Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Revenge Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Couple Upstairs Shalini Boland 5*#Review @ShaliniBoland @bookouture #Relationships #Secrets #Lies #Friendship #BookReview #psychsuspense #TheCoupleUpstairs

Our new home was supposed to be a chance to leave our past behind. But was moving here the worst mistake of our lives?

All our friends and family were gathered, glasses raised to toast our fresh start. It should have been a night for happiness and celebration. Zac and I had worked so hard for this: our first home together, just minutes from the sea. But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare…

We’d invited our neighbours too. I wanted to make a good impression – to show them we’re exactly the sort of people they want living on their street.

I hadn’t thought about who they might be, the strangers I was letting in.

It was going so well. There was laughter in the air and the wine was flowing. But then I noticed the narrowed eyes, the whispers.

And then the lights went out.

As my heart thumped in my chest, all the little things that had been going wrong since we moved here flashed through my mind: the food poisoning, the arguments, the flood of nasty reviews shaking my business.

Am I going crazy? Or is someone trying to destroy us?

From the USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes an absolutely heart-thumping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Supremely confident psychological suspense with an unreliable protagonist, a supposedly idyllic community setting that is not quite what it seems and a manipulative and twisted antagonist. I love this author’s books because there is always an unexpected twist. For regular readers, the fun is trying to guess who isn’t what they seem.

Classic, domestic suspense with the expected underlying edge of menace. What seems obvious is twisted until it is unrecognisable and the threat real. The perfect book if you like your psychological suspense atmospheric and well-written.

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

My Sweet Girl Amanda Jayatissa 4*#Review @AmandaJayatissa @HodderBooks @BerkleyPub #BookReview #MySweetGirl #psychological #suspense #PsychologicalThriller #friendship #secrets #family #contemporaryfiction

A girl in a new country.

A dark secret left behind.

A dead body which might tell all.

Ever since she was adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka, Paloma has led a privileged Californian life: the best schools, a generous allowance and parents so perfect that Paloma fears she’ll never live up to them.

Now at thirty, Paloma has managed to disappoint her parents so thoroughly that their relationship will never recover. Unemployed and friendless, the only person still talking to her is Arun – the Indian man subletting her spare room. That is until Arun discovers Paloma’s darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her fragile place in this country, and the next day is found face down in a pool of blood.

On finding Arun’s body Paloma flees her apartment. But by the time the police arrive, there’s no body to be found or signs of struggle – and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place.

The police may be quick to dismiss everything, but Paloma knows what she saw. Is this tangled up in her childhood in Sri Lanka and the desperate actions she took to leave so many years ago? And did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?


Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An intense and twisty psychological thriller told in dual timelines. Present-day San Francisco finds Paloma’s life in a desperate freefall. The reasons why gradually emerge intricately tied to her childhood in an orphanage in Sri Lanka. Paloma is an unreliable protagonist, drinking too much alcohol whilst taking prescription drugs for her mental health issues. She is intelligent and likeable but is on a self-destructive path. There is a resonating, supernatural element in this story. Beginning in her past Sri Lankan life, becoming increasingly disturbing in her adult life. Delusional, a clever revengeful illusion, or something more menacing? The reader doesn’t know until the final revelations.

Relentless pacing keeps the reader turning the pages. It allows little time to peruse the evidence. The plot keeps its secrets well the reveals are few but impactful. Amidst the sinister and supernatural,` there is a poignant ethos surrounding the main protagonist. It shows her loneliness and vulnerability.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

For Your Own Good Samantha Downing 4*#Review @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks @smariedowning #thriller #crime #suspense #PsychSuspense #ForYourOwnGood #Teacher #School #noircrime #humour

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant. Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud – though if they stopped to think, they would realise no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when he doesn’t let anything distract him – even the tragic death of a school parent. Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day. You’re sure you can prove it.

You just didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind..

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK – Michael Joseph Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review

My Thoughts…

A deliciously irreverent, multi-viewpoint novel that focuses on a disturbing teacher and his questionable methods. Witty humour mitigates the menacing ethos. Easily visualised, vivid characters have unreliable viewpoints that mar the reader’s omnipotent view. This is a story about control, power and wealth.

Gently paced and introspective but with humour, it delivers an addictive, page-turning read.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Couple at No. 9 Claire Douglas 5* #Review @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks @Dougieclaire #PsychologicalThriller #Crime #FamilyDrama #suspense #preorder

It was the house of their dreams. Until the bodies were found . . .

BODIES FOUND UNDER PATIO

When pregnant Saffron Cutler moves into 9 Skelton Place with boyfriend Tom and sets about renovations the last thing she expects is builders uncovering a body – two bodies, in fact.

POLICE INVESTIGATE

Forensics indicate the bodies have been buried at least thirty years. Nothing Saffy need worry herself over. Until the police launch a murder investigation and ask to speak to the cottage’s former owner – her grandmother, Rose.

OWNER QUESTIONED

Rose is in a care home and Alzheimer’s means her memory is increasingly confused. She can’t help the police but it is clear she remembers something.

A KILLER AT LARGE?

As Rose’s fragmented memories resurface, and the police dig ever deeper, Saffy fears she and the cottage are being watched.

What happened thirty years ago?

Why did no one miss the victims?

What part did her grandmother play?

And is Saffy now in danger?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Books – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric, chilling and poignant, this psychological suspense is a page-turning read. It’s a family drama spanning three generations with timeslips back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time I lived through.

The main protagonists are flawed and relatable, making the menacing events and revelations resonate. The twists are impactful with some, easier to work out than others. The balance of pacing and the gradual revealing of the lies and secrets keeps the reader absorbed until the end.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Gothic Fiction, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Rock Paper Scissors Alice Feeney 5*#Review @HQStories @alicewriterland #RockPaperScissors #psychologicalsuspense #Marriage #anniversary #Relationships #secrets #lies #Holiday #BookReview #publicationday

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Reading this story is like opening Pandora’s box, compelling, creepy and full of unexpected consequences.

In an attempt to rescue their marriage after ten years, Amelia and Adam head to the remote Scottish Highlands. It’s clear from the beginning both have secrets and that they dislike each other. The setting is atmospheric and claustrophobic, and the writer’s excellent use of sensory imagery immerses the reader in the gothic setting.

Told from Amelia, Adam and later Robin’s viewpoints, the reader has an omnipotent view of the character’s motivations, but all three are unreliable, so who can you trust? There is also a series of secret letters which give the reader something to think about.

As the story progresses, the twists intensify. This story keeps you gripped until the very last word. You unravel part of the truth, but there is always more to discover. The characters are complex, damaged by their pasts, and have many unlikeable traits. Despite these, this story has a poignant ethos drawing the reader’s empathy.

The ending is believable, impactful and thought-provoking.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Horror Fiction, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Thriller

The Runner P.R.Black 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @PatBlack9 #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #horror #BlogTour #TheRunner #BookReview

You can’t escape him.

He abducts lone joggers and forces them to run for their lives. When he catches them, he pulls out his blade…

Now he’s locked away and will be in prison for years. They call him a psychopath, a murderer, the ‘Woodcutter Killer’.

But what if you just found out you’re supposed to call him father?

Amazon UK Kobo Google Play iBooks

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

My Thoughts…

This is powerful psychological suspense with authentic characters and a compelling investigation that is addictive reading. Freya finds out her previously unknown father is in prison and possibly a notorious killer. She is determined to discover the truth. What follows is a true-crime investigation with two unlikely detectives and some grisly discoveries. Some of the descriptions are graphic but are integral to the twisty plot and impactful ending.

Pat Black is kind to spiders.

He is the author of The Long Dark Road and the Amazon bestsellers, The Beach House and The Family.

His short stories have been shortlisted for awards including the Bridport Prize and the Bloody Scotland short story competition. He was also longlisted for the William Hazlitt essay prize.

He was named one of the winners of The Daily Telegraph’s Ghost Stories competition, and his work has been performed on stage in London by Liars’ League.

He lives in Yorkshire, but will always belong to Glasgow. He knows full well what your opinions are about people who talk about themselves in the third person.

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

Sleepless Romy Hausmann 4* #Review @QuercusBooks #RomyHausmann @JoeChristie #Sleepless #BlogTour #BookReview #PsychSuspense

It’s over, my angel. Today I’m going to die. Just like her. He’s won.

It’s been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she’s wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven – free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja’s boss – kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can’t seem to be able to refuse.

The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer . . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an intricately plotted psychological suspense with complex characters, all of which have noir traits. The story builds from several seemingly unrelated sub-plots into a rich tapestry of darkness.

The characters are hard to like, but it’s difficult not to sympathise with the main protagonist at some points in the story. The detailed plot is a challenging read, but the slow and somewhat disparate beginning clarifies and intensifies as the story progresses. The use of sensory imagery makes this a vivid reading experience.

Romy Hausmann was born in East Germany in 1981. At the age of twentyfour she became chief editor at a film production company in Munich. Since the birth of her son, Romy has been working as a freelancer in television.

Her thriller debut, Dear Child, became a number one bestseller in Germany and is being published in twenty countries.

Sleepless is her second thriller. Romy lives with her family in a remote house in the woods near Stuttgart

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

The Bridesmaid Nina Manning 5*#Review @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks #Psychological #Suspense #Friendship #Secrets #Lies #Psychsuspense @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #TheBridesmaid #BlogTour #BookReview #publicationday @claire_fenby

‘Promise me? If you hear any secrets, never tell me. That would make you a most treasured friend. More than a friend really. You’re almost like a sister to me…’

Your best friend….

From the moment they met as children, Sasha knew that beautiful, wealthy, and confident Caitlin would always be her absolute best friend.  Sasha would do anything to make Caitlin happy.  

Even keep her darkest secrets…

The years have passed, but their friendship remains.  And when Caitlin announces she’s getting married there is only one choice for the role of bridesmaid.  

Sasha will make sure Caitlin’s wedding is as beautiful and perfect as she is.  Won’t she? 

Your worst nightmare?

But Sasha is growing tired of always being in Caitlin’s shadow  – always the bridesmaid, never the bride.  And as the big day approaches, cracks begin to appear between the two woman.  Secrets and lies swirl between the two friends like confetti. Both of them are hiding dark secrets, both of them are lying. 

Could the secrets that once bound these two friends, rip them apart for good?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Toxic friendships, dysfunctional families and class divide are all explored in this psychological suspense. Three timelines are woven together to deliver an absorbing story that has many noir elements. Sasha’s friendship with Caitlin is unequal at best. The two girls are divided by class and familial expectations. Sasha’s family works at the house, Caitlin is the owner’s treasured granddaughter. The story of how the girls meet and grow up together is merged with a fateful birthday party where everything changes and the wedding where revenge is sought and revelations abound.

The characterisation is good, but Caitlin and Sasha still manage to keep their secrets until the end. There are many disturbing themes explored believably in this story. Poignant and shocking with a surprising ending.

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

Read my review of The Guilty Wife

Read my review of The Housemate

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

The Marriage K. L.Slater 5*#Review @bookouture @KimLSlater #BookReview #newbooks #PschSuspense #Mansfield #Nottinghamshire #TheMarriage

Ten years ago he killed my son. Today I married him.

Ten years ago my darling son Jesse was murdered and our perfect family was destroyed. My strong, handsome boy, so full of life, became a memory, a photo I carried with me everywhere.

But today I’m finally close to finding happiness again. My ash-blonde hair has been curled into ringlets. Carefully placed white flowers frame my delicate features. The small, drab chapel has been prettied up with white satin, and there are tiny red hearts scattered on the small table where I will soon sign the register with my new husband.

The man who killed my son.

My friends and family can’t understand it. My neighbours whisper in the street whenever I walk past. How can I love a man like Tom?

They don’t really know me at all…

Amazon UK

The most unputdownable psychological thriller you’ll read this year from the bestselling author K.L. Slater.

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

My Thoughts…

In a genre brimming with talent, this story stands out.

The Marriage draws the reader in with its scandalous and shocking blurb. The story that unfolds has depth, poignancy and countless twists and is addictive reading. I am familiar with the story’s setting, and the author captures the ethos convincingly.

Told from multiview points, the reader gains insight into the characters’ emotions and motivations. Both of the main protagonists are unreliable. The reader doesn’t know who to empathise with or who to trust. The plot explores Bridget and Jill’s friendship and what happens after the tragedy, illuminating the current storyline.

Relatable characters, contemporary issues, and a plot that keeps its secrets make this an engaging read. The final twists and positive conclusion are a satisfying end to an absorbing story.

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

The Players Darren O’Sullivan 5* #Review @darrensully @HQStories #PsychSuspense #PsychologicalThriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #suspense #ThePlayers

A stranger has you cornered.

They call themselves The Host.

You are forced to play their game.

In it one person can live and the other must die.

You are the next player. You have a choice to make.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy your crime fiction addictive and sinister, this book will keep your turning the pages. It involves a series of deadly games where every move has a consequence. The concepts of good and evil are explored, as the players are faced with moral dilemmas with life-changing results. The games are violent and vividly described but only to build the suspense and ethos of terror.

The reader gains insight into The Host’s mind and their pursuer DI Karen Holt, a suspended police officer who is still reeling emotionally from her latest case. Karen is a strong but unreliable protagonist and the best chance of catching The Host. This is a disturbing, immersive and shocking read, but it’s the question, what would you do in this situation? That resonates.

The intensity increases with each game, every outcome tinged with poignancy, until it reaches its climactic conclusion.