blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Family Lie – P.L. Kane

A scream cut through the night as they watched flames engulf the woodland. Fire ripped through the trees, leaving only charred branches behind. And then they saw it… on the ashen forest floor… was a body.

Police officer, Mitchel Prescott answered the phone with a shaking hand. It was the one call he had been dreading. It was the hospital at Green Acres… his father Thomas, had died in the night.

Returning to the small town he had been avoiding since he was a child, Mitch must lay his father to rest.

When he arrives, the close-knit residents refuse to speak about Thomas’ death, other to explain he was found burnt to death in the woods and his dementia was the likely cause.

But when Mitch discovers traces of accelerant on his father’s body, he’s certain it wasn’t an accident. Then his childhood home is broken into, his father’s study ransacked, and a rock thrown through the window warning him to leave.

Mitch is convinced Thomas had discovered something that had got him into trouble… something that would threaten his entire family.

But what secret is worth killing for?

An utterly gripping thriller that will have you reading long into the night. Fans of Shari Lapena and Helen Phifer will love The Family Lie!

P L KANE is the pseudonym of a number one bestselling and award-winning author and editor, who has over a hundred books published in the fields of SF, YA and Horror/Dark Fantasy. In terms of crime fiction, previous books include the novel Her Last Secret, the collection Nailbiters and the anthology Exit Wounds, which contains stories by the likes of Lee Child, Dean Koontz, Val McDermid and Dennis Lehane. Kane has been a guest at many events and conventions, and has had work optioned and adapted for film and television. Several of Kane’s stories have been turned into short movies and Loose Canon Films/Hydra Films have just adapted ‘Men of the Cloth’ into a feature, The Colour of Madness. Kane’s audio drama work for places such as Bafflegab and Spiteful Puppet/ITV features the acting talents of people like Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who/Shetland), Alice Lowe (Prevenge) and Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint).

My thoughts: this gave me definite Hot Fuzz vibes – small towns give me the creeps. So insular and sinister – which this small rural town definitely is. Mitch has no idea what’s going on when he returns to Green Acres to put his late father’s affairs in order. The fact his father may have been murdered, the utterly useless local police, his weird aunt and uncle. He needs answers but getting them proves deadly. Thank goodness for his psychic sister Bella, the true hero of the book – Cat the cat, and Bella’s copper pal, Mitch is out of his depth.

Gripping and sinister, this is a really clever, enjoyable thriller about insidious evil and why you need a cat. Also, cults, small town strangeness and secrets.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Blasted Things – Lesley Glaister

1920: Britain is trying to forget the Great War. Clementine, who nursed at the front and suffered losses, must bury the past. Then she meets Vincent, an opportunistic veteran whose damage goes much deeper than the painted tin mask he wears. Their deadly relationship will career towards a dark and haunting resolution.

Lesley Glaister is a fiction writer, poet, playwright and teacher of writing. She has published fourteen adult novels, the first of a YA trilogy and numerous short stories. She received both a Somerset Maugham and a Betty Trask award for Honour Thy Father (1990), and has won or been listed for several literary prizes for her other work. She has three adult sons and lives in Edinburgh (with frequent sojourns to Orkney) with husband Andrew Greig. She teaches creative writing at the University of St Andrews and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

My thoughts: my great-grandmother didn’t leave a lot of her personal history to us – she had a stroke when my mum was very young and couldn’t speak, and when she died Pop (my great-grandfather) burnt all her photos and documents. But from what little we do know, she, Eliza Jane Redhead, was a WWI nurse, like Clementine in this book. It formed an instant connection for me. I have no idea what she saw or experienced, but I can’t imagine any of it was pleasant and like Clementine, she had to live with those terrible memories forever.

My mum is a nurse, it seems caring for people runs in the blood. She joined the Junior Red Cross and then went off at 17 to train in the NHS, where she’s worked for over 40 years. But Clem was expected to get married and have babies and leave the medicine to her doctor husband, the stuffed shirt Dennis (I hated him, I wish she’d escaped to Canada with the lovely Powell, I bet he wouldn’t be so controlling and annoying).

But she meets Vince, and he’s a chancer and a half. He wants so much more than his small life. The recipient of one of the tin masks made and painted to hide facial injuries – in his case a lost eye as well, it made me think of Pat Barker’s Toby’s Room where art students from the Slade are painting these faces.

Indeed that’s what Clem wants to do – paint him. But he sees in her an opportunity and it all leads down a dark path to tragedy. This book totally gripped me and pulled me along with it, much as Vince takes Clem along with him. I found myself muttering “don’t do it Clem, don’t do it” at times and was furious at Vince’s audacity and casual cruelty, but he didn’t deserve his end, despite what he did. Beautifully written, this is a book that will be hanging out in my mind for a while.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Couple Upstairs – Shalini Boland

Our new home was supposed to be a chance to leave our past behind. But was moving here the worst mistake of our lives?

All our friends and family were gathered, glasses raised to toast our fresh start. It should have been a night for happiness and celebration. Zac and I had worked so hard for this: our first home together, just minutes from the sea. But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare…

We’d invited our neighbours too. I wanted to make a good impression – to show them we’re exactly the sort of people they want living on their street.

I hadn’t thought about who they might be, the strangers I was letting in.

It was going so well. There was laughter in the air and the wine was flowing. But then I noticed the narrowed eyes, the whispers.

And then the lights went out.

As my heart thumped in my chest, all the little things that had been going wrong since we moved here flashed through my mind: the food poisoning, the arguments, the flood of nasty reviews shaking my business.

Am I going crazy? Or is someone trying to destroy us?

From the USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes an absolutely heart-thumping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the TrainGone Girl and The Wife Between Us.

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Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and Jess their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer songwriter, but now she spends her days writing suspense thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

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My thoughts: I’ve never been so glad my upstairs neighbours are happy to keep to themselves. Chris and Vanessa seem friendly at first but then they’re wrecking havoc in Nina and Zac’s life. And Nina can’t figure out why 2 strangers are so determined to make her life hell.

Creepy and weird, totally obsessive. All things no one wants to find out about the people they live closest to. Time to call in the anti-social behaviour team and get them warned! I couldn’t figure out what they were up to or why, the mysterious flashbacks between each chapter carefully avoided any clues, I was completely thrown by the reveal. A nicely nasty little thriller about the dangers of neighbours. I’m off to live on a deserted island!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Babysitter – Gemma Rogers

It’s every mother’s worst nightmare…

All NEW from Gemma Rogers

Ali and Christopher Tolfrey’s one year old daughter Eden is abducted whilst in the care of Ali’s best- friend.
Snatched in broad daylight from Bushy Park on a trip to the swings, Eden disappears without a trace.
Brooke Simmons, regains consciousness, dazed from a blow to the head, to find Eden, her best friends’ child is missing.
Someone has taken Eden and Brooke knows who.
But it’s a secret she can’t share with Ali or the Police without revealing the web of deceit she’s spun.
Can Brooke get Eden home before her lies come back to haunt her? Or is the net closing in on her? Amazon

Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Her debut novel Stalker was published in September 2019 and marked the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog, Buster.

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My thoughts: this was a clever, twisted thriller. As you realise what has happened and how badly wrong things have gone, there’s a mounting horror at what could happen next.

I know Bushy Park well having played there as a kid and picnicked as an adult too, I can easily imagine someone nabbing a child and just disappearing, it’s a big place.

Clever and tense writing, the characters are interesting, especially Brooke, who is not quite who she seems.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Trailer: Family Medicine – Natasha Jeneen Thomas

BookTrailer copy

Check out the book trailer for upcoming release, Family Medicine, a chilling novel by Natasha Jeneen Thomas!

Family-Medicine-eBook-CvrFamily Medicine

Expected Publication Date: October 8th, 2021

Genre: Suspense/ Psychological Thriller

In one of the most beautiful cities on Earth, following your dreams could become a nightmare.
Therese Hughes-Baldwin arrives in Boca Raton with hopes of joining the most prestigious dance company in South Florida. But instead of finding ballet success, she suffers an embarrassing heartbreak and takes a boring barista job. She also inadvertently gains the attention of the woman who stalks her on every train ride she takes.

So when Therese’s favorite café customer, Dr. Dara Clemens, offers an escape to her beachside mansion, Therese can hardly say “yes” quickly enough. With her suitcase in hand and best friend Phoebe by her side, she heads to the Clemens’ oceanfront getaway. The home is gorgeous. The beach is, too. So is the stranger Therese gives her number to at the bar.

But there are voices in the vents. And there are people who stare. And Therese faces a sinking feeling that something is hauntingly off about Phoebe’s behavior. As Therese questions the motivations of those around her, she opens the door to a reality she never thought she’d find.

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About the Author

Natasha Thomas - Book Cover-083 copy (1)

Natasha Jeneen Thomas is a Florida-born psychiatrist and psychological suspense writer. She has spent the past eleven years in psychiatric private practice exploring individual and collective story and the power of perception. Witnessing life from the vantage point of the human psyche’s inner workings, Natasha sees the state of the world as a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves – and allow ourselves to believe.

Natasha earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, studied medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and completed residency training in psychiatry at University of Maryland and Sheppard & Enoch Pratt hospitals. In 2010, she moved to Metro Atlanta to work as an outpatient psychiatrist and has the continued honor of providing clinical care as owner & CEO of Hope Grove Psychiatry, PC. When she is not doctoring or writing, she is enjoying her family, her home, or her corner of the couch.

Learn more at http://www.natashajeneenthomas.com

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Last One Alive – Karin Nordin

Read my thoughts on the previous book in this series – Where Ravens Roost

They survived once. Can he save them this time?

When Detective Kjeld Nygaard is called to the discovery of a body in the burnt-out shell of a house, his heart sinks. He never wanted to see this house again. The house of a notorious serial killer. The house where he rescued Louisa Karlsson from being murdered.

But when they discover the body is in fact Louisa, the mystery deepens. It can’t be the old serial killer. He’s dead.

Then another body is found, again killed in the exact place where Kjeld saved them from another murderer. Another survivor dead.

With the clock ticking Kjeld and his partner Detective Esme Jansson are desperate to stop any more survivors from being murdered. But every clue they find leads to a dead end. Why is the killer picking off people Kjeld rescued? Could it be connected to another of his previous cases?

When Kjeld’s daughter is kidnapped – it’s a race against time to save her life. Can Kjeld stop the killer without paying the ultimate price or will he be the last one alive?

A heart-stopping and gripping crime thriller that will keep you up all night! Perfect for fans of Helen Phifer, Lisa Regan and D.K. Hood.

My thoughts: this was very clever, playing with tropes like “the final girl” and the idea of killers wanting to complete their plan, throwing the detectives off course with cleverly re-staging murder scenes and even getting one death ruled a suicide.

Kjeld’s grip on things is getting weaker, his relationships, both person and professional, are crumbling and he can’t even seem to stop this murderer before they abduct his daughter Tove.

Kjeld is the latest in a long line of detectives with messy lives – and he makes it messier still in this story. We also got a lot more of his partner, Esme, which I enjoyed as she’s an interesting character. The case is a knotty, complex one and I didn’t guess the ending and the killer at all.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Secret Keeper’s Daughter – Samantha King

Holly Mayhew has the perfect family set-up. But when her seven-year-old daughter, Marley, begins to act strangely, refusing to speak and rushing off to hide in her room, she knows something isn’t right.

Desperate to understand why Marley has become so withdrawn, Holly creates a worry box, where Marley posts her thoughts each day.

At first, the messages seem innocent. But when Holly finds a note saying secrets make me sad, she begins to question everyone entrusted with her care…

Including her family.

Once the truth is out… there’s no going back.

My thoughts: everyone in this book is keeping secrets, and they fester, damaging relationships and causing fear and upset. Poor little Marley has it worst, she’s scared that telling her mum what she’s overheard and interpreted, will put Holly in danger.

If this family spoke openly and honestly with each other then they’d all be a lot happier and healthier. Only the baby is immune from this – and that’s because he can’t talk yet!

None of the secrets are as earth shattering as those keeping them think. In fact the most shocking ones actually answer a lot of questions and explain a lot about Holly and Amy’s past. A story about why it’s best to speak up and not keep things hidden.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Bring Her Home – S.A. Dunphy

She had taken only one step towards the hotel when she heard the car door opening, and then something had her by the shoulders in a grip like steel. Penny tried to fight, but it was no good. The last thing she heard as consciousness drifted away was the whisper of a familiar song…

On a cold night in October a pretty, blonde girl named Penny O’Dwyer is snatched from the quiet main street of a small, coastal town in the west of Ireland. No one saw anything, and a desperate search leads nowhere… Until her abductor sends a video declaring Penny only has ten days to live and a deadly countdown begins.

Criminal behaviourist Jessie Boyle hoped never to work a case in Ireland again. But when her career in London is cut short by a brutal tragedy, she returns to her homeland to grieve – only for her oldest friend to call in a long overdue debt. ‘Help us catch this monster and bring Penny home. We need you, Jessie.’

Throwing herself into the investigation, Jessie makes a chilling discovery: Penny wasn’t the first girl to be taken. As her team find more missing women, she becomes convinced that a serial killer has been hiding in plain sight for years. Nothing seems to tie the victims together, until Jessie realises that that each abduction site is linked to the old Irish myths she read as a child.

Time is running out for Penny, and Jessie’s only hope is to understand the killer’s twisted logic. But he is closer than she imagined… and Jessie is next in his sights. Will she risk everything to save an innocent life?

A totally breathtaking and chilling crime thriller that will keep you gripped to the very last page, perfect for fans of Lisa Regan, A.J. Rivers, Tana French and Lisa Gardner.

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Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973, but grew up in Ireland, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. A child protection worker for fifteen years, he is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the number one Irish bestseller Wednesday’s Child and the Sunday Times Bestseller The Girl Who Couldn’t Smile. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of true crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed and the second title in the series, The Bad Place, is an Audible True Crime bestseller. 

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My thoughts: blending ancient folklore with very modern technology and murder, this was a really enjoyable first book in a new series featuring three unconventional investigators – Katie, Seamus and Terri in rural Ireland.

After the daughter of the former Taoseich is kidnapped, the team are put together and sent to investigate. Penny seems to have been leading a double life, legitimate accountant by day, advising criminals and gangsters how to hide their money by night. She also had a steady stream of “friends” visiting her hotel room in the nights leading up to her disappearance.

But Katie is receiving messages purported to be from Celtic myth Balor – a demonic monster. He claims to be involved in the kidnapping. Adding a strange dimension to the case. How does it connect to missing drug shipments from a local gangster? Or to the kidnapping of women over the last forty years?

Really clever and twisted, the team all bring their differing skills to the task, Katie as a psychologist, Seamus a detective, Terri an ace researcher and hacker. I was disappointed to get to the end of the book and realise I’m going to have to wait for the next one.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Next of Kin – Kia Abdullah

ON AN ORDINARY WORKING DAY…

Leila Syed receives a call that cleaves her life in two. Her brother-in-law’s voice is filled with panic. His son’s nursery has called to ask where little Max is.

YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE…

Leila was supposed to drop Max off that morning. But she forgot.

Racing to the carpark, she grasps the horror of what she has done.

IS ABOUT TO COME TRUE…

What follows is an explosive, high-profile trial that will tear the family apart. But as the case progresses it becomes clear there’s more to this incident than meets the eye…

A gripping, brave and tense courtroom drama, Next of Kin will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final, heart-stopping page.

My thoughts: this really is shocking and sad – the death of a child always is. But the twists in the final third of the book are the most shocking part. Just when you think the case is closed and the details as disclosed in court, Kia Abdullah delivers some incredible new information, casting a different light over everything you’ve read so far. Very clever, very stunning.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: I Shot the Devil – Ruth McIver

FIVE WENT INTO THE WOODS. 

TWO NEVER CAME BACK.

An unforgettable story of murder, trauma and childhoods lost, by Richell Prize-winning debut author Ruth McIver

Erin Sloane was sixteen when high school senior Andre Villiers was murdered by his friends. They were her friends, too, led by the intense, charismatic Ricky Hell. Five people went into West Cypress Woods the night Andre was murdered. Only three came out.

Ativan, alcohol and distance had dimmed Erin’s memories of that time. But nearly twenty years later, an ageing father will bring her home. Now a journalist, she is asked to write a story about the Southport Three and the thrill-kill murder that electrified the country. Erin’s investigation propels her closer and closer to a terrifying truth. And closer and closer to danger.

An unforgettable story of murder, trauma and childhoods lost, I Shot the Devil is a taut, prize-winning debut novel from an electrifying new talent.

Ruth McIver is a Dublin-born, Western Australian and New York City raised writer currently based in Melbourne, Australia. She is represented by the Story Factory. In 2019 Ruth completed her PhD in the field of true-crime inspired fiction with Curtin University. Her unpublished manuscript, Nothing Gold, was runner-up in the inaugural Banjo Prize (2018) and was one of seven manuscript selected to be pitched at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival (2014). I Shot the Devil is her debut novel and won the 2018 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.

Find Ruth on social media: Twitter: @ruthmciver, Instagram: @rogetstrollope

My thoughts: this was a really interesting way of telling a story – told from Erin’s perspective and several others in the form of written, and highly dubious, accounts, it draws Erin back into a time she thought she’d moved on from.

Looking into the deaths of two of her high school friends – including the boy she was in love with, draws a lot more to the surface. Far from the “satanic panic” the media at the time insisted was involved, there’s a world of drug dealing, dirty cops and property fraud under the surface. And Erin drags it all into the light. Which puts her in terrible danger from unscrupulous people.

The middle section dragged a little, but once Erin decided what to do and heads to Florida to track down her old school friend and other suspects, the pace really picks up. As she digs deeper and the threats increase, the plot kicks into high gear. A dark and sinister thriller.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.