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

A Chance Encounter Rae Shaw 4*#Review @RaeShawauthor @rararesources #JuliannaBaptiste #CrimeFiction #AChanceEncounter

Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?

Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.

His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.

For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?

Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This story is crime fiction from a different perspective which is always refreshing for the reader.

Multifaceted characters and a well thought out plot draw the reader into the story. Julianna is courageous and intelligent. The characters are cleverly crafted and relatable. The story builds from a chance encounter into a tangled web of betrayal, crime and investigation. The pacing reflects the plot.
I look forward to the next book in the series.

Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.

Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.

As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Romance, Suspense

The Rose Code Kate Quinn 5*#Review @KateQuinnAuthor @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #TheRoseCode #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #HistFic #WW2 #1940 #1947 #RoyalWedding #HistoricalFiction #Friendship

1940

Three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes.

Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets.

Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband.

Awkward local girl Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles beneath her shy exterior.

1947

As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum.

A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together…

As the nation prepares for the royal wedding they must race against the clock to save one of their own.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a fascinating historical novel showcasing the crucial work carried out by the analysts, code breakers and translators at Bletchley Park during WW2. Detailed and well researched, it tells the story of three women inspired by historical figures. There are cameo appearances from famous wartime figures in the novel too, which adds authenticity.

Dual timeline it moves, between 1940 and 1947 weeks before the Royal Wedding. One of the characters has a connection to the Royals. The three women, once best of friends, had an irretrievable falling out and now are estranged. This is a lengthy novel, but there is a lot to unravel and reveal to the reader. The historical detail makes this an immersive read.

The women are drawn together by a desperate plea for help from one of them to solve one last code. The characters are flawed and relatable you get to know them well and empathise with them. The race to solve the code is suspenseful and draws on the past and the women’s connections.

This is an enjoyable, epic read which shines a light on one of the most secretive and vital areas of the second world war.

Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice.

A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple
languages.

She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia

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 Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Noir, Suspense, Thriller

Jailbird Caro Savage 4*# Review #Audiobook @CaroSavageStory @BoldwoodBooks Narrator Genevieve Swallow #CrimeFiction #PrisonDrama #Undercover # AudiobookTour #noir #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #Jailbird

Mature Adult Listen

When you’re working undercover the smallest mistake can cost you your life.

Detective Constable Bailey Morgan has been out of the undercover game since her last job went horribly wrong, leaving her with scars inside and out.
When her colleague Alice is found dead whilst working deep cover in a women’s prison, Bailey steps in to replace her.
Working alone, Bailey embarks on a dangerous journey through the murky underbelly of the prison and soon discovers that Alice’s death was part of a spate of brutal murders.

Surrounded by prison officers, criminals and lowlifes, the slightest mistake could cost Bailey her life.
Illicit drug trafficking, prison gangs and corruption are just some of the things she’s up against… and behind it all lurks a sinister and terrifying secret that will truly test her survival instincts.
Heart-stopping and gripping.

Audible UK

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

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy prison drama, suspense and menace, Jailbird is an exciting story to explore.

I first reviewed this as an eBook. The opportunity to review the audiobook gave the story another dimension, bringing the characters to life with professional narration. The narrator draws the reader into the setting and the mind of the main protagonist. It’s easy to visualise what is happening with the author’s use of sensory imagery and the narrator’s differing cadence and voices.

Everything you would expect in a novel of this type is there. Bailey is a courageous, challenged protagonist, there to finish a job, her friend’s violent death cut short. A corrupt prison ethos, where it is debatable who is in charge, and a culture of abuse, drugs and violence.

Well-written but graphic descriptions of the violence make this suitable for a mature adult audience. There is a varied cast of complex and realistically flawed characters. The prison setting demands, exceptional characters and most are. The plot twists keep you guessing, and there is good suspense building.

This is a gritty, graphic, and powerful story that makes you think.

Caro Savage knows all about bestselling thrillers having worked as a Waterstones bookseller for 12 years in a previous life.  Now taking up the challenge personally and turning to hard-hitting crime thriller writing.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Family Drama, New Books, Suspense, Thriller

A Chance Encounter Rae Shaw #CoverReveal @RaeShawauthor @rararesources #JuliannaBaptiste #CrimeFiction

Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?

Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.

His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.

For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?

Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.

#Preorder Amazon UK Amazon

Publication Date: 24th March

Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.

Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.

As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.

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

Ruthless Women Melanie Blake 5*#Review @MelanieBlakeUK @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview @MidasPR #SoapOpera #Thriller #Relationships #Friendship #Revenge #suspense #RuthlessWomen

Ambition can be deadly…

Ruthless Women takes readers on a wild ride behind the scenes of beloved TV drama Falcon Bay, beamed globally to millions three days a week from its picturesque location in the Channel Islands. But even in this beautiful coastal spot, tensions swirl. Once one of the world’s most popular soap operas, but now with ratings and syndication at an all-time low, the production has been sold to an American business woman, beautiful and malevolent Madeline Kane, the new network owner who arrives on the tiny island just off Jersey, determined to do whatever it takes to get the show back to number one.  

Writer Farrah, star Catherine and producer Amanda are the driven, ambitious women who keep the show on the road. But Farrah is losing episodes to the network’s lead male rival, Catherine is terrified of the public falling out of love with her and Amanda’s evil husband Jake, vice president of the network, is plotting to get his own wife kicked off the show.

As the dawn of a new era begins, cast and crew turn against each other with loyalty, decency, and trust, replaced by scandal, betrayal, and an outrageous ambition to survive.

In a true battle of the sexes, these women will do anything to stay on top. But can they team up to bring down their male rivals? Or will jealousy, betrayal and revenge tear their long held friendships apart?

As the story reaches a climax so shocking readers will be talking about it for decades, one thing is certain: only the most ruthless woman will survive… 

Amazon UK

18th February 2021

The Genre…

Over 25 million people in the UK watch soaps a week and now they’ll get a true glimpse of what really goes on behind the scenes of TV’s most  popular shows, and examples of the desperate trade off’s their beloved leading ladies go through to survive the very game they are in. Ruthless Women shows that what takes place behind the cameras is way more juicy than on….

Even the actresses, who Melanie was worried would be angry about what she’s written, are raving about Ruthless Women too.  Well, some of them are….

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via Midas PR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Scandalous, sexy thrillers based on real experiences and personalities are always addictive. Ruthless Women’s vibrant characters and vivid scenarios make guessing the inspiration behind them a must. The abuse of authority and prejudice are relatable, and the intelligent way the women fight against them believable. The female characters are flawed but easy to empathise. Hidden agendas and twists make this an intriguing read.

Scandal, secrets and sex underpin the story of a ruthless boss determined to make a once top-rated show great again. The dynamic between Farrah, Catherine, Amanda and Sheena is insightful and the force behind the story. It is both their strength and weakness, which Madeline exploits to her advantage.

This story has a poignant side which gives it depth and immerses the reader into the characters lives. The noir world simmering below the surface of television’s glamorous facade is the perfect setting for this story of ambition, friendship, revenge and scandal.

The suspense builds coupled with striking sensory imagery, as the story develops and the final chapters are full of twists, with a climactic ending.

I can’t wait for the next book.

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via Midas PR in return for an honest review.

Melanie Blake

As one as the UK’s most successful agents, managers and publicists for music stars and TV actresses, Melanie Blake has represented some of the most famous faces on British television and international screens.

Where her debut novel, the No. 1 bestseller The Thunder Girls, was inspired by the early years of her career  spent working in the music industry, her follow up novel Ruthless Women is heavily influenced by the last 15 years Melanie has spent representing more female actresses than any other agent in her genre. Nicknamed The Queen Of Soaps, there is no one better placed to write a novel based around a continuing drama and its leading ladies.

As one of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs, over the years Melanie has had two careers at the top tier of the entertainment industry. Her first 10 years were as a music manager with a roster of award-winning artists and the second decade as one of the UK’s leading acting agents representing some of the most famous faces on British television. The Thunder Girls is inspired by her time in the music business and Ruthless Women which is out in 2021 is inspired by her years in the world of soap opera and drama.

With no formal education herself, Melanie is a true champion for working class women who are so often overlooked in our society. The Thunder Girls is a celebration of women from diverse demographics and all the lead characters in the novel are over 40 and working class. As well as having written the book, Melanie has penned The Thunder Girls the play which embarks on a nationwide tour in 2021. 

Melanie Blake might just be the world’s biggest Jackie Collins fan. She first read Rock Star aged 9, after smuggling the copy out of the library by telling the librarian it was for her mum!  Melanie was dazzled by Jackie Collin’s world where women clawed themselves from poverty into glamorous, moneyed lives. In Jackie Collins’ novels, women were bosses and winners who achieved everything they wanted and it was these novels that inspired Melanie to become her own boss and a lady entrepreneur.  In 2017 Melanie’s connection with Jackie Collins came full circle, when after Jackie’s sad death she bought five pieces of Jackie’s jewellery at auction – two rings and three necklaces inlayed with morganite, citrines and diamonds – which she wears every day.

For the first time, Melanie reveals her biggest secret – that her career actually started as an ‘extra’ on the set of Coronation Street and EastEnders. It was there she began clawing her way from the bottom of the ‘Soap Opera ladder’ to the very top, going on to represent the leading ladies of the very shows she was hired to stand in the background of. It’s a one in a million story, by a uniquely determined woman. From extra to celebrity agent, she’s seen it all and that journey enabled her to write ‘the must read book of 2021’.

18 February 2021

Melanie will be launching the book alongside two of TVs leading ladies Coleen Nolan and Beverly Callard who will be spilling the beans on their own personal lives for a digital book launch “Melanie Blake’s Girls Night in” that members of the public can buy tickets to for £10 including a copy of the book.  

A Girls Night In With Melanie Blake | Projects | Fane

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Find You First Linwood Barclay 5*#Review @linwood_barclay @HQStories #BloggerDay #BookReview #suspense #mystery #thriller #CrimeFiction #FindYouFirst

Tech billionaire Miles has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of – except time. Now facing a terminal illness, Miles knows he must seize every minute to put his life in order. And that means taking a long hard look at his past.  

Somewhere out there, Miles has children. And they might be about to inherit both the good and bad from him – possibly his fortune, or possibly something more sinister. So Miles decides to track down his missing children.  

But a vicious killer is one step ahead of him. One by one, people are vanishing. Not just disappearing, every trace of them is wiped. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an immersive, intense and intricate psychological suspense. Miles, a successful app developer, discovers he has a degenerative inherited condition. Time is running out he wants to find his possible children, warn them and let them share in his wealth. There are numerous conflicts to this aim, but some surmounted with money, but why are his heirs disappearing?

This story has multiple characters, and points of view, which gives the reader an omnipotent view of events but no not every point of view is trustworthy, and this story has plenty of false leads. The suspense builds throughout, and the ending delivers shocks and surprises. The answers are in the story but well disguised by clever plotting, and fast pace. It’s a story that draws on contemporary themes and resonates.

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

The Housemate Nina Manning 4*#Review @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks Narrator #HelenKeeley #PsychologicalThriller #Domestic #Suspense #Guilt #Obsession #boldwoodbloggers #Audiobook #Review #TheHousemate @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads #FridayThoughts

The perfect life? …Or the perfect lie?

When Regi moves into her new house share, she’s ready for a clean slate. A new home. A new routine. A new identity…

Desperate to escape the shadow of her past that follows her everywhere she goes, Regi finds the ideal distraction in the perfect lives of others on social media.

But as innocent scrolling turns into an unhealthy obsession, Regi will soon learn that seeking perfection comes at a price…

A gripping psychological suspense from the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story demonstrates the claustrophobic and immersive qualities of psychological suspense so well. It begins with a traumatic incident in Regi’s life. The reader knows this is important but not why. Regi’s painful past and mental health issues define her and make everyday life difficult. Her housemates are younger but supportive. The story believably depicts Regis’ OCD, but its repetitive nature is emotionally draining on the reader and slows the pace.

The narrator produces an excellent interpretation of the story and its nuances.

Regi is a complex character, an unreliable protagonist with secrets. The suspense building is good, there are menacing undertones, and some clever changes in plot direction that keep the listener guessing. The focus on social media gives this story an immediacy and relevance.

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

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Literary Fiction, Noir, Suspense

Return to Hiroshima Bob Van Laerhoven 4* #Review @bobvanlaerhoven @BlackthornTours #CrimeFiction #Noir #Suspense #Japan WW2 #HistoricalCrimeFiction #BookTour #BookReview #ReturntoHiroshima

1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis.
Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to Hiroshima, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister.

Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history.

A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane.

And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….

Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel.

Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII are unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and Japanese society.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Blackthorn Book Tours in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a complex story set in the 1990s, but with historical references to Japan in WW2. It explores the fallout of the Hiroshima nuclear bombing and how it impacted on the inhabitants in a fictional context. It also reflects on the factors contributing to the bombing, focusing on horrific and secret war experiments and other forms of inhumanity dealt out under the auspices of war.

There are many characters, all damaged either emotionally or physically. Initially, their lives are unconnected, but their stories interweave in an impactful way in this noir story. This is disturbingly depraved and violent in parts with little light relief. The author uses intricate plotting, vividly portrayed characters and skilful use of sensory imagery, allowing the reader to experience Japanese culture and life in an immersive way.

The battle between traditional and modern and the obsession with power is a recurring theme. It is a difficult novel to read both in complexity, and because of the evil it exposes, but it absorbing and fascinating too.

Bob van Laerhoven

Van Laerhoven is a 67-year-old Belgian/Flemish author who has published (traditionally) more than 45 books in Holland and Belgium. His cross-over oeuvre between literary and noir/suspense is published in French, English, German, Spanish, Swedish, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese.

In Belgium, Laerhoven was a four-time finalist of the ‘Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year’ with the novels ‘Djinn’, ‘The Finger of God’, ‘Return to Hiroshima’, and ‘The Firehand Files’.

In 2007, he became the winner of the coveted Hercule Poirot Prize with ‘Baudelaire’s Revenge’, which, in English translation, also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category ‘mystery/suspense’.

His first collection of short stories ‘Dangerous Obsessions’, published in the USA in 2015, was chosen as the ‘best short story collection of 2015’ by the San Diego Book Review. The collection has been translated into Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. 

Return to Hiroshima’, his second crime novel in English, was published in May 2018 by Crime Wave Press(Hong Kong).  The British quality review blog Murder, Mayhem & More has chosen ‘Return to Hiroshima’ as one of the ten best international crime novels of 2018. MMM reviews around 200 novels annually by international authors.

Also in 2018, the Anaphora Literary Press published ‘Heart Fever’, his second collection of short stories. ‘Heart Fever’ was one of the five finalists of the American Silver Falchion Award. Laerhoven was the only non-American finalist. The collection has been translated into Italian and Spanish. A German translation is currently in production.

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

Bright Lies A.A. Abbot 4* #Review @AAAbbottStories #thriller #CrimeFiction #Domestic #Noir #Betrayal #Lies #noircrime #psychological #suspense #BrightLies @RandomTTours

She’s learned too much, too young. Can she break free?

Emily’s dreams come true when her mother marries wealthy painter, David. Thanks to him, Emily’s artistic talents shine. Then he starts teaching her things a 14-year-old shouldn’t know. While Emily breaks free, she’s forced to sleep in a rat-infested alley.

Bad boy Jack has turned his life around. Working as a DJ with ambitions to open a club, he rescues Emily from the streets when he sees a woman in trouble. He doesn’t know she’s still only 15 – and trapped in a dark web of secrets and lies.

David must find Emily and silence her. As he closes in, Jack faces the hardest choice of all. If he saves Emily, he’ll kiss goodbye to his future…

What would you sacrifice for love?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a disturbing, intense psychological suspense, an insightful and sensitive exploration of domestic and child abuse and the resultant damage. The subject matter is difficult to read. Emily and Jack’s vulnerability and the perversions of David and his ilk are well-written without the need for an overly graphic description. This exploration of a contemporary issue is relatable and sinister because it parallels reality.

The characters are defined, and flawed some are easy to empathise because of their vulnerability. Others are despicable and easy to hate.

Although this more suspense than a thriller, the writing style and structure keep the momentum and make this a page-turner. The pacy plot keeps the reader on edge, the undercurrents of menace apparent and intensify as the story progresses.

This is noir crime creating a gritty, vice-ridden world that you want the protagonists to escape.

A.A.Abbott

British crime thriller writer A.A. Abbott (also known as Helen Blenkinsop) loves to escape with an exciting and emotional read, and that’s what she aims to write too. Based in Bristol, she’s also lived and worked in London and Birmingham. All three cities feature in her pacy suspense thrillers. Her latest psychological thriller, ‘Bright Lies’, begins in North Somerset with a posh art exhibition in Bath. Young Emily meets the man who will change her life and cause her to run away to a squat in Birmingham, work in a nightclub and get further entangled in a web of lies.

To write ‘Bright Lies’, Helen has had advice from thirty beta readers on subjects as varied as police procedure, drug abuse, grooming, art, music, DJing and clubbing. She’s grateful to them and to her editor, Katharine D’Souza, for making huge improvements to the story.

Helen’s earlier 5 book Trail series is a lighter read focused on a vodka business. Snow Mountain is a premium vodka made in the former Soviet Union, and its owners have blood on their hands. The saga follows the fortunes of two families running the business and what happens when they fall out with each other and with a London gangster. Glamorous heroine Kat is the girl readers love to hate at the beginning of the series, but by the last book, she has won them over. Book research for the series included prison life, hotel research and vodka. Helen especially enjoyed a tour and tasting with the helpful folk at the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire.

Like 10% of us, many of Helen’s family are dyslexic. While she is not, she wants her books to be enjoyed by readers with dyslexia and visual impairment too. She publishes her thrillers in a Large Print dyslexia-friendly edition as well as the standard paperback and Kindle versions. (You can also adjust the font on your Kindle to suit your needs.) Audiobooks are definitely on the cards – watch this space!

Helen likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles, and reading thrillers and short stories at live fiction events and on Zoom. If you’re a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she’d love to hear from you.

Helen is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group, and Birmingham’s New Street Authors.

Find out more and get a free e-book of short stories at https://aaabbott.co.uk