blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Mother Never Lies – Sarah Clarke

SOME TRUTHS CAN’T BE TOLD.

I had the perfect life – a nice house, a loving husband, a beautiful little boy.

But in one devastating night, they were all ripped from me.

It’s been fourteen years, and I’m finally ready to face the past.

I’m taking my son back.

He just can’t know who I am…or why we were torn apart.

A nail-biting thriller packed with twists and turns, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Shalini Boland.

My thoughts: this was very clever, there were some twists I didn’t see coming, I honestly had no idea why Phoebe had been made to let her son go, the hints were so cleverly made that I thought something completely different than what was eventually revealed.

*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: Mimic – Daniel Cole

1989
DS Benjamin Chambers and DC Adam Winter are on the trail of a twisted serial killer with a passion for recreating the world’s greatest works of art through the bodies of his victims. But after Chambers almost loses his life, the case goes cold – their killer lying dormant, his collection unfinished.

1996
Jordan Marshall has excelled within the Metropolitan Police Service, fuelled by a loss that defined her teenage years. Obsessed, she manages to obtain new evidence, convincing both Chambers and Winter to revisit the case. However, their resurrected investigation brings about a fresh reign of terror, the team treading a fine line between police officers and vigilantes in their pursuit of a monster far more dangerous and intelligent than any of them had anticipated…

My thoughts: ooh this was good, nicely sinister, proper crime thriller stuff. I wasn’t hugely surprised as I read the Ragdoll trilogy and loved it, so I knew the author could write a cracking thriller but this is very well done.

The initial killings in 1989 set it all up nicely, and that final scene in the rain is very cinematic and striking. But then suddenly it’s 1996, we’re with a new detective, there’s more to go on and the case gets warm all over again.

The balance of personalities in Marshall, Chambers and Winter is nicely done, and they work well together. The investigation is solid and the resurgent crimes repellent but also fascinating. The use of classical sculpture, the obsession of the killer, it all comes together beautifully. Awfully, but beautifully too.

*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: Rock Paper Scissors – Alice Feeney

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts–paper, cotton, pottery, tin–and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

My thoughts: this was very clever, switching between viewpoints, filling in the last 10 years of marriage, allowing you to begin to work out what went wrong for the Wrights as they bicker in the remote converted chapel in the snow.

They seem to have it all, professional success, a lovely house, a sweet dog called Bob, but they seethe with resentment and squabble pointlessly.

But there in their free holiday let things start happening that are a bit unnerving. The power goes out, doors are locked and unlocked, Bob the dog vanishes, and who is the strange woman in the cottage – the only other person around for miles.

Slowly, as the weekend and weather deteriorate, secrets are revealed and stories told. A very clever thriller from an excellent writer (read her other books).

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Hen Party – Maria Frankland

Read my reviews of the author’s other books; The Last Cuckoo, The Man Behind Closed Doors , Left Hanging, The Yorkshire Dipper & Hit & Run

Have you ever been to a party… and deeply regretted it?

Caitlyn and her nine hens arrive in Dublin for a never-to-be-forgotten weekend.

As the drink flows and the laughter echoes, her attendees put aside their buried resentments and secret dark agendas.

But one of these disturbing agendas will be executed – no matter what.

Ten is about to become nine. Who will be the one?

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Maria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.

The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.

She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.

She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.

Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!

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My thoughts: hopefully you know by now that I love Maria Frankland’s books and this was no exception. The set up was nicely done and the ending was a great twist I did not see coming.

As ten women arrive in Dublin for Caitlyn’s hen party weekend, a murder is planned and then come the questions from the police. Is one of them a killer?

All of the suspects have resentments towards each other, all of them have secrets, it seems like none of them actually want to be there. But in amongst all the bitchiness and back stabbing is a motive for murder. And by interviewing each person the truth will be revealed.

This is one of those books where trying to guess ‘whodunnit’ is pointless, you end up with so many red herrings, there’s just too much bad blood. Makes me really glad my wedding was low key in this regard and I didn’t have any bridesmaids.

*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: Half Past Tomorrow – Chris McGeorge

Shirley Steadman, a 70 year old living in a small town in the North East of England, loves her volunteer work at the local hospital radio. She likes giving back to the community, and even more so, she likes getting out of the house. Haunted by the presence of her son, a reluctant Royal Navy officer who was lost at sea, and still in the shadow of her long dead abusive husband, she doesn’t like being alone much.

One day, at the radio station, she is playing around with the equipment and finds a frequency that was never there before. It is a pirate radio station, and as she listens as the presenter starts reading the news. But there is one problem – the news being reported is tomorrows. Shirley first thinks it is a mere misunderstanding – a wrong date. But she watches as everything reported comes true. At first, Shirley is in awe of the station, and happily tunes in to hear the news.

But then the presenter starts reporting murders – murders that happen just the way they were reported.

And Shirley is the only one who can stop them.

My thoughts: this was an interesting thriller that got increasingly weird as it went along, as Shirley’s reality became more complicated.

Mourning her dead son, struggling with increasingly poor health, slightly lonely and with a grumpy cat to feed; Shirley’s refuge in her hospital radio volunteering becomes more important than ever when she hears a mysterious radio broadcast referring to future events.

She thinks someone is about to be murdered and enlists her late son’s former girlfriend, nurse Callie, in helping her try to prevent it. Things go a bit strange from there.

A clever premise, and a complicated sci fi twist, plus ghosts who might not be ghosts, people suffering from guilt, embroidery group gossips and Shirley at the heart of it 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.

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Blog Tour: The Island House – Amanda Brittany

A DARK FAMILY SECRET

When Alice’s father dies after a tragic hit and run, his death stirs up unanswered questions about her childhood. Who was her mother, why did her father never speak of the past, and why can’t she remember anything before the age of seven?

AN ISLAND CUT OFF

But when she receives an anonymous letter containing a photograph of a refurbished gothic guesthouse surrounded by water, and an invitation to stay, old memories fight to resurface.

Alice has visited before. She is certain of it.

WHO WILL SURVIVE?

Convinced the clues to her past lie at the hotel, she checks in. But once on the island, a wild storm rages, waves crash violently into the rocks, and the house is cut off by the roaring sea.

Then two guests are found dead. And the hotel owner is missing. Will Alice ever uncover her secret past?

And will anyone leave the island alive?

My thoughts: this was a creepy story, set in a forbidding Gothic house on an island cut off from the mainland for most of the day, the perfect place for a deranged killer to take down their victims.

The way the truth is revealed is cleverly done and very sinister. I’ve always thought puppets were a bit weird. Alice’s dad really shouldn’t have left her with so little information – she might have avoided Flynn House if he’d given her at least some idea of their history.

*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 Review: Substitute – Susi Holliday

Three people live. Three people die. You make the choice.

Like any mother, Chrissie wants to protect her family. She would do anything to keep them safe. So when a mysterious stranger turns up at her door, offering to prevent the deaths of the people she loves, it sounds too good to be true. The only problem: she must choose someone to die in their place. A substitute.

When her daughter Holly has a terrible accident, Chrissie has no option but to enter the programme. In that horrifying moment, she would do anything to save her. But even after Holly makes a miraculous recovery, Chrissie is convinced it’s just a coincidence. After all, who can really control the laws of life and death?

But as the dangers to her family escalate and her chosen substitutes begin to disappear, Chrissie finds herself in an underworld of hidden laboratories and secretive doctors. And the consequences of playing by their rules are far deadlier than she ever imagined…

My thoughts: I’m a member of the author’s early readers club on her website so I was really thrilled to get early access to this book, thank you Susi.

A really clever, twisted and creepy, story of science and how it can be used for harm as well as for good. Chrissie just wants to keep her daughter Holly safe and well, like any mum, but when the mysterious Joseph offers her a way to ensure that Holly won’t die, but someone else will, she takes it.

What starts out sounding like a serial killer fantasy becomes something else as we move back in time and meet two young researchers, who may just have found the elixir of life – a way to bring someone back from the dead, as long as they’ve only just died. No zombies here.

As the plot unfolds it gets more and more sinister, the government get involved with the scientists and Chrissie begins to worry about her deal with the stranger. Who might not be such a stranger after all.

As the answers come thick and fast, Holly is in danger and time is running out to save her. Absolutely gripping and so very clever. Loved every second of it.

Out now from all the usual suspects.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Heights – Louise Candlish

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among warehouses in London. Its roof terrace is so discreet, you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there—a man you’d recognize anywhere. He may be older now, but it’s definitely him.

But that can’t be because he’s been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.

Because you’re the one who killed him.

My thoughts: this was really interesting in the way it was done. Moving between first person accounts, a memoir and newspaper articles, we learn the history between Ellen Saint and Kieran Watts – the tragedy and hatred that leads to a dramatic climax on the roof of a London apartment building.

Ellen’s memoir wants you to believe she had no choice in her actions – that her behaviour was justified. But both the newspaper articles and her ex-partner, Vic’s account suggest there’s a lot more grey to Ellen’s black and white, that not everything she believes is true.

Louise Candlish is easily one of my favourite writers around at the moment. Her books are clever and engaging, exploring different facets of people’s behaviour and thinking. They often hinge on suburban middle class women like Ellen, someone you might pass in the street and never for a second imagine them capable of the kinds of things they get up to in Candlish’s books. Which is what makes this so good – driven by grief, what would you do?

*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: Cave Diver – Jake Avila*

Acclaimed explorer Rob Nash has lost his way. Grieving the loss of his wife, and blaming himself for her death, he sees no reason to carry on. But when his ‘Uncle’ Frank Douglas offers him the chance to lead a cave diving expedition in the jungles of Papua, Nash can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

But the expedition might not be what it seems. With a decades old Japanese submarine buried deep in a cavern, and a team hell-bent on unleashing the treasures it hides, Nash finds himself on a ship heading for danger. With a lethal band of criminals on board, who will stop at nothing to get the gold, Nash is fighting for his life. Whilst battling his own demons, can he forgive himself for the wrongs of the past – and survive the perils that lie below the surface?

My thoughts: this was a slow start that then gathered up pace as Nash, Douglas and Mia are taken along the river and into the jungle on a boat of terror. In the interior, things go from bad to worse as Sura and Jaap become fixated on getting their treasure at any cost.

I liked the characters, they were interesting – I wanted more of Uncle Frank’s stories, and Nash’s. Both men had had a lot of adventures before this more harrowing one. I did get a bit bored of the whole “Nazi gold” angle, there cannot still be so much undiscovered. But the way it was done was good, and since I suffer from claustrophobia, I wouldn’t have coped well with the underwater caves and tunnels. Rather have my adventures safely on my sofa – through books like this.

*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: Pretty Broken Dolls – Jennifer Chase*

Read my reviews of other Detective Katie Scott books – Last Girls Alive and The Fragile Ones

In the thin light of the moon, the woman’s limp body hangs from the iron fence amongst the redwoods. Looped over the railings is the little gold locket her mother gave her when she turned sixteen. The picture of the girl inside smiles out at a future she’ll never see…

As day breaks over the fairground, Detective Katie Scott forces herself to take in another disturbing scene in front of her. A woman, the same age as her, found slumped in the carriage of the Ferris wheel, red lipstick dragged across her lips, her throat cut.

Katie doesn’t want to believe that the serial killer picking off women across the state has found their way to the small town of Pine Valley, California, but when her team finds a gold engagement ring hanging nearby, it’s a terrifying, but undeniable fact.

With a twisted killer on her doorstep, Katie knows if she doesn’t act fast, she’ll find more women left out in the cold like broken dolls. Her team hit dead end after dead end, but only she can see the vital link between the victims: a connection with Katie herself.

Katie has spent years pushing traumatic memories of her years in the military far out of reach, but she must confront them now or more innocent women will die. But as the killer circles closer and closer to Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? There must be another way…

Warning – This absolutely unputdownable thriller will keep you up all night! Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh better hold on tight for a nail-biting rollercoaster ride!

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Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells.

In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

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My thoughts: this was excellent, another really enjoyable and twisted thriller starring former Army K9 handler turned detective, Katie Scott. This time her past career puts her in the killer’s crosshairs, as the FBI ask for her help. Partner Deputy McGaven and her tracker dog Cisco are on hand to help solve a string of brutal killings.

Katie has really grown on me over the course of reading the last few books and I really like her as a character, each time we learn a bit more about her, and what makes her so good at her job and so determined to solve these crimes.

While not strictly cold case, this is pretty grim and the FBI agent seems to be intentionally messing with her, not giving her all the info, following her and generally being a bit shady – are they a suspect?

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