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

Into the Void Christina O’Reilly 4*#Review @rararesources #CrimeFiction #PoliceProcedural #MissingPersons #NewZealand @BlogBlitz #BookReview #IntoTheVoid

How easy is it for a man to simply disappear?

When rural banker Richard Harper is reported missing, DSS John (Archie) Baldrick and DC Ben Travers are drawn into the tangled details of the man’s life. Would Harper really have chosen to leave his seriously ill wife, and abandon his pregnant girlfriend? Or is there a real threat behind the abusive emails he’d been receiving from desperate clients in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis?

On the home front, Archie’s marriage is rocky and his two teenage daughters are giving him all sorts of trouble. The frail but beautiful Helena Harper and her magnificent house offer an oasis of calm as Archie struggles to discover who is responsible for her husband’s disappearance. Has he really been abducted, tortured or killed? Or is Richard Harper himself behind everything that has happened?

Archie and Travers ultimately face a race against time as the case descends into a bewildering morass of obsession, violence and murder.

Longlisted for the 2019 Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize for an Unpublished Novel

Finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel

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My Thoughts…

I enjoy reading stories set in different locations, and this is a crime novel set in New Zealand. It has a small-town ethos with the sense of community and intrusiveness that defines them. The plot hinges on a missing person, a businessman with secrets and possibly a reason to disappear. Whilst this is a tried and tested plot trope, this one has the added complication of threatening emails and the implication of fraud against the background of a world financial meltdown.

The detective team is relatable, especially Archie, the detective sergeant, with a complex personal life which brings his character to life and makes him authentic. The characterisation is detailed and the plot twisty making this enjoyable read.

Christina O’Reilly

Christina is an author and proofreader living in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Several of her short stories have been published in anthologies, most recently in Fresh Ink: A Collection of Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand 2019. Into the Void is her first crime novel and was longlisted for the Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize in 2019. It is also a finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Suspense

The Path of Good Response by Steve Frogley @SteveFrogley @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BookBlitz #ThePathofGoodResponse

 

Do you value your mother’s health above peace in the Middle East? How about your career over global warming?

If a company runs the best graduate scheme in the world, then it can afford to be probing with its interview questions.

When Joe Massey is offered a role aboard Schelldhardt’s luxurious headquarters at sea, he discovers that the company mission is beyond anything he had ever imagined. Strange dreams disturb his sleep, and it soon becomes clear that nothing is quite as it seems.

Is he really the right man for the job? And if not, then why is he there at all?

Amazon UK

Steve is a writer of contemporary fiction, who enjoys reading books of many different genres.

Originally from Southend in Essex, Steve now lives on the South Coast of England with his family, after a few happy years spent in New Zealand. The Path of Good Response is his first novel. He has spent most of his working life in the IT industry, but writing is his real passion.

The workplace has changed a great deal during Steve’s career. He started writing The Path of Good Response back in 2016, and the fictional company in the novel, Schelldhardt, seems less of an exaggeration by the year. It appears that reality is fast catching up with dystopian writing, and in many ways overtaking it.

He hopes that you enjoy reading his book, and welcomes any feedback.

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

What She Saw Diane Saxon 5*#Review @Diane_Saxon @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #suspense #DSJennaMorgan #WhatSheSaw

Why does someone want the Lawrence family dead?

The Lawrence’s were the perfect family; successful, beautiful, and happy until one night their whole world was ripped apart. 
Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan is called to investigate the suspected arson attack and death of the Lawrence family at the charred remains of their stunning home, Kimble Hall.
The case takes a sinister turn as the body count fails to tally.
Suspecting that someone may have survived the inferno, DS Morgan and her team need to discover whether they have a witness, or someone far more dangerous.
Who set the fire? Who wanted this family extinguished beyond recognition?
As the case progresses, DS Morgan realises she has a calculating, cold-blooded killer on her hands, and the race is on to track them down before they kill again.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Another gripping blend of investigation and psychological suspense. There a dramatic beginning, and then the painstaking police procedural begins. The ending is fast-paced and adrenaline-inducing as DS Morgan tries to stop the killer.

This is an authentic detective thriller, and the pacing is part of this, slower where the investigation is struggling. The level of menace is high, and the psychological suspense keeps you guessing and on tenterhooks.

Jenna is a complex character, and we learn more about her as the series progresses. The police team dynamic is well-researched and believable.

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 Jemma Morgan. She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Suspense

The Fallen Persimmon Gigi Karagoz 4* #Review @gigi_karagoz @lovebooksgroup #Suspense #Japan #HistFic #1980s #lovebookstours #TheFallenPersimmon


Japan 1985 – a young English woman battles her conscience.
A page-turning suspense novel…

Money blows across a field, the notes slapping against the stubble of dry rice stalks. Mr Ito walks towards the irrigation ditch at the end of his field, his rubber boots kicking up dust.

Standing at the ditch, he remembers the rumour; the one about the missing English woman.

But this is Mari’s story. She knows it’s her fault that her sister died, and trying to move on, she takes a dream job teaching English in small-town Japan. It turns into a nightmare when Mari learns that she’s employed by the yakuza (Japanese mafia), and that the man she loves has his own dark secrets. When the yakuza play their final hand, Mari believes that once again, it’s all her fault.

If you like a novel that builds suspense, is set in an exotic location, has a strong female lead, and a pinch of romance; then this book is for you.

AmazonUK

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

My Thoughts…

You get a definite sense of time and place in this story. The descriptions are detailed and vivid and immerse the reader into Mari and Kate’s world. Two young women travel to Japan to teach English, Mari is running from her secrets, but they form a friendship and become flatmates. Not everything is as it seems, and the suspense builds as they try to escape their predicament.

The gently paced story written in a literary rather than commercial fiction style engages the readers’ senses with its vibrant imagery and relatable characters. The plot has surprises, and the impactful ending resonates.

Gigi has spent most of her life living and working in countries all over the world. Her big passion is travel, especially in Asia, and India is a favourite destination. Giving up a career in tourism, she qualified as a holistic therapist and worked in yoga retreats in the Mediterranean for twelve years. Currently, Gigi lives in Wiltshire with Isabella, the cat she rescued from the streets of Fethiye, in southern Turkey.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Friendship, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

The Unquiet Spirit Penny Hampson 4*#Review @penny_hampson @darkstrokedark @rararesources #Mystery #Suspense #Gothic

A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric story that is full of historical detail that adds to its authenticity. Kate unexpectedly inherits an old house from her godmother in Cornwall. Eager for a new start, she travels to Cornwall to claim her inheritance. A house with secrets.

Mystery, paranormal, romance and suspense are weaved into the well-paced plot. Engaging characters and detailed imagery makes this an enjoyable reading experience. The suspense building and paranormal twists immerse the reader in Kate’s world with an interesting conflicted, but romantic relationship with Tom, a man with secrets.

This is an engaging read with a wide reader appeal because of its cross-genre approach.

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Noir, Suspense, Thriller

The Devil Upstairs Anthony O’Neil 5*#Review #AnthonyONeil @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #TheDevilUpstairs #lovebookstours #BlogTour #BookReview

In a quiet corner of Edinburgh, Cat Thomas is going through hell.

She’s tried everything. He respects nothing.

If your neighbour was making your life hell …

Would you call upon the devil?

Cat Thomas, a brilliant fraud investigator, has just relocated from Florida to a dreamy flat in historic Edinburgh. Everything seems perfect. Everything seems serene. Except for the unbelievably noisy wannabe rockstar upstairs.

Soon Cat’s blissful new life is in ruins. Desperate, she’s willing to try anything. When all else fails, she makes an appeal … to Satan.

And suddenly everything is eerily quiet. But her nightmare has only just begun …

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Black and White Publishing in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is not what it first seems to be, and that’s its charm. Told from Cat’s point of view the story follows her moving from Florida to Edinburgh after a dangerous case in the world of financial fraud. She is a likeable character and relatable, but she has secrets as everyone does.

The real story begins when Cat’s idyllic new start is ruined by and a noisy and obnoxious neighbour. This story remains credible because Cat’s feelings are recognisable and make her easy to empathise. Her meeting with Agnes and the strange encounter at the castle change Cat’s life.

The plot is a mix of noir crime, noir humour and suspense with paranormal elements. Cat isn’t sure whether she is losing her mind, a victim of organised crime or something less quantifiable. The final twist will be unexpected for most and gives the story a powerful conclusion.


ANTHONY O NEILL is the son of an Irish policeman and an Australian stenographer. He was born in Melbourne and now lives in Edinburgh. He is the author of seven novels including The Dark Side and Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek, recommended by Ian Rankin as ‘clever, gripping and reverent’.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Psychological Thriller

Three D. A. Mishani 4*#Review #Audiobook #PsychologicalThriller #Israel #Translator Jessica Cohen #Narrator LucyPaterson @HachetteAudioUK #DAMishani @riverrunbooks @QuercusBooks

Three tells the stories of three women: Orna, a divorced single-mother looking for a new relationship; Emilia, a Latvian immigrant on a spiritual search; and Ella, married and mother of three, returning to University to write her thesis. All of them will meet the same man. His name is Gil. He won’t tell them the whole truth about himself – but they don’t tell him everything either.

Tense, twisted and surprising, Three is a daring new form of psychological thriller. It is a declaration of war against the normalisation of death and violence. Slowly but surely, you see the danger each woman walks into. What you won’t see is the trap being laid – until it snaps shut.

Audible UK Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story works well, as an audiobook, the writing style is very descriptive and detailed. Told from the viewpoints of three women all with secrets and less than perfect lives it develops into an addictive thriller and you empathise with the victims.

The reader gets to know the three women intimately, but little is known about the antagonist, only what he chooses to share. The conclusion of the first part is shocking. The second part begins and appears to have little connection to what precedes it. When the common link emerges, the reader knows what will happen next, but not how or when increasing the intensity and suspensefulness.

The narrator voices the characters well, although some of the accents are confusing. The setting in Israel gives the story its uniqueness, and the translation captures the story’s essence. The plot twists are well-written, and there is a satisfying end to the story.

The vulnerability of the victims and the underlying menace of the seemingly ordinary antagonist make this a chilling and compulsive audiobook.

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

Gilding The Lily Justine John 5*#Review @justinecjohn @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #domestic #noir #suspense #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is compelling domestic noir suspense with multi-faceted characters. An intense and intriguing plot ends with a dramatic twist, expected in this genre of suspense.

Amelia and Jack’s are a loving couple, easy to empathise. Told mainly from their viewpoints, the story occasionally includes Evelyn is Roger’s lover,’s viewpoint. She is a sinister figure, but not everything is straightforward. Is Amelia and Jack’s view of events reliable?

The domestic setting’s ordinariness contrasts perfectly with the simmering tension, and the reader is on edge wondering what will happen next. The author uses sensory imagery effectively making this an immersive reading experience, and at times claustrophobic.

Justine John

After thirty years in corporate life in London, half of which was running a successful events company, I decided to take a chance to write the novel that was ‘in me’ since I was a child. Gilding the Lily is the result of this and is a domestic noir story which I hope will keep you on the edge of your chair/sofa/bed/train/plane-seat….

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, International Thriller, Noir, Political Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

I Am The Night Ethan Cross 4*#Review The Ackerman Thrillers, 1 @EthanCrossBooks @AriesFiction @HoZ_Books #CrimeFiction #Thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #Suspense #conspiracy #IAmTheNight

The night is dark. My soul is darker.

Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. are both killers. But while Williams is tortured by the deaths he has caused, Ackerman takes pleasure in his murders.

Williams is a former New York City homicide detective.

Ackerman is a serial killer.

And both men are about to become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of US government. They will be plunged deep into a hellish underworld of murderers and killers. They will find that there is more that connects them than divides them… and that their lives depend on it.

Amazon Aries Store Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Aries Fiction – Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Violence is integral to this thriller, vividly depicted throughout, so be warned. This is more than a thriller about a serial killer and the ex-cop chasing him, both antagonist and protagonist are pawns in an immoral political game.

Flawed and relatable characters and a suspenseful and twisty plot make this an addictive read. The sense of menace pervades this story on many levels. The serial killer is evil, but the darkness, extends much wider, even the good characters have noir traits.

This is a grisly and gripping thriller that will satisfy the requirements of most thriller readers.

Ethan Cross

Ethan Cross’s Shepherd thrillers are international bestsellers. Before becoming a full time writer, he was a computer programmer, a Chief Technology Officer and a Marketing Director for a New York publisher. He lives in Illinois with his wife, three kids, and two Shih Tzus.

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

The Guilty Wife Nina Manning 5*#Review @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks #PsychologicalThriller #Domestic #Suspense #Family #Guilt #boldwoodbloggers #TheGuiltyWife @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #SundayReads #SundayMorning

One woman’s past could cost her everything…

Frankie Keegan is struggling.
While she tries to make strides in her career, life at home is slowly unravelling as she is haunted by the secrets of her past.


Someone else remembers…
As the dark nights draw in, the anniversary of the loss of her brother looms and Frankie is drawn back to the memories of that fateful night 20 years previously. As she descends into a guilt-ridden state, she begins to suspect that someone else is also remembering that night and they are determined to terrify her…

Can she confront her past before it’s too late?

From the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law, a gripping psychological thriller about family, secrecy and grief – with a twist you won’t see coming.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The suspense grips you in this story from the first words and keeps its hold until the dramatic conclusion.

Frankie’s never recovered from the accident twenty years ago that took her brother. She’s moved on with life, but the grief and guilt remain festering. A functioning alcoholic with her marriage in trouble, she’s a flawed, and unreliable protagonist but you want her to find peace.

Plot-driven this is a detailed story told from Frankie’s viewpoints both past and present. Everyone in her life has their agenda. As the story progresses, it’s hard to know who to trust. The story’s addictive quality keeps you reading, thinking you know what’s going to happen next.

The compelling characters all have a purpose often to confuse the reader. I did realise what was happening late on in the story, but the dramatic ending still resonated.

This is a poignant tale about the payback of youthful indiscretions and damaged minds.

TheGuilty Wife – Nina Manning – Extract

Prologue

I stood at the top of the stairs and held my breath as my anxiety spiked and my heart pounded in my throat. But I could no longer hear the noise that had drawn me there. As I stood, my foot perched ready to take the first step, I wondered if perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me. Maybe the events of the last few days had finally caught up with me. But faces were hovering in front of me. Those people I had trusted. And those who I had hurt.

All those years ago I was trying so hard to make a difference in any way I could. But I was young. And I was foolish. I knew the past would never be able to bury itself, and I had not been able to rest for twenty years because the horrors of that day would stay with me until I took my final breath.

But now it was time to face the past head on. I tightened my grip on my weapon and began the descent to the kitchen. I knew I was now in grave danger. I knew that I had to protect my children and face the person who had found their way into my home.

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

First published as Her Darkest Fear 26 March 20