Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone #bookreview #blogtour @C_L_Johnstone @BoroughPress @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut thriller by Carole Johnstone on my blog today, Mirrorland. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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No. 36 Westeryk Road: an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A place of curving shadows and crumbling grandeur. But it’s what lies under the house that is extraordinary – Mirrorland. A vivid make-believe world that twin sisters Cat and El created as children. A place of escape, but from what?

Now in her thirties, Cat has turned her back on her past. But when she receives news that one sunny morning, El left harbour in her sailboat and never came back, she is forced to return to Westeryk Road; to re-enter a forgotten world of lies, betrayal and danger.
 
Because El had a plan. She’s left behind a treasure hunt that will unearth long-buried secrets. And to discover the truth, Cat must first confront the reality of her childhood – a childhood that wasn’t nearly as idyllic as she remembers…

MY THOUGHTS

When I read the blurb for Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone, I knew straight away that I had to read it. It sounded so intriguing and different from what I had read before in crime fiction. But I was slightly worried, would the book itself live up to the exciting premise? I needn’t have worried. Carole Johnstone has written a brilliant debut novel, and I really enjoyed reading it.

Cat hasn’t returned to her home in Edinburgh since she moved to America. The reason she has returned is because her twin sister, El, has disappeared. El’s husband is distraught and desperate for news, but Cat appears cold. She believes El is seeking attention and faking her disappearance. But things soon take a shocking turn for the worse. Is there a link between El’s disappearance and the game they used to play as children to help cover up a dark secret?

I was intrigued by the idea of Mirrorland,and I thought it was very creative. I wanted to learn more about the world El and Cat had created for themselves and what it really meant. What were they trying to cover up? When we are first introduced to Cat, I struggled to like her, initially. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t taking her sister’s disappearance more seriously. It made me wonder what she knew about El that El’s husband and the police didn’t.

The mystery in this book becomes quite a complex one as Carole Johnstone unravels the secrets behind the game El and Cat used to play when they were children. There are some dark secrets which come to light as the novel reaches its climax. This is what makes this book such a sinister and twisted read. Carole also explores what families will do to protect one another and what they are willing to do to make sure their loved ones survive. It makes for some very intense reading as more more information about El and Cat is revealed.

Mirrorland is an intriguing, original thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. If you’re looking for something that is a bit different in the crime fiction genre, definitely give this book a go! 

Publisher: The Borough Press

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 416 pages

Mirrorland is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

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FINAL Mirrorland BT Poster

Author Interview with Leigh Russell @LeighRussell

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be sharing an interview about her writing and new novel with bestselling author Leigh Russell, author of the DI Geraldine series. She has just released her first dystopian fiction novel, Rachel’s Story. Let’s take a look at what the book is about.

Rachel's Story: a gripping dystopian saga about the choices we make by [Leigh Russell]

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In a world where food is scarce, the government rules and ordinary people only exist to serve, can there ever be happiness? 

As a child, living in a post-apocalyptic world, the only person Rachel can rely on is her mother. But when her mother is killed, Rachel is initiated into The Programme where selected young girls are medicated to make them fertile. 

Fearing for her future, Rachel escapes. But freedom comes at a price and Rachel must navigate through a terrifying landscape of persecution to survive.

What is on the other side of the city wall?

Will the repressive government hunt her down?

One thing is certain. Rachel’s world will never be the same again…

Q&A with Leigh Russell

Hi, Leigh, thank you for answering my questions. To start things off can you tell us a bit about what your new novel is about?

Rachel’s Story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where not only mankind but all life on earth has been threatened with extinction by a pandemic. In a world where food is scarce, the government rules and ordinary people only exist to serve, Rachel is initiated into The Programme where selected young girls are medicated to make them fertile. Fearing for her future, Rachel escapes. But freedom comes at a price, as she learns when she joins the outcasts struggling to survive beyond the city walls. And if you want to know more about Rachel, you’ll have to read the book! https://geni.us/RachelStory_BHB

You’ve previously written crime fiction and psychological thrillers, what was it that made you want to write dystopian fiction?

It might have been something to do with living in lockdown, which at times probably took us all to dark places, cut off from our families and friends. For many months there seemed to be no hope the situation would ever improve. I made a conscious decision not to mention lockdown in my crime series as, for me, fiction is an escape from reality and I wanted to ignore covid while writing. But our unconscious anxieties and preoccupations bleed our writing, whether we want them to or not. So Rachel arrived and led me into the dystopian world of her story.

Are there any other genres which you would like to try as well?

As a writer, I want to try everything! That said, I don’t see myself ever writing a light romance, although there are love stories embedded in many of my crime novels, and Rachel’s Story has an element of romance. I would really like to be able to write humorously, but my narrative voice is dark. Sadly I just don’t have the skill to write comedy.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? Do you plan everything out before you start writing or do you dive straight in?

It’s a combination of the two. To begin with I jump in and see where the characters lead me. I rarely know consciously exactly where the story is going until I’ve written it, and this journey into the unknown can be really exciting, and at times terrifying,  especially if I am writing to a deadline. My stories are mostly worked out on some subconscious level, and are drawn into my conscious mind through the process of writing. I often don’t know what I’m going to write until my fingers type the words. As a writer you have to trust yourself and follow your instincts. But there are also times when I think deliberately about what needs to happen for the story to work.

What books have you really enjoyed so far in 2021?

My reading is wide ranging. Books I have enjoyed this year include The Other Miss Bennett by Janice Hadlow, On the Beach by Nevil Shute, Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, The Monk by Mathew Gregory Lewis, Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake, Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake, The Hopkins Manuscript by R C. Sheriff , The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith and A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman.

Describe a typical day in your life as a writer?

There is no typical day. Unless there is a reason to be up earlier, I won’t wake up until around ten when my husband brings me tea in bed, my one real indulgence of the day! I spend the morning dealing with emails and social media and doing chores. At around 2pm I start my writing day which can continue, with many breaks, until 2am. If there are edits to work on, I will start work as soon as I wake up. Two days a week I see family, lockdown permitting, and the weeks fly by.

Do you celebrate when you finish a first draft and if so how?

The completion of a first draft always leaves me feeling slightly bereft, and nervous in case I haven’t done the story justice. I celebrated the publication of my first six or so books, and my publisher threw a huge party to celebrate the 10th title in my Geraldine Steel series. I expect we’ll party when the 20th title in the series is published, because that will probably be the final Geraldine Steel. I no longer celebrate the publication of each individual book, because I’m on number 24 and the novelty has slightly worn off. But I am very excited about Rachel’s Story, as this is my first dystopian novel and it feels like a debut all over again. In some ways, this is just my next book, but it’s also my very first in a different genre, and I’m secretly really proud of myself, and absolutely thrilled that initial reviews have been so positive.

How long does it take you to write a book?

That varies. My first historical novel, scheduled for publication at the end of this year, took me three years to research and write. My crime novels are written from multiple points of view, and there are forensics and police procedures to consider, which can be quite complicated, so these books take me at least six months to write. One of my psychological thrillers was completed in three weeks. That one is a straightforward first person narrative and so it was relatively quick to write. The first draft of Rachel’s Story was written in six weeks.

How long is it once you’ve finished writing a book before you start working on the next one?

I am usually on to the next one straight away.

And finally, is there anything that you can tell us about what you’re planning to publish next?

My next book is the 16th in the Geraldine Steel series, Deep Cover, available to preorder on amazon and out in July. Geraldine’s colleague, Ian Peterson, plays a key role in this book, which may please some of Geraldine and Ian’s fans. After that, my first historical novel is due out at the end of this year. I’m really hoping that Rachel’s Story will be followed by a second dystopian novel early next year, but that depends on my publisher – although I might just write one anyway… once I’ve finished writing the next Geraldine Steel.

Thank you to Leigh for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to purchase a copy of Rachel’s Story, it is available to buy now.

The Best of Friends by Alex Day #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Alex Day, The Best of Friends.

The Best of Friends: The gripping new 2021 domestic psychological thriller by [Alex Day]

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Susannah is rebuilding her life…
Susannah has had a tough year. After a knotty divorce, moving to a small town in the south of England with her two sons is exactly the fresh start she needs.
 
Charlotte seems to have it all…
Charlotte is delighted when Susannah arrives in town. Charlotte may appear to have the perfect husband, the perfect family, the perfect house, but she needs someone to confide in.
 
But one of them is not who they pretend to be…
The two women instantly become best friends. But underneath the surface, secrets, lies and betrayals are all hiding. And when the truth comes out, not everyone will live to tell the tale…

MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed Alex Day’s first book, and I couldn’t wait to see what she would write next. The Best of Friends is a chilling and an utterly gripping psychological thriller. We meet Susannah and Charlotte, two women who both come from very different social backgrounds. Susannah is now raising her two sons on her own following a messy divorce. She has recently moved to a new town, where she has opened up a café, and it is here that she meets Charlotte. Charlotte lives in a huge house and lives a lifestyle many would dream of having. But as they begin to grow close, Susannah begins to grow close to Charlotte’s husband. And soon, both of their worlds will fall apart.

Alex Day expertly builds on the tension in her book. From the moment Susannah first meets Charlotte’s husband, I could see that there was something there between them. I wanted to know if this would expand into anything. Also, what this would do to her friendship with Charlotte. Would Charlotte realise what was happening between Susannah and her husband if things went any further? As I was reading, it felt as though the characters were walking on eggshells around each other. And the suspense continues to simmer away.

I really liked how Alex Day developed Susannah and Charlotte’s characters. They both have intriguing backstories, Charlotte, particularly, as it appears as though she is being followed. I wanted to understand what had happened in her past and why she was so fearful of these people, especially as she didn’t want to get her husband involved.

It’s hard to talk much more about the plot without giving what happens away. The tension really begins to heat up as we reach the conclusion. I was turning the pages faster and faster as I was desperate to find out what would happen. Alex Day really surprised me with the direction she took the story in the final stages, and it’s what makes it so chilling. I thought it was very cleverly done, and it really gets you thinking about the characters. The writing was taut, and I was utterly invested in the story and the characters. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to them at the end.

Psychological thriller fans, this is a book that’s not to be missed. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be reading what Alex Day writes next.

Publisher: One More Chapter

Publication date: 9th April 2021

Print length: 271 pages

The Best of Friends is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Fiona Cummins, When I Was Ten on my blog today.

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Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were killed in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Their ten year-old daughter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened that night – with devastating consequences for them all.

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Fiona Cummins’s writing, and I couldn’t wait to read her new novel When I Was Ten. This is a highly engaging read, and once I started it, I was hooked. This is a novel with a really intriguing premise. A family have been slaughtered; their children have been separated. But the horrifying part is that Dr Carter and his wife were murdered by one of their children. It’s why it has become one of the most talked about crimes of the modern age. But what really happened that night? What is the untold story?

In When I Was Ten, Fiona Cummins delves into the psychology of the characters at the centre of the crime. Now everything is about to change for them. An explosive new documentary is about to air, and new revelations are about to come to light when one of the Carter sisters speaks to the press. Fiona Cummins introduces us to two characters, Catherine and Brinley. Brinley works at a local newspaper, and as interest in the Carter case heightens again, her boss is after an exclusive interview with one of the Carter sisters. But what he doesn’t know is that Brinley once lived next door to the Carter family. She chooses to keep this to herself. Catherine is also a really intriguing character. You can see she is keeping secrets, and she is determined to make sure that her past stays buried.

As the novel progresses, Fiona Cummins takes us back in time. We see the events leading up to the murders of the Carter family, and she begins to build a picture of what really took place. As Fiona Cummins did reveal more about what happened at that time, I could see why the events escalated in the way they did. But I don’t want to go into any further detail here. The book darkens as we begin to understand the truth, and the darkness becomes palpable as we reach the horrifying conclusion. It asks a terrifying question, what can prompt a child to murder their parents?

The writing is taut right the way through, and I could not put this book down. The chapters are short and snappy, and I wanted to find out more about the characters. Fiona Cummins writes some horrific scenes when we go back to the time of the murders. This is when the bigger picture here begins to unravel.

Fiona Cummins is one of the best crime writers out there. If you haven’t yet discovered her books, then you really need to. I highly, highly recommend When I Was Ten! I’m sure this is going to be one of the most talked about thrillers of the year, and it deserves to be.

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 384 pages

When I was Ten is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Deity by Matt Wesolowski #bookreview April First Monday Crime @ConcreteKraken @1stMondayCrime @OrendaBooks

On my blog today, I’m sharing my review for Deity by Matt Wesolowski which I originally posted as part of the blog tour in February. Matt is appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday, 12th April 2021 alongside three more brilliant writers. So if you haven’t got any plans for tomorrow night at 19.30 p.m. be sure to check it out the First Monday Crime Facebook Page. I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of this post. But first let’s take a look about what Deity is about.

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A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

MY THOUGHTS

Matt Wesolowski is back with the latest episode in his Six Stories series featuring Scott King. The latest book in the series is Deity which is another utterly compelling read. I always look forward to reading Matt’s book, and this one didn’t disappoint. Once I had started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down, and the unique way Matt tells his stories, kept me turning the pages. I was eager to see what each new episode would reveal and what secrets were waiting to be uncovered.

There isn’t another writer out there who writes quite like Matt Wesolowski. If you are new to this series, the novels are told in the form of a podcast. The presenter is Scott King, who has recently made a name for himself after cracking several infamous cases. Over six weeks, Scott King examines a new case and presents new details and interviews with new witnesses in each episode.

This time around, Scott is examining pop star Zach Crystal’s case whose charred remains were discovered at his burnt-out mansion in Scotland. Zach was adored by millions around the world, but particularly by younger people. So what happened the night Zach Crystal was killed? Was it a tragic accident, or was someone else to blame? Scott King intends to find out.

Zach Crystal was such an intriguing character. Throughout the book, we read extracts from his last exclusive interview, which he did as he was relaunching his career. By that time Zach was in his mid-forties, but Zach was still an idol to many young people growing up now. On the outside, he seems like a very humble and caring person. But there is a darker side to this that Scott King explores over his podcast series.

There is a very dark, foreboding feeling to this book. I wanted to get to the bottom of who Zach Crystal really was. He seemed to have an element of control over his fans, which is what I thought as I was reading the book, which gives it a very chilling atmosphere. Everyone who comes into contact with him is in awe, and Zach knows how to use this to his advantage. He displays a very confident image, but, I also felt that there was a sense of vulnerability about him as well. This made me even more interested in him.

With recent stories that have made headlines over the past few years, you can see where Matt Wesolowski drew his inspiration from this novel. It does get very dark in places and unnerving as well as Scott King gets closer to the truth. The tension really ramps up in the final pages as we begin to understand just what was going on in Zach Crystal’s life.

Matt Wesolowski has produced another absolutely gripping book in this series. It’s dark, chilling and so absorbing. I can’t wait to see what case Scott King investigates next. Long may this series continue!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 18th December 2020 (kindle) 18th February 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 253 pages

Deity is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

If you would like to join us for First Monday Crime on Monday, 12th April 2021, it’s being streamed live on their Facebook page from 19:30 p.m. The other authors who are appearing are, David Baldacci author of A Gambling Man, Sarah Pearse author of The Sanatorium and David Fennell author of The Art of Death. The panel is being moderated by Jacky Collins. To access the event you can click on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel in the DCI Jonah Sheen series by Gytha Lodge, Lie Beside Me.

Lie Beside Me: From the bestselling author of Richard and Judy bestseller She Lies in Wait (Jonah Sheens 3) by [Gytha Lodge]

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Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory is fuzzy. But she suspects she’s done something bad.

She rolls over towards her husband, Niall.

But it’s not Niall who’s lying beside her. In fact, she’s never seen this man before.

And he’s dead . . .

As Louise desperately struggles to piece her memories back together, Detective Jonah Sheens and his team mark her as their prime suspect.

But she’s not the only one with something to hide . . .

Did she do it?

And, if not, can they catch the real killer before they strike again?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve become a huge fan of Gytha Lodge’s writing after reading her first two books, so I bumped Lie Beside Me right to the top of my TBR pile when I received my copy. Gytha Lodge has come up with a really intriguing premise, and I think it’s the best book yet in this series.

A young woman, Louise, wakes up in bed next to a stranger. She has no recollection of why he is there or what happened the night before. The real problem is that he’s not breathing, and she could have killed him. Once I read the opening, I had to find out what had happened here, and I flew through the pages to find out.

I really wanted to see how Gytha Lodge was going to unravel the mystery of who the man was and why he was there. As we began to learn more details about who he is and his life, it becomes even more intriguing. I wanted to know how he had ended up in Louise’s bed and what exactly happened to him. Louise is immediately seen as a suspect in the minds of the police. Her memory of the night before is sketchy, and she must try and piece together what happened. But Louise has suffered from memory loss in the past, and trying to find out what really happened the previous night will be extremely difficult.

I think many readers will have mixed feelings about Louise. She’s very intriguing, but her excessive drinking does not make her a particularly likeable character. I did find that I warmed slightly more to her as the novel progressed. But I was also wary of her. I felt that there was more to her character than what first meets the eye, particularly as we get to know her. It’s what kept me turning the pages. I was never sure if she was entirely innocent in the young man’s death.

I thought the way in which Gytha Lodge pulled her plot together was very clever, and I couldn’t see how it was going to unfold as I was reading it. This is a book that really gets you thinking, and the mystery kept my eyes glued to the pages as I waited to see how it would pan out.

DCI Jonah Sheens is a great lead detective, and I’m sure he is a character who will keep readers coming back for more. I also really like the other police detectives working on the case with him. Gytha Lodge explores some of their backstories in this novel as well, and DC Juliette Hansen’s story adds to the chilling atmosphere of the book.  

Lie Beside Me is another brilliant addition to this series. Roll on book four; I can’t wait to read it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 18th February 2021

Print length: 376 pages

Lie Beside Me is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Killing Choice by Will Shindler #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest book in the DI Alex Finn series by Will Shindler, The Killing Choice.

The Killing Choice: Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month ‘Riveting’ (DI Alex Finn 2) by [Will Shindler]

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‘Leave your daughter with me, or I will kill you both’

It felt like a normal Friday evening before Karl and his daughter Leah were ambushed by a figure in a blank mask. At knife point, Karl is forced to make an impossible choice. Stay and die, or walk away from Leah and take this thug’s word that they both will live.

Should Karl trust a villain and leave his daughter with a knife at her throat? Could he ever live with himself if he did?

It’s not long before more seemingly unconnected and innocent people across London are offered a deal in exchange for their life. More blood is spilled, more families shattered, and more people are left to suffer with the consequences of their decisions.

DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen must hunt for a killer that appears to have no face, no motive and no conscience before more victims are forced to make their choice.

MY THOUGHTS

The Killing Choice is the second book in Will Shindler’s DI Alex Finn series, and I think I’ve definitely found a new favourite crime series. Alex and his team are investigating a complex case and a very horrifying and disturbing one. A man and his daughter are targeted in a park during an evening walk. The perpetrator makes one command that the dad leaves his daughter behind. The victims are both horrified and completely terrified. If they don’t do as he says, the perpetrator will kill them both. His daughter pleads with her dad to leave her to save them both, he reluctantly does. But before he can get help, he hears a scream. His daughter is dead.

I was really intrigued by the premise of this book. I wanted to know what the killer’s motive here was. From the outset, it appears that there isn’t a motive. The victims and the killer don’t know each other at all. There’s no connection which the police can quickly look at, which might explain what is happening. What makes the scenario here all the more terrifying to them is that this killer could target anyone.

As the press begin to report on the case, they pick up very quickly on the fact that the man left behind at the scene left his daughter to die. The press vilifies him, and his own family can’t quite comprehend his actions that night. I was torn between feeling sorry for him and partially agreeing with what members of the press and his family were saying. It’s a question that will definitely make the reader think, what would you do if you were in the same situation? How would you react?

DI Alex Finn is a character who I think many readers will warm to. A year ago, his wife passed away, and he is still struggling to come to terms with the loss. As Will Shindler explores his reaction to the grief, it does make him feel very human, and his emotions come through really well. He throws himself into his work to try and combat the grief, which is what many of us would do in his situation.

Will Shindler pulls the plot of this story together in a very clever way. You can’t quite see how things will come together, but then it does so, and I thought the way he did it was very original.

This is fast becoming one of my favourite new crime series. DI Alex Finn is a fascinating character, and I can’t wait to see how he develops over future books. Police procedural fans, this is a series not to be missed.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 11th February 2021

Print length: 405 pages

The Killing Choice is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

WWW Wednesday – 07/04/2021

Welcome to this week’s 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?

Nothing ever happened here . . . Until the first girl died.
______

Ten years ago, Mo arrived at the white cliffs of Dover, befriended by teenagers Cali and Jude.

They thought they’d save each other, yet within months their friendship would see two of them dead and the third scarred for life.

Now documentary maker Tarek and his film crew are in town, asking difficult questions about what happened that summer.

Because in the shadow of the white cliffs it’s easy for people and their stories to get lost . . .

And as Tarek will discover, the truth is something that must be unburied carefully.

Or it might just it bury you . . .

The Best of Friends: The gripping new 2021 domestic psychological thriller by [Alex Day]

Susannah is rebuilding her life…
Susannah has had a tough year. After a knotty divorce, moving to a small town in the south of England with her two sons is exactly the fresh start she needs.
 
Charlotte seems to have it all…
Charlotte is delighted when Susannah arrives in town. Charlotte may appear to have the perfect husband, the perfect family, the perfect house, but she needs someone to confide in.
 
But one of them is not who they pretend to be…
The two women instantly become best friends. But underneath the surface, secrets, lies and betrayals are all hiding. And when the truth comes out, not everyone will live to tell the tale…

What have I finished reading?

Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory is fuzzy. But she suspects she’s done something bad.

She rolls over towards her husband, Niall. The man who, until recently, made her feel loved.

But it’s not Niall who’s lying beside her. In fact, she’s never seen this man before.

And he’s dead . . .

As Louise desperately struggles to piece her memories back together, it’s clear to Detective Jonah Sheens and his team that she is their prime suspect – though they soon find she’s not the only one with something to hide.

Did she do it? And, if not, can they catch the real killer before they strike again?

Two people can keep a secret . . . if one of them is dead.

Sisters Jo and Caroline are used to hiding things from each other. They’ve never been close – taking it in turns to feel on the outside of their family unit, playing an endless game of favourites.

Jo envies Caroline’s life – things have always come so easy to her. Then a family inheritance falls entirely to Jo, and suddenly now Caroline wants what Jo has. Needs it, even.

But just how far will she go to get it?

What will I read next?

The crazy girls, they called them – or at least, Elizabeth liked to think they did. As a teenager in the late 1970s, she was clever, overweight and a perfect victim for the bullies. Then Rachel and her family arrived in town and, for Elizabeth, it was as if a light had been switched on. She was drawn to the bright and beautiful Rachel like a moth to a flame.

Rachel had her own reasons for wanting Elizabeth as a friend, and although their relationship was far from equal, Elizabeth would do anything for Rachel.

Then the first body was discovered.

Twenty years on, Elizabeth wants nothing more than to keep the secrets of her teenage years where they belong: in the past. But another body has been found, and she can’t keep running from what happened.

The Rapunzel Act: A Burton & Lamb Case (Burton and Lamb Thrillers Book 4) by [Abi Silver]

CAN YOU FIND JUSTICE… WHEN THE WORLD IS WATCHING?

When breakfast TV host and nation’s darling, Rosie Harper, is found brutally murdered at home, suspicion falls on her spouse, formerly international football star, Danny ‘walks on water’ Mallard, now living out of the public eye as trans woman, Debbie.

Not only must Debbie challenge the hard evidence against her, including her blood-drenched glove at the scene of the crime, she must also contend with the nation’s prejudices, as the trial is broadcast live, turning it into a public spectacle. For someone trying to live their life without judgment, it might just be too much to bear.

Legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb are subjected to unyielding scrutiny as they strive to defend their most famous client yet.

Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith #bookreview #blogtour @Mrssmithmunday @orionbooks

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Nikki Smith on my blog today, Look What You Made Me Do. With thanks to Alex Layt from Orion Books for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

Two people can keep a secret . . . if one of them is dead.

Sisters Jo and Caroline are used to hiding things from each other. They’ve never been close – taking it in turns to feel on the outside of their family unit, playing an endless game of favourites.

Jo envies Caroline’s life – things have always come so easy to her. Then a family inheritance falls entirely to Jo, and suddenly now Caroline wants what Jo has. Needs it, even.

But just how far will she go to get it?

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of Nikki Smith’s debut novel, All In Her Head, and I couldn’t wait to see what she came up with next. Look What You Made Me Do is a gripping, character-driven psychological thriller. Nikki Smith explores the simmering tensions within a family through the eyes of sisters Jo and Caroline. This is as they come to terms with the loss of their dad. Tensions especially heighten when it is revealed that their dad has left his business entirely to Jo.

Nikki Smith expertly peeled back the layers of each family member, and I thought they were all very well developed. I thought both Jo and Caroline were really intriguing characters. I liked how Nikki explored the dynamics of their relationship, especially the sibling rivalry. It made me wonder just how far they were prepared to go to achieve what they wanted. I really didn’t like their mother, who seemed to prefer one of her daughters over the other. I really couldn’t understand how she could openly show this in front of them.

Nikki Smith builds on the tension as the story progresses, and I was surprised with the direction in which she took the story, especially with the more domestic issues she explored. I wanted to know just how things were going to pan out for the family as they begin to understand what has happened and what this will mean for them when it is revealed that Jo and Caroline’s dad has left everything to Jo. There is a growing sense of dislike and mistrust building between them, and there are some shocking revelations as they come head to head with each other.

There were plenty of characters who I really didn’t like in this book. I really didn’t like Caroline’s husband, Rob. There were some scenes at the beginning in which he and Caroline were together, which made me feel very uncomfortable. He came across as very controlling, and it made me fear for Caroline as I was reading these early scenes. He was a really nasty character.

I thought Nikki Smith’s writing was very immersive, and I was pulled into the story. I did not want to put this book down. Nikki Smith delivers a very powerful twist that I did not see coming. Look What You Made Me Do felt like a very fresh psychological thriller, and I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t yet discovered Nikki Smith’s books, then you really need to read them.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 1st April 2021

Print length: 336 pages

Look What You Made Me Do is available to buy:

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Trust Me by T.M. Logan #bookreview #blogtour @TMLoganAuthor @bonnierbooks_uk @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Trust Me the new novel by T.M. Logan on my blog today. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

TWO STRANGERS, A CHILD, AND A SPLIT SECOND CHOICE THAT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING . . .

Ellen was just trying to help a stranger. That was how it started: giving a few minutes respite to a flustered young mother sitting opposite her on the train. A few minutes holding her baby while the mother makes an urgent call. The weight of the child in her arms making Ellen’s heart ache for what she can never have.

Five minutes pass.
Ten.

The train pulls into a station and Ellen is stunned to see the mother hurrying away down the platform, without looking back. Leaving her baby behind. Ellen is about to raise the alarm when she discovers a note in the baby’s bag, three desperate lines scrawled hastily on a piece of paper:

Please protect Mia
Don’t trust the police
Don’t trust anyone

Why would a mother abandon her child to a stranger? Ellen is about to discover that the baby in her arms might hold the key to an unspeakable crime. And doing the right thing might just cost her everything . . .

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of T.M. Logan’s thrillers, so I jumped at the chance to read his latest, and I moved it right to the top of my TBR pile. Trust Me is filled with suspense, and the tension is there on every single page. Right from the very start, I had to know what was going on here and I raced through it to find the answers. It is very addictive!

At the beginning of the novel, we meet Ellen, who is just boarding a train. She has no idea how what should have been a simple journey will impact the rest of her life. When the woman she is sitting next to asks if she wouldn’t mind looking after her baby, Mia, while she makes a phone call, Ellen expects her to be back any moment. But she doesn’t return. All Ellen finds is a note warning her not to trust the police.

Ellen is a great lead character. Straight away, she feels a bond between her and Mia, and she is willing to do anything to protect her. But Ellen doesn’t know who it is she needs to protect Mia from. Why did her mother abandon her? Why can’t she trust the police? I wanted to know what was really going on here as the situation Ellen finds herself in, begins to unfold. Who would want to target an innocent young girl? This is what Ellen can’t quite bring herself to believe. Mia has done nothing wrong; why is she in danger? What can Ellen do to protect her when the police can’t be trusted?

Ellen is a character who I connected with very early on. I felt sorry for her as I began to learn more about her life. She has just recently split up with her husband, and she is devastated that she hasn’t been able to have children. She knows now that it is very unlikely to happen to her. Her husband then announces to her that he and his new partner are expecting a baby, which comes as a real blow. When Ellen first comes into contact with Mia, there was a part of me hoping that perhaps, Ellen might be able to adopt her.

I was on the edge of my seat right the way through this book. T.M. Logan is an author who knows how to keep his readers turning the page, and I was utterly gripped. There were tense scenes which were packed with action. It made me feel as though I was there, watching everything unfold around me.

If you’re a fan of high octane novels, and if you haven’t read anything by T.M. Logan before, then you’re definitely missing out. I’m always really impressed with what he has managed to come up with, and I know I’ll be adding whatever he writes next to my TBR pile right away. Trust Me is a thriller not to be missed.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 18th March 2021

Print length: 432 pages

Trust Me is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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