Betray Her by Caroline England #bookreview @CazEngland

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Caroline England’s new novel Betray Her on my blog today.

Betray Her: The new gripping psychological thriller by the bestselling author of My Husband's Lies by [England, Caroline]

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Best friends forever.

That’s the pact you made.

You’d do anything for her.

And you have.

She’s always had it all.

If you could take it for yourself . . . would you?

MY THOUGHTS

It feels like a very long time since I read a book by Caroline England. When I heard she had a new novel coming out, I was very intrigued, and the cover made me feel even more so and the title as well, Betray Her. This is a tale about a friendship that goes down a very dark path and the tension simmered on every page. And there was that edgy feeling to this book which carried right the way through.

Jo and Kate meet at St. Luke’s private school and immediately strike up a friendship. They’re inseparable, they stand up for each other, and this carries on into later life. But as both of the girls grow older, their lives take them in different directions. Kate has made a success of her life, married to her teenage crush she now lives in a beautiful house, Jo meanwhile is single and has gone through some dark times, but their friendship has still remained intact.

What immediately kept me on my toes was Kate’s husband’s advances towards Jo. Tom becomes desperate to sleep with her, but she doesn’t want to destroy her friendship with Kate, it puts her in a very uncomfortable position. If she comes clean and tells her friend, then that will probably destroy Kate’s marriage. During these scenes, the atmosphere became very tense, and I wondered just how far Tom would be prepared to go to get what he wanted, and if Jo would succumb to his feelings for her.

This is a very dark book. As more details of the characters emerged, I began to understand that they weren’t the type of people who I first thought of them to be. There are some shocking revelations about Kate and Jo’s past in this book, some which readers may find upsetting. From previous novels I’ve read by Caroline England, I can see that friendships and relationships is something she is very good at developing. I became more invested in Jo and Kate as more details about them came to light I just had to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen to them next.

Caroline England’s writing grabs you from the very first page and pulls you into this dark tale about how friendships can turn toxic. This is a tension filled drama that will keep you glued to the page. Dark and twisty, Betray Her makes for an excellent read.

Publisher: Piatkus

Publication date: 14th March 2019

Print length: 368 pages

If you would like to purchase Betray Her, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK  Kobo

The Copycat by Jake Woodhouse #bookreview blog tour

Today I’m joining the blog tour for The Copycat by Jake Woodhouse, with thanks to Sriya Varadharajan at Penguin for inviting me to take part.

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A detective on the edge. A case that might take him over it. Get ready for the gripping new Inspector Rykel thriller.

Jaap Rykel is on the brink, his dark past driving him to breaking point – and ending his police career.

Visiting the station one last time, he stumbles across an investigation into a particularly violent murder. A murder where the details exactly match a case he solved years earlier.

But that killer was caught – and is still in prison.

Is there a copycat killer on the loose, playing games with Rykel’s fragile mind? Or did he get it wrong, and send an innocent man to prison?

This might be his last chance to make things right – or it could be the blow that finally takes him over the edge . . .

MY THOUGHTS

The Copycat by Jake Woodhouse had such a chilling and gripping opening, it had me hooked right away, and I devoured the first hundred pages in one go. At the very start, Jake Woodhouse creates such an unnerving atmosphere, but before we know what the outcome is going to be, he takes us back in time to a few days earlier when things really start to go wrong for our lead character. We see a man under the control of a scary individual who has lead him deep into woods at gunpoint. After this point, we begin to get the full picture of just what is going on here.

This is a book which I found very difficult to put down, the pace flowed swiftly along, and I think this was down to the brilliant dialogue. When I first started reading it, I didn’t realise at first that it was the final book in this series, but I had no trouble at all in getting into the story. I really liked Jaap Rykel. He goes through a lot of emotions in this book, but he doesn’t allow anything to get in his way of seeing through the case he is working on. He certainly doesn’t care about risking his own reputation.

Jaap is at a sticky point in his career. He is a man living on the edge and it is driving him towards the end of his time in the police force. But as he takes the next step towards his retirement from the force, disturbing details about a new case emerges which takes him back to a dark time. A young woman has been found brutally murdered in a shocking way that puts the police in mind of an investigation that took place several years earlier which Jaap headed up. But Jaap caught the guy responsible, and he is in prison, serving a life sentence. Was it just possible that he made a mistake all those years ago and that the real killer is still out there? Or is someone else, a copycat, at large?

One thing which Jaap struggles with a lot is PTSD, and he often has blackouts and distressing visions. This was written in a very believable way, and it did create some intense moments in the story. In a way, this also makes him an unreliable narrator as when certain events take place, he isn’t sure if he wasn’t somehow involved. I felt for him a lot, especially when he began to consider the possibility that he made a mistake in the original investigation seven years previously and you can see just how much this affects him.

As the book progressed, I could begin to see the reasons why the perpetrator was killing their victims. But I also wanted to know what the outcome was going to be for Jaap after reading that opening scene, and this is what kept me on my toes and turning those pages.

This was a totally gripping book with very engaging writing. I can’t wait to read more from Jake Woodhouse, including catching up on the previous books in this series. I can highly recommend it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 30th May 2019

Print length: 416 pages

If you would like to purchase The Copy Cat, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

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The Copycat blog tour (1)

#Proximity by Jem Tugwell blog tour #guestpost @JemTugwell @SerpentineBooks @midaspr

Today I’m delighted to be welcoming Jem Tugwell to my blog to talk about a day in his life as a writer. His debut novel Proximity is published this week on June, 6th. With thanks to Amber Choudhary at Midas PR for inviting me to take part.

Proximity: If the police always know where I am...how do I kill you? (iMe Series Book 1) by [Tugwell, Jem]

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Leading the trend in speculative crime thrillers, Jem Tugwell’s thrilling and thought-provoking debut sits alongside Black Mirror and The City and the City in a compelling exploration of our near future. Proximity draws on Jem’s 20 years of professional experience as a software developer in the city to give an unnerving insight into how our world might be transformed by the rapid advance in embedded technology and fitness trackers.

What if the cash-strapped NHS can be given a second life by using tech to regulate our health and behaviour?
What if we can eradicate knife and other proximity crimes by tracking everyone’s activity?
What if civil liberty is seen as an acceptable sacrifice for the greater good?
What if the convenience of technology is used for control?

“Proximity is inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. From my own experience, technologists are often amazed or horrified about the other uses that people imagine for their products. Clive and Zoe’s world might be closer than we think, but is it heaven or hell? How do we decide the perfect balance of free will and greater good?” – Jem Tugwell

‘You can’t get away with anything. Lest of all murder.’
DI Clive Lussac has forgotten how to do his job. Ten years of embedded technology – ‘iMe’ – has led to complete control and the eradication of crime. Then the impossible happens. A body is found, and the killer is untraceable. With new partner Zoe Jordan, Clive must re-sharpen his detective skills and find the killer without technology, before time runs out for the next victim…

DAY IN A WRITING LIFE – JEM TUGWELL

My typical day as a writer varies by season and the phase of the book, and how much ‘real life’ issues and events get in the way.

I have two streams of writing activity going on at any one time: One is the ‘current’ book and the other is the ‘next’ book. At the moment, Proximity is my current book and is out on the 6th June. Book two in the series is my ‘next’ one.

Being so close to publication date, most of my time at the moment is focussed on the PR activities for Proximity. This includes writing blog entries like this, longer articles for magazines and interviews. The PR campaign has been running for three months and I’ve managed to squeeze in time to write the first 10,000 words of the book 2. In the last few weeks, as the PR activities have ramped up, it’s all been Proximity and there hasn’t been any time for the book 2.

In the first three months of the year, the balance was different. Proximity tasks were light and limited to signing off the cover design, printed books layouts and tasks like approving the accents of the characters used in the audio version. This allowed time for the plotting of the book 2. I spend a lot of time here and end up with character profiles and a couple of sentences describing what happens in each chapter. These act as a prompt when I write the actual chapter.

The rest of the year will be split broadly in two. The first few months will be writing the first draft of the book 2. I try and write every morning for 3 to 4 hours. I also try very hard not to reread what I’ve written. I focus on the word count increasing, and leave the rest to the editing phase. Once the first draft is done, I will park it for several weeks and start thinking about book 3 – high level themes and ideas, researching and some plotting.

Then it’s time for the dreaded edits. I will do several passes, each with a different focus like descriptions and similes, dialogue, characterisation, etc. Some edits I will do on paper, some on screen and sometimes reading it out loud.

The rest of the year will be spent with the copy editor and proof-reader, fixing remaining issues, and  tuning and sharpening the prose. This is an iterative process to make sure a fix in one place doesn’t break something else. June 2020 is the provisional date for book 2, so I’m expecting the first half of the year to be a repeat of the first 6 months of this year. I hope I can keep the cycle going and write a book a year.

 

If you would like to purchase Proximity, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

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Hooked From Page One turns 3

I can’t believe it’s been three years since I started blogging, I still feel like a newbie most of the time.

party rubber colorful balloon

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

I think when I first started my blog I never thought I would still be carrying on with it three years down the line and I never thought that people would actually take the time to read my posts. When I first began I thought it would just be something I would try out and see where it would go. There have been a few hobbies I’ve given up on over the years but this is one I can’t ever imagine stopping.

I completely forgot my blog birthday last year so I penciled it in my diary to make sure I wouldn’t forget this year.  1st June 2016 I published my very first post on blogspot, a review for Fiona Barton’s The Widow and I haven’t looked back.  I eventually joined WordPress in August 2017. I hope my reviews have improved over the last three years but I’m still questioning myself if they’re any good.

I think what I’ve most been surprised at since I started posting reviews, is how many doors blogging has opened up and discovering the blogging community which is growing all the time. I’ve got to know some great people over the last three years, online and some who I’ve been lucky enough to meet in person and I’ve met some of my favourite writers. Blogging has also given me the confidence to attend literary festivals, which I would never have done so otherwise. Last year I attended CrimeFest and Harrogate for the first time and they were two really great weekends and I’m looking forward to going to Harrogate again this July. If you haven’t been before, I would definitely recommend them.

So I think all that’s left for me to say is thank you, for following and supporting my small corner of the Internet, and I hope that you continue to enjoy reading my posts. I’m sure I’ll be sticking around for the next three years.

 

 

 

Out of the Ashes by Vicky Newham #bookreview blog tour @VickyNewham @HQstories

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Out of the Ashes by Vicky Newham today on my blog.

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A tragic accident – or a ruthless killer?

When a flash mob on Brick Lane is interrupted by a sudden explosion, DI Maya Rahman dashes to the scene. A fire is raging through one of the city’s most infamous streets, the site of Maya’s childhood home. And the discovery of two charred bodies in the burnt-out building transforms an arson attack into a murder case.

With witnesses too caught up in the crowd to have seen anything useful, Maya is facing a complex investigation without a single lead. And, when reports of a second, even more horrifying crime land on Maya’s desk, it’s obvious there’s more at stake than she could ever have imagined. She must find the answers – before all of East London goes up in flames.

MY THOUGHTS

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting DI Maya Rahman in her first outing in Turn a Blind Eye, so I was looking forward to reading Vicky Newham’s next book. Out of the Ashes is a superb follow-up. Maya is a character with a very intriguing past, which Vicky explores further here, and the ending has left me very eager to find out what happens next in Maya’s own personal story. This is what I find so captivating about her character.

The novel opens with Brick Lane on fire. On the same day when protesters take hold of the area, a devastating blaze sweeps through killing two people, a man and a woman, found in each other’s arms. Was it just a coincidence that a flash mob was taking place on the same day? It’s up to Maya, Dan Grant and the rest of their team to find out. As they unpeel the lives of the victims caught up in the blaze, they learn some sordid details about the man’s history, and it’s very clear to see that there are a lot of potential suspects who may have wanted him harmed.

This was a very clever book which I found very difficult to unravel as I was reading. One of the things that Vicky Newham does so well at is creating her setting. Brick Lane was brought to life, although I’ve only been once, I could picture the curry houses, the shops and the way of life that people have been living there for many years. And Vicky also captures the diversity of London so well. There is a ring of authenticity in her writing, and I was transported to London’s East End, which is changing so rapidly as well. Vicky touches on this in her book with the mention of luxury high rise apartment blocks being built in the area, which has angered many of the locals.

As I mentioned earlier, I was really intrigued to find out more about Maya and her family. You don’t have to read the first book as this is explained well here, but I think it is best to get more of understanding of her character. After I’ve finished, I’m now thinking of how she if she is going to pursue her quest further and how and if any more discoveries will change her. And yes, I’m not going to be uncovering any details about what she finds out in this book here.

This is a series I’m now sure I will keep returning to. Totally engaging from start to finish with a really clever storyline, Out of the Ashes is a novel I would highly recommend particularly if you’re looking for a book that will take you on a cultural journey as well.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 30th May 2019

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase Out of the Ashes, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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Out of the Ashes blog tour