Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Death in Smoke Barbara Elle #CoverReveal @barbaraelleauth #TheCapeMysteries @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebookstours #Mystery #MurderMystery #cozymystery #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #psychologicalthriller #Suspense

Amazon UK

She stumbled on a bloodied body buried in a snowbank. Will a cold case in Kansas lead her to the killer?

Against a canvas of crime and murder, artist and detective Leila Goodfriend investigates two brutal murders that happened a thousand miles—and decades apart. 

As she unravels the truth about these two violent killings, she tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a perilous past. From Cape Cod to a casino in Kansas, Leila has to trust her instincts. And her developing relationship with Detective John Grace is put to a new, dangerous test. 

Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder. 

She exposes new suspects and clues, and in the end, reveals a dark, deadly secret from her own past.

Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across time, challenging your assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery. 

Goodreads

In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers publishers and as a freelance journalist.

Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories. 

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often travelling the world with her touring musician husband, bass player and musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Noir, Psychological Thriller

I Will Make You Pay Teresa Driscoll 5*#Review @TeresaDriscoll @AmazonPub #Revenge #Secrets #Journalist #Investigator #Mystery #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #Stalker #BookReview

Every Wednesday, like clockwork, the terror returns.

It seems like an ordinary Wednesday, until the phone rings. A mysterious caller with a chilling threat. Journalist Alice Henderson hangs up, ready to dismiss it as a hoax against the newspaper. But the next Wednesday, the stalker makes another move—and it becomes clear that this is all about Alice.

Someone wants her to suffer, but for what? Her articles have made her a popular local champion—could it be her past rather than her work that’s put her life in danger? Alice is determined not to give in to fear, but with the police investigation at a dead end, her boyfriend insists on hiring private investigator Matthew Hill.

With every passing Wednesday, the warnings escalate until it’s not only Alice but also her family in the stalker’s sights. As her tormentor closes in, can Alice uncover what she’s being punished for before the terrifying threats become an unthinkable reality?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Authentic and addictive, this story explores what it’s like to be the focus of a stalker. The suspense builds from the first disturbing, unexpected contact and ends in a heart-pounding conclusion.

Alice, the journalist fulfils the role of an unreliable protagonist. She hates feeling vulnerable, not being able to live her life as she wants to. Her independence is gradually eroded. Her family is small but supportive and she is protective of them. The familial love is a strong theme of this story in both viewpoints portrayed. Alice has secrets, which are not immediately obvious but make her unreliable.

The character notated as ‘Him’, you presume is the antagonist. His story is poignant but increasingly menacing. Again familial love is a predominant theme, but here it takes a dark focus. The plot has many twists and viable suspects. Multiple plot strands, make the investigation complicated, for the police and the reader.

For those who have read the author’s previous book ‘The Promise’, Mathew Hill, the investigator is also a pivotal character in this story. His family life with wife Sally we first met in ‘The Promise’, and his lively daughter, provide light relief, in this often dark story.

This is a page-turning read. Alice is easy to empathise, and you feel her fear and frustration. The plot is relatable and clever, there are no loose ends, with it’s just ending. There is a poignant echo of the sad little boy you meet early in the story.

Posted in New Books, Cover Reveal, Murder Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Death in Vermilion Barbara Elle #CoverReveal @barbaraelleauth @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebookstours #DeathinVermillion #Mystery #MurderMystery #cozymystery #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #psychologicalthriller

A psychological thriller about murder among friends and enemies. 

Who can you trust?

Leila Goodfriend is laying down the bones of a painting. When interrupted by Iris, the noisy, unlikeable artist in the studio upstairs, Leila is distracted and annoyed.

When she discovers the racket was actually Iris’ dead body hitting the floor, Leila becomes obsessed: Who murdered Iris?

The other Red Barn Cooperative artists — competitive, jealous and hypocritical — are prime suspects. They all hated Iris. “An artist owes his life to his art,” Iris said.

Iris was good for a laugh. But no one is laughing now.

In this gripping mystery, new author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a charming Cape Cod town.

Alibis fall apart. Plot twists multiply. And Leila comes to a dangerous conclusion.

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Barbara Elle

In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers publishers and as a freelance journalist.

Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories. 

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often travelling the world with her touring musician husband, bass player and musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

Posted in Cover Reveal, New Books, Psychological Thriller

The Heatwave Katerina Diamond #CoverReveal @AvonBooksUK @TheVenemousPen #PsychologicalThriller #25June20 #SurviveTheHeatwave

One summer. One stranger. One killer…

It can’t happen here…’

But what if it does – twice?

In their sleepy seaside town, Jasmine and Felicity have only ever felt safe.

Until Jasmine’s parents invite a stranger to stay, and they sense something about him isn’t right.

Tim is watching them both.

And then their community is rocked by a disappearance…

Years later, a second girl goes missing in her hometown, and Felicity is forced to return to face the truth.

A predator is stalking the streets. And only she holds the answers.

PRE-ORDER NOW: the unmissable new standalone thriller from the bestselling author of The Teacher and Woman in the Water

Amazon UK

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

The Killer Inside Cass Green 4* #Review @carolinesgreen @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #CrimeFiction #FamilyDrama #PsychologicalThriller #Suspense #BookReview

You love me. But do you really know me?

A perfect childhood
You were the golden girl. The apple of your parents’ eyes. My beautiful, clever wife.
 A perfect marriage
I would do anything for you. But some things about me must stay hidden.
 A perfect liar
One summer afternoon, it all begins to unravel. Because I’m not the only one with terrible secrets to hide.
 And when the truth comes out, it seems we both have blood on our hands…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The beginning concentrates the mind wonderfully. The reader knows something bad has happened, but not what. The remainder of the novel charts events up to that point. About three-quarters of the way through, I knew the outcome, but this just increased the menace and poignancy of the last part of the story.

The characters are multi-layered. Told from multi-points of view, in the past and present. There are two distinct plot threads, seemingly unconnected, but integral. Persevere, with the seemingly unconnected beginning, all will become clear.

Powerful, poignant psychological suspense, merged with family drama, it’s believable and intense. There is a deeply ingrained sadness to this story, as well as the disturbing compelling elements. Whilst the ending isn’t a surprise, its inevitability does resonate.

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

The Beach House P.R.Black 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @PatBlack9 #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller #Holiday #Secrets #Lies #CrimeFiction #noir #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview #MondayBlogs #MondayBlues

This vacation is about to turn deadly…

 Cora’s on the island vacation of her dreams: a private beach in paradise, a romantic proposal, and an eight-figure cheque following the sale of her new fiancé’s business.

When their island turns out to be not so private after all, Cora tries to make the best of a bad situation by inviting their strangely friendly neighbours to celebrate with them.

But it doesn’t take long for her once-in-a-lifetime holiday to take a very sinister turn…

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…

From the blurb, the reader knows that this is not the idyllic holiday you’d expect, but nothing prepares you for the twists and turns that appear with increasing alacrity as the story progresses.

Cora and Jonathan are on a dream holiday, Cora seems unsure whether she wants to be there. Jonathan is full of surprises, and it seems that life is on track. Until, their exclusive holiday retreat becomes crowded, with another couple, and they can’t fail to see the resemblance to themselves.

The story has a strong technological theme, which adds depth and complexity to the plot.

Progressing, through Cora’s point of view, things start to spiral in an increasingly uncomfortable way. The characters are believable and complex. They are not what they appear to be on the surface.

Cora is an unreliable narrator, and as the story progresses, she presents a hidden side to her character. Flashbacks to incidents in her past illuminate and reinforce her present actions. The last part of the story is an adrenaline rush, and at times full of confusion.

Even at the end, I still wasn’t sure I’d understood everything, but that’s what you want from a psychological thriller.

An absorbing, addictive read.

Guest Post : Smiling assassins By Pat Black

The psychopathic, murderous villains in my new novel The Beach House drew inspiration from a lovely couple we met on holiday.

When I’m on holiday I tend to stick to my own pen. I wouldn’t say I was unfriendly, but I am guarded. I realise this doesn’t reflect well on me, but bitter experience has taught me to be wary.

I remember one couple I got to know on holiday years ago who passed out business cards and tried to flog their home renovation business at every opportunity. This was odd enough – before the boorish male in that pairing then made some utterly jaw-dropping comments about the looks of a woman as part of a third couple who joined the group. I was astounded at the cheek, and the fact the woman just smiled and laughed at these comments, instead of absolutely battering him. “People like that actually exist! In the real world!”

Another couple on an overnight boat trip didn’t realise I was joking when I was… making jokes. It’s not like any of the daft comments and dad-on-holiday patter were certificate X, either. It was a bit like explaining that, you know, it doesn’t really matter why the chicken wanted to cross the road, or what might have awaited it on the other side. Now imagine that sort of scrutiny after every utterance. “It’s your accent,” the woman explained later, as if that explained anything.

So, I’ve learned. I’m happy enough drinking cocktails in our own group of two, reading a stack of books on my tod, worrying about sharks while we go for a swim in a pair, and forming our own pub quiz team.

Then one night (a while ago now, mind you; pre-kids anyway), we were approached by this cracking couple from the South West. The shutters went up immediately, but then something strange happened: I lightened up, and we… Well. We made friends. They were loads of fun. They didn’t want anything from us. They got my jokes, and I got theirs. Importantly, they also knew not to crowd us – I looked forward to having a drink with them at night back at the hotel, and was genuinely sorry to see them go home, a couple of days before we did.

Hey – maybe for them, we were the weirdos?

It was a nice, human experience. So of course my imagination twisted this into something unpleasant for The Beach House.

I wondered what would happen if you had genuinely evil people try to befriend you on holiday – evil people with an evil purpose. And you couldn’t easily extricate yourself from the situation. When your own sense of manners and social skills over-ride your instincts, which might have to scream at you in order for you to protect yourself and your partner.

One of my favourite parts of any modern thriller is in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, when Mikael Blomkvist confronts the novel’s villain. He has a chance to get away, but he refuses, because of good manners. The villain reflects on this with some astonishment. “All I had to do was offer you a cup of coffee.”

All my baddies had to do was order my heroine a pina colada. And it could happen to you. Of course it could. They’re out there. They walk among us. They go on holiday. They sit beside you on a train. They seem nice. They know exactly what to say to people. They see a person or a situation, and their minds instantly move onto how they can strip it to the bone.

Have you seen my business card, incidentally? Maybe we could swap? Hey, networking is networking, after all. No sense in ignoring the business angle, hey? We’ve all got to eat. Fancy a cocktail? Maybe we could go to the pub quiz…

Author and journalist PR Black lives in Yorkshire, although he was born and brought up in Glasgow. When he’s not driving his wife and two children to distraction with all the typing, he enjoys hillwalking, fresh air and the natural world, and can often be found asking the way to the nearest pub in the Lake District. His short stories have been published in several books including the Daily Telegraph’s Ghost Stories and the Northern Crime One anthology. His Glasgow detective, Inspector Lomond, is appearing in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He took the runner-up spot in the 2014 Bloody Scotland crime-writing competition with “Ghostie Men”. His work has also been performed on stage in London by Liars’ League. He has also been shortlisted for the Red Cross International Prize, the William Hazlitt essay prize and the Bridport Prize.

Twitter Facebook

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?

Amazon iBooks Kobo GooglePlay

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.

Twitter Facebook