Posted in Book Review

You Let Me In- 5* Review- Lucy Clarke

Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house . . .

I’M IN YOUR HOUSE

There’s a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows.

I’M IN YOUR HEAD

Maybe it’s all in Elle’s mind? She’s a writer – her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night.

AND NOW I KNOW YOUR SECRET

As fear and paranoia close in, Elle’s own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past – and she’s given them the key…

Amazon UK

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My Thoughts…

I’ve read so many ‘psychological thrillers this year, but this is one of the best.

What I like about it is authenticity, I believe in Elle, the situations she finds herself and the ending, while surprisingly is entirely believable.

The story moves from Elle in the present and then to a past time when her life changes irrevocably, this is where you are sure you know who her present tormentor is but are you right? The third voice in the story is the person who once let into Elle’s life won’t let go.

The novel abounds with paranoia, as Elle appears to become increasingly irrational, even to herself. There are many blind alleys, and part reveals before the dramatic conclusion. The atmosphere is key to this book’s impact, and it builds to a crescendo of menace. The setting is vivid and a character in itself, emphasising the storyline, to significant effect.

If you think you’re tired of this genre, this story may change your mind.

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

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Posted in Book Review

Betty Rowlands – 5*Review Murder at Hawthorn Cottage

Meet Melissa: cat lover, caring mother… daring detective? 

Melissa Craig is absolutely delighted with her new life in an old crumbling cottage, spending her days pruning the primroses and getting to know Binkie, the ginger cat next door. She only wishes she had made the move to the countryside sooner.

But when a knock at the door brings news of a shocking discovery, she suddenly finds herself thrown into the middle of a baffling mystery: the bones of a young woman have been found in the woods just behind her new home.

Perhaps the little village of Upper Bembury is not as idyllic as it first seemed? 

Strange phone calls in the night convince Melissa that the police are barking up completely the wrong tree, so she can’t resist doing a little digging of her own. From the bingo hall to the beauty salon and beyond, her search ruffles a few feathers and uncovers many of the village’s most scandalous secrets, but gets her no closer to finding the culprit…

The discovery of a tatty old photograph in a drawer is the final piece of the puzzle she needs, but as a newcomer in this close-knit community, does Melissa have what it takes to get to the bottom of this extraordinary murder mystery alone?

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My Thoughts…

The quintessential cosy mystery a beautiful rural setting, a village full of quirky, nosy characters and female crime writer who courts danger and trouble in the same way the characters in her books do.

Melissa seems much older than her mid-forties, I have to admit I imagine Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher when I visualise her but apart from this misconception, she is the perfect protagonist for a cosy mystery. Initially published under a different title in the twentieth century, the book is only dated by its philosophy on relationships and women living on their own.

The storyline is fast-paced and engaging. Melissa’s independent character and mindset come across well in the story, and the plot twists are just the right side of believable. The suspense in the final chapters builds to adrenaline fuelled ending, full of action and powerful imagery.

An enjoyable, escapist read that I suspect may become my secret addiction.

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

Posted in Book Review

Trust No One- 4* Review – Anthony Mosawi

My name is Sara Eden.

My name is Sara Eden.

My name is Sara Eden.

This is all Sara Eden knows about herself. She was found at the age of ten, abandoned in a vat of water – a homemade sensory-deprivation chamber. Someone had placed her there – trapped for days in the dark, with only a cassette player taped to her head repeating again and again – ‘My Name is Sara Eden’. There were a handful clues: a battered cassette player, a cheap necklace, a few scraps of paper. And a Polaroid of a stranger with a handwritten note: ‘Don’t trust this man’. 

Amazon UK

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My Thoughts…

Political thriller meets the ‘X’ Files is the best description of this novel.

Exploring themes prevalent in the eighties when the main protagonist of this story was born. Government’s misuse of people with psychic ability, regardless of the human cost, while not new is absorbing and allows the writer latitude. Not everything has to be believable in a story of this type only possible.

If you are looking for a fast-paced political, spy thriller, you will find this here, with significant twists, Not for the purists but adrenalin-fuelled, intelligent and often poignant, 

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

4* Review- Sarah Flint – Broken Dolls- Blog Tour- Guest Post

A baby lies abandoned amongst the rubbish; her tiny face as white as alabaster, her body as stiff as a miniature doll.

A young prostitute lies beaten, her figure lying like a mannequin on the frozen concrete, her blood spilt, her life ebbing away.

As DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford and her boss DI Hunter struggle to identify the victim from the violator their hunt brings them to the crack houses of Lambeth, littered with damaged people, their lives scarred by tragedy and violence, most broken beyond repair.

As further lives hang in the balance, Charlie must empower the weak to speak out against those who seek to cause harm. But can a broken doll ever truly be mended; or will the wounds of the past, fashion the events of the future?

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Guest  Post – Sarah Flint

This is me!

When I was asked to write a guest post about Broken Dolls I wasn’t sure what I could add to previous articles; so I have decided to tell you a little more about what makes me tick.

So please bear with me. It will be my most personal post, and I hope it will give readers a sense of what I have achieved – and what they too could achieve.

I have always loved a challenge; in fact, I thrive on them. Each morning when I wake up, I set myself a few daily goals. The tasks are attainable. I do not set myself goals that would lead to failure – at least not too often!

I may have a book to plan or write or edit. I might have a guest post, questions to answer, social media considerations. So every day, I sit down and get going. I am not constrained by timings – apart from official deadlines. I write when I can, as much or as little as I can – but I write. Some days will only be a page, other days will be a whole chapter, yet others will see me sitting in front of my computer struggling to find the right words. On these occasions I do not beat myself up – I go for a walk. Most of my ideas stem from times when I have walked, quiet and alone, my mind buzzing with ideas – which are then transferred to paper on my return.

My books take shape as I write them. I know the beginning and the end, but what happens in the middle is usually a matter of luck and touching a lot of wood. It is a challenge! But like I said I thrive on a challenge!

In 2005, having lost a much-loved brother to cancer, I ran the London marathon with all of my seven surviving siblings. It wasn’t easy but with each day came a new goal; a hundred metres to start, then a block, then 1 mile, 2 miles, 5 miles, a half-marathon, until reaching the finishing post at The Mall, in 5 hours, 35 minutes (the toilet stop at the beginning cost me 20 minutes – never queue behind a man!!)

It was an amazing achievement and to have completed it with my large, close-knit family made it very special, as was the £43k  passed on to our family charities.

In March 2018, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with my partner, my niece and an incredible group of like-minded people of both sexes, and all ages. Prior to this, I had gained weight – a constant battle, so training started small – walking 1-2 miles a day, then 4-5, then a week with my sister hiking the Camino de Santiago, and finally training in the Italian Dolomites.

From little steps….to the highest peak in Africa, with stunning views of glaciers and craters, and a sunrise above the clouds on our summit morning that was truly spectacular.

And so to now – my latest challenge!

In the last month, I have received a proposal of marriage from my beautiful partner, watched my eldest daughter get married to a lovely Greek Cypriot man – and been diagnosed with breast cancer! With the smooth, comes the rough – and the rough this time will be hard.

How could I have known, when I shed a tear watching the six brave women celebrities bearing all for the female Full Monty, that I too would be fighting the same battle?

How could I have known, when my family clubbed together to provide the means for one of our siblings to attend my daughter’s wedding ‘because none of us are getting any younger’, that it would be me, as the youngest, providing the angst.

I didn’t know, but I do now – and I have accepted the challenge.

Two days after ‘Broken Dolls’ is published I will be on the operating table facing the first major step. So far I have taken only small ones, the preparatory scans, the mammograms, biopsies, diagnosis. I have listened to my options. I have heard the risks. I have felt fear. I still do. I am grieving for the forthcoming loss of part of my body, that I have held dear, but I also know that I have to take one step at a time, a goal a day, nothing too much, achievable, small victories.

Charlie and Hunter have cases to solve and battles to face. They might stumble along the way, but they are true to their beliefs and will conquer in the end. As will I!

So please, share this post to as many women (and men) as you can, while I am recovering from this first hurdle, and excuse my absence on social media. You, along with my family and friends are part of my team, and if I can help any other person going through the same sort of challenge, then please feel free to contact me, and I will get back to you as soon as I am able.

Thank you

Sarah xx

My Thoughts…

A gritty, authentic crime thriller, which left me feeling sad at the loss of life and opportunity for the young girls. Everything in this novel is believable, and that makes it compelling and disturbing.

I haven’t read the previous books in the series, and although this is a standalone story regarding the crime’s committed, there are events in the detectives’ pasts that affect their present lives I’m not aware of, which affected my enjoyment of the overall story.

A well-written, contemporary crime thriller which highlights the abuse of young girls and the problems of drug abuse. There are significant twists, especially at the end, enough to make me want to know what the next case will be for these detectives.

 

With a Metropolitan Police career spanning 35 years, Sarah has spent her adulthood surrounded by victims, criminals and police officers. She continues to work and lives in London with her partnerhttps://www.facebook.com/SarahFlintBooks and has three older daughters. 

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Posted in Book Review

Derek Lambert – 4* Review – The Red Dove

 

 

As the Soviet space-shuttle Dove orbits 150 miles above the earth on its maiden flight, Warsaw Pact troops crash into Poland.

The seventy-two-year-old President of America wants to be re-elected, and for that, he needs to win the first stage of the war in space: he needs to capture the Soviet space shuttle. But as the President plans his coup the nuclear-armed shuttle speeds towards target America – and only defection in space can stop it.

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My Thoughts…

A well-conceived Cold War thriller, vocalising the inherent threat of war in space. There are apparent resemblances to actual historical figures alongside purely fictional characters. The danger of destruction is implicit in this thriller, and it replicates the feelings of many who lived under the constant threat of nuclear war.

If you are interested in the Cold War as it existed in the twentieth century, this will be of interest. It’s a ‘what if’ book that could have easily happened.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse/ Killer Reads – Collins Crime Club via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Derek Lambert – 3* Review- The Judas Code

 

In neutral Lisbon, British Intelligence has concocted a ruthless doublecross to lure Russia and Germany into a hellish war of attrition on the Eastern Front and so buy Britain the most precious commodity of all: time.

That plot now hinges on one man: Josef Hoffman, a humble Red Cross worker. But who is Hoffman? And where do his loyalties really lie?

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 My Thoughts…

A WW2 thriller that mixes iconic historical figures with fiction, mainly, for those like myself interested in this historical period.  A little dated for the present day and slow-paced rather like watching an old war film, good for the nostalgic value.

I received a copy of this book from  Harper Impulse / Killer Reads – Collins Crime Club via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Do Not Disturb- 4* Review – Claire Douglas

COULD YOUR DREAM HOME BE YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE?

After what happened in London, Kirsty needs a fresh start with her family. And running a guesthouse in the Welsh mountains sounds idyllic.

But then their first guest arrives.

Selena is the last person Kirsty wants to see. It’s seventeen years since she tore everything apart.

Why has she chosen now to walk back into Kirsty’s life? Is Selena running from something too? Or is there an even darker reason for her visit?

Because Kirsty knows that once you invite trouble into your home, it can be murder getting rid of it . . .

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My Thoughts…

Family, drama meets murder-mystery with a gothic twist, this story has many elements and lots of characters, maybe a few more than readers are comfortable with?

Kirsty and her family escape to the country for a better life and to leave their troubles behind. Renovating the dream home and business comes at a price and so financial help from Kirsty’s mum is welcome but her controlling nature less so.

An unexpected and somewhat unwelcome face from Kirsty’s past causes additional tension. New visitors add to the cast of characters and introduce a gothic thread to the plot when one guest hints at a dark history for the house. Then disaster strikes and Kirsty and her family feel threatened, and the business hangs in the balance.

Tense, complex with misinformation and suspects worthy of any murder mystery but the underlying family secrets add a sinister dimension, and the ending is well crafted and may surprise you.

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK, Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Redemption- Candice Fox – 5* Review

When former detective Ted Conkaffey is wrongly accused of abducting a teenage girl, he hopes the Queensland town of Crimson Lake will be the perfect place to disappear.

But nowhere is safe from the girl’s devastated father. Dale Bingley has worked out a brutal revenge plan – and if Ted doesn’t help find his daughter’s real abductor, he’ll be the first casualty.

Meanwhile, in a nearby roadside hovel, the bodies of two young bartenders lie on the beer-sodden floor. As a homicide investigation unravels, Ted and his unlikely ally private detective Amanda Pharrell are brought in to assist on the case.

While Ted fights to clear his own name, their hunt for the killer will draw them into a violent dance with evil.

Redemption is certainly on the cards – but it may well cost them their lives…

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My Thoughts…

I haven’t read the first book in this series, but there is enough information in this second book to position the characters and let the reader know what motivates them and what their demons are.

The setting is atmospheric and has intrinsic interest for a reader unfamiliar with the Australian outback. The characters are unique and vividly depicted. Both detectives are victims of injustice, and this draws them together. There are murders to solve, reputations and lives to reclaim and dramatic irony in this action-packed, detailed and suspenseful to the last moment story.

An enthralling crime thriller with an original plot.

I received a copy of this book from Random HouseUK – Cornerstone, Arrow via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Jar of Hearts – 5* Review – Jennifer Hillier

Aged just 16, Geo’s best friend Angela disappeared without a trace. Years later, Angela’s body is discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home, revealed as yet another victim of the notorious serial killer Calvin James. Geo’s high-school boyfriend.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what had happened and told no one, carrying the secret until she was arrested and sent to prison. Why would any woman protect a man capable of committing such a heinous crime? Geo had her reasons…

To Geo, Calvin is more than a monster, a serial killer with no remorse. He is something else entirely. And while Geo did her time, Calvin escaped and went on the run. Now released, Geo is ready to start over. But then the bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela…

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My Thoughts…

Reading the title, I wasn’t sure if I was about to embark on a romantic tale or a macabre journey. ‘A Jar of Hearts’ is neither of these, although it does feature an unlikely romantic and serial killings.

It’s a thriller about retribution, forgiveness, obsession and lies. Geo rises like a phoenix from the ashes in the aftermath of her friend’s disappearance. Years later she finds that her lies come back to haunt her and then her life implodes. Geo keeps ‘The Jar of Hearts’ as a reminder of that fateful night.

There are many subtle twists in this story, but even if you understand them, they don’t reveal everything. The murders are shocking and graphically portrayed, but only to demonstrate the murder’s state of mind. The ending is both poignant and disturbing and perfect for this absorbing book.

Suspenseful, surprisingly and often shocking; ‘A Jar of Hearts’ is a compelling read.

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

Posted in Book Review

The Liars Room – 4* Review – Simon Lelic

ONE ROOM. TWO LIARS. NO WAY OUT…

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.

But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?

Then Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt.

And Susanna realises she was wrong. 
She doesn’t know him. 
BUT HE KNOWS HER. 
AND THE GIRL HE PLANS TO HURT IS HER DAUGHTER…

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My Thoughts…

My lasting impression from this intense thriller is the tragic waste of life and potential. Even though most of the present-day action takes place in the therapist’s room, there are frequent flashbacks to past events, which add depth to the story and give insight into the two main protagonists motivations and why they find themselves in the room.

The story flows well, and you’re drawn into their lives. It’s not an exciting thriller, there is action, but most of it occurs in the past. Family tragedy and secrets are this story’s focus. The suspense is well written, and it builds until the secrets are revealed, and the situation in the room becomes explosive.

It’s hard to identify the antagonist in this story, as the title suggests their lives are riddled with lies, the plot maintains its momentum, but it is perhaps just a little longer than needed.

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