blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Murder of Graham Catton*

Everyone says Graham Catton was the perfect husband, professor and father. Why would someone murder him? His wife, Hannah Catton, tells the police she remembers nothing from the night of the murder. Why would she lie to them? Evidence against the accused, Mike Philips, is minimal and he protests his innocence throughout the trial. Why would they convict him? Journalist Anna Byers has overturned numerous prison sentences with her popular podcast CONVICTION and she believes the wrong man is behind bars. What will she do to help him? Someone knows more about the murder than they’re telling. It may have been Hannah’s husband who was killed, but listeners are about to become judge, jury and executioner on this season of CONVICTION.

Katie is a graduate of the University of Birmingham with a BA(Hons) in English and an MPhil in Literature and Modernity, and in 2012 started her blog, Fat Girl PhD – writing about body image, feminism and health. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Independent, and the BBC, as well as a number of media outlets in the US, Canada and Australia. Katie is currently working on a PhD in Female Rage in Literary Modernism and the #MeToo Era. THE FURIES is her first novel.

My thoughts: the true crime podcast has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and this is an interesting take on the genre of true crime podcast novels. Instead of following the investigator/host it follows the family of a victim and possibly a suspect for the killing.

Hannah has tried to move on from her husband’s brutal murder, tried to protect her daughter from it too. But a podcast is about to dig it all up again.

The way this novel unwinds, flipping between Hannah trying to do her job as a psychiatrist and the podcast episodes, the reactions of her daughter Evie and colleagues, patients and strangers, is really interesting. Hannah’s memory isn’t reliable and as events get more and more frightening, is she beginning to crack under the pressure?

*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: Mirrorland – Carole Johnstone*

Twelve years ago my life began again.

But it was a lie.

With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is the story of twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.

Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.

But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…

A sharply crafted mystery about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Daphne du Maurier.

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Carole Johnstone is an award-winning writer from Scotland, whose short stories have been published all over the world. Mirrorland, a psychological suspense with a gothic twist, is her debut novel.

Having grown up in Lanarkshire, she now lives in the beautiful Argyll & Bute, and is currently working on her second novel: a very unusual murder-mystery, set in the equally beautiful Outer Hebrides.

Website

My thoughts: this is a sad, shocking and disturbing book about twin sisters, their secret fantasy world and the truth about their lives. Cat has blocked out her memories, and left Edinburgh far behind, but returns after her sister goes missing.

El and her husband Ross bought the home the twins grew up in and Cat finds little has changed, it still holds its horrors for her. But as the search for El’s body winds down and Cat’s relationship with Ross starts to turn dark; the memories of their shared childhood resurface.

I was gripped by this tale of fantasy worlds, nightmares and tragedy. Cat and El’s childhood is twisted and strange, raised in isolation by their mother and grandfather, they never left the grounds of their house until they were 12. Cat has repressed her memories but returning to the house starts to bring things back to the surface. Ross is a fascinating character, a childhood friend and neighbour, but is he El’s saviour or captor?

Mirrorland is the fantasy world the twins created, a world they escaped into, in a covered alleyway down the side of the house. There they felt safe and could escape the horrors of their home. Until they couldn’t. But who is sending Cat emails and directing her to pieces of El’s diaries and why?

As she starts to dig into what happened to her sister and recover her long buried memories, the house takes on an increasingly sinister aspect. Mirrorland is similarly full of darkness. A really interesting, dark read.

*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: Local Woman Missing

People don’t just disappear without a trace…

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…

In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense and New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica takes domestic secrets to a whole new level, showing that some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

My thoughts: this was a really clever and twisty thriller. I could not work out what was going on and what had happened to the two women and the little girl at all. Everything is slowly and tantalisingly revealed in flashbacks and bit by bit the shocking answers are given.

Absolutely gripping and totally stunning, I got to the end and could not believe it. Such fantastic writing.

*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 Pact – Sharon Bolton*

A golden summer, and six talented friends are looking forward to the brightest of futures – until a daredevil game goes horribly wrong, and a woman and two children are killed.

18-year-old Megan takes the blame, leaving the others free to get on with their lives. In return, they each agree to a ‘favour’, payable on her release from prison.

Twenty years later Megan is free.
Let the games begin . . .

My thoughts: this was a clever, knotty thriller about friendship, promises and keeping them. The friends are not particularly nice people – spoilt rich kids who grew up into adults who aren’t much better. They let Megan take the blame so as to not ruin their futures, with no real regard for the lives they destroyed with their stupid game.

So when Megan is released from prison – instead of offering her support, friendship or anything, it’s not really a surprise that they turn their backs and so she begins to toy with them, to make them acknowledge their behaviour.

It all begins to spin out of control and terrible events unfold. Can any of them retain their grip on things, can Megan be stopped? Or is something else going on?

Full of suspense and horror, dark and twisted, this is a brilliant and gripping read.

*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: Body on the Rocks – Rachel Green

Mourning the death of her police inspector husband, Margot Renard moves to a small seaside town
in the south of France. But when the body of a small boy washes up on a beach, Margot is drawn into a dangerous world of drug smugglers and people trafficking, and forced to cross paths with two feuding gangsters.

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Rachel Green is the pen name of a writer from the UK. Rachel has twice been longlisted for both the Bath Novel Award and the BPA First Novel Award, as well as being on the shortlist for the Capital Crime New Voices Award. Rachel lives in a tiny village in England, but travels frequently to the south of France where the stories from the Madame Renard Investigates series are set.
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My thoughts: this was interesting, I liked Margot a lot – her determination to solve the deaths of two immigrants, and get justice for them was heartening but the plot was a bit slow at times. I just wanted more to happen – I have no chill!

I felt a bit sorry for the friends who tried to help her, or stop her, she wasn’t going to let anything – not even death threats – stop her. I’m going to look out for the second book as I want to see where things go for Margot. I imagine she’ll get into a lot more scrapes but solve a lot more crimes the police seem unbothered by. I did enjoy this book, the second half was definitely faster moving and more engaging, once Margot got into her stride hunting down the perpetrators and refusing to be cowed, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

*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

Book Blitz: Come Midnight – Kat Martin

Comemidnight

Congratulations to author Kat Martin on the release of her latest novella, Come Midnight

510Sfk+fJCLCome Midnight

Publication Date: June 1st, 2021 (Today 🎉)

Genre: Suspense/ Thriller

Length: 84 Pages

A routine flight turns into a suspenseful race through the remote jungles of Honduras

When strangers Breanna Winters and Derek Stiles met on a flight to Colombia, they never imagined they would need to rely on each other for survival. Taken hostage by a group of radical environmental vigilantes, Bree worries her secret identity has been discovered—and her fears are confirmed when she learns a ransom request has been sent to her father. Though she’s the daughter of a prominent tech mogul, Bree’s wealth can’t guarantee her safety, so former Navy fighter pilot Derek pretends to be her fiancé in order to accompany her on a dangerous jungle trek led by the radicals. With chemistry building between the pair, a romance isn’t hard to fake, though they can’t let their attraction distract them. If Bree and Derek ever want to see civilization again, they’ll have to work together and rely on their wits to escape their captors.

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Available on Amazon

About the Author

Kat Martin head shot (high res)

New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. 

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Your Life or Mine – Vicki Bradley*

Alana Loxton was part of the all-female team to take down Barratt, a notorious serial killer.
He is safely behind bars when one of the detectives goes missing.
Her disappearance, and the connection to the killer, could be a coincidence – but when her body is
discovered days later, a link begins to form. Then another detective from the team goes missing and the situation becomes horrifically clear.
Someone is picking them off one by one – and Alana’s name is next on the list . . .

Amazon UK
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Vicki Bradley is a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police Service. She has had a varied career, as a uniformed response driver in Brent and then as a Detective Constable in Southwark CID. She has managed High Risk Sex Offenders and worked on the Serious Organised Crime Command.

Before I Say I Do won the Write Here, Right Now competition, came 3rd in the First Novel Prize and has been
shortlisted for the Virago New Crime Writer 2017 and Peters Fraser and Dunlop Prize 2016. Vicki lives in London with her husband and baby.
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My thoughts: this was a really good, gripping police thriller, set in South London, where the author works as a police detective, adding extra authenticity. I used to work in Elephant & Castle so recognise some of the places the detectives go to as they investigate the kidnappings and murders of several female detectives, emulating a serial killer, safely locked away in Broadmoor.

Is there a copycat or did Barratt have an accomplice? Alana Loxton is in the killer’s sights but she’s determined to solve the case and save the lives of her friends as well as her own.

The story was fast paced, never letting up as we follow Loxton and her partner, Polish transfer Dominik, across London, out to Kent and back, with the killer closing in. They turn up a few suspects, and think they’re getting close, keeping the suspense up as the killer taunts them and manages to be one step ahead.

*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: Version Zero – David Yoon*

From the brilliant mind of New York Times bestselling author David Yoon comes a lightning-fast and scorchingly observant thriller about how we can save ourselves from the very real perils of a virtual world.

Max, a data whiz at the social media company Wren, has gotten a firsthand glimpse of the dark side of big tech. When he questions what his company does with the data they collect, he’s fired…then black-balled across Silicon Valley.

With time on his hands and revenge on his mind, Max and his longtime friend (and secretly the love of his life) Akiko, decide to get even by rebooting the internet. After all, in order to fix things, sometimes you have to break them. But when Max and Akiko join forces with a reclusive tech baron, they learn that breaking things can have unintended–and catastrophic–consequences.

My thoughts: this was an interesting, chaotic adventure in cyberspace as two young programmers, attempt to put right all the wrongs of social media and the internet. Taking on the big companies by hacking into them is one thing, but when they’re co-opted into a reclusive tech billionaire’s slightly less hopeful schemes, things go a bit sideways.

Max is incredibly optimistic and slightly naive, he genuinely thinks he can make people reject the mega corporations that own their data and rule their lives by pulling back the curtain, and it seems to work but we all know the wizard is some guy in a black polo neck or grey t-shirt. It isn’t enough in a way, as angry as people get, the convenience and addiction to the internet won’t be replaced quickly or easily.

Pilot – the worrying former tech god turned total hermit taps into Max’s naivety and manipulates the hopeful bright young things by offering them access and support, a back way in to the CEOs and programs they want to bring down, but he has other plans.

It all becomes a spiralling nightmare for Max, and saving his friends becomes his priority, but can he save the world too? A timely and thought provoking book, which ironically I’m telling you about via a blogging platform and sharing it over social media. Max would not be impressed.

*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

Quick Reads 2021: Celebrating 15 Years of Great Stories & a review of The Skylight by Louise Candlish

OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE: The Baby is Mine (Atlantic)
LOUISE CANDLISH: The Skylight (Simon & Schuster)
KATIE FFORDE: Saving the Day (Arrow)
PETER JAMES: Wish You Were Dead (Macmillan)
CAITLIN MORAN: How to Be a Woman, abridged (Ebury)
KHURRUM RAHMAN: The Motive (HQ)
 

One in six adults in the UK – approximately 9 million people – find reading difficult, and one in three people do not regularly read for pleasure. Quick Reads, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, plays a vital role in addressing these shocking statistics by inspiring emergent readers, as well as those with little time or who have fallen out of the reading habit, with entertaining and accessible writing from the very best contemporary authors.

Over 5 million Quick Reads have been distributed since the life-changing programme launched in 2006. From 2020 – 2022, the initiative is supported by a philanthropic gift from bestselling author Jojo Moyes. This year, for every book bought until 31 July 2021, another copy will be gifted to help someone discover the joy of reading. ‘Buy one, gift one’ will see thousands of free books given to organisations across the UK to reach less confident readers and those with limited access to books – bring the joy and transformative benefits of reading to new audiences.

 Review of Louise Candlish’s The Skylight

They can’t see her, but she can see them… Simone has a secret. She likes to stand at her bathroom window and spy on the couple downstairs through their kitchen skylight. She knows what they eat for breakfast and who they’ve got over for dinner. She knows what mood they’re in before they even step out the door. There’s nothing wrong with looking, is there? Until one day Simone sees something through the skylight she is not expecting. Something that upsets her so much she begins to plot a terrible crime…

Louise Candlish is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Other Passenger and thirteen other novels. Our House won the Crime & Thriller Book of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. It is now in development for a major TV series. Louise lives in London with her husband and daughter.

Louise Candlish, author of The Skylight (Simon & Schuster) said: It’s an honour to be involved in this [next] year’s Quick Reads. Reading set me on the right path when I was young and adrift and it means such a lot to me to be a part of literacy campaign that really does change lives.”

My thoughts: this was a short and sweet thriller, and I loved it. I recommend these books all the time – Quick Reads are perfect for your commute or when you take a break. I think it’s a fantastic project and the choice of books this year is great.

As always Louise Candlish crafts a brilliant and shocking story that could be going on behind any door on any street. Simone really hates her downstairs neighbours and has been spying on them through their skylight from her bathroom for a while.

Her buttons get pushed by something she sees and she decides to wreck a terrible revenge. She’s a selfish, rather monstrous person but so are some of the other characters, none of them could be described as innocent, except one. The claustrophobic nature of living so closely together doesn’t help, the loud music, the shared hallway, bring people into proximity that maybe otherwise would never meet, and be better for it. But Simone’s past actions make her more likely to behave badly, and have things take a turn for her too. A cracking read, with all the pleasure of a longer novel but without the length that puts some people off.

**Some of the above post contains extracts from a press release but the review is entirely my own words and opinions. I received a copy of the book in exchange for this post.**

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Both of You – Adele Parks*

Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmom to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband, Mark, says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered.

Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman Daan and vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamorous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught.

Detective Clements knows that people disappear all the time—far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run toward, others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds. Their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the detective believes they might be.

How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.

My thoughts: I love Adele Parks’ books and this was no exception. What starts off as a simple crime thriller about two missing women becomes so much more twisted and shocking. I had absolutely no idea who the villain of the piece was right up till the reveal.

Leigh and Kai are very different women, keeping massive secrets. Their husbands, children and friends have no idea about the real them. None whatsoever. Which makes their disappearance and the secrets that are uncovered as the police investigate all the more stunning.

Set just before lockdown last year, Parks weaves the real world events into the narrative, the fears and distractions that could mean the police stop looking as other things rise to the top of the agenda, the shift to being at home all day distracting from the worries about the missing women, how people seem less inclined to report suspected sightings as they prepare for lockdown. Which is all very cleverly done and grounds the story in the real world with a deft touch.

As always the writing is excellent, the characters feel genuine and the plot grips tight. My jaw dropped a couple of times and I genuinely followed every red herring. Very enjoyable.

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