As part of the blog tour for Black Reed Bay by Rod Reynolds, I’m delighted to be able to offer one paperback copy to giveaway. If you would like to read my review of the book you can do so by clicking here. Before I reveal more about the competition, let’s find out what the book is about.
Don’t trust ANYONE…
When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident.
Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it’s going to have only one ending…
And then the first body appears…
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 28th May 2021 (kindle) 2nd September 2021
As part of the blog tour I have one copy of the book to giveaway. To enter please see my pinned Tweet on my Twitter account @collinsjacob115. The Giveaway will end 11.59 p.m. Friday, 17th September, UK time. I’m afraid this giveaway is open to UK residents only.
On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Catherine Cooper, The Chateau. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…
A glamorous chateau
Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.
A couple on the brink
The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.
A secret that is bound to come out…
Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.
Catherine Cooper has written another brilliant, utterly chilling thriller. The Chateau opens with an intriguing paragraph that made me want to know what was going on here. Someone is out for revenge. But who is this person? What has made them want to pursue this course of action?
Catherine Cooper then takes us to France, where at a party, someone ends up dead. This makes for such a gripping opening. I had to know who this person was who was killed. Following on from this we meet Aura and Nick who have recently relocated to France from the UK with their two sons, Bay and Sorrel. They are doing up a chateau with a film crew present who are filming for a documentary. It is clear that they have come here to try and forget something which happened to them.
As we get to know Aura and Nick Catherine Cooper takes us back in time. It is here that we get to see the events play out which led to them seeking a new life in France. There were some gripping scenes here as I wondered just what exactly had happened and I began to see events in the present in a new light. As Aura and Nick get to know the expat community out in France, I couldn’t believe some of the scenes I was reading, particularly when they attend their friend Thea’s party. Aura’s frustration comes through very clearly in her character here. It made me wonder how things were going to pan out for them in France.
Catherine Cooper throws in a lot of red herrings which keeps your attention focused elsewhere and I thought she did this very well. There was a twist which came towards the end of the book which completely surprised me. I had no idea that this was the direction that Catherine was going to take. It made it all the more chilling and those last few lines in the final chapter gave me shivers.
Psychological thriller fans, Catherine Cooper’s novels are a must read if you haven’t read them already. I was utterly gripped by The Chateau and I can’t wait to see what Catherine Cooper writes next.
On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new thriller by Elisabeth Carpenter, The Vacancy.
Running from her past, Rachel answers an advert to be a live-in assistant to glamorous and eccentric author Dorothy Winters. But behind the closed doors of Dorothy’s house, she quickly discovers that nothing is as it seems.
When Dorothy’s manuscript throws up striking similarities to events in Rachel’s own life, she becomes convinced that the past she’s tried to hide is catching up with her.
Then the phone calls start. The parcel arrives. The blood shows up in the bathroom.
And Dorothy’s friend disappears.
Terrified of being blamed for murder, Rachel has nobody left to turn to.
Because who can she believe when she doesn’t even trust herself…?
The Vacancy is a tense, highly intriguing new thriller by Elisabeth Carpenter which, to me, felt very fresh. We meet Rachel who answers a job application for live-in assistant to famous writer, Dorothy Winters. Rachel is bowled over when she receives the news that she has got the job. Dorothy is a complex character, but Rachel soon settles into her new life. Soon, strange things start happening and Rachel begins to wonder what is going on here and what sort of person Dorothy Winters really is.
I was fascinated by Rachel. When she arrives at Dorothy’s, we can see that she is doing this to make a new start in her life. Something has happened to her. I wanted to know what it was that had happened in her past and what secrets she was keeping. Elisabeth Carpenter gradually reveals what this is, and the true picture of Rachel begins to emerge. I was intrigued by Dorothy as well. Dorothy was a successful author in the 90s and is working on a new manuscript which Rachel is having to type. As Rachel begins to type Dorothy’s chapters, she realises that the story she’s working on bears a haunting similarity to events which have happened in her own life. Coincidence?
I loved Rachel’s voice which drew me into the story. It felt as though someone is watching Rachel as she settles into her new life. There are snippets throughout the book where it appears as though someone is spying and recording what she is doing. It kept the tension ticking up a notch as I wondered if this was the case. Who could be following her? As Rachel gets to know her new employer she starts snooping around her house, to try and find out more about her. I thought this was a very bold move of Rachel to make and it made me wonder what she might potentially find out about Dorothy. What would happen if Dorothy found out what she was doing?
Elisabeth Carpenter begins to reveal what is really going on here and there was one twist which floored me. I thought it was very clever and it gives the book such a haunting feeling as we draw closer to the end; I thought the ending was very satisfying.
Elisabeth Carpenter has written an another utterly addictive psychological thriller with real emotional depth and the tension keeps you turning the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Final Child by Fran Dorricott on my blog today. With thanks to Lydia Gittins at Titan Books for inviting me to take part.
He won’t forget her…
Erin and her brother Alex were the last children abducted by ‘the Father’, a serial killer who only ever took pairs of siblings. She escaped, but her brother was never seen again. Traumatised, Erin couldn’t remember anything about her ordeal, and the Father was never caught.
Eighteen years later, Erin has done her best to put the past behind her. But then she meets Harriet. Harriet’s young cousins were the Father’s first victims and, haunted by their deaths, she is writing a book about the disappearances and is desperate for an interview with the only survivor. At first, Erin wants nothing to do with her. But then she starts receiving sinister gifts, her house is broken into, and she can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After all these years, Erin believed that the Father was gone, but now she begins to wonder if he was only waiting…
A tense and emotive thriller, The Final Child is a powerful tale of a survivor being forced to confront her painful past.
The Final Child is a tense, utterly gripping thriller by Fran Dorricott. I loved Fran’s debut when I read it a couple of years ago which meant her latest book jumped right to the top of my TBR pile. Fran Dorricott doesn’t shy away from the darkness in her writing. Years ago, a serial killer was targeting young siblings, abducting them from their rooms. The person responsible known as ‘The Father’ was never caught.
We are introduced to Erin and Harriet. Erin and her brother, Alex, were victims of a serial killer known as ‘The Father.’ She has tried to forget about what happened, but she soon finds the past calling to her. She’s contacted by Harriet, a journalist writing a book about the case. She is desperate for an interview with Erin. Erin only agrees to help when strange things start happening and she feels she must get to the bottom of what is going on. Has ‘The Father’ come back? Is he out to get Erin even after all these years?
The storyline was very tense, I think more so in the second half than in the first, though. I liked both Erin and Hannah. I could see how much of an impact the trauma of what happened in Erin’s childhood has had on her life. I wanted to know if the strange things that were happening to her now was related to what happened in her childhood. I did feel sorry for Erin. Although she has changed her identity, she was previously known as Jillian, she has never been able to escape what happened. Harriet also has a connection to the case. Her cousins were ‘The Father’s’ last victims, so she is invested in getting to the truth of what is going on as well. They are both very strong leads.
The tension continues to tick up a notch and there were some very tense final scenes as Erin and Harriet come to realise what is really going on. I was utterly gripped as I read the final devastating chapters. I could not put the book down until I had turned the final page and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
The Final Child is a very dark book, but it captured my interest. I really enjoyed it. If you love dark and gripping crime thrillers, you should add this to your TBR pile. I highly recommend it.
I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the new novel by Paula Hawkins on my blog today, A Slow Fire Burning. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
‘What is wrong with you?’
Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.
Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?
Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.
Look what you started.
A Slow Fire Burning is a brilliant new novel by Paula Hawkins. The tension gradually builds following the discovery of the body of a young man, Daniel Sutherland, on a houseboat on Regent’s Canal. He is discovered by Miriam Lewis, who needs to tell him that he has over extended his stay. Paula expertly tells the story through the eyes of five characters. They all have some sort of connection to the man who has been found dead. But are any of them guilty of killing him? I had to find out.
Paula Hawkins draws on the atmosphere so well, creating a very dark and foreboding feeling. The characters are all very different and I found each one of them captivating. They come across as very real people, each with their own set of problems. I think it was Theo’s story which came through very strongly, for me, particularly as he is still struggling to cope with the death of his son. Theo is a writer, and had one big success with an early book in his career, but he has struggled to put pen to paper since his son died. His emotions come through very strongly on the page.
Laura was another character who I found fascinating. She has some issues with her family. She is frustrated. Whenever she calls her father, his partner, Deidre, who she doesn’t get on with, is always there, listening in and criticising her. And her mum won’t pick up the phone to her. It feels as though she is on her own. I wanted to get to the bottom of who she was and what had happened in her past. I think readers may find her a bit eccentric but there was one aspect to her character which I really liked. Laura helps look after an elderly woman, Irene and this helps portray her as a really likeable character.
All of the characters have intriguing backstories and Paula Hawkins writes them so well into her book. I never felt confused as I was reading, which can sometimes happen when a book is told from multiple viewpoints.
I had to know if any of the characters were somehow involved in Daniel’s death and why he was killed. Paula Hawkins has created an intriguing list of suspects. They don’t make it easy for the police to solve this case. I got the feeling that any one of them could be responsible for the murder. I had no idea how things were going to pan out for them. It’s what made the book so enjoyable. Paula Hawkins keeps you thinking about the characters and what their connection to the murder might be.
Although this is a slow burn, the tension simmers away in the background. It’s a story which focuses much more on the characters. They make this book such an unsettling read. Paula Hawkins expertly revealed what had happened to Daniel. I was gripped to the final pages as the whole truth became clear. It does make for an utterly gripping and unnerving finale.
If you’re a fan of Paula Hawkins writing you will love this book. Once again she has created a very clever and an utterly compelling read that will keep you hooked. This is domestic noir at its very best. I’m looking forward to reading what she writes next.
On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Tammy Cohen, The Wedding Party. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
Till death do us part . . .
Lucy has dreamt of her wedding day for as long as she can remember.
And now the day is almost here. Her nearest and dearest are gathered on an idyllic Greek island and she just knows it’s going to be perfect. It has to be.
But even the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong. Why are her parents behaving so strangely? Why won’t the rather odd lady from the airport stop hanging around? Who is the silent stranger her sister brought as a plus-1?
And then they find the body.
It’s going to be a day to remember.
I’m a huge Tammy Cohen fan, and I jumped at the chance to read her latest novel, The Wedding Party. A wedding is supposed to be a happy, joyous occasion that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. This wedding, however, will be remembered for entirely different reasons. From the first few pages, we know that someone will end up dead. But how have we got to this point?
What drives the tension in this book is the question we are presented with at the beginning. Who will be the victim here? The family members and friends in this book who are attending are characters who will get under your skin. I’ve only ever been a guest at a wedding, but I can imagine they can be very stressful for the bride and groom and their families. That stress plays out on the page in the run up to Lucy and Jason’s big day on a Greek Island. Tammy Cohen explores the family dynamics so well. From the opening pages, there are tensions between the characters. Lucy is, of course, desperate to make everything perfect. She is also worried about the strange person her sister has brought as her plus one and what is going on in her parents’ life?
We also have transcripts from police interviews following the discovery of the body. This adds another layer to the tension as we begin to understand what has gone on. This is also a clever way in which Tammy reveals what the characters think about each other. There are parts of the novel which are also told through journal entries. However, we don’t know which character is writing their thoughts down. Is this our victim or our killer? The Wedding Party really is more of a character driven thriller novel, I think, and that is what I loved about it.
I loved the Greek Island setting. I think as well it added to the sense of mystery to the plot as the characters are in an unfamiliar landscape. I thought Tammy Cohen drew on the setting so well, and she brought it to life. I could feel the heat, and I could picture the hotel so well. I think the tension between the people attending the wedding also helps create a claustrophobic atmosphere. You know that at any moment, someone is going to snap.
I flew through this book. Tammy Cohen is a master at writing gripping suspense novels. She always delivers a tension fuelled plot that keeps you turning the pages. I loved it.
How are we at the end of August? I know we all say this but it’s crazy to think that there are only four months left of the year. I hope you’ve all had a good summer. I’ve not taken any time off work, apart from going to Harrogate for a long weekend in July for the Theakston Crime Festival. I’ve still got a few days holiday left to take so I think I’ll take some days off in October.
I have finished my new novel, which I started earlier this year, so it has taken me between seven and eight months to complete. It’s had quite a heavy edit since the first draft but I think I’m finally happy with it. It may need a few more minor tweaks but I think it’s nearly there.
I’ve now read 110 books so far this year, and I surpassed my goal to read 100 books in 2021 earlier this month.
I took part in five blog tours this month and I’ve listed the links below in case you missed any.
I have four blog tours coming up in September, The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen on the 3rd September, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins on the 5th, The Chateau by Catherine Cooper on the 13th and Safe at Home by Lauren North on the 22nd.
I received some exciting bookpost this month. I received copies of, This Girl, That Girl by Lesley Kara, The Spirit Engineer by A.J. West, The Quiet People by Paul Cleave, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins and The Vacancy by Elisabeth Carpenter.
That’s all from me this month. What are you reading at the moment? I’m currently reading The Final Child by Fran Dorricott and The Vacancy by Elisabeth Carpenter. Let me know in the comments. I hope you have a great month in September.
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.
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.
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.
On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new thriller by Amanda Robson,The Unwelcome Guest.
SHE HAD THE PERFECT MARRIAGE. UNTIL HER MOTHER-IN-LAW MOVED IN…
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.