Latest Book Reviews

Three ‘so called’ friends from school and university, Georgia, Lila and Nancy, meet up at Georgia’s for a dinner party with their partners.  Nancy has flown over from the USA with her new fiancé, Brett, as the request of Georgia as she is worried about Lila.

These are not pleasant women and the story is told from the present day and their sixth form school days at a boarding school.  It soon become apparent that Lila may be about to give away some sort of secret from those school days.

Looking back, they have always been self-centred sociopaths but the plot is intriguing and well thought through so not feeling any warmth towards the characters does not take away from the story.

Thanks to NetGalley, Random House UK and Rebecca Reid for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Excellent read.  Highly recommended.

This is the first book I have read by JP Delaney and it is a highly entertaining thriller, which kept me turning the pages.  Claire is in New York without a green card.  She is a drama student who is looking for work.

She takes a job for a firm of lawyers, posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap husbands.  Although she can set a trap for these wayward men can she set a trap for a killer?

Claire is an actress on many levels and the intrigue and twists and turns kept me interested.

Thanks to NetGalley, Quercus Books and JP Delaney for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Good read. Recommended.

This is the first novel I have read by S. K. Tremayne but it will not be the last.    A brilliantly written novel, based on Dartmoor, with so many idiosyncrasies and stories of witchcraft.  I was hooked from the first chapter and read this within 24 hours.  I simply couldn’t put it down.

Kate and Adam are married with a daughter, Lyla, who is somewhere on the autistic spectrum but is a delightfully portrayed little girl and my heart went out to her on several occasions.

The story begins with Kate surviving an accident, which has left her with some mild brain trauma meaning some of her memory around the event is hazy in parts and non-existent in others.  The story follows her piecing together the story and understanding what happened to her.  All is not as it seems.

There are a few situations where i found myself holding my breath.  There is depth and a real psychological thriller element.  Who hates Kate this much?

Thanks to NetGalley, HarperCollins UK and S. K. Tremayne for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Must read.  Absolutely excellent.  Highly recommended.

This is the debut novel by Gytha Lodge.  ‘She Lies in Wait’ is a thoroughly entertaining read.

In 1983 seven teenagers go camping and one goes missing.  A young police officer is involved in searching for Aurora Jackson during the weeks that follow.  It has always left him wondering what happened.

Finally her body is uncovered some 30 years later when he is a DCI and he takes charge of the murder hunt.  Everyone involved has something to hide including the DCI as the new Detective Constable on the case finds out.

The story goes from present day back to 1983 to get a perspective of the teenagers and their drug taking and alcohol drinking. I found the characters well developed and the pace great.  There are enough red herrings and twists and turns to keep interest until the end.  I warmed to JoJo more than the rest of the characters.

Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin UK, Michael Joseph and Gytha Lodge for my ARC in return from my honest review.

Excellent read.  Highly recommended.

I have read ‘My Husband’s Wife’ and ‘The Dead Ex’ by Jane Corry and thoroughly enjoyed both of them.  This is a short story about two sisters Danielle and Susie.

For a short story it is compelling and well suited to reading on a train journey, hairdresser visit or something similar.  Intriguing and, as usual with this author, great characters and well plotted.

Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Books UK and Jane Corry for my ARC in return from my honest review.

Great read.  Recommended.

Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read from Linda La Plante.  Murder Mile is based on Jane Tennison, just after she has been made a detective sergeant.  Great storyline from the late 1970s, which brought back many fond memories.

I found myself visualising the characters from ‘Prime Suspect’, which I felt added to my enjoyment.  The areas of sexism and homophobia are dealt with as part and parcel of what life used to be like, not only in the police force but also in all walks of life during that time.

WDS Tennison’s character is developing and she is willing to speak her mind and stand up for what she believes.  The murder scenes and procedures are concise, making it a joy to read.

Thank you NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffre and Linda La Plante for my ARC.

A must read for any Jane Tennison fan.  Excellent.

Brilliantly entertaining read that I couldn’t put down.  It was one of those addictive stories.

Amy hauled Cara to safety during a terrorist attack in London.  Along with one of Amy’s colleagues they stay in a storeroom above Pret a Manger.  The colleague leaves and is murdered by the terrorists.  The two women stay and Cara reveals her innermost secrets to Amy.

Cara and Amy tell the story in alternate chapters and there is no mystery as to who is manipulating the situation.  However, the plot is clever and wicked in parts with some excellent twists including a great ending.

Although I felt I should like Cara I found her selfish and one of those people who want the best of all worlds without consequences.

Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin UK, Michael Joseph and Karen Perry for my ARC in return from my honest review.

Excellent read.  Highly recommended.

I have read ‘My Husband’s Wife’ by Jane Corry and thoroughly enjoyed it. ‘The Dead Ex’ did not disappoint. It was a highly enjoyable read.

The plot is well constructed with the main character, Vicki, being involved in all three parts to the novel. As a central character she is flawed which made her compelling and I found myself wishing her well. In addition we meet Scarlet and Helen during the course of the story. Although these characters seem disconnected initially, there is always the feeling that they will join up and they certainly did.

Vicki has epileptic seizures and this part is handled sympathetically but clearly by the author leaving the reader in no doubt how devastating this can be to those who suffer.

This novel is full of lies, deceptions, affairs, rape and evil, which I couldn’t put down.

Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Books UK and Jane Corry for my ARC in return from my honest review.

Brilliant read. Highly recommended.

This is the first novel I have read by Claire Douglas but have made a note to seek out the others soon.

Kirsty, Adrian and their two daughters, Evie and Amelia, move from London to Wales to open a guesthouse believing they will be fulfilling their dream.  The move doesn’t bode well from the beginning as Kirsty’s mother has had to assist financially and will be living with them as well as helping with the running of the bed and breakfast.

Creepy thing start to happen right from the start and gradually the past is revealed including the real reasons for the move.  Kirsty’s mother invites Selena, Kirsty’s estranged cousin and Kirsty’s brother, Nathan and his wife Julia as soon as the guesthouse opens.  As well s the other guests Kirsty finds the dream is hard work and she is soon fighting tiredness and a daughter who doesn’t want to be there as well as another who seems to be scared all the time.

When the accident/murder happens it could be anybody in the building who was responsible.  There are several twists and turns with an excellent ending which I did not expect at all.

Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin UK, Mcihael Joseph and Claire Douglas for the ARC in return for my honest review.

Great read.  Highly recommended.

I have read all of K L Slater’s previous novels and have enjoyed them all including this one, ‘The Secret’.

Her development of characters is brilliant and, once again, I found myself warming to some and disliking others but her ability to throw in a curve ball in terms of characterisation was well thought through and carefully plotted.

The story revolves around two sisters: Alice, who is bordering on being agoraphobic and Louise, who is married and comes across as arrogant and uncaring.  Louise seeks out Alice’s help with taking her son, Archie, to school which means Alice gets out more and starts to rebuild her life.

The storyline goes back and forth in time so that we understand why the two sisters are in their current predicaments.  Alice begins to develop a warm relationship with her nephew and the reader knows from the start of the novel that he has a secret.

There are twists and turns throughout and just when you think everything has been revealed another one comes along.  I loved the ending.

An excellent read and highly recommended.  Thanks to NetGalley, Bookouture and KL Slater for the ARC in return for my honest review.

Lisa Hall addresses a delicate issue with empathy and understanding, when Rachel wakes up on New Year’s Day after a party the previous night at her neighbours.  She is in bed alone, so her husband must have left her at the party.  She is bruised and somehow knows she has been raped.  She cannot recall anything.

Nobody seems to know very much about what happened and all the people she know are vague.  She reports it to the police and they seem to be at a dead end.

Rachel decides to try and find out what happened to her and begins asking questions and delving into other people’s lives to try and get to the answer.

It is a good story and the author leaves the options open as to who could have done this to Rachel and why.

Good read, recommended

This is the first novel I have read by Louise Jensen but will now be seeking out others as I found this compulsive reading.

‘The Date’ is about one night, which changes the life of Ali forever.  Waking the next morning with no recollection of anything from her date, bruised with her head smashed she finds she has also developed prosopagnosia.  This gives every aspect of her search for the truth an added eerie feel.

I loved the plot and twists although I managed to fathom a couple out but there are many, right to the end. I’m a sucker for imaginative endings and this had one.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Louise Jensen for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Excellent Read.  Highly recommended.

I have read the previous seven Rachel Abbott novels and found them all compelling reading and thoroughly enjoyable.  ‘And So It Begins’ is as good, if not better than the others.

Mark is a photographer and Evie commissions him to take pictures of her.  They become close, fall in love and when Evie becomes pregnant she finally moves in with him.  His stunning house was from his previous marriage and his former wife was found tragically dead at the bottom of the stairs leading down to the gym area.  Cleo, Mark’s sister, disapproves of the relationship from the beginning.

There is an undercurrent of lies and deception throughout the book and it is not clear until the very end where all the deceit lies.

The characters are cleverly developed and my opinion of who I liked and disliked changed as the story progressed apart from Stephanie.  She is the detective sergeant who attended the death of Mark’s first wife and attends the same house when the police receive the call with a woman screaming that she is being hurt.  When Stephanie arrives she finds Mark is dead and a room full of blood, some of it Evie’s.

There are numerous twists and turns with an excellent ending.

Thanks to NetGalley, Headline Wildfire and Rachel Abbot for my ARC in return from my honest review.

Excellent novel.  Highly recommended.

I have read Gillian McAllister’s novels before and the fact that this was a brilliant read came as no surprise.

‘No Further Questions’ follows the court case of Becky, who is on trial for the murder of her sister, Martha’s, baby.  Martha appears to have it all, a luxury flat overlooking the sea, attentive husband, brilliant career in charity work and now a baby, Layla.

Martha hires Becky as her nanny as her career takes her overseas.  Layla is only eight weeks old and Becky finds Layla dead one morning.  Initially believed to be an accidental death it is finally decided that it is murder and Becky is arrested and stands trial, as she appears to have ben the only person in the house at that time.  Becky swears she didn’t kill her niece.  Martha wants to believe her.

The delicate subject matter is handled with care and consideration and it is written so that each of the main characters is followed at different times. There are numerous sub plots and all is not as it seems between the sisters.

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Gillian McAllister for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Excellent Read.  Highly recommended.

All the Hidden Truths is set in Edinburgh and tells the story of a fictional college shooting where thirteen women are murdered by a lone gunman, Ryan Summers, who then turns the gun on himself.  The narrative is told from the perspective of three different women:  the mother of the first victim, the mother of the gunman and the detective inspector who is leading the investigation.

Claire Askew handles the topic with empathy and addresses the anger, emotional heartache and complete bewilderment mixed with grief whilst keeping tension bubbling away.  Everybody is searching for a reason for the murders.

As the story unravels there are so many destructive family subplots including death threats to the mother of the gunman, drugs being sold at the college and a journalist’s interference, which brings a compelling twist.

Thank you to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and Claire Askew for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Brilliant Read.  Highly recommended.

The story revolves around Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s family who were attacked 28 years ago.   This left the sisters physically and mentally damaged and their mother dead.

Charlie follows in her father’s footsteps and becomes a lawyer and when there is a shooting at Pikeville Middle School it brings both sisters together again and raises memories they’d hoped would stay buried.

This story is an emotional roller coaster.  The characters are well developed and the whole novel is cleverly plotted.

Thank you to Harper Collins, NetGalley and Karin Slaughter for the ARC, in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Great read.  Highly recommended.

This is the first novel I have read by Sam Blake and I will need to check out the previous two in this series.  However, it is stand-alone and the main character, Cathy Connolly, is a gritty tough woman with a soft centre.  I loved her.

‘No Turning Back’ is an addictive read and focuses on the murder/suicide of a student and the definite murder of one of her friends.  Are they connected?  The plot becomes intertwined with affairs and computer hacking.  Although complicated, it is well thought through with numerous twists and turns.

The main action takes place in Ireland with the final scenes in London and well portrayed.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffre and Sam Blake for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Great Read.  Highly recommended.

‘Stalker’, by Lisa Stone was not what I expected from the title but it did not disappoint.  Derek Flint lives with his mother and is a home security expert, installing CCTV and alarm systems for domestic residents but all is not as it appears on the surface. Derek does not help everybody who requests security and is very particular about who he choses to work with.

Several crimes happen within the vicinity of Derek’s home and all have Derek’s security system installed.  DC Beth Mayes becomes suspicious and believes he is involved somehow in theses differing crimes but when the CCTV is viewed it couldn’t be him.

Derek has a bank of screens in his bedroom and begins to believe somebody is watching him as well.  A clever story and Derek’s character is well portrayed.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Avon Books, UK and Lisa Stone for my ARC of ‘Stalker’ in return for my honest review.

Brilliant Read.  Highly recommended.

This is the first novel I have read by this author and will be seeking out the previous one, which would have put some of the comments and background in perspective.

Having said that it was a stand-alone book and story, which had me intrigued from the beginning.  It was well developed and the police characters were the most amazingly in all of it.

I did struggle with some of the coincidences and relationships so found some of the background a little ‘out there’.

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Books, Viking and Cara Hunt for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Good read, recommended.

I have read all of Angela Marsons’ previous Detective Kim Stone novels and it is an amazing series, well written and clever.

Dying Truth is based around a boarding school, Heathcrest, where two pupils die in the same week.  Detective Inspector Kim Stone suspects there is foul play even though the headmaster assures her and the parents that all is fine.

I love murder mysteries where there is a limited number of suspects and this does not disappoint in that respect but this school is a strange and dangerous place. Kim Stone takes no prisoners and is relentless and seemingly fearless in her approach to getting to the truth.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture and Angela Marsons for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Excellent read and highly recommended.

I have read all of Julie Corbin’s previous novels and find her to be an amazingly exciting writer and this was another great read.

Ruby is ex-police and now works for a CCTV business, which monitors the streets of Edinburgh. The story of how and why Ruby is now in this position and the consequences of how and why she behaves the way she does is uncovered gradually.  I warmed to Ruby’s character but some of her behaviours surprised me.

We are drip-fed snippets into her life and all the reasons she is where she is now. As she monitors the streets she recognises ‘Hannah’ and she justifies why it is acceptable to watch her although we learnt at the beginning of the novel that it is not.  This is where the story explodes.

The secrets creep out and the lies take over.

Thank you to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton, Mulholland Books and Julie Corbin for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Excellent, highly recommended.

I read ‘Friend Request’ by Laura Marshall and thoroughly enjoyed it so was looking forward to reading ‘Three Little Lies’.  It was an excellent read and I found the structure and characters well thought through and I was into the story straight away.

The story follows Elleb for the majority of the time as she searches for her ‘best’ friend abd flat mate ‘Sasha’, who disappears one day and nobody apart from Ellen seems bothered, including the police.  Ellen’s frustration and anger is clear and she is determined to find her friend even if it means digging up the past, which it does.

The past involve Ellen and Sasha helping to convict Sasha’s ‘brother’ of raping another of their friends.  The issue of rape, abuse, teenage friendships and bullying are all addressed with sensitivity and understanding.

Three little lies, but who is lying?

Thank you to NetGalley, Little Brown Book Group UK, Sphere and Laura Marshall for my ARC in return for my hones review.

Excellent and highly recommended.

This is the first novel I have read by this author and realise that I have been missing out on.  What a treat.  I can now catch up on the other books in the series and am really looking forward to this.  Inspector Chopra and his adorable elephant, Ganesha were stars.

The Murder at the Grand Raj Palace was an old-fashioned murder mystery with amazingly well developed characters.  Inspector Chopra needs his wife, Poppy’s assistance to solve the complicated murder with a variety of clues together with several suspects.  The setting was stunning and the level of humour terrific.

It was a well-paced novel, easy to read and highly entertaining.

Thank you to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton, Mulholland Books and Vaseem Khan for my ARC in return for my honest opinion.

Highly recommended.

Really great read.

I have read all of Roy Grace novels from Peter James and expect my passion for the author to wain at some stage.  It definitely did not in this one.  After thirteen other novels based around the central character I expected I would be bored.  In fact, just the opposite, because the author left out many of the familiar intricate relationship story lines and it worked well.

The characters were interesting and well developed and, as a football fan ,I found the bomb at the football stadium fascinating.

I guessed the first part of the kidnap but after that I went with the flow of the author’s story.

Thank you to NetGalley, Pan Macmiilan and Peter James for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Excellent Read.  Highly recommended.

This is Catherine Steadman’s debut novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Erin and Mark are getting married. They live in a wonderful house and both have great jobs until Mark loses his.  This changes Mark’s attitude and Erin doesn’t seem to realise the precarious position this leaves them in financially.

In the meantime she is continuing working on a documentary about three people leaving prison and the crimes they were involved with.  I thought these three characters were cleverly developed and just what Erin needed.

On their honeymoon in Bora Bora, they discover a package in the water while out diving and this is where the twists and turns develop rapidly.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster UK Fiction and Catherine Steadman for the ARC of ‘Something in the Water’ in return for my honest review.

Highly enjoyable and strongly recommended.

I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell and this book did not disappoint even though it was a deviation from the usual.  Based in Elizabethan times it centres around William Shakespeare’s brother, Richard during a time when the theatre scene is evolving and it covers the first performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

Richard does not portray his brother in a positive light but as the hero, himself doesn’t appear too sympathetic.  The development of relationships throughout the story is well handled including the love interest for Richard and the sibling rivalry with his brother.

Many thanks to NetGalley, HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction, Bernard Cornwell for the ARC of ‘Fools and Mortals’ in return for my honest review.

Enjoyable and recommended.

This is the second book I have read by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, The Binding Song.  However, this one I enjoyed so much more and found it an excellent read.

It is based in East Anglia and there is horror when three women are found murdered although the first two are ‘sex workers’ which detracts from the original investigation.  However, Hannah, the third victim was a pretty, hairdressing apprentice with ambition.

Another woman is missing, Ava, and the story is told from her perspective and the journalist who is following the case closely, Frankie.  The author portrays so many interesting aspects relating to misogyny and online bullying. There is a point when I was reading the novel that I thought at least four or five men could be the killer.

Cleverly plotted.  Highly recommended.

Thank you to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton, Mulholland Books and Elodie Harper for the ARC of The Death Knock in return for my honest review.

A good read.

Francine Day is a highflying barrister who is from a poor background. Her character is flawed but nevertheless believable.  She gets herself into a difficult situation with a client, Martin, who she falls in love with.  When his wife disappears he becomes the prime suspect.  The author dragged me into the storyline and I loved most of it.

As the story develops I was unable to understand some of the characters and their development, especially the downstairs neighbour.

I love unusual endings and unbelievable finishes but this one didn’t really sit right with me.  It is probably my own interpretation but I was left disappointed.

Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins UK and JL Butler for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Good read.

 

Brilliant read.

The novel begins with Margaret Allan, Maggie, entering a plea to a crime of manslaughter.  The story itself then begins with Maggie waking up from a coma, which she has been in for six weeks since the day of the accident.

She is told that her daughter, Elspeth, was killed in the accident and her husband has since disappeared.  To add to her trauma she discovers that he sold their family home some years back and they have been renting it from a property company ever since.  He gave notice to the company after their daughter had been buried and she has nowhere to live. Devastated, she tries to recall what happened the night her car went into the river with her daughter locked inside.

Struggling with memory loss Maggie begins to hear and see certain things from that night.  Gradually throughout the novel snippets from her past are fed into the plot providing numerous twists and turns.

During the course of the novel there are heart wrenching letters from a child to her mother which plead for her mother to collect her and take her home.

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Books UK and Nuala Ellwood for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Highly recommended.

I have read several books by Joy Ellis. This is a DI Jackman and DS Evans story and once again, it did not disappoint. There is something about her style of writing, which means this author’s novels are always a page-turner for me.

Jackman’s sister-in-law goes to London and appears to have committed suicide leaving behind a husband and two sons who are heart broken. She didn’t seem to be the type of character to kill herself and this leads to the investigation especially when another body is found in the same manner.

Cleverly plotted with numerous twists and turns, which kept me engrossed from start to finish.

Thanks to NetGalley, Joffe Books and Joy Ellis for the ARC in return for my honest review.

Highly enjoyable and recommended.

A highly enjoyable read.

The story centres on Cece who moves from London to Brighton with her three children to be with her husband who has already been there for three months. Although not too keen to move the family tries to settle down.

No sooner has Cece arrived at the private school she has chosen for her sons than she discovers an attempted murder has recently taken place on the school premises.

Cece becomes friends with the three women who knew the victim better than most and all is not as it seems. Everybody appears to be hiding something especially the victim who seemed to know everybody’s dirty secrets.

The book follows the twists and turns well and kept me engrossed throughout. What sort of friend are you?

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone, and Dorothy Koomson for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Highly enjoyable and recommended.

Take Me In is well written and allows the reader to build up a sense of foreboding watching what is affecting the lives of Marcus, Tess and their son, Josh.

The story becomes tense and gripping when the family returns from holiday where a stranger, Dave Jepson, saves Josh’s life after the two parents appear absorbed in their own individual worlds, ignoring their son. It seems as if Dave Jepson is there all the time. Is he a danger or a Good Samaritan?

Their marriage is suffering and they both appear to be selfish and uninterested in each other. Another holiday, this time in Suffolk, is where the story unravels in a tense final few chapters.

A whole host of secrets, lies, a huge amount of deceit and misconceptions make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton – Mulholland Books and Sabine Durrant for the ARC in return for my honest review.

An enjoyable read. The story revolves around two different families. Tess who is pregnant and adores her grandmother, Iris, and Gigi who is in a loveless marriage to Richard, meet up at a care home, Clearview. Gig is visiting her father-in-law, James.

The stories of the two slowly begin to interlink and the author deals with illness and relationships in a carefully planned, poignant way. In parts it is funny and in parts sad. Most people will be able to see some aspect of their lives within the tale.

Enjoyable and recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Elizabeth Noble for the ARC in return for my honest review.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.  This is the first time I have read anything from this author(s) but will be seeking out the previous novels in the series straight away. I usually steer clear of historical fiction but this has changed my view completely.

Brilliantly crafted murder mystery, which seems to encompass smuggling, a body being taken across the channel and high finance with ease and clarity.

Engaging characters of Reverend Hardcastle, who is the imperfect main character who works well with Amelia Chaytor. Throughout there was the humour and attention to detail, which shone through.

Enjoyable and strongly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffre and A J MacKenzie for the ARC in return for my honest review.

A thoroughly enjoyable read. Alex Devlin is a free-lance journalist and happens across a crime scene where two seemingly unconnected men are found dead in a boat on the Norfolk Broads. The verdict is suicide but Alex believes there is more to the deaths than initially obvious. She is right.

Her investigation leads her rushing around, asking for assistance from her previous boss Bus Evans and previous co-worker Heath who flirts endlessly with her. The truth of the suicides and other deaths takes her close to home and opens her up to danger.

Alex is a well-developed character and during the course of the novel has to deal with her sister returning, her father facing dementia and recovering from her boyfriend leaving her again.

Enjoyable and recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Harper Impulse and Killer Reads and Mary-Jane Riley for the ARC in return for my honest review.

Alexandra Southwood has vanished and all the police can find are a few possessions and enough blood to indicate she is dead. This is next to a river so the investigators dredge the river. No body. However, the reader knows she is alive from the narrative, which is from her viewpoint. One of the more quirky aspects is her analysis of how her husband and two young daughters will be feeling as they come to terms with it all.

Her husband, Marc, does not believe she is dead and makes this clear to the police. He begins his search into her last movements and follows his heart to try and find her.

This is a carefully plotted story with twists and turns along the way. You never know what goes on inside somebody’s head and within any relationship.

This is not a typical ‘missing person’ novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Natasha Bell for this ARC in return for my honest review.

Great Read. Recommended.

This was an enjoyable read. It is the second novel I have read by this author and find her writing intense and well plotted.

The story is told using two different mouthpieces. Jess Tidy, who is returning to her home town for the first time in ten years to attend her mothers funeral and Karen Winter whose husband, Mark, served three years in prison on the back of the accusation from Jess. Mark had been Jess Tidy’s teacher.

As the novel developed over that ten day period I became totally engrossed in Jess Tidy’s character and this made it compulsive reading for me. The author had me hooked.

I’m an addict for disconcerting endings and even though this did not fulfil that I loved it anyhow.

Recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Headline, Wildfire and Amanda Reynolds for this ARC in return for my honest review.

As this is a debut novel I cannot wait for the next one by this author. I read this in one sitting, as I couldn’t put it down. It was a fantastic addictive read and the ending was not at all obvious. I just didn’t see it coming.

When Emily meets Adam at a conference things develop quickly between them and they are soon planning their future, which includes getting married. Pammie, Adam’s mother has other ideas and pulls out all the stops to ensure this does not happen.

I’m sure most of us can relate to family tensions but some of Pammie’s behaviour is clearly meant to dissuade her future daughter-in-law from wanting to belong to the family. Coupled with that is the odd behaviour of Adam’s brother in the run up to the wedding.

The characters are carefully developed and, although at times I felt I knew what was happening, I didn’t.

Stongly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan and Sandie Jones for the ARC in return for my honest review.

Polly lives in London with her boyfriend, Oliver. The story begins with a scene in an up-market wine bar on Chancery Lane, London. Polly thinks her boyfriend has forgotten their three-year anniversary. She has a dull, dead end job and lives in a one bedroom flat with Oliver.

On the tube journey home she meets a stunning looking stranger and she gives in to his advances. He walks away without a backward glance. She is now obsessed and discovers #tubing which allows strangers to meet up for sex on busy commuter tube trains.

She is lured into the stranger’s murky world but all is not as it seems. As the story develops her world is turned upside down and she doesn’t appear to be able to let it go. Polly realises how much danger she is in but is it too late?

I found this a sharp, original, erotic thriller with numerous twists and turns.

Highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, RedDoor Publishing and K A McKeagney for the ARC in return for my honest review.

A thoroughly enjoyable read. Sarah Keyes is a hard working lawyer with a teenage daughter, Darcy, who has split from her husband, Tom. Sarah is always busy, rushing around and keen to help the less privileged. She meets Lauren, who is working in a nail bar, and feels sorry for her. Lauren has a law degree so Sarah helps her to secure an intern job at the law firm that she works for.

Lauren uses Sarah’s caring generosity to her own advantage and practically takes over her life by moving into her house as a paid lodger, helping Darcy with her issues and going on a date with Tom. As the story develops we can see how manipulative and intelligent Lauren is.

The author handles the relationships throughout the novel brilliantly although I did enjoy the different aspects between Sarah and her best friend Liz.

Enjoyable and recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Avon Books UK and Claudia Caroll for the ARC in return for my honest review.

Absolutely brilliant read.

The novel centres on a house in south London, which is split into three flats occupied by three very different people. Nick, Tam and Karen all lead unconnected lives and the story is told from all three separate points of view in turn. The characters are all struggling. Nick has to face autism and living on his own for the first time, Tam has just resigned from the police force and Karen is determined to submit an award winning research paper on autism.

The characters are brilliantly developed and for me the story line went through unpleasant features to horror to amazing to hilariously funny. At times, I laughed out loud. Underlying it all there were serious issues addressed including living in today’s society with a mental illness, dysfunctional family life, abuse and wanting to keep the old-fashioned methods alive.

If somebody had listed the content of the novel I may well not have read it but it was cleverly written and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley, RedDoor Publishing and Elizabeth S Moore for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Excellent Read. Highly recommended.

This is the first novel I have read by Heidi Perks and it was excellent.

A ‘friendship’ between Charlotte and Harriet is the theme throughout the novel although most of the time they are not friends because Charlotte manages to let Harriet’s daughter, Alice, out of her sight at a local fete and she disappears.

Charlotte is riddled with guilt and to make matters worse most of her so-called friends start to ignore her and almost accuse her of being at fault when it comes to light she had been posting on Facebook at the time of the disappearance.

Cleverly plotted with several twists and turns, the reader can see how Harriet’s husband is manipulating her to the extent she almost believes she is losing her mind herself.

The story unfolds through the police interviews and the individual stories to the conclusion, which was realistically written without pulling any punches.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone Century and Heidi Perks for my free copy in return for my honest review.

Brilliant Read. Highly recommended.

I found ‘The Visitor’ an excellent read. This is the fourth book I have read by this author and I have enjoyed all of them. This did not disappoint.

Holly returns to her hometown of Nottingham after spending ten years in Manchester. She is broke and has nowhere to live. She meets Cora, who offers her a roof over her head and food in return for a companion. Holly wants to get her life back on track so she seeks employment. The reader is aware that she wants money to look for Evan.

Next door to Cora lives David, who is more aware and clever than people give him credit for as he is suffering from a disorder and tends to be ignored or picked on by many.

The story flows between Holly in the present day living and working Nottingham and her ordeal from living in Manchester interspersed with a narrative from David. Cleverly plotted and a great ending. Loved it

An excellent read and highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Bookouture and KL Slater for the ARC in return for my honest review.

I found ‘Everything is Lies’ an interesting and different read. The narrative is from the present day is looking at the view of Sophia who has a ‘high flying’ job in an architects company in London. After an exceptionally weird telephone call from her mother, while out on a Friday night with work colleagues, she heads to her parents garden centre and café the following morning.

Here she finds her mother dead and her father fighting for his life. The police believe it is an attempted murder followed by a suicide but Sophia does not agree. She discovers that her mother, Nina, was about to get a book published and sets about reading the notebooks on which the book would be based.

The notebooks, written by Nina, show a totally different character and background from anything Sophia knew about her mother. It highlights how a young, impressionable person can easily become involved with groups, cults and gangs especially if brought up without too much love and understanding.

An excellent read and highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin UK, Michael Joseph Penguin and Helen Callaghan for this ARC in return for my honest review.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin Books UK, Penguin Ireland, and Liz Nugent for my ARC of Skin Deep.

This is the first novel I have read by this Liz Nugent but it will not be the last as I was gripped from the beginning to the end. It was compelling reading, carefully plotted and totally engaging.

The narrative is told mainly by the outwardly beautiful, and inwardly evil, Delia O’Flaherty with a few narratives by others who encountered her giving a different perspective on events.

The novel opens with Delia murdering a man she believes has come to harm her but instead of dealing with the situation she goes out to a fancy party where she behaves appallingly. We then return to her childhood and follow her journey to how the current situation has evolved.

During that journey we get to know that she has always been evil and always believed she is superior to others. We get to understand why that has happened. However, she has burnt all her bridges and there is nobody left to help her.

Brilliant. Highly recommended.

Thank you to NetGalley, RedDoor Publishing and Andy Rumbold for my ARC of The Last Fiesta.

This is the first novel I have read by this author and found it compelling reading and fascinating. Dan receives a call from an old friend, Billy, who wants to visit him in Santander where Dan now lives. Unbeknown to Billy Dan invites two other school friends. Their ‘rod trip’ changes all of their lives forever.

They make their way through Spain to Pamplona for the running of the bulls. During the course of their journey a shared secret between two of the men has dark and complicated undertones and Dan struggles to keep the journey on track.

The characters are superbly developed and I enjoyed the descriptions of the Spanish countryside. It was a refreshing read and highly recommended.

Thank you to NetGalley, Avon Books, UK and Helen Fields for this ARC of Perfect Death in return for my honest review.

I have enjoyed novels by this author before so was pleased to receive my ARC. This did not disappoint at all.

DI Luc Callaghan and newly promoted DCI Ava Turner become involved with a sadistic killer who is devious and clever. He can hide his murders by the use of sophisticated drugs and the ability to disappear into the shadow

Although written in the third person there are several episodes written in the viewpoint of the murderer. Cleverly constructed with good character portrayals I still felt there was a lack of surprise and excitement.

Having said all of that I enjoyed it. Recommended.

Thank you to NetGalley, HQ Mystery & Thrillers and BA Paris for this ARC of Bring Me Back in return for my honest review.

This is the third novel I have read by BA Paris and ‘The Breakdown’ is one of my all time favourite thrillers.   For me, this novel did not live up to ‘The Breakdown’ so I found it somewhat disappointing. Having said that I still found it a good thriller.

Finn and Layla alternate telling the story. Layla disappeared on a journey back from France to Devon after a holiday the couple had been on and this is the central theme of the story. This was twelve years prior to the beginning of the narrative and although Finn was initially arrested for the murder of his girlfriend he was released but she had never been found and no body has turned up. He is currently living with Layla’s sister, Ellen, and has asked her to marry him.

After Ellen makes the announcement of their engagement and forthcoming wedding in the local paper signs start to appear that Layla, or somebody pretending to be her, is alive and well and wants Finn back. The two other main characters, Ruby who is Finn’s ex-girlfriend, and Harry, did not feel real or well enough developed for me but I loved Peggy!

There are numerous twists and turns, which keep this a page-turner and compulsive reading to the end. The final explanations and reasoning did not seem convincing but I loved the very final chapter.

Recommended.

Thank you to NetGalley, Black Dot Publishing and Rachel Abbott for this ARC of Come a Little Closer in return for my honest review

This is the seventh novel I have read by this author in the DCI Tom Douglas and wonderful DI Becky Robinson series and they have all been thoroughly enjoyable so I was hoping this would be the same and it did not disappoint. It can be read as a stand-alone, although having read the other books I do think it enhanced my enjoyment by understanding the characters and their backgrounds.

It is cleverly plotted and although I wasn’t sure where it was going with Callie’s relationship with her verbally abusive partner, Ian, the twists and turns left me wanting to read more. The novel begins with Judith saying she has killed a man.

When Callie goes on a trip to Myanmar, she wants Ian to be gone when she returns to her house. Thanks to a Facebook post, which she didn’t place she loses her job, Ian is still in her house and an elderly couple offer to help. She is desperate and takes them up on their offer moving into a beautiful house. This is where things continue to deteriorate, although the gradual decline leaves Callie confused and scared.

Meanwhile a woman’s unidentified body is found and the unusual method of death is both intriguing and frightening for the Tom and Becky. This is deemed not to be a priority case initially although it soon changes.

I love unexpected endings and this delivered. Highly recommended.

 

I would like to thank Netgalley, Penguin UK-Michael Joseph and Jane Fallon for the opportunity to read this book subject to my honest review.

Thoroughly enjoyable and the first time I have read this author but will now be seeking more titles from her. I found it difficult to put down as I wanted to know what would happen next.

Great read from the opening scene where Amy is losing her New York based acting job and decides to attend her ‘best’ friend’s 40th birthday party as a surprise. Her fiancé doesn’t know she is returning to London either and here is where it starts to get complicated.

There is a mixture of incredulity and drama as the story unfolds with Amy unable to shake off the toxicity of her relationships as she stumbles along. The acts of revenge are clever and the switching of the narrative kept me on my toes..

Strongly recommended.

 

Thank you NetGalley, Penguin Books (UK), Viking and Emma Healey for my ARC of this novel in return for my honest review. Whistle in The Dark centres on the complex, sometimes turbulent relationship between a mother and daughter.

Lana, just fifteen, is found bloody and bruised after being missing for four days. She is unwilling (or unable) to communicate what has happened to her during that time. The tension between her and her mother, Jen, is cleverly portrayed and so easy to relate to.

The book deals with depression and how it affects everyone around with sensitivity and care as the tension builds throughout the story.

On impulse, Jen eventually takes the trip to the Peak District to find out what happened to her daughter while she was missing. The ending is moving.

Although this is the first novel I have read by this author I will be buying ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ now. Recommended.