WWW Wednesday – 15/07/2020

It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in a WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

 

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

 

What am I currently reading

       Written in Blood by [Chris Carter]

 

What have you finished reading?

          

 

What will you read next?

Final Cut by [S J Watson]        The Silence: ‘A riveting mystery’ (Erin Kelly) by [Susan Allott]

It only takes a moment to unravel a perfect life . . .The Night You Left by Emma Curtis #bookreview @emmacurtisbooks

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Night You Left which is the third novel by Emma Curtis.

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IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT TO UNRAVEL A PERFECT LIFE . . .

When Grace’s fiancé vanishes without a trace the night after proposing, her life is turned upside down. But has Nick walked out on her, or is he in danger?

As Grace desperately searches for answers, it soon becomes clear that Nick wasn’t the uncomplicated man she thought she knew. And when she uncovers a hidden tragedy from his childhood, she realises an awful truth: that you can run from your past – but your secrets will always catch up with you . . .

MY THOUGHTS

The Night You Left is a complex and chilling psychological thriller by Emma Curtis, and I found it very difficult to put down. I became utterly absorbed by Emma’s writing as the plot began to unfold. The book opens with the disappearance of Grace’s fiancé, Nick. Grace is distraught. The night before Nick proposed to her and she can’t understand why he would leave without speaking to her. Grace is convinced that something has happened to him, and as details about Nick’s past begin to unravel, it seems that Nick might be in danger.

Emma Curtis’s latest novel is twisty, unpredictable, and cleverly plotted. Emma reels you into the story from the very first line ‘He didn’t take the dog.’ Immediately you are thrown into the story. I really liked the dual timeline here which takes us back to the year 2000, when Nick is a teenager on holiday with his family and a group of friends. As Emma Curtis gradually begins to reveal what happened on that holiday, it becomes apparent that Nick has been hiding certain aspects of his past from Grace. I wanted to find out what had happened during this time. Did it have any bearing on his disappearance in the present? The revelations are devastating, and as Emma Curtis revealed each new detail, she kept me reading on.

I could feel Grace’s frustration as the police seemed to take little interest in her fiancé’s disappearance. In their eyes, he’s a grown adult, and until he has been missing for a certain amount of time, there was little they could do. I also couldn’t believe the treatment Grace was receiving from Nick’s parents. I really took a disliking to them, especially as they seemed to want to move on very quickly and already believed that Nick was dead and wasn’t coming back. This was what made me root for Grace even more. I wanted her to get justice. It also made me want to believe that Nick was still alive.

There are some horrific and disturbing reveals as Emma Curtis reveals the truth about Nick’s past. As Emma did this, I began to join the dots, and I could begin to see some of the reasons behind Nick’s disappearance. The novel shows you how, over time, a past event can fester in someone’s mind. It shows you what a person is capable of if they are just pushed over the edge. And that person is always the one who you least expect.

Emma Curtis’s writing will pull you into the story, and the mystery of Nick’s disappearance will keep you utterly gripped. The Night You Left is a highly entertaining story. I’m looking forward to reading what Emma Curtis comes up with next.

Publisher: Black Swan

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 464 pages

The Night You Left is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

 

Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell #bookreview blog tour @Caroline_writes @BOTBSPublicity

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell on my blog today. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

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A victim on display. A detective on the rails.

Shopping with her sister, DI Amy Winter is admiring a Valentine’s Day window display of a perfect bride encrusted in diamonds and resplendent in lace—until she notices blood oozing from the mannequin’s mouth.

This is no stunt. A post-mortem reveals the victim was left to die on her macabre throne for all to see. When a second victim is found, it emerges that both women were ‘Sugar Babes’ arranging dates with older men online—and Amy finds herself hunting an accomplished psychopath.

As she tracks down the killer, Amy’s instincts go into overdrive when the charismatic head of the agency behind the display makes no attempt to hide his fascination with her serial-killer parents. What exactly does he want from Amy? With her own world in freefall as her biological mother, Lillian Grimes, appeals her conviction, Amy pushes the boundaries of police procedure when a third ‘Sugar Babe’ disappears…Is she as much at risk as the killer’s victims?

MY THOUGHTS

Left For Dead is another tense thriller in Caroline Mitchell’s DI Amy Winter series. In the opening chapters, by accident, Amy Winter comes across the body of a young woman in a shop’s display window. The macabre discovery sparks an intense police investigation. But what strikes Amy is a significant link between this killing and the killing of a teacher decades earlier. The culprit behind the murder has remained at large ever since. It seems that this is the start of a new killing spree, and the killer is willing to do anything to make sure they goes undetected.

What made this book really intriguing is that we know who the killer is very early on in the novel and if anything, I found this made the story even more tense. We can see how keen they are to make sure that they aren’t discovered as the culprit behind the crimes. What is even more disturbing is the lengths they are willing to go to make this certain. Amy Winter has a hunch who they are, but with a suspect already in custody, she knows it is going to be very difficult to convince her colleagues that they’ve got the wrong person. This means that Amy will have to do a lot of work on her own, and it’ll mean going against the orders and advice of her superiors.

What I liked about this book was Amy’s growing relationship with her boss, although I do wonder as they work closely together whether this will have an impact on their relationship. But I am interested to see where Caroline Mitchell will take this. Another part of the story which feeds into this book is Amy’s relationship with her birth mother, serial killer Lillian Grimes. This is a really tense part of the narrative as you are never sure what hand Lillian is going to play next. Her retrial is fast approaching and Amy is willing to do anything that she possibly can to stop her mother from being released. It appears that Lillian is playing games with her family and all of a sudden it seems possible that she’ll soon be walking free.

As Amy gets closer to catching the killer, Caroline Mitchell continues to raise the tension. You know that Amy is risking her career by doing this, but all that matters to Amy is getting justice for the victims, and making sure that this despicable killer is locked up behind bars.

After reading the final chapters in this book, it’s going to be really interesting to see where Caroline Mitchell takes things next and what this will mean for Amy. I’ve raced through all of the books in this series, and I can’t wait to see what Caroline Mitchell has in store for us next.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 8th July 2020

Print length: 335 pages

Left For Dead is available to buy:

Amazon UK

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

The Shadow Friend by Alex North #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Shadow Friend by Alex North which is published today.

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The victim was his friend. So was the murderer.

Twenty-five years ago, troubled teenager Charlie Crabtree committed a shocking and unprovoked murder.

For Paul Adams, it’s a day he’ll never forget. He’s never forgiven himself for his part in what happened to his friend and classmate. He’s never gone back home.

But when his elderly mother has a fall, it’s finally time to stop running.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. A copycat killer has struck, bringing back painful memories. Paul’s mother insists there’s something in the house.

And someone is following him.

Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterwards, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again . . .

MY THOUGHTS

The Shadow Friend is another creepy, atmospheric thriller by Alex North. Again Alex North draws on the supernatural. This time the focus is on a disturbing game a group of boys played twenty-five years ago, a game which turned deadly and resulted in the disappearance of one member of the group. The boy who disappeared was never found, and the police have never discovered what happened to him. But is the truth finally about to be unravelled?

Alex North introduces us to Paul Adams who has returned to his hometown as his mother is in a care home and is approaching the end of her life, but he finds himself drawn back to events which took place in his teenage years many years earlier which have haunted him ever since. The centre of the mystery in this novel is the disappearance of a boy twenty-five years ago, Charlie Crabtree, who Paul was once friends with. Since his former friend went missing, a series of killings have taken place which seemed to be inspired by the events surrounding Charlie’s disappearance. And red hands seem to follow Paul everywhere.

Once again, Alex North creates a spooky atmosphere which drew me into the plot and the setting. He paints a very gloomy picture of the town where Paul was brought up, almost as if the town itself isn’t willing to forget what happened there. There are some chilling scenes when Alex North describes the appearance of red hands. This seemed to be the key to solving the mystery behind Charlie’s disappearance, and I wanted to find out what they meant. I enjoyed the scenes when Alex takes us back to Paul’s childhood, and some of the scenes he writes are very disturbing. It made me think even more about what the true picture was and how this was connected to what happened to Charlie.

Although I enjoyed reading this book, and it kept me entertained, I did find that the pace was a lot slower than it was in Alex North’s first book, The Whisper Man. I was interested to find out what was going to happen next and what the truth was, and this is what kept me reading, but I did find this book to be a much more leisurely read.

The Shadow Friend will keep you invested in the plot and the characters, and overall I thought it was a really good read. I’m certain I’ll be reading what Alex North writes next.

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication date: 9th July 2020

Print length: 368 pages

The Shadow Friend is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Sleepover by Carol Wyer #bookreview @carolewyer @bookouture

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of The Sleepover by Carol Wyer on my blog today. This is the fourth book in her Detective Natalie Ward series.

The Sleepover: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 4) by [Carol Wyer]

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She said she’d gone to a sleepover. But she never made it. Someone must know why…

When Detective Natalie Ward is called to the home of fourteen-year-old Roxy Curtis she can’t help but empathise with Roxy’s distraught mother Cathy. Roxy hasn’t come home, last seen heading next door for a sleepover with her best friend Ellie. As the mother of two teenagers herself, Natalie knows that this is every parent’s worst nightmare.

But when Roxy’s body is found in the basement of a beautiful Victorian mansion on the other side of town, Natalie’s darkest fears are confirmed. What was Roxy doing there? The people who knew her best should know – but Cathy seems evasive, and Ellie refuses to talk. Natalie is determined to find out what secrets they are keeping…

Then Roxy’s mother Cathy disappears.

When her body is found two days later, Natalie is forced to face the fact that Roxy’s loved ones are in real danger. Things take a more sinister turn when Ellie vanishes, her mobile phone switched off. Is Ellie hiding something about the night Roxy died that could put her in terrible danger? And can Natalie work it out before another innocent life is taken?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve shamefully fallen behind on Carol Wyer’s brilliant Natalie Ward series. I’ve finally caught up on The Sleepover which is book number four in the series, and I already have the next book lined up and waiting on my kindle. I think this is the best book yet in this series. Carol Wyer has created another gripping plot, and her writing kept my eyes glued to the page.

The novel opens with a young girl, Roxy, heading out for a sleepover. A few hours later and Detective Inspector Natalie Ward is called to a scene where a fire has ravaged a house, and a body is found inside. The body is identified as Roxy’s. Her distraught family are at a loss to explain why their daughter was there, and they claim to have no knowledge of the men who own it. Could it have just been a tragic accident and Roxy was in the wrong place at the wrong time? But when Roxy’s mother is found dead, Natalie and her team begin to suspect that the family may not be telling them everything.

I’ve enjoyed seeing how Natalie has progressed over the first few books in the series. Natalie is still struggling with issues within her own family. Her husband is still out of work following a gambling problem, and now it seems her son is distancing himself from her. Carol hasn’t made things easy for Natalie in this book. I did wonder if this was going to have any impact at all on her work. It’ll be interesting to see how things will progress for her from here.

The investigation is a really gripping one. I wanted to know why Roxy was there in the house and what reason she had to be there. I could sense that her family were keeping something back from the police, and I felt as though I couldn’t trust her brother’s.

Natalie delves into the heart of the mystery, and just as she begins to make progress, another devastating event takes place, when Roxy’s mother is found dead. This is where I felt that things began to heat up, and it made Natalie even more determined to find out the truth. It definitely kept me reading on, and I raced through the final chapters to find out who was responsible for the crimes.

The Sleepover is another cracking book in this series. Carol Wyer always delivers on suspense, and she has created another gripping mystery. I can’t wait to catch up on the next books in the series.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 376 pages

The Sleepover is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Curse the Day by Judith O’Reilly #bookreview @judithoreilly

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the second book by Judith O’Reilly, to feature ex-spy, Michael North, Curse the Day, on my blog today.

Curse the Day: The Conspiracy Thriller that Reads Like a Bond Movie (A Michael North Thriller) by [Judith O'Reilly]

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At a global tech gala hosted at the British Museum, scientist Tobias Hawke is due to unveil an astonishing breakthrough. His AI system appears to have reached consciousness, making Hawke the leading light in his field.

But when terrorists storm the building, they don’t just leave chaos in their wake. They seize Hawke’s masterwork, sparking a chain reaction of explosive events which could end the world as we know it.

Michael North, ex-assassin and spy-for-hire, must find the killers and recover the AI. But he can’t do it alone. Hawke’s wife, Esme, and teenage hacker, Fangfang, have their own reasons to help complete North’s mission – and together they unravel a dark and deadly conspiracy which stretches right to the top of the British elite.

Can North survive long enough to uncover the whole truth? Or is it already too late for humanity?

MY THOUGHTS

A couple of years ago, I read Killing State by Judith O’Reilly, and finally, she is back with another high octane read which pulls you in from the first page and doesn’t let you go. Curse the Day is the second thriller to feature ex-spy, Michael North. Set in a not too distant future, humanity is on the brink of a huge artificial intelligence breakthrough. ‘Syd,’ a machine learning device, has been developed and is believed to be the first machine to have a conscience. Is this humanities greatest achievement, or does this spell the end for our species?

Michael North is a brilliant creation. At the beginning of this book, he has truly lost his way and is slowly drinking himself to death in Belgium. Michael is in mourning for his girlfriend, who was murdered, but he also vows to catch up with those responsible so he can seek his revenge. But he isn’t going to be left in this state for long. He is soon asked to protect Esme Hawke following a horrific attack in her home. Michael also has a bullet lodged in his brain, which surgery has been unable to move. He is literally a ‘dead man walking,’ one sudden jerk or even a sneeze could set the bullet loose, and when that happens, it will kill him. This also adds to the tension as you know that any moment could mean the end for Michael.

Judith O’Reilly opens the book in a very dramatic way as Esme Hawke is attacked in her own home after disturbing a burglar. Right from the get-go, I wanted to know why their home had been targeted and what it was that she and her husband had that made them a target.

In this version of reality, Britain is leading the way with the development of artificial intelligence. Countries around the world are fighting to catch up, so it is no wonder that Esme and her husband have attracted the attention of many people and governments around the world. They are about to unveil Esme’s husband’s latest creation, a machine capable of human thought. But as time counts down to the launch, it is quickly brought to Esme and Michael North’s attention that ‘Syd,’ will be capable of wiping out humanity once she is launched into the world. The scary thing is, is that they only have the matter of a few hours to stop this from happening.

Curse the Day is crying out to be made into a Hollywood film. The pace never lets up, and Judith’s writing kept me flying through the pages as the book raced towards its dramatic conclusion. I promise you; you will find this book very difficult to put down. I can’t wait to see where Judith O’Reilly takes the series next.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 2nd April 2020

Print length: 331 pages

Curse the Day is available to buy:

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

You have one hour to live … All Fall Down by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview blog tour @mjarlidge @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of All Fall Down by M.J. Arlidge, the latest book in the DI Helen Grace series. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

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“You have one hour to live.”

Those are the only words on the phone call. Then they hang up. Surely, a prank? A mistake? A wrong number? Anything but the chilling truth… That someone is watching, waiting, working to take your life in one hour.

But why?

The job of finding out falls to DI Helen Grace: a woman with a track record in hunting killers. However, this is A case where the killer seems to always be one step ahead of the police and the victims.

With no motive, no leads, no clues – nothing but pure fear – an hour can last a lifetime…

MY THOUGHTS

You’re just leaving work. You step into the lift, and you receive a phone call. On the other end of a line, a voice tells you, “You have one hour to live.” Then the call goes dead. This is what happens to Justin in the opening chapter of the new Helen Grace thriller by M.J. Arlidge, All Fall Down. He isn’t sure if the phone call was a callous prank, but he is nervous. And within the next hour, he is dead. But Justin isn’t the only intended victim of his killer.

M.J. Arlidge’s latest book in the Helen Grace series is tightly plotted, and I think it’s one of the best books in this series. When Helen is informed of Justin’s murder, it isn’t quite certain what they are facing, until a second murder takes place and a link is discovered. The victims were among a group of five teenagers who, several years ago, were kidnapped by a madman and barely escaped with their lives. Not all of them made it; one girl was tragically killed by their attacker. But now someone is coming after them. It was never clear if the man who did this to them survived that night after a fire ravaged his home. So why are they being targeted now all these years later?

All Fall Down hooks you in right from the first chapter. We hear from the first victim’s point of view, and M.J. Arlidge paints a vivid portrayal of just how scared they are. What I thought was the most interesting part of this novel was how M.J. Arlidge gradually revealed the backstory of the victim’s. We get to understand what they went through all those years ago, but as I was reading, I had that niggling sense of doubt that there was something they weren’t being entirely truthful about.

M.J. Arlidge kept me guessing as to what the real truth was as another victim turned up. One of the victims, Maxine, is releasing a book about their ordeal. As the book progresses M.J. Arlidge we get to read snippets from Maxine’s book. This did make me wonder why Maxine was choosing to publish their story when it seemed as though she hadn’t got permission from the rest of the group to tell their tale.

M.J. Arlidge delivers a dramatic finale as Helen Grace and her team finally work out who is behind the killings, and it turns into a race against time to track the killer down before they kill again. This is a series which continues to keep me entertained; I can’t believe that we’re on book nine. It doesn’t all that long ago when I first read Eeny Meeny. All Fall Down can be read as a stand-alone, but you’ll definitely want to read the rest of the books as well once you’ve read it.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 11th June 2020

Print length: 496 pages

All Fall Down is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

all fall down blog

Goodbye June, hello July! June Wrap-Up

Well, that’s half the year done and dusted. Although, it feels as though we’ve had five years crammed into six months given everything that’s happened since the start of the year. I can’t believe it’s been more than three months since we first went into lockdown in the UK. I think parts of the last few months have gone quick, but some days it seems to have gone extremely slow.

The last three months has allowed me to make a dent in my TBR pile, which is something I am pleased about. I have now so far read 75 books towards my Goodreads reading challenge to read 160 books this year.

My blog also turned four-years-old on the 1st of June. It’s crazy to think how quick the time has gone since I first started blogging.

This month on the blog I took part in eight blog tours, and I’ve included the link below in case you missed any.

Before I Say I Do by Vicki Bradley

The Toybox by Charly Cox

The Last One To See Her by Mark Tilbury

Safe by S.K. Barnett

Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

The Bone Jar by S W Kane

The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith

I’ve also bought several new titles this month, Cut to the Bone by Roz Watkins, First Shot by John Ryder, Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden, Dark Angel by Russell Panter, The Resident by David Jackson, Black Summer by M. W. Craven, Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham, The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone and Silent Cry by Jenny O’Brien.

  First Shot: An utterly gripping fast-paced action thriller (A Grant Fletcher Thriller Book 1) by [John Ryder]    Sins of the Father by [Sharon Bairden]

Dark Angel by [Russell Panter]    

Love Story, With Murders: Fiona Griffiths Crime Thriller Series Book 2 by [Harry Bingham] The Big Chill (The Skelfs) by [Doug Johnstone] Silent Cry: An absolutely addictive crime thriller with a shocking twist for fans of Angela Marsons and LJ Ross (Detective Gaby Darin, Book 1) by [Jenny O’Brien]

I have a bit of a quieter month, blog tour wise, coming up for July. I’m taking part in the blog tour for All Fall Down by M.J. Arlidge on the 2nd July, Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell on the 10th July, Written in Blood by Chris Carter on the 27th July and The Next Widow by C J Lyons on the 29th July.

At the moment I’m currently reading The Next Widow by C J Lyons, The Sleepover by Carol Wyer and The Night You Left by Emma Curtis.

I hope you’re keeping well. Let me know what you’re currently reading in the comments below. That’s all from me for this month. Happy Reading!