lost,’ her mum said, pointedly looking at the table already covered with food. 

‘Sorry, Mum, someone just had to finish watching the game.’ She threw her husband an exasperated look. They’d argued for half an hour before they’d even left the house. She knew Logan loved her, Dana had never doubted his love, not one bit, and he was a great father, but sometimes she wanted to wring his neck. Dana had wanted to leave on time to arrive before her mum and dad sat down to eat. 

‘It’s OK, you’re here now and that’s all that matters. Have you said hello to your sister yet?’ her mum asked, striving for casual and failing. She looked at Dana through her lowered lashes, not able to meet her daughter’s penetrating gaze. Dana knew how hard this was for her mum, knowing the part she had played in their bitter argument, but Dana was ready to try and work through it with her. 

Kirsty Ferguson

Kirsty Ferguson is an Australian crime writer whose domestic noir stories centre around strong women and dark topical themes. Kirsty enjoys photography, visiting haunted buildings and spending time with her son. Her first book for Boldwood was Never Ever Tell published in June 2020.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Extract, Noir, Suspense

The Ex Diane Saxon 5*#Review @Diane_Saxon @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Extract #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #suspense #DSJennaMorgan #TheEx #psychological #Family

Sometimes your past just won’t let go…
As a heat wave grips the country, DS Jenna Morgan is called to a domestic incident at the home of a young family in Ironbridge.

Pregnant Imelda Cheetham-Epstein has been found unconscious by her husband, Zak with serious head injuries. 

When Jenna arrives on the scene, she discovers something even more disturbing – the couple’s eleven-month-old son, Joshua, is missing and the race against time begins to find him.

Is this an accident or something more sinister?

Are the two incidents linked?

Or has something in the Cheetham-Epstein’s past caught up with them?

Diane Saxon is back with a gripping new psychological crime novel.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I’ve read all the books in this series so far, and it’s an addictive mix of police procedural and psychological suspense. The multi-layered plot encompasses a police investigation into an injured woman and a missing child. The second perspective is the antagonist’s gaining insight into their state of mind, and motivation which is chilling and compelling.

The story’s pacing reflects the steadiness and unpredictability of the police investigation and the intensity of the antagonist’s actions and moods. The police team dynamic is authentic, and the believably written personal interactions balance the noir crime themes.

The suspense builds to an unexpected twist.

Diane Saxon

Diane Saxon previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to writing psychological crime. Find Her Alive was her first novel in this genre and introduced series character DS Jenna Morgan. She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.

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Extract from The Ex – Diane Saxon

Emily Shenton punched open the door to the deserted ladies’ room with the heel of her hand and stormed inside before it rebounded off the wall and slammed shut behind her. 

The emptiness inside still failed to block out the rhythmic thud of music and only dimmed the laughter and conversation of over eighty people at the company’s summer ball. 

She hated them. Every single one of them. The gossipmongers who couldn’t wait to spread their vileness under the guise of good wishes and happy vibes. When they knew. They all knew. 

Temper spilled from her. A foetid pus spreading from the core of her in a boiling, seething mass. 

She tipped her head back and drank straight from the full bottle of rosé she’d swiped from a deserted table on her way past. No one would notice, no one would care. She’d no idea why the company insisted on paying for so much wine – red, white and rosé – when most of the men wanted beer, for God’s sake. The women preferred red or Prosecco and the rosé was left for the waiters to sweep away at the end of the night. Lucky bloody waiters. 

She stepped into the oversized disabled cubicle and balled up the skirt of her black gown with one hand as she slapped her back against the chill of the wall and slid down until her backside met the floor. Sweat slicked the back of her knees as she pressed them flat to the floor tiles to absorb every bit of coolness. Heat pulsed through her chest and up her neck as she tore into the fine organza material of the overskirt, ripping weak nails until they were jagged. Tears burnt the back of her eyes as she ground her teeth and took another slug of wine. 

She wished she’d never come. Wished she’d never overheard it. That’s why she avoided these functions like the plague. She hated the gossip, preferred to keep to herself and block out the voices. But she’d felt good. Strong. 

So strong, she’d decided not to take her medication. 

Again. 

Tears filled her eyes and washed over her vision. 

It wasn’t lack of medication that had her temper surging. It was the damned infernal gossip. 

Bastards! 

Why couldn’t they keep their mouths shut? 

They had to know she’d been stood on the edge of the circle when Chris Whittington raised his glass and hee-hawed like the ass he was as he brayed his drunken words. ‘Here’s to Zak Cheetham-Epstein and his new wife, Imelda.’ 

Nausea clawed the back of her throat. 

How was it so many of them knew Zak, had evidently kept in contact? 

Zak. The love of her life. The only man she’d truly loved. 

There’d been others before him, of course there had, but they’d faded into insignificance in the heat of her adoration for Zak. 

The bottle clinked as she placed it on the tiled floor at her side. She covered her face with her hands, a helpless moan slipped from her lips as the familiar hissing sound swirled around her head. ‘For God’s sake!’ She tried to push it back, but it was insistent. The sound of a seashell shushing, filling her mind so she could no longer concentrate. She rolled her head from side to side, her hot, florid face couched in the palms of her sweaty hands. 

She’d never forgive him for leaving. Leaving the company. 

Leaving her. 

But she knew. Knew he still loved her. He had to. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Revenge Fiction, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Two Wrongs Mel McGrath 4*#Review @HQStories #Psychological #suspense #Revenge #TwoWrongs #BlogTour #BookReview #urban #fiction

One girl jumped. And then another followed… 

In the city of Bristol, young women are dying in mysterious circumstances. The deaths look like suicides – but are they something more sinister? Honor is terrified that her daughter might be next.  

But as she looks for clues as to what really happened to the girls, she stumbles upon a link to a dark secret in her own past – one that she’s kept from her daughter.  

Now Honor has the chance to avenge her child for the terrible events of years ago. But how far will she go to protect her daughter and right the wrongs done to her family? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is slow-building psychological suspense that explores important contemporary themes through the three different character viewpoints. It begins dramatically, but it’s what lies beneath that makes this addictive reading. The mother-daughter dynamic is well written and counterbalances the abuse, betrayal and deceit revealed.

The three main characters are carefully and realistically crafted, and they drive this story forward.