First Monday Crime November @1stMondayCrime

On my blog today, I’m sharing the details of this month’s First Monday Crime. This month we are heading overseas to Australia and New Zealand and you can watch live on the First Monday Crime Facebook Page, I’ll share the link so you can access the event below. But first let’s find out about the authors who will be appearing on the panel and their books.


My Best Friend's Murder: An addictive and twisty must-read thriller that will grip you until the final breathless page by [Polly Phillips]


There are so many ways to kill a friendship . . .

You’re lying, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, legs bent, arms wide.
And while this could be a tragic accident, if anyone’s got a motive to hurt you, it’s me.

Bec and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. They have been through a lot together – from the death of Bec’s mother to the birth of Izzy’s daughter. But there is a darker side to their friendship. And Bec is about to reach breaking point.

Then Izzy’s body is found at the bottom of the stairs. It could have been an accident – perhaps she fell – but if the police decide to look for a killer, Bec is certain she will be the prime suspect. Because she knows better than anyone that those closest to you can hurt you the most. And that someone can only be pushed so far before they snap . . .


Bound (Sam Shephard Book 4) by [Vanda Symon]

The New Zealand city of Dunedin is rocked when a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman is murdered in his luxurious home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, they discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.

The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas. Weighed down by her dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and by complications in her relationship with Paul, she needs a distraction, and launches her own investigation.

And when another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect.


Shepherd by [Catherine Jinks]

My father trained me to silence the way he trained his dogs, with food and a cane. Speech, he said, was poison. It scared the game, alerted the gamekeepers and betrayed your friends and family.

Tom Clay was a poacher back in Suffolk. He was twelve when he was caught, tried and transported to New South Wales.

Now, assigned to a shepherds’ hut out west, he is a boy among violent men. He keeps his counsel and watches over his sheep; he steers clear of blowhards like the new man, Rowdy Cavanagh. He is alert to danger, knowing he is a foreigner here: that the land resists his understanding.

The question is: how fast can he learn?

Because a vicious killer named Dan Carver is coming for Tom and Rowdy. And if Tom can’t outwit Carver in the bush – and convince Rowdy to keep his stupid mouth shut – their deaths will be swift and cruel.

This riveting, fast-paced new novel from the multi-award-winning Catherine Jinks brings the brutality and courage of Australia’s colonial frontier vividly to life – and sees one of our master storytellers at the peak of her powers.


When You Are Mine: A heart-pounding psychological thriller about friendship and obsession by [Michael Robotham]

Philomena McCarthy has defied the odds and become a promising young officer with the Metropolitan Police despite being the daughter of a notorious London gangster. Called to the scene of a domestic assault, she rescues a young woman, Tempe Brown, the girlfriend of a decorated detective. The incident is hushed up, but Phil has unwittingly made a dangerous enemy with powerful friends.

Determined to protect each other, the two women strike up a tentative friendship. Tempe is thoughtful and sweet and makes herself indispensable to Phil, but sinister things keep happening and something isn’t quite right about the stories Tempe tells. When a journalist with links to Phil’s father and to the detective is found floating in the Thames, Phil doesn’t know where to turn, who to blame or who she can trust.

If you’d like to watch the event you can do so by clicking on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page. First Monday Crime will be at 20.30 p.m. on Monday, 1st November 2021.


State of Terror by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny #bookreview #blogtour @panmacmillan @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny, State of Terror. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


Take a ringside seat in the high-stakes world of international politics . . .

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in. Secretary of State, Ellen Adams, is determined to do her duty for her country. But she is about to face a horrifying international threat . . .

A young foreign service officer has received a baffling text from an anonymous source. Too late, she realizes it was a hastily coded warning. Then a series of bus bombs devastate Europe, heralding the rise of a new rogue terrorist organization who will stop at nothing in their efforts to develop their own nuclear arsenal.

As Ellen unravels the damaging effects of the former presidency on international politics, she must also contemplate the unthinkable: that the last president of the United States was more than just an ineffectual leader. Was he also a traitor to his country?


State of Terror by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny reads like a blockbuster movie and I have no doubts that the film rights will be snapped up. State of Terror is an exhilarating, tense, wild and a very entertaining read. I don’t normally read political thrillers but this one really intrigued me and I’m so glad I picked it up.

There is real authenticity to this book, I could see who some of the characters were loosely based on, especially the former US president. Some of the descriptions did make me smile as I was reading, particularly as well the British Prime Minister. The novel explores Hillary Clinton’s worst fears. In Europe a wave of devastating terror attacks take place, putting the world on red alert. No one knows who is responsible for the bombings and there are real fears that they could strike the United States. It becomes a race against time to unravel what is going on here and who is behind the attacks before it is too late.

This is a book that delivers on tension and the pace was spot on. The dialogue really engaged me and Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny portrayed the fear and the anxiety well in their characters voices. I loved the race against time element which kept my eyes glued to the page. I had no idea how things were going to unfold next. This makes the premise of this novel so frightening as well as it is something that could very easily happen in today’s world.

The lead character is Secretary of State Ellen Adams. She is faced with an impossible task just as she is coming into office and she knows she will have to prove herself. But you can see how determined she is to protect her country and that she is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. Her relationship with the President is an interesting one and early on there are suggestions that it could be fraught with tension. This is also what makes her an intriguing character to follow.

State of Terror is a white-knuckle ride that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is a fast paced exhilarating read. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication date: 12th October 2021

Print: 512 pages

State of Terror is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones


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The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West #bookreview #blogtour @AJWestAuthor

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the debut novel by A.J. West, The Spirit Engineer.


Belfast, 1914. Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, high society has become obsessed with spiritualism, attending séances in the hope they might reach their departed loved ones.

William Jackson Crawford is a man of science and a sceptic, but one night with everyone sitting around the circle, voices come to him – seemingly from beyond the veil – placing doubt in his heart and a seed of obsession in his mind. Could the spirits truly be communicating with him or is this one of Kathleen’s parlour tricks gone too far?

Based on the true story of Professor William Jackson Crawford and famed medium Kathleen Goligher, and with a cast of characters including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, The Spirit Engineer conjures a haunted, twisted tale of power, paranoia, and one ultimate, inescapable truth…


When I first started reading The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West, I had no idea it was based on a true story, which is what makes this book even more fascinating. The story compelled me to find out more about the story after I had finished. I love a good spooky read and this book certainly fits the bill.

Set in Belfast, two years after the sinking of the famous RMS Titanic, the city is still reeling from the devastation caused by the disaster. We meet William Crawford, a man of science. William Crawford is one person who does not believe in anything such as séances and mediums. He is dismayed to find that his wife, Elizabeth, is trying to communicate with the dead. And William himself soon becomes embroiled in a fascinating study to find proof of the afterlife.

I’m fascinated by the work that mediums do but I would say I fall in the sceptic category. I’m open minded about the existence of a spiritual world but I don’t believe that ‘spirits’ can interact with us in the physical world.

Although I found William to be a really intriguing character, I did think he seemed like quite a harsh man, he seemed particularly harsh towards his wife and children. I struggled to warm to him initially but his story reeled me into the book. I wanted to find out more about him and his quest to prove the existence of the afterlife. As William continues with his experiments he is given the name ‘The Spirit Engineer.’

I loved the atmosphere in this book, particularly the atmosphere A.J. West creates in the scenes when the séances are taking place. It made me feel as though I was there in the room when it was happening and it did make for a chilling reading experience. I also liked that other real life characters featured in the book as well, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Spirit Engineer is a haunting, atmospheric novel and I really enjoyed reading it. If you’re looking for a gothic ghost story brimming with atmosphere, then I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Duckworth Books

Publication date: 7th October 2021

Print length: 304 pages

The Spirit Engineer is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones


The Last Time She Died by Zoë Sharp #bookreview #booksontour @authorzoesharp @bookouture

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Zoë Sharp, The Last Time She Died.

The Last Time She Died: A totally unputdownable crime thriller with a mind-blowing twist (Blake and Byron Thrillers Book 1) by [Zoë Sharp]


On the day of her father’s funeral, the young woman with the white-blonde hair returns, ten years after she vanished. “Don’t you recognise me?” she says. “I’m Blake.”

But she can’t be. Because we killed her. Didn’t we?

Blake Claremont disappeared when she was fifteen years old, but no one reported her missing. Her father said he was sure she would come back.

Others wondered what he was hiding.

Now, her father is dead, in a suspicious car accident, and the woman calling herself Blake has returned. Her stepmother welcomes her back into the family home, where Blake seems to know every detail, from the colour of her old bicycle to which floorboards squeak.

But Detective John Byron has his doubts. Why is there no record of Blake in the last ten years? Why do those who should be delighted by her return look at her with fear in their eyes? And, when someone shoots at her on a winding rural road, he has to ask: who wants her dead?

And as Blake spends time with her father’s new family and his old friends, she watches them closely. Because one of them must know what happened all those years ago, when two girls went missing, and only one came back…


I’ve heard really good things about Zoë Sharp’s writing, however, shamefully, I haven’t managed to get round to reading her books yet. When I heard about The Last Time She Died, I jumped at the chance to read it and I’m so pleased I did. This is a pacy, addictive read, and I thought the lead character Detective John Byron, was very intriguing. I’m hoping that there are many more books featuring him to come.

The set-up hooked me in from the opening pages. Following the funeral of Gideon Fitzroy, a woman appears claiming to be Gideon’s long-lost daughter, Blake, who vanished ten years ago. But there are many questions surrounding her disappearance. Why has she suddenly decided to turn up now when her father is dead? Why has he never reported her missing?

Blake was such a fascinating character. I wanted to get to the bottom of why she had gone missing in the first place. Was she really who she claimed to be? I also wanted to find out more about her family. Was there anything they were holding back about what had happened all those years ago?

There is plenty of intrigue in The Last Time She Died which kept me turning the pages. Detective John Byron is a very interesting character. He is currently on leave and is regarded as one of the Mets brightest stars. I wanted to know more about his background. He shouldn’t really be getting involved in this case and this added another layer of intrigue and suspense. He is determined to get the bottom of what is going on with this family.

I loved how Zoë Sharp pulled everything together in this book and the motives of the characters became very clear. I could see the reasons why Blake had chosen to act in the way that she had. There are some very damming revelations as Zoë Sharp reveals more about what happened to the characters years ago. I could feel the hurt and the anger and it made me desperate to find out what was going to happen in the end.

This is a fantastic read which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I am hoping that these characters might return in a future book.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 20th October 2021

Print length: 337 pages

The Last Time She Died is available to buy:

Amazon UK


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Cold as Hell by Lilja Sigurðardóttir #bookreview #blogtour @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new thriller by Lilja Sigurðardóttir on my blog today, Cold as Hell. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Cold As Hell (An Áróra Investigation Book 1) by [Lilja Sigurdardóttir, Quentin Bates]


Icelandic sisters Áróra and Ísafold live in different countries and aren‘t on speaking terms, but when their mother loses contact with Ísafold, Áróra reluctantly returns to Iceland to find her sister. But she soon realizes that her sister isn’t avoiding her … she has disappeared, without trace. 

As she confronts Ísafold’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend Björn, and begins to probe her sister’s reclusive neighbours – who have their own reasons for staying out of sight – Áróra is led into an ever-darker web of intrigue and manipulation. 

Baffled by the conflicting details of her sister’s life, and blinded by the shiveringly bright midnight sun of the Icelandic summer, Áróra enlists the help of police officer Daníel, as she tries to track her sister’s movements, and begins to tail Björn – but she isn’t the only one watching…


I’m a huge fan of Lilja Sigurðardóttir. When I started Cold as Hell, I devoured more than half of the book within a couple of hours. It is that good and it only took me a couple more sittings to finish it. This is such a gripping read!

Áróra has never seen quite eye to eye with her sister, Ísafold, but when Ísafold drops all contact, her mother pleads with her to travel to Iceland to try and find out what has happened. Áróra isn’t as keen to track down her missing sister as her mother is. When Áróra travels to Iceland she has no idea what she will find. It is clear as she starts looking into what has happened to her sister, that there is something sinister behind Ísafold’s disappearance.

The characterization in Cold as Hell is brilliant. I was interested in Áróra and Ísafold’s relationship and why they had both taken very different paths in life. Áróra is living in the UK with her British mother, but Ísafold is living in Iceland with her boyfriend. There are many strange individuals in Ísafold’s close neighbourhood, and it seems that she was hanging out with some very unsavoury characters. There are some sinister scenes told from the point of view of a mysterious individual who seems to know more about what has happened to Ísafold. I wanted to know what their connection was to Ísafold’s disappearance, what role if any had they played? I also wanted to know more about Ísafold’s boyfriend and if he had any connection to what had happened.

There is a lot of emotional depth in this book which is what I really liked; it made the characters really come to life. As Áróra begins to understand that something terrible might have happened to her sister, this causes her to feel a lot of guilt. She is desperate to know what has happened to her and where she is now.

The story moves along at a fast pace and the mystery comes together really well. This is the perfect read to lose a cold, wintry afternoon to. The Icelandic landscape and the characters will pull you into the story. Once again Lilja Sigurðardóttir has created a cast of unforgettable characters and I can’t wait to see where she takes them next in this series. I highly recommend Cold as Hell.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 28th August 2021 (kindle) 28th October 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

Cold as Hell is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones


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Bad Apples by Will Dean #bookreview #blogtour @willrdean @PointBlankCrime @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Will Dean on my blog today, Bad Apples. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


It only takes one…

A murder

A resident of small-town Visberg is found decapitated

A festival

A grim celebration in a cultish hilltop community after the apple harvest

A race against time

As Visberg closes ranks to keep its deadly secrets, there could not be a worse time for Tuva Moodyson to arrive as deputy editor of the local newspaper.  Powerful forces are at play and no one dares speak out. But Tuva senses the story of her career, unaware that perhaps she is the story…


I was so excited to see that journalist Tuva Moodyson was returning in a new book and I couldn’t wait to dive into Bad Apples.

As he has done in his previous books, Will Dean excels in creating mystery, suspense and atmosphere. Once again Tuva is investigating a chilling case just as Halloween approaches after a headless corpse is discovered in Utgard forest.

I’ve always found Tuva such a fascinating character. She is always determined to get to the truth even if that means putting herself in danger. She is a character who I feel like I’ve got to know really well over the last few years so I am always excited to see what she’ll get up to next.

I loved that this book was set just as Halloween is approaching which makes this the perfect book to read at this time of year, especially as the nights are drawing in. There is a particular scene, in which Tuva attends a strange festival taking place on Pan Night, which I could picture so clearly inside my mind. It gives Tuva the creeps and you get the sense that there is an element of the supernatural about it. It made me feel that anything could happen. It seems that there is always more to learn about Gavrik. This is the same for Tuva as well as there are elements about the town that continue to surprise her. The setting is what also makes these books so appealing and Will Dean knows how to draw on the atmosphere and Utgard forest, especially, always comes to life. It doesn’t feel like a very welcoming place at all.

Will Dean has also, once again, managed to create a cast of intriguing characters who could all be suspects in the case. He managed to keep everything under wraps until the final reveals at the end of the book.

There are some very tense scenes in this book as Tuva gets closer to understanding what has gone on and who is responsible for the murder. Reading those final lines has made me desperate to get my hands on the next book as soon as possible.

Will Dean is brilliant at creating an unnerving, menacing tone throughout the book. If you’re a Tuva Moodyson fan then you’re in for a real treat. I absolutely loved it.

Publisher: Point Blank

Publication date: 2nd September 2021 (kindle) 7th October 2021 (hardcover)

Print length: 352 pages

Bad Apples is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones


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Murder in the Village by Lisa Cutts #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Lisa Cutts, Murder in the Village.

Murder in the Village: A completely unputdownable English cozy mystery (A Belinda Penshurst Mystery Book 1) by [Lisa Cutts]


Meet Belinda Penshurst. Castle owner, dog lover… crime solver?

Belinda Penshurst loves her home village Little Challham, with its shady lanes, two pubs and weekly market. She’s lived there all her life, knows everybody, and feels proud of its charming, friendly nature. So when irritable pub landlord Tipper is found dead in his cellar, she’s shocked… and also perfectly placed to investigate.

Retired detective Harry Powell moved to Little Challham for a quiet life. He didn’t expect to be dragged into a murder investigation. But Belinda is a very persuasive woman, and there are strange things happening in the village. Particularly the number of dogs that have disappeared lately…

Is there a dognapper at work in Little Challham? Is Belinda right to be worried that her brother Marcus was arguing with Tipper on the day he died? Belinda and Harry interrogate the suspects: the rival landlord, the outraged barmaid, and the mysterious man in the black car. But are they on the right track… or is the killer already on their trail?


Cosy crime isn’t usually my go to genre. I do like the crime fiction I read to be a touch darker. But I’ve read Lisa Cutts work before and I really enjoyed it so I thought I would give her latest novel, Murder in the Village a go. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I loved Belinda and Harry, although I think Belinda is definitely my favourite character of the two. I really hope this is going to be the start of a long running series featuring them.

There is a lot that is going on in the charming village of Little Challham. Dog owners are on edge because dogs are mysteriously vanishing and when the local pub landlord is found dead, tensions really begin to heat up.

Belinda is a character who I think many readers will warm to right away. Belinda’s family are quite well known in the town and Belinda certainly knows how to make her voice heard. I loved the way how she threw herself into finding out what was going on in the village and I loved how she managed to get Harry working with her as well. They make for a fascinating and a really entertaining duo. Belinda seems to take everything that is happening in the village in her stride. She is definitely in her element when she is trying to solve the mystery.

Harry is also an intriguing character. He was once a police officer but now sells dog treats, like Belinda, he is intrigued by what is happening in the village, particularly with the missing dogs, but he doesn’t want to get involved in an investigation. I think, personally he only agrees to help Belinda out because he doesn’t want to see her get into trouble.

Lisa Cutts manages to create the country life living seen very well. I could picture Little Challam really well and I loved the detail that Lisa Cutts added, particularly the pubs. I’ve lived in a village for twelve years now and the pubs here certainly seem to be the central focal point of everything.

Everything came together very well and I liked how Lisa Cutts wrapped everything up. I can’t wait to see what Belinda and Harry get up to again and I’m looking forward to seeing what mystery comes their way next.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 25th August 2021

Print length: 252 pages

Murder in the Village is available to buy:

Amazon UK

The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell #bookreview #blogtour @Caroline_writes @emblabooks

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new chilling thriller by Caroline Mitchell, The Midnight Man.

The Midnight Man: The gripping, chilling new thriller from the #1 bestselling author (A Slayton Thriller) by [Caroline Mitchell]


If you open your door to the Midnight Man, hide with a candle wherever you can. Try not to scream as he draws near, because one of you won’t be leaving here…

On Halloween night in Slayton, five girls go to Blackhall Manor to play the Midnight Game. They write their names on a piece of paper and prick their fingers to soak it in blood. At exactly midnight they knock on the door twenty-two times – they have invited the Midnight Man in.

It was supposed to be a game, but only four girls come home.

Detective Sarah Noble has just returned to the force, and no one knows more about Blackhall Manor than her. It’s a case that will take Sarah back to everything she’s been running from, and shake her to the core.

Will she be ready to meet the Midnight Man?


The Midnight Man is an utterly chilling read, perfect for Halloween. Caroline Mitchell opens her new thriller with a shocking opening that made me wonder what on earth was going on. Caroline Mitchell sets the tone of the book really well in the opening pages and it does make for a terrifying opening.

The Midnight Man centres around a dangerous game which gives the book a very supernatural feel as the effects of playing the game take hold. It appears that once you start playing, the game never leaves you. I had to know what was going on here and who was behind what was happening. Who is The Midnight Man who haunts people’s dreams? Even as I was reading, I kept looking up every time I heard a strange noise, and I clutched my kindle a little bit tighter. I’m not kidding, this happened on more than one occasion as I was reading this book.

I thought Detective Sarah Nobel’s story was very intriguing and I liked her resilience and her determination to get to the bottom of the case. I wondered just how much this case would affect her, particularly as we begin to learn more about her childhood. Caroline Mitchell keeps the tension turning up a notch as strange things start happening her.

I was utterly gripped as Caroline Mitchell delved into the heart of the mystery and as Sarah Nobel confronts her worst fears. The tension is spot on, and everything unravels in a very clever way as Caroline Mitchell reveals the truth.

I loved The Midnight Man. The characters come to life on the page, and I can’t wait to see where Caroline Mitchell takes this new series next. If you are looking for a thriller perfect for the spooky season, then look no further than this book. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Embla Books

Publication date: 13th October 2021

Print length: 311 pages

The Midnight Man is available to buy:

Amazon UK


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Hostage by Clare Mackintosh #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by Clare Mackintosh, Hostage.


The atmosphere on board the first non-stop flight from London to Sydney is electric. Celebrities are rumoured to be among the passengers in business class, and the world is watching the landmark journey.

Flight attendant Mina is trying to focus on the passengers, instead of her troubled five-year-old daughter back at home – or the cataclysmic problems in her marriage.

But soon after the plane takes off, Mina receives a chilling anonymous note. Someone wants to make sure the plane never reaches its destination. They’re demanding her cooperation . . . and they know exactly how to get it.

It’s twenty hours to landing.
A lot can happen in twenty hours . . .


Hostage by Clare Mackintosh is such a tense, nail biting read, and it opens with an explosive first page which paints a terrifying picture in your mind. I’m a huge fan of Clare Mackintosh’s books and I think this is her best book to date. It made me think that this is something that could happen which made it even more terrifying. It has made me think twice about getting on a plane, especially a long-haul flight any time soon.

We’re introduced to Mina, a flight attendant who is about to travel on the first ever non-stop trip from London to Sydney. Mina did originally want to become a pilot, but her plans changed. The flight is getting a lot of attention from the press; influencers and celebrities are among the passengers traveling in business class. The thought of being on a flight for twenty hours fills me with dread. The longest flight I’ve ever taken is when I flew to Japan a couple of years ago which was fourteen hours. As the flight gets underway it becomes clear to Mina that the flight has been taken hostage. Mina is faced with an impossible decision that will affect the lives of everyone on board.

I really had no idea how things were going to pan out for Mina. I could feel her fear as she comes to terms with the decision she has to make. It made me wonder what she was going to do, and it made me think about what I would do if I was in her position.

What I really liked about this book is that parts of the book are told from different passengers who are onboard the flight. They all have their own individual, unique backstories which I thought Clare Mackintosh crafted so well. It made me question everything about them and I felt as though I couldn’t trust anyone who was onboard.

Clare Mackintosh also tells the book from the point of view Mina’s husband who is at home with her daughter. I thought these scenes were done very well and they added to the tension in the book. I really liked Mina’s daughter. She is very bright, and I thought that Clare Mackintosh brought her personality to life really well. Mina’s husband is a very mysterious character and I wanted to find out more about him, especially as things for Mina begin to escalate.

Clare Mackintosh is a writer who knows how to deliver on tension. The plan creates the perfect, locked room setting and it also gives the book a very claustrophobic feeling. I loved this book and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings. I thought the ending was done very well and it wrapped the book up in a very satisfactory way on a chilling final note. Psychological thriller fans, you have to read this book! I highly recommend it!

Publisher: Sphere

Publication date: 22nd June 2021

Print length: 400 pages

Hostage is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Life She Wants by J.M. Hewitt #bookreview @jmhewitt

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by J.M. Hewitt, The Life She Wants.

The Life She Wants: A totally unputdownable psychological thriller by [J.M. Hewitt]


You want to save your marriage. She wants to destroy it.

Paula worries that her marriage to Tommy is hanging by a thread. She loves how safe her husband makes her feel, but lately, it seems like he’s pulling away from her, and he keeps avoiding a much-needed conversation about finally having children.

When Tommy suggests a cruise getaway for the two of them, Paula is thrilled. He’s fighting for this marriage, and he’s even promised that they will talk about growing their family. It’s Paula’s dream come true. Until the couple meets beautiful Anna.

From the moment Anna appears in their lives, things start to go wrong for Paula. She finds herself trapped in a sauna. Her hair is destroyed at the salon. Money goes missing from her cabin. At first, Paula thinks she’s paranoid in suspecting Anna is turning her dream holiday into a nightmare. But soon, it becomes clear that Paula may not be the only woman fighting for Tommy’s affections.

How far will Anna go to get what she wants? What lines will Paula cross to protect her marriage? And whose dark past will return to destroy them first?


The Life She Wants by J.M. Hewitt is a really tense thriller and it is such an entertaining read. It centres around two women, Anna and Paula. As Paula tries to make her marriage to her husband Tommy, work, she meets Anna. But although Anna comes across as very friendly, she has her own agenda. Soon, Paula begins to realise that Anna may not quite be the person she thought she was.

I really had no idea what was going to happen between Paula and Anna. Anna is determined to get what she wants and she is willing to do anything to get there. This is what makes the book so tense. Anna is a very interesting character; I wanted to know what was really going on in her mind and what her real motives were here.

I loved that the book was set mostly on a cruise. Tommy and Paula have taken the trip to the northern hemisphere with the hope of seeing the Northern Lights. It made me feel that something bad was going to happen, particularly to Paula and it helped to create a cold, menacing atmosphere. It seemed as though it would be quite easy for someone to get away with a crime. The setting made it feel as though the walls were closing in and that there would be no escape if something terrible was to happen.

I thought the voices of the characters came through very well on the page. I could see Anna’s determination to get what she wants and this is what makes her scary. I really did not like her, although I did think that she and Tommy would’ve been quite well suited for each other.

J.M. Hewitt also shares with us some intriguing scenes from the past. We don’t know quite how these scenes will feed into the future until much later though. Some of these scenes are very dark.

The Life She Wants hooked me from the very first page and it kept me gripped right the way through. It’s the first book I’ve read by J.M. Hewitt and I can’t wait to catch up on her previous novels. If you’re looking for an entertaining psychological thriller then you should definitely add this book to your TBR pile. The suspense is there on every page and the characters reel you in. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Canelo

Publication date: 8th July 2021

Print length: 225 pages

The Life She Wants is available to buy:

Amazon UK