Posted in Book Review, Crime, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

The Killing Kind Jane Casey 5* #Review @JaneCaseyAuthor @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #Legal #suspense #PsychologicalSuspense #BookReview #TheKillingKind #CrimeFiction

As a barrister, Ingrid Lewis is used to dealing with tricky clients, but no one has ever come close to John Webster. After Ingrid defended Webster against a stalking charge, he then turned on her – following her, ruining her relationship, even destroying her home.

Now, Ingrid believes she has finally escaped his clutches. But when one of her colleagues is run down on a busy London road, Ingrid is sure she was the intended victim. And then Webster shows up at her door…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an intelligent, layered psychological suspense where the main protagonist is a barrister. Her interpretation of events is concise, considered and critical. Ingrid has elements of unreliability that are notable for the protagonists in this genre, but with a few exceptions, she is trustworthy. John is a sociopath. Complex, he keeps his true intentions secret until the climactic conclusion.

The legalistic setting has intrinsic interest. The plot is twisty and the characters shadowy, creating an ethos of menace and mystery. The lines of right and wrong are blurred, and the differences between justice and the law explored through the events that unfold.

This is a compelling story with convincing characters and a set of events that are frighteningly real.

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, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Suspense

The Silent Suspect Nell Patterson 4*#Review @Writer_Nell @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #TheSilentSuspect #BritishSignLanguage #CrimeFiction #PaigeNorthwood

On a quiet street, one house is burning to the ground…

By the time sign language interpreter Paige Northwood arrives, flames have engulfed her client’s home. Though Lukas is safe, his wife is still inside. But she was dead before the fire started…

Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife. But then he goes silent – even when the police arrest him on suspicion of murder.

Is he guilty, or afraid? Only Paige can help him now…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Paige, the British Sign Language interpreter, has important decisions to make about personal relationships in this story, which are sidelined when she receives a video call asking her to call 999. This dramatic start is the beginning of a twisty story with multiple layers. Paige takes on the mantle of amateur sleuth, putting herself at risk. Social worker Sasha is pivotal in this story, but she is manipulative, and secretive making Paige vulnerable.

The gentle pacing reflects the complexities of the investigation and the limitations Paige experiences as an amateur detective. The diverse characters are relatable, and the story reflects the communication problems and lack of understanding faced by the deaf community in an enlightening way.

Although readable as a standalone, this is a good series, and this book is more enjoyable if you have read them all.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

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

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

Posted in 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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