The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut thriller by Alan Johnson, The Late Train to Gipsy Hill. With thanks to Caitlin Raynor from Headline for sending me a copy of the book to review.


Gary Nelson has a routine for the commute to his rather dull job in the city. Each day, he watches as a woman on the train applies her make up in a ritual he now knows by heart. He’s never dared to strike up a conversation . . . but maybe one day.

Then one evening, on the late train to Gipsy Hill, the woman invites him to take the empty seat beside her. Fiddling with her mascara, she holds up her mirror and Gary reads the words ‘HELP ME’ scrawled in sticky black letters on the glass.

From that moment, Gary’s life is turned on its head. He finds himself on the run from the Russian mafia, the FSB and even the Metropolitan Police – all because of what this mysterious young woman may have witnessed. In the race to find out the truth, Gary discovers that there is a lot more to her than meets the eye . . .


The Late Train to Gipsy Hill is a very immersive read by Alan Johnson. It took me back to the time of the Salisbury poisonings back in 2018. Set in London, Alan Johnson explores a dark and shadowy world you wouldn’t want to be a part of.

A young woman, Arina, is on the run. Arina catches the eye of one man, Gary Nelson, while they are both on the train, but when she finally speaks to him, she asks him for his help after making a dreadful mistake. Gary has moved to London seeking adventure, although he now works in a mundane job. Gary and his friends are soon thrown into the dangerous world Arina is a part of, which puts all their lives at risk.

This was a really pacy and addictive crime thriller. I loved the atmosphere, and I thought that Gary and the friends he hung out with were very likeable. I felt that Gary would be a good person to have around if you were ever in a spot of trouble. He certainly isn’t afraid to get involved in anything that might put himself in danger. Knuckles, I think, was definitely my favourite. This is a dark and edgy book, but Alan Johnson also adds a touch of humour which I really liked.

The plot is very well built, and it didn’t at all feel over complicated as I was reading it. I was keen to know what was going to happen to Arina, and there are some tense scenes as the search for her turns up a notch. I thought this, particularly when the Russians were trying to get their hands on her. Alan Johnson paints a very clear picture that these are people who you do not want to get on the wrong side of. Alan Johnson creates a race against time feel to this book very well. I felt that if the characters put one foot wrong, it would have disastrous consequences for them all.

The ending of this book has left me wondering what is happening to the characters now. I think that is always the sign of a good book when you’re still thinking about the characters long after you have finished it.

The Late Train to Gipsy Hill is a very entertaining read, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Alan Johnson writes next.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 2nd September 2021

Print length: 352 pages

The Late Train to Gipsy Hill is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

Lost Angels by Stacy Green #blogtour #bookreview @stacygreen26 @bookouture

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel in the Nikki Hunt series by Stacy Green, Lost Angels.

Lost Angels: A nail-biting crime thriller packed with suspense (Nikki Hunt Book 3) by [Stacy Green]


On her hands and knees, Nikki moved to the other side of the body. She couldn’t stop her fingers from trembling as she brushed the dark hair off the victim’s face. She couldn’t look away. “I know her…”

When Special Agent Nikki Hunt is called to the Boundary Waters near Stillwater, Minnesota, it’s not just the cold that shocks her to her core: the body of a young woman has been found frozen beside a remote lake. Nikki is devastated to see the victim is her childhood friend Annmarie, and she recognizes the velvet ribbon tied in her hair as the hallmark of a serial killer who she has been hunting for years.

Desperate for justice, Nikki throws herself into the case. But she is shaken by what she finds at Annmarie’s home: a dead-bolt on her front door and a map in the spare room, with the locations of murdered women circled in thick, red marker. Did Annmarie know she was next? Then Nikki finds out that the killer has left a clue in Annmarie’s bedroom: a photo of Nikki’s mother that no one has ever seen. Has the murderer at large been in Nikki’s life since she was a child?

Nikki soon realizes that the key to unlocking this case is in her own family, but digging up the past could put her own daughter in danger. She has spent her whole life protecting the ones she loves, but to find this killer Nikki might have to risk everything…


Lost Angels is another gripping read in the Nikki Hunt series by Stacy Green. I am loving these books; Nikki Hunt is such a fascinating and a brilliant character. This time around she is on the hunt again for a serial killer who has haunted her career, following the discovery of the body of her childhood friend. Nikki’s desperation to get justice for her friend and find the killer comes through very clearly on the page. It’s a fast-paced, unputdownable read. I think this is definitely my favourite book in this series to date.

This book is an emotional rollercoaster for Nikki. Her character comes through so strongly in Stacy’s writing. It is clear she will do anything to bring the killer, known to the police as Frost to justice. You can see clearly how Frost makes Nikki and her team nervous. They have no idea when he will strike again, and they are determined to stop him in his tracks before he has the chance to kill again. The stakes in this book really couldn’t be higher for Nikki. It’s what makes this book such an entertaining read.

Like Nikki, I wanted to find out who Frost was and what his motive was here. It’s what was making me turn the pages faster and faster. It becomes clear as Nikki is investigating the case that her friend may have been onto Frost. I wanted to know what her friend knew about him and if she had been close to discovering who he was. Was that what prompted Frost to kill her, to keep her quiet? Or was there another reason? Why was Nikki’s friend investigating him on her own in the first place?

Stacy Green keeps the tension turning up a notch as Nikki and her team close in on the killer. As they begin to understand who he is it makes the book even more chilling. It makes me wonder how things will progress from here for Nikki, especially after everything that has happened to her in this book. The final scenes were so tense, and I had no idea how things were going to pan out.

Stacy Green is a writer who knows how to keep her readers captivated. If you love fast paced crime novels and if you are a fan of serial killer thrillers, then this series is a must read. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I can’t wait to catch up with Nikki Hunt again, hopefully very soon.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 27th August 2021

Print length: 236 pages

Lost Angels is available to buy:

Amazon UK


Lost Angels - Blog Tour Poster

The Unwelcome Guest by Amanda Robson #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new thriller by Amanda Robson, The Unwelcome Guest.



Saffron vowed to love Miles no matter what life threw at them both. But when her mother-in-law moves into their happy family home, Saffron’s shiny life begins to tarnish.
Even as Caprice’s barbed comments turn to something more sinister, Saffron hopes the new nanny’s arrival will shield her from the worst of it. She’s starting to feel paranoid in her own home.
Little does she realise that Caprice longs for a new daughter-in-law – and she’ll do anything to make that happen…


If you’re looking for a pacy thriller, you need look no further than Amanda Robson’s books. In her latest novel, The Unwelcome Guest, she explores what it is like to live with the mother-in-law from hell. I’m lucky to come from a family where there are no quarrels at all between each side. But I know of a few people who can’t stand the thought of their in-laws. Meeting the in-laws is one of the things many people dread, and sometimes that relationship can go drastically wrong.

Saffron’s mother-in-law, Caprice, really wants to stir the pot in her son and daughter-in-law’s marriage. She comes across as very bitter when Amanda first introduces us to her. I could see that she will go to any extreme length to get what they want.  It’s clear that Caprice doesn’t like Saffron at all and believes her son could do a lot better. Caprice believes that Saffron is too career-driven and doesn’t devote as much time as she should to her family. It’s what made the book such a gripping read, and I had no idea how things were going to end up for Saffron and her husband, Miles. Would Saffron’s mother-in-law succeed in getting what she wanted?

Saffron and Miles have also recently hired a new nanny, Hayley, and she adds another layer of tension to the book. Hayley has come to the UK from New Zealand, but on her first day, she quickly falls head over heels for Miles. Caprice can see this, and she uses it to her advantage to get what she wants.

I loved the short and snappy chapters in this book. It’s what made me fly through the pages, and it helped build the tension as events played out between the characters. I could feel Saffron’s frustration as she tried to form some sort of a relationship with Caprice for Miles’s sake. Amanda Robson builds a very clear picture that these are characters who are close to breaking point. Miles doesn’t know what to do. He doesn’t want to leave his wife, but he doesn’t want to abandon his mother. Miles faces an impossible choice, and I had no idea what he was going to do.

I thought that Amanda Robson delivered a very satisfying ending, and I couldn’t help but smile as I read the final pages. This is an utterly compelling character-driven drama. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 19th August 2021

Print length: 416 pages

The Unwelcome Guest is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

Substitute by Susi Holliday #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new thriller by Susi Holliday, Substitute.


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…


What if you could save your loved ones from dying? We all wish we could have a magic button that would automatically save the people we love. In Susi Holliday’s new novel, Substitute, she explores just that, and it is a thoroughly entertaining, clever story. But it isn’t quite as straightforward as just saving someone you love. For you to save them, you must choose someone to die in their place.

Substitute is a highly engaging thriller which blends with science fiction so well. We meet Chrissie, who is still grieving for her mother who died several years earlier. Although her husband can’t seem to understand why she is still getting upset. She is approached by a stranger who asks if she would like to take part in a new programme. She doesn’t take this proposition all that seriously at first and eventually signs up, thinking it’s all just hypothetical. But it becomes clear that Chrissie wasn’t just randomly selected to take part. There is something far darker going on behind the scenes here.

Susi Holliday’s premise is such an interesting one. It had me thinking, what would I do if I was in Chrissie’s position. Would I be able to decide who lives and who dies so I can protect the ones I love? It did make me wonder if perhaps there is something similar in development somewhere around the world and that thought gave me chills. Given everything that’s happened in the past year, it doesn’t seem quite outside the realms of possibility anymore.

I loved the two different strands in this story. As we meet Chrissie in the present, we are also taken back to 1980 where we meet two scientists, Edward, and Michael. They are in the process of developing something extraordinary which Michael believes will benefit the world hugely.

I loved how Susi Holliday gradually revealed more about her characters and I could begin to see why they were involved in what was happening here. It is so cleverly put together. There are some tense scenes as we begin to understand why Chrissie has been selected to take part in this programme. It made for such gripping reading and the last line right at the end gave me chills.

This is my favourite book by Susi to date and I flew through it. If you love a mix of science fiction and a psychological thriller then this is the book for you. I highly, highly recommend it!

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 12th August 2021

Print length: 317 pages

Substitute is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Mother Loves Me by Abby Davies #bookreview #blogtour @Abby13Richards @instabooktours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the chilling debut novel by Abby Davies, Mother Loves Me.

Mother Loves Me: A gripping new debut psychological crime suspense thriller which will send shivers up your spine! by [Abby Davies]


One little girl.
Mirabelle’s mother loves her. She’s her ‘little doll’. Mother dresses her, paints her face, and plaits her hair. But as Mirabelle grows, the dresses no longer fit quite as well, the face paint no longer looks quite so pretty. And Mother isn’t happy.
Two little girls.
On Mirabelle’s 13th birthday, Mother arrives home with a present – a new sister, 5-year-old Clarabelle, who Mother has rescued from the outside world.
But Mother only needs one.
As it dawns on Mirabelle that there is a new ‘little doll’ in her house, she also realizes that her life isn’t what she thought it was. And that dolls often end up on the scrap heap…


I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get round to reading Mother Loves Me by Abby Davies. I’d heard a lot of good things about this book, and I can say, now that I’ve read it, that it’s one of the most chilling and gripping crime thriller’s I’ve read. It is also very creepy, and it felt very claustrophobic. Abby Davies is such a talented writer. I’ll definitely be reading whatever she writes next.

This is a very dark book. Abby Davies introduces us to Mirabelle. She is kept cooped up in her mother’s house. She has been warned about the dangers of going outside. Mirabelle knows she can’t go into the light and has to keep to the shadows, believing that the light will kill her if she does. The only person Mirabelle has for company is her mother. Her mother means everything to her, but she can also be cruel and terrifying, especially if Mirabelle does something to upset her. And soon, everything is turned upside down when her mother brings a little girl home, Clarabelle, who is to be Mirabelle’s sister. But something isn’t quite right, and Clarabelle says things that makes Mirabelle question everything she thought she knew about her life and her Mother.

It was so tense as Mirabelle began to ask questions about her life and her mother. It constantly felt as though she was walking around on eggshells as she looked for answers. I kept expecting something terrible to happen to her, the closer she got to the truth. I wanted her to find out the truth about her past. It made me wonder what had happened, and I was desperate to find out the answers myself. Abby Davies is a writer who knows how to keep the tension turning up a notch. The writing was so taut as the novel raced towards its conclusion.

Mother is such a twisted character. I was never quite sure how she was going to react whenever Mirabelle spoke to her. She was terrifying, but I also wanted to know more about her life. I wanted to know what had made her into the woman that she is today.

If you’re looking for your next psychological thriller and if you love a creepy book full of suspense, I highly recommend Mother Loves Me. Once you start reading this book, you won’t want to put it down! I loved it!

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 6th August 2020

Print length: 301 pages

Mother Loves Me is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones


The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone #blogtour #giveaway #win #competition #prize @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone. As part of the blog tour I have one paperback copy of the book to giveaway. If you want to check out my review of The Great Silence you can do so by clicking here. But before I reveal how you can enter the giveaway, let’s take a look at what the book is about.

The Great Silence (The Skelfs Book 3) by [Douglas  Johnstone, Doug Johnstone]


Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.

Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.

Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.

Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series, and the stakes are higher than ever.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 19th June 2021 (kindle) 19th August 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

The Great Silence is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

I’m delighted to offer one paperback copy of The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone to giveaway. To enter, please visit my Twitter page @collinsjacob115 and please see my pinned Tweet at the top of my profile. To enter the competition all you have to do is follow me, retweet my pinned Tweet and tag friends in the comments. The giveaway will run until midnight, Sunday 22nd August 2021. One winner will be chosen at random and they will be notified by noon Monday, 23rd August 2021. I’m afraid this competition is only open to UK entries only.


The Great Silence BT Poster

Ouija by Zoe Lee O’Farrell #bookreview #blogtour @zooloo2008 @QuestionPress

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the debut novel by Zoe Lee O’Farrell on my blog today, Ouija which is the second book in a new series published by Question Mark Press.

Ouija by [Zoé-Lee O'Farrell]


The only thing for certain is the deaths were no accident.

Rayner High School once a prestigious school stands in ruins after such a terrible event.

A year later, a group of friends return to the abandoned school and their nightmare begins.

Something wants to get out and won’t take NO for an answer…


Horror isn’t usually my go to genre, but when I started reading Ouija by Zoe Lee O’Farrell, I could not stop turning the pages.  Zoe has created an utterly gripping book with a terrifying atmosphere. The characters all came to life on the page, and I wanted to know what was going to happen to them.

I have always been fascinated by Ouija boards. Even though I don’t believe in the supernatural, the thought of trying to contact spirits beyond the grave using a Ouija board terrifies me. I don’t think it would be something I would ever be keen to try myself. It’s just that what if question that deters me from ever trying it. What if it did work?

The group of friends in Zoe’s book, decide to experiment with a Ouija board in an abandoned school. Zoe explores the friend’s relationships with each other very well and I thought this came through very strongly in their dialogue. A couple of them are very keen on their plan and they take the idea seriously, but there are some members of the group who are petrified of the thought. You get to know their thoughts and feelings about each other and there are some tensions between them throughout the book. Their idea though of a fun evening out trying to contact the dead, doesn’t exactly go quite to plan for them. Soon it becomes apparent that they have unleashed something evil. The place they have targeted to carry out their experiment also comes with its own horrific history. This adds to the tension as bad things start to happen to the group. I loved the depth it gave to the setting. There are also some creepy dolls in this book, and this adds to the tense, claustrophobic atmosphere.

Ouija is a very quick read and I think it would be perfect if you are looking for something chilling to read on Halloween. Although, it may keep you awake if you start reading late at night. This is the kind of book that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It still gives me chills thinking about it, even after I’ve read it.

This is a very accomplished debut and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is very dark and very entertaining. I can’t wait to read what Zoe comes up with next. Ouija will send shivers down your spine.

Publisher: Question Mark Press

Publication date: 30th August 2021

Print length: 154 pages

Ouija is available to buy:

Amazon UK


QMP Week 1

The Hollows by Mark Edwards #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the chilling new novel by Mark Edwards, The Hollows.

The Hollows by [Mark Edwards]


With his marriage over and his career in freefall, journalist Tom decides to reconnect with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Desperate to spend precious time together now that they live an ocean apart, he brings her to Hollow Falls, a cabin resort deep in the woods of Maine.

From the outset there’s something a little eerie about the place—strange whispers in the trees, windchimes echoing through the forest—but when Tom meets true-crime podcasters David and Connie, he receives a chilling warning. Hollow Falls has a gruesome history: twenty years ago this week, a double slaying shut down the resort. The crime was never solved, and now the woods are overrun with murder-obsessed tourists looking to mark the grim anniversary.

It’s clear that there’s something deeply disturbing going on at Hollow Falls. And as Tom’s dream trip turns into a nightmare, he and Frankie are faced with a choice: uncover the truth, or get out while they still can.


The Hollows is a creepy tale by Mark Edwards. I loved the setting in this book which helped to create a chilling atmosphere. It’s the perfect book to read as the autumn months draw in. Set in a resort deep within a forest in Maine, USA, it follows Tom, who is visiting his fourteen-year-old daughter, Frankie, from England. Frankie now lives in America with her mother, following her parent’s divorce. It should be a chance for them to have fun and have a good catch up, but there is something strange about this place. It isn’t soon after their arrival that they soon hear dark stories relating to the woods and a murder that happened twenty years earlier. The murder has never been solved. 

You know things are going to get bad when you arrive in a resort where there is no Internet connection. For me, and I’m sure many others, that is horrific in itself. But Tom is adamant that having no WiFi will be a good thing for him and Frankie as it will give them time to spend time together. Things appear to be looking up when they are introduced to the family staying in the next cabin to them, especially as the family has a boy a similar age to Frankie.

I wanted to know more about the resort’s history when it is explained to Tom what happened there in the past. The pacing gradually builds as Tom and Frankie become acquainted with their home for the next few days. Mark Edwards introduces us to some very creepy individuals who live near the resort. I liked how Mark Edwards also explored Tom and Frankie’s relationship, especially as the story is told from both their point of view.

The story gets even more creepy and chilling as the tension builds, and it starts to feel very claustrophobic. Strange things start happening, and it begins to feel as though someone wants them out. It is so sinister, and you can sense this as Tom and Frankie begin to question why this is happening to them. Do these strange happenings have anything to do with the unsolved murder? It made me feel that whoever was behind the murders two decades ago was still nearby. There were some tense final scenes as Mark Edwards wrapped the story up. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I waited to find out what was going to happen to the characters.

The Hollows is perfect for you if you enjoy reading a book that will give you chills right the way through. A thoroughly entertaining read.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 8th July 2021

Print length: 335 pages

The Hollows is available to buy:

Amazon UK

Truth Games by Caroline England #bookreview @CazEngland

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest novel by Caroline England, Truth Games.

Truth Games: the gripping, twisty, page-turning tale of one woman's secret past by [Caroline England]


She tries hard to be the perfect mother, the perfect partner, the perfect daughter – but Ellie never seems to get it right.

When an old friend from university re-enters her life, dark memories from Ellie’s past begin to resurface.

As Ellie starts to unravel some shocking and sinister realities, she realises that she must choose between keeping the family she loves – and facing the truth.


If you love a character-driven psychological thriller, then you need to add Truth Games by Caroline England to your TBR pile. It begins with a tense opening that immediately gets you thinking about the character and the situation they’re in. They’re asked to reveal their secret truth, but before she has the chance to answer it, Caroline England reveals more about who she is to us. It makes for such an intriguing opening, and I had to know what it was she was about to reveal.

Truth Games isn’t an action-packed thriller, it is more of a slow burn, but I really liked the pacing. I liked how Caroline gradually began to reveal more about Ellie’s life. The tension starts to build as we realise that many things are buried deep within Ellie’s past. A lot is going on in her life as she tries to give the impression that she is raising the perfect family.

The characters are all so well-drawn, and Caroline England brings them to life with brilliant dialogue. Ellie’s character is really intriguing, and there are many surprises along the way as we get to know more about her and her family. There are people who are keeping secrets from Ellie, and she becomes more and more frustrated as she believes people close to her are lying to her. I thought her relationship with her parents was particularly intriguing, especially with her father, Maurice. It becomes very difficult for Ellie to understand why they don’t want her visiting, and this unnerves her.

There is also tension between her and her husband, Cam. I thought the way how Caroline England wrote their relationship into her novel was done so well, and it felt very real. It brought Ellie’s character to life on the page as Caroline explored her frustrations with her Cam. There are some devastating scenes as this is played out. I also thought Ellie’s relationship with her children was well done too.

The twist that came right at the end of the book shocked me. It made for a very unsettling ending as Ellie comes to terms with some dark truths.

Truth Games is an unnerving psychological thriller. I wouldn’t go into it expecting a fast paced read, but if you love domestic noir novels with unforgettable and intriguing characters, I would highly recommend it.

Publisher: Piatkus

Publication date: 19th November 2020 (kindle) 10th June 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 400 pages

Truth Games is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Heights by Louise Candlish #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Louise Candlish, The Heights.

The Heights: The new edge-of-your-seat thriller from the #1 bestselling author of The Other Passenger by [Louise Candlish]


He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you. 

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace 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’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. 

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.  You know this for a fact.  

Because you’re the one who killed him.  It’s time to confess what we did up there.

‘Kieran Watts has been dead for over two years when I see him standing on the roof of a building in Shad Thames…’


Louise Candlish knows how to write a twisty novel and this book is so twisty. The Heights begins with an intriguing opening which grabbed my attention. A woman, Ellen, sees a man, Kieran, standing on top of a luxury apartment building in Shad Thames, London. But seeing him leaves her confused and paralysed with fear. He shouldn’t be there. Why? Because he’s dead and she’s the one who killed him.

After reading that opening I had to get to the bottom of what was going on here. Who was the man who Ellen saw? Why is she so sure that she killed him when it seems clear that he’s alive and well? Louise Candlish has written a compulsive page turner. It made for fascinating reading as Louise revealed more about what led up to that moment when she sees Kieran on top of a building. Was this the same man who she thought it was? How on earth did he survive if she believes she killed him?

Ellen is such an intriguing character. As Louise Candlish began to reveal more about who she is it made so much sense why she wanted Kieran dead. I could understand why she wanted this outcome and I think any parent in her position would in their deepest thoughts. Ellen is grieving for her son who died in a horrific accident, and she blames Kieran for what happened, after he left him behind in the car and saved himself. Kieran was also behind the wheel at the time of the accident. She wants Kieran to pay for what he has done.

Louise Candlish crafted her story so well. Louise portrayed Ellen’s grief as she is coming to terms with the loss of her son so well. Her anger at what happened comes through strongly on the page. You can see her desire to get justice for her son, even if it does mean taking matters into her own hands. I wanted to know just how far she was going to be prepared to go to achieve this. It made me think about what I would do if I was in her shoes. It made for such a gripping story. I loved the past and present narrative as well. Louise Candlish told this so well as we see the immediate aftermath of Ellen’s son’s death.

When that twist came at the end of the book, I was completely knocked for six. It was so cleverly done, and I loved how Louise wrapped everything up. I thought the ending was very satisfactory and it was so tense as everything came together and the final scenes came out. I had to know what was going to happen.

I loved this book. I’m certain it’s going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. Louise Candlish is such a brilliant writer. If you’re yet to read her books, then you really need to bump them up your TBR pile. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 5th August 2021

Print length: 445 pages

The Heights is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones