Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten #bookreview #blogtour @nholten40 @BOTBSPublicity @0neMoreChapter_

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the third book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series by Noelle Holten, Dead Perfect. With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part.

Dead Perfect: An absolutely gripping crime thriller with dark and jaw-dropping twists (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 3) by [Noelle Holten]

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A murdered woman…

When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer.  The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else.  Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.

A determined detective…

Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger.  Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls? 

Can Maggie find the depraved killer?  Or will Kate become his next living doll?

MY THOUGHTS

The moment I started reading Noelle Holten’s new novel, Dead Perfect, my heart was in my mouth. What a way to open a book! After the cliff hanger, Noelle left her last book on, I was desperate to get round to reading the next book as soon as possible, and I think it’s her best book yet in this series.

This time around DC Maggie Jamieson is left fearing for the life of her close friend, Dr Kate Moloney, after the body of a woman is discovered. The woman who has been found bears a strong resemblance to Kate, which immediately sparks thoughts that it is her. But Maggie doesn’t quite feel the sense of relief she should feel when the body is identified as someone else. What becomes clear is that someone is targeting Kate, and they are killing women who look very similar to her. Is this to send Kate a message? It isn’t clear. But Maggie now knows her friend’s life is under imminent threat and she is determined to protect her.

My heart rate kept increasing as I raced through this book. You can see how desperate the killer is to get to Kate, but you are never quite sure what their motive is here. Kate herself has been stalked recently, which gives Maggie cause for concern, and she wants Kate to step up her security. However, Kate doesn’t seem to be particularly keen, especially as she doesn’t want to be attached to her phone all the time.

You can see Maggie’s feelings for Kate growing in this book, and her feelings for Kate is what makes Maggie even more concerned for her welfare and keen to protect her. I really liked this side of Maggie, and it makes her character feel much more real and human. After finishing the latest book, I’m wondering just how things for Maggie are going to develop next.

As Noelle has done in the first two books in the series, she uses her knowledge of the probation system, adding a ring of authenticity to her writing.

If you’re not yet reading this series, you’re missing out on some excellent books. Noelle Holten keeps the tension rising, and then she always ends with another cliff hanger that makes you desperate to read her next book. Brilliant stuff!

Publisher: One Chapter

Publication date: 16th October 2020 (kindle) 24th December 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 328 pages

Dead Perfect is available to buy:

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dead-perfect

The Girls in the Snow by Stacy Green #bookreview #booksontour @stacygreen26 @bookouture

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Girls in the Snow by Stacy Green as part of the blog tour today on my blog.

The Girls in the Snow: A completely unputdownable crime thriller (Nikki Hunt Book 1) by [Stacy Green]

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Madison walked through the fallen snow, looking left and right. It had been Kaylee’s idea to use the trail through the forest; she said no one would follow them. But Madison lost sight of Kaylee for a moment and when she found her again she wasn’t alone…

In the remote forests of Stillwater, Minnesota, you can scream for days and no one will hear you. So when the bodies of two fifteen-year-old girls are discovered frozen in the snow, Special Agent Nikki Hunt is sure the killer is local: someone knew where to hide the girls and thought they would never be found.

Though Nikki hasn’t been home in twenty years, she knows she must take over the case. The Sheriff’s department in Stillwater has already made a mistake by connecting the girls’ murders to those of a famous serial killer, refusing to consider the idea that the killer could be someone from town.

Then another girl’s body is found, a red silk ribbon tied in her hair, and Nikki realizes that the killer has a connection to her own dark past, and the reason she left Stillwater.

Nikki is not the only person in town who wants those secrets to stay hidden. Will she be able to face her demons before another child is taken?

MY THOUGHTS

The Girls in the Snow is the first book by Stacy Green which I’ve read, and you can label me a big fan. I hope this is the first book in a long-running series featuring FBI Agent Nikki Hunt; I can’t wait to read more.

The police are already looking for a sadistic serial killer, and when the bodies of two young girls are discovered, the police instantly draw a connection. But Detective Nikki Hunt isn’t sure that the perpetrator is the same. She believes that the killer is local and that it isn’t in the same style as the killer they have been previously hunting for. And this new case they are investigation is about to blow haunting memories of her past wide open.

I thought Nikki was a really intriguing character. The book opens with a chilling flashback scene from her past when her parents were murdered. For years her parent’s murders have been an open and shut case after the killer was identified and sentenced. But new evidence comes to light shining doubt on the prosecution. Is it possible that the wrong man was convicted? Who is the real killer who has let an innocent man go to prison in his stead?

You can see just how much the reopening of old wounds haunts Nikki. She can’t bear the thought of the wrong man being convicted. In a bid to push these thoughts to one side, she throws herself into the current investigation. But as they ramp up efforts to track down the killer, who has so far evaded them, she can’t help but be drawn back to her parent’s murders all the time.

The Girls in the Snow made for an absolutely gripping read. I flew through it, and Stacy Green kept the tension turning up a notch. It was the investigation and Nikki’s personal story that kept me hooked. I really felt for Nikki as she grappled with coming to terms with the fact that the wrong man may have been put in prison for her parent’s murder. You can see that she doesn’t want to believe it, and she is keen to put off looking again at her parent’s case. She doesn’t want to be drawn back into it, but she also knows that it will be inevitable.

I’ll certainly be downloading the next book in this series when it is released. This is definitely recommended for fans of crime and psychological thrillers. This is another crime series which I’m sure will become a favourite of mine.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 19th October 2020

Print length: 347 pages

The Girls in the Snow is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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The Search Party by Simon Lelic #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Simon Lelic, The Search Party.

The Search Party: You won’t believe the twist in this compulsive new Top Ten ebook bestseller from the ‘Stephen King-like’ Simon Lelic by [Simon Lelic]

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16-year-old Sadie Saunders is missing.

Five friends set out into the woods to find her.

But they’re not just friends…

THEY’RE SUSPECTS.

You see, this was never a search party.

It’s a witch hunt.

And not everyone will make it home alive…

MY THOUGHTS

The Search Party is another gripping read by Simon Lelic. It’s been a couple of years since I read a book by Simon and after reading the rave reviews for The Search Party, I had to give it a go.

I was intrigued by the setup. A young woman, Sadie, disappears, which sets in motion one of the biggest missing person cases in the UK. The people at the centre of the mystery are the small group of friends. They are the people who Sadie spent most of her time with. In the days following their disappearance, they set off into the woods to try and find anything that might help them find Sadie, or even Sadie herself. They do this to clear their names; they are suspects in the eyes of the police and the public. But one of them is hiding a dark secret.

I was kept on my toes as I learnt more about the teenagers at the heart of the mystery. As we get to know them, I could potentially see that one of them could be responsible for Sadie going missing. They all have something to say about her, and not all of it is good. I could never be sure though if they were all innocent or who could, in fact, be the guilty party.

The investigation into Sadie’s disappearance is a very complex one, and it becomes the biggest in the UK’s history. I liked the detective who was investigating the case, DI Fleet. He faces some big obstacles, especially from his superiors who want the case wrapped up quickly. DI Fleet wants to make sure that no stone has been left unturned, but his boss is keen to charge someone, even if it means that person is innocent. There is also a vulnerable side to DI Fleet. He is on his own after recently becoming separated from his partner. Simon Lelic explores an emotional side to him; Fleet is worried about being in a relationship with someone as he is worried about having children. He doesn’t want to disappoint them. He sees the dark side of human nature every day in his job, and he can’t stand the thought of something potentially happening to his children in the future.

The book is told from various perspectives, including each member of the group who Sadie was friends with. This is what makes the book really exciting as we get to hear all of their thoughts on the person who Sadie was and what they think happened to her. I thought the voices of the teenagers were original and they really stood out as I was reading the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Search Party, and I hope that DI Fleet is going to return in a future book. A clever, absolutely gripping read. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 14th August 2020

Print length: 333 pages

The Search Party is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda #bookreview

On my blog today I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Girl From Widow Hills which is the latest novel by Megan Miranda.

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Everyone knows the story of the girl from widow hills…

When Arden Maynor was six years old, she was swept away in a terrifying storm and went missing for days. Against all odds, she was found alive, clinging to a storm drain. Fame followed, and so did fans, creeps and stalkers. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and left Widow Hills behind.

Twenty years later, Olivia, as she is now known, is plagued by night terrors. She often finds herself out of bed in the middle of the night, sometimes streets away from her home. Then one evening she jolts awake in her yard, with the corpse of a man at her feet.

The girl from Widow Hills is about to become the centre of the story, once again…

MY THOUGHTS

Megan Miranda is a new author to me. After hearing really good things about her most recent novel, The Girl from Widow Hills, I had to give it a try. This book is definitely deserving of all the praise it has been getting.

I’ve read quite a few thrillers which have featured unreliable narrators, but this book felt really fresh. Years ago, against all the odds, Arden Maynor survived after going missing during a storm when she was a young girl. She was found clinging desperately to a pipe. Arden suffers from sleepwalking, and this is how she went missing. But Arden Maynor hasn’t been that girl for a long time. Hoping for a fresh start, she changes her name to Olivia and moves away from the area where she grew up. But now her past is about to come back and haunt her. Olivia finds the body of the man who rescued her all those years earlier. But what was he doing outside her house after all this time?

I found this book to be really engaging and immersive. When Olivia finds the body of a man on her front doorstep, it isn’t clear to her, or even, those who know her, if she killed him. Olivia suffers from sleepwalking and has done since she was a child. When some people sleepwalk, they can turn violent, and they have no control over their actions. This is what made this such a chilling idea. It’s not clear as well who the man is, at first, who Olivia has found. There is a bombshell moment, though when Olivia realises who he is. This is what makes the book really creepy, as well. I had to know what happened to the man, and if Olivia was responsible for his death. You can see just how fearful she is of this. It made me wonder how she was going to be able to work out a story to tell the police.

I did struggle initially with the first few chapters, but once the discovery of the body was made, the tension really picked up, and I found this book to be hugely enjoyable. I found I had so many questions while I was reading this book which I wanted to have answered.

The final chapters are tense and exciting as the truths from Olivia’s past are laid bare. They are dark and hard-hitting, and I loved how everything was wrapped up in the finale. I had no idea how things were going to pan out for Olivia. The Girl from Widow Hills is a dark and addictive read. I’m looking forward to reading what Megan Miranda writes next.

Publisher: Corvus

Publication date: 6th August 2020

Print length: 336 pages

The Girl From Widow Hills is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Spooky reads for Halloween

With Halloween just a few days away, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite spooky reads. If like me, you’re looking to read something a bit more atmospheric and darker at this time of year, then I have the perfect selection for you. I’ve got ten recommended reads here and I’m sure you’ll find something you like the sound of.

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution

At once an unnerving mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

Beast (Six Stories Book 4) by [Matt Wesolowski]

A frozen girl
A haunted town
A deadly challenge
Six Stories
Which one is true?

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

It was only meant to be a game . . .

None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.

Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?

Was it the terrible accident?

Or when they found the first body?

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken . . .

Fifteen years ago, a serial killer known only as ‘The Whisper Man’ wreaked havoc on the sleepy village of Featherbank.

But with the killer behind bars, the village is now a safe haven for Tom and his young son Jake to make a fresh start.

Until another boy goes missing. It feels like history is repeating itself.

Could the killer still be out there – and can Tom protect his son from becoming the next victim?

Good Samaritans (Detective Sergeant Pace Series Book 1) by [Will Carver]

Dark, deviant and disturbing domestic noir … one of the most entrancing, sophisticated and page-turning psychological thrillers of the year…

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach…

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

Welcome to HMP Halvergate.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get to leave.

Dr Janet Palmer was glad to take a new job as lead psychologist at a remote Norfolk prison. She may live to regret it…

The staff are hostile, violence can break out at any time, no one will tell her what happened to her predecessor, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, driving the prisoners to suicide.

Janet is determined to find answers. But the deeper she digs, the more she realises: something is rotten in Halvergate. And it’s nothing as simple as ghosts…

The Craftsman: It starts with a funeral, ends with a death. '’Bolton at her best’ Guardian by [Sharon Bolton]

OLD ENEMIES… NEW CRIMES

Thirty years ago, WPC Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she arrested coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook for three shocking murders.

Larry confessed; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past are repeating themselves.

The town Florence left behind still has many secrets. Will she finally uncover the truth? Or will time run out for her first?

The Stranger Diaries: a completely addictive murder mystery by [Elly Griffiths]

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

This is what the police know:
 English teacher Clare Cassidy’s friend Ella has just been murdered. Clare and Ella had recently fallen out. Found beside the body was a line from The Stranger, a story by the Gothic writer Clare teaches, and the murder scene is identical to one of the deaths in the story.

This is what Clare knows: No one else was aware of her fight with Ella. Few others have even read The Stranger. Someone has wormed their way into her life and her work. They know her darkest secrets. And they don’t mean well.

This is what the killer knows: Who will be next to die

Some doors are locked for a reason…

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself…

WWW Wednesday 14/10/2020

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

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

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

What am I currently reading?

The Postscript Murders: a gripping new mystery from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries by [Elly Griffiths]

What have I finished reading?

33 Women: A gripping new thriller about the power of women, and the lengths they will go to when pushed... by [Isabel Ashdown]
The Search Party: You won’t believe the twist in this compulsive new Top Ten ebook bestseller from the ‘Stephen King-like’ Simon Lelic by [Simon Lelic]

What will I read next?

The Girls in the Snow: A completely unputdownable crime thriller (Nikki Hunt Book 1) by [Stacy Green]

Snap by Belinda Bauer #bookreview

I’ve had Snap by Belinda Bauer on my TBR pile now for a couple of years and I’m pleased that I’ve finally got round to reading it.

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SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS . . .

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . .

MY THOUGHTS

It took me just a couple of sittings to read Snap by Belinda Bauer. I’d heard good things about it, but I was blown away just by how good this book was. It’s definitely one of my favourite crime novels, and I’m now desperate to read what Belinda Bauer writes next.

I really felt for the characters at the heart of this book, Jack and his sisters. The novel opens with a chilling scene after they have been left behind in a car by their mother. She told them she would only be a few moments, but she doesn’t return, leaving Jack in charge of his younger sisters. After reading this opening, I was hooked. A few years later, and the mystery of what happened that day finally edges closer to being solved.

I thought the use of the different time periods worked really well in this book. In the present day, the police are trying to track down a burglar, known to the press as “goldilocks,” who has left them baffled. We also meet Catherine, who is expecting her first child. A chilling crime has happened to Catherine, which ramps up the police’s efforts to track down “goldilocks.” Catherine has disturbed a burglar, but the most shocking thing is the note they left behind saying, “I could have killed you.” Meanwhile, Jack and his family are still coming to terms with what happened to their mother. Jack is desperate to find the person responsible, and it is clear that he is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve this.

This is a really engaging crime novel. I especially loved the characters. I thought Belinda Bauer did an excellent job of bringing them to life and I was captivated by their stories. I really admired Jack. He will do anything to make sure that he and his sisters don’t go hungry. He definitely takes to the role of being the person in charge, and it’s something he takes very seriously. Belinda’s writing kept the pace flying forward, and I found the book very difficult to put down. What I really liked as well was how Belinda pulled all the different strands of the story together, and I thought it was done in a very clever way. I was surprised quite a few times as I was reading.

Snap is definitely a character driven story. I really engaged with them as the plot developed, and I wanted to find out what had happened to Jack’s mother after she left them in the car.

This book will pull you in right from the opening pages, and you need to make sure you don’t start it just before you’re about to go out. This is a top crime novel which I would highly, highly recommended!

Publisher: Black Swan

Publication date: 3rd May 2018 (kindle) 23rd August 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 448 pages

Snap is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Those People by Louise Candlish #bookreview

I’ve long been meaning to get round to reading Louise’s thrillers. I picked up Those People at an event in Waterstones back in January of this year, and I’ve finally got round to reading it.

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MEET THE NEIGHBOURS YOU’LL LOVE TO HATE

Until Darren and Jodie move in, Lowland Way is a suburban paradise. Beautiful homes. Friendly neighbours. Kids playing out in the street. But Darren and Jodie don’t follow the rules and soon disputes over loud music and parking rights escalate to threats of violence.

Then, early one Sunday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house-to-house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: They did it.

But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree. And the door they’re knocking on next is yours. 

MY THOUGHTS

I think it’s a lot of people’s worst nightmare, to have bad neighbours. It can be quite daunting at first, I suppose, moving to a new neighbourhood; I’ve only moved to a new area once in my life so far. At first, you don’t know if you’re going to get on with the people in the immediate vicinity of your new home. But what happens if you’ve already established a safe, tight-knit community, and then outsiders come in. Outsiders who seem to have a strong urge to upset the balance. What do you do, when the council and the police don’t take your concerns seriously?

Louise Candlish has created a gripping tale in Those People. Lowland Way is a peaceful place to live, particularly for children to grow up. On Sunday’s, the neighbours have created a no go zone for cars, cutting off their street, so children can interact and play with each other on the road outside. All of this is about to be upset when Darren and Jodie move in. Darren and Jodie are neighbours from hell, they don’t listen to the concerns of the other people on the street, and it seems that they only want to create more tension between them. Then, the accident occurs.

At the start of this book, I was on the side of the people who were already living in the street. I felt that Darren and Jodie hadn’t taken the time to research the area properly before they moved in. If they had, then perhaps they might have realised this wouldn’t have been the place for them, but then there wouldn’t be a story.

Louise Candlish builds the frustration of the local residents to boiling point as they come to terms with what is happening to their paradise. We know that something dreadful is about to happen. We can see this through snippets from police interviews, as one by one, the streets residents are questioned.

As the story developed, I seemed to keep switching sides. There seemed to be no willingness to compromise between the already existing residents and Darren and Jodie. You can see how this is stretching the tension already between them to breaking point. But I could see why some of the residents were pushed to taking the actions that they did. With no help from the council or the police, you can seem utterly on your own, until something terrible happens.

Those People is an intense, gripping drama that’ll make you think about your own neighbours perhaps a little bit more. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Publication date: 27th June 2019 (hardcover) 26th December 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 384 pages

Those People is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

A Prayer for the Broken by Mark Tilbury #bookreview #bogtour @MTilburyAuthor

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for A Prayer for the Broken by Mark Tilbury on my blog today.

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They promised the boy he’d be safe – they lied! When eleven-year-old John McCormack’s mother is murdered, he is placed in the care of Pastor Ian Stone and his family. Clearwater House is a far cry from the squalid flats he’s been used to, but John soon learns that Pastor Stone’s perverted form of religion is anything but compassionate. As Stone attempts to purify John’s soul of “dangerous levels of toxicity”, it becomes increasingly clear he’s at the mercy of a madman. Who can John talk to when no one wants to listen? Who can he trust when all he knows is betrayal? A Prayer for the Broken is the story of one child’s desperate fight to escape a sadistic killer who has complete control over him.

MY THOUGHTS

A Prayer for the Broken is a dark, dark read by Mark Tilbury. We follow eleven-year-old John McCormack, who has already suffered in his young life, following the murder of his mother. After being in temporary foster care, he is adopted by a priest, Pastor Stone and his family. But Pastor Stone has a very specific reason for adopting John. Pastor Stone believes it is his mission to rid the world of evil, and he sees John as one of his biggest challenges. But as things begin to get tough for John, what can he do to stop this from happening? Who would believe an eleven-year-old over the word of a respected priest?

I really felt for John. He is still struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother. Now he is being subjected to an unimaginable level of torture. This is not an easy book to read, and it does get quite heavy at times. There were often times when I wondered how things could ever get better for John, and I couldn’t see this ending well for him.

While he is in Pastor Stone care, John makes friends with another boy, Brendan, who is another boy who Pastor Stone has adopted. The pair strike up a strong friendship bound by their united hatred for Pastor Stone and everything he has subjected them to. It the scenes in which they were together that provided some light in the darkness. It’s hard to imagine what would have become of John if he didn’t have Brendan to talk to.

I took an intense disliking towards Pastor Stone very early on. He takes seriously the mission he believes God has given him, and this is what makes him so dangerous. If he believes God is telling him to do something, he won’t fail to act on it. It did make me think that similar cases to John and Brendan’s, have more than likely happened in the world. Perhaps they are still happening in the world. This is what makes it very scary to think about. On the one side, Pastor Stone is a respected pillar of the community. It shows that you can never really know what is going on behind closed doors and how blinded we can become.

I was rooting for John and Brendan to get their revenge on Stone. I could see just how much his actions had had an effect on them. They are afraid even to tell the police what is going on. This is when you can see just how vulnerable the boys are and how much of a control Stone has over them.

A Prayer for the Broken is an intense, fast-paced read. If you enjoy dark psychological thrillers, then this is the book for you.

Publisher: Independently Published

Publication date: 25th September 2020 (paperback) 5th October 2020 (kindle)

Print length: 432 pages

A Prayer for the Broken is available to buy:

Amazon UK

The Secret Admirer by Carol Wyer #bookreview @carolewyer @bookouture

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on book number six in the DI Natalie Ward series by Carol Wyer, The Secret Admirer.

The Secret Admirer: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 6) by [Carol Wyer]

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‘I tried to talk to you today but you snubbed me and walked away. It wasn’t wise to give me the brush-off, Gemma. I can be a truly good friend but I also make the perfect enemy.’

Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?

Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from ‘a secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…

And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.

Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

MY THOUGHTS

After reading the last book in Carol Wyer’s DI Natalie Ward series, The Blossom Twins, I had to take a bit of a break before diving into book six. The last book in the series left me reeling, and I didn’t know how things were going to pan out for the characters in the next book, The Secret Admirer. If you haven’t read book five, then book six does contain some major spoilers. This is why I would suggest at least reading book five first if you haven’t read the other books in this series. You can find my review of The Blossom Twins by clicking here.

DI Natalie Ward has a new, complex case to get stuck into. A young girl, Gemma, has died following a horrific attack after acid was thrown in her face. Was this a random attack? Or was she specifically targeted? Over the last few years, I have seen quite a few reports on acid attacks in the news. Some of them, scarily, seem to have just been random attacks. This is what makes it so scary. Natalie and her team aren’t short of a list of suspects to investigate which is what makes this case particularly difficult. Things get even tougher for Natalie, though, when her own husband comes into the frame. The case takes a darker turn when Gemma’s housemates are soon targeted as well.

I really felt for Natalie and her family in this book, but particularly for her ex-husband, Dave. The recent events which have taken place in the series have really taken their toll on him. Natalie throws herself in her work to try and move forward with her life. As the investigation into the young girl’s attack and murder moves forward, Natalie is concerned that all they have is only circumstantial evidence. They don’t have the silver bullet that will help them to nail one of the persons of interest in the frame. This is when things particularly start to heat up, especially when Gemma’s friends soon turn up dead as well.

I raced through this book to get the truth. I was desperate to know who was behind the attacks and why. I had some inclination along the way as to who the culprit was, and my guesses were proven correct, but I still found the ending very dramatic. The confessions that come are devastating, and they really put you in the mind-set of the person behind the killings.

This book will take you on a whirlwind of emotions. Carol certainly knows how to reel her readers in. I’m really trying not to give anything away here, but now I’m even more concerned for Natalie and her family, and how things are going to pan out for them in the next book in the series.

The Secret Admirer is another top read in this series, and I’m really excited to find out what happens next.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 2nd April 2020

Print length: 370 pages

The Secret Admirer is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones