I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Books – Michael Joseph Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A curious medley of a creepy, suspenseful thriller and poignant sadness are my impressions of this complex, multi-layered story.
A little boy is missing, and the disapperance has echoes of serial killings years before, but ‘The Whisper Man was caught, so who has taken the little boy?
There are so many facets to this story, a crime to be investigated, a little boy who hears voices and talks to imaginary people. A troubled father and son relationship, in the wake of a family tragedy, and a policeman haunted by his past both personal and work.
The plot slips effortlessly between points of view and different genres. The police procedural is authentic and helps you keep past events and what is currently known in mind. The sadness experienced by Tom and Jake is profound and you empathise with their grief and loss. The killer is damaged and dangerous and the level of menace pervades the entire story. Finally, there is a supernatural element, hinted at, leaving the reader to decide if it is really there or not.
Everything is fused together cleverly, making this a suspenseful, shocking and often sad story. The ending is fast-paced and breathtaking and written packed with vivid imagery. You can see the events unfolding in your mind as you read.
A page-turning, absorbing read that makes this thriller stand out above the rest.
Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .
Lauren is alone on the maternity ward with her new-born twins when a terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves her convinced someone is trying to steal her children. Lauren, desperate with fear, locks herself and her sons in the bathroom until the police arrive to investigate.
When DS Joanna Harper picks up the list of overnight incidents that have been reported, she expects the usual calls from drunks and wrong numbers. But then a report of an attempted abduction catches her eye. The only thing is that it was flagged as a false alarm just fifteen minutes later.
Harper’s superior officer tells her there’s no case here, but Harper can’t let it go so she visits the hospital anyway. There’s nothing on the CCTV. No one believes this woman was ever there. And yet, Lauren claims that she keeps seeing the woman and that her babies are in danger, and soon Harper is sucked into Lauren’s spiral of fear. But how far will they go to save children who may not even be in danger?
Little Darlings – Blog Tour – Interview Questions – Melanie
What inspired you to write this story?
I began with a re-telling of an obscure folktale which features in the book, A Brewery of Eggshells. After a while, I started thinking about who thought it up in the first place and why. I thought maybe it was actually about postpartum depression and psychosis. Either that or fairies were real….
Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?
Characters begin as amalgamations of people I know; maybe they have one or two opinions in common with someone in real life. After a while, they become real people that live in my head, with no connection to anyone outside of it apart from the few seeds I might have used to create them. Often they are or contain aspects of myself, extrapolated.
When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?
The story comes first, and the characters are part of that; the story wouldn’t be happening to anyone else, it’s always because of something the characters are or are involved in. The setting is very important, but it tends to grow up around the story.
What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?
I think writing for many people is unavoidable. However, I did make a conscious choice to switch from writing lyrics and music to writing novels, as performing never seemed to fit around my personal life. I’m so glad I did because it turns out I’m a lot more successful, for whatever reason, at writing novels than being a singer/songwriter.
What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?
All books! I will read anything, everything, always. If there is text in front of my eyes it gets read. In the shower, I have to turn the shampoo bottle away or I’ll keep reading the back of it, over and over.
What’s the best thing about being a writer and the worst?
Best thing: solitude
Worst thing: loneliness
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review
Where to start with this unusual thriller. It is a curious mix of folklore and medicine, seen from Lauren’s point of view, she is acting sanely to ensure her babies are safe. Seen from a medical perspective she has mental health issues, most likely puerperal psychosis. The question is what do you believe, and even at the end of the story, I’m not sure.
This story resonates. In Victorian times any non-conformist behaviour was considered a mental aberration, many young women incarcerated in mental institutions, just because they had children out of wedlock, So perhaps, in this case, the truth lies somewhere in between the folklore and the medicine?
Intense and suspenseful, you are torn between Lauren’s anxiety and need to find her children, and the prospect that if she isn’t stopped innocents will suffer. It’s an intelligent thriller, with many layers and possibilities and a poignant ending that makes you wonder what if.
Lauren is an unreliable protagonist, but she is easy to empathise, even though part of you believes she may be dangerous. Harper is a complex character, a police detective, who is drawn to the case by her own history, and even though she finds answers she is still not sure she’s discovered the truth. The cast of supporting characters are essential and give the story depth and diversion.
Prefacing each chapter with folklore concerning Changelings, .the reader compare them with what is happening in the story, adding to its complexity.
This is a creepy, unsettling thriller, exploring the grey areas of mental health and the power of folklore, why did it originate, was it to explain why some mothers seemed to endanger their children, or is there a twisted truth, we don’t understand?
Undercover ops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.
Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He’s been executed – a single shot to the head.
In the aftermath, it seems someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con’s shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief… right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.
Not having read a book by this author before I had no expectations beyond those engendered by the blurb and what I find is an excellent police procedural with a supernatural twist.
The first person point of view lets the reader experience everything DC Fairchild does, and this immediacy ensures that the other less exciting parts of the story don’t drag and slow the pacing. The plot is not overly involved, but it has the necessary twists and shocks.
Constance or ‘Con’ as she prefers, is a worthwhile protagonist, enough background is revealed to explain how she came to be in the police but I suspect there are more revelations to come? As she is a new character, the story is all about her actions, emotions and motivations.
The story parades an exciting set of support characters, that gives the novel its identity and its trademark, supernatural twist. I look forward to more cases for this detective.
I received a copy of this book from Headline – Wildfire via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Kalinda Evans works for the Anglo-Boer war foundation in Canada. She’s sent to South Africa to make sure everyone who lost their lives in the war will be remembered. On her drive to the guest farm in Kimberley, South Africa, Kalinda picks up a female hitchhiker and is startled when just moments later, the woman vanishes. Kalinda would be convinced she was dreaming…except there’s still a white lace handkerchief on the passenger seat.
Extreme sports enthusiast and computer game designer Zack Carteris always after the next big challenge. He’s far too busy for romance and adheres to a three-date rule until he meets his parents’ latest guest. When she relays the story of her mysterious experience, Zack’s family shares the local ghost story. Kalinda and Zack work together to solve the puzzle of the ghost and how it all ties in with the war and the work Kalinda is doing.
As their attraction grows, Zack realizes he no longer feels the need to prove anything to himself. He only needs to prove to Kalinda that he’s more than a good time.
I enjoy romance with a twist, and this unusual story has more than one to entice the reader.
Set predominately in South Africa it explores the romance between Kalinder and Zack. Kalinder experiences an unnerving encounter when she offers a lift to a lone woman while travelling to a guest farm. Zack is at the right place and time to help, but neither expects the attraction that ignites between them.
There is a credible, supernatural thread to this romance, which draws the past and present together. Whether this is a local folk tale or reality, the ghost’s presence touches Kalinder and Zack’s lives.
The historical detail gives depth to the plot making it a unique romantic story.
A story of accepting the past and looking forward to the future with heartfelt romance and believable characters.
I received a copy of this book from Tule Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story starts off sinister and creepy, and this urban myth should have held me spellbound, but it didn’t. There are numerous sub-plots most of which feed the main storyline. The story’s pacing is in the main fast, but there are areas mired in detail that make it drag.
The plot’s supernatural element alluded to in the blurb and title fades into the background, amidst the making of the documentary and Amber’s relationship with her parents. Well executed plot’s twists in an ethos that is undeniably chilling and sinister make the facts of the story when revealed genuinely horrific but the connection to ‘the tall man’ seems tenuous.
A good thriller with authentic characters, vivid setting and carefully built suspense, it just needs the supernatural element to be more prominent to be great.
I received a copy of this book from Headline – Wildfire via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The countdown to Christmas is usually a magical time, but Elana James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.
Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?
Christmas at a cottage in the countryside sounds idyllic, but Elana has lost her soulmate and is left to be both mum and dad to the little girl who is her reason for breathing. Having a happy Christmas and living life to the full is so much harder for her this year, the second since Niall was taken from her. Luke has lost his family too but this time because his wife wanted more than he could give. He blames himself, and it seems fate agrees as circumstances conspire against him, ensuring he only sees his little son once a week. Elana’s cottage still needs a great deal of renovation, when her parents give her a helping hand builder, Luke is the man for the job, but suddenly his presence threatens her self-imposed celibacy and makes her wish for things she thought she never would again. The story is charming full of humour and poignant moments as Elana and Luke discover kindred spirits and try to make their children’s Christmas magical and memorable. Maya and Joe, the children in the story, are insightful portrayals. The plot is surprising, and not everyone or their lives is as it first seems. It captures the essence of Christmas believably and contains just enough magic to have you believing in Santa. I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Tagline: Sometimes the ones they call crazy are the sanest…
Living in Justin Flaherty’s mind has never been easy. Unfortunately, things are about to get much worse…
At eighteen years old, most guys are chasing girls or dreams. Justin, on the other hand, wants to draw and be left alone. He’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but it’s more than that. He’s in tune with the Dark Energy that surrounds us all, and can see how it controls people’s actions. Sometimes, the Dark Energy will give him visions, to help him on the road to enlightenment.
When his mother hooks up with a Baptist preacher named David who believes Justin’s schizophrenia can be cured with prayer, Justin knows he has to get out—or risk involuntary commitment in a religious facility.
After a brush with incarceration, Justin takes off to San Francisco, where his drawings are not just noticed, but admired…
Justin’s bizarre and beautiful drawings create a stir in the art world. Meanwhile, he’s homeless, couch surfing, and trapped in a continuous battle with his mental illness. His salvation is a girl named Liria Czetski with a shady past. They’d met a year ago, and she’s appeared in his visions ever since. It turns out Liria has been sharing those visions, something that is a surprise to everyone but Justin…
When secrets surface, Justin is forced to realize that being a genius has a downside. Surrounded by people who want to exploit his talent, he must fight not only for his career and freedom, but perhaps for his life…
ELIZABETH RODERICK grew up as a barefoot ruffian on a fruit orchard near Yakima, in the eastern part of Washington State. After weathering the grunge revolution and devolution in Olympia, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, she recently moved to the (very, very) small town of Shandon, California: a small cluster of houses amidst the vineyards of the Central Coast.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and worked for many years as a paralegal and translator. She went on to study chemistry, physics, and higher mathematics, with the goal of becoming a research chemist, but was eventually forced to concede that graduate school would require too much time away from her husband and daughter, and that–despite her good-enough grades –she was perhaps the wrong kind of nerd for such pursuits, being more the type that likes to dress in cloaks and hauberks rather than lab coats and goggles.
She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands. She’s rocked pretty much every instrument, including some she doesn’t even know the real names for, but mostly guitar, bass and keyboards. She has two albums of her own, which you can listen to at pimentointhehole.com. She writes fiction novels for young adults and adults, as well as short stories, and keeps an active blog at pimentointhehole.com/blog.