The Family at No. 12 by Anita Waller #bookreview #blogtour @anitamayw @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Anita Walker, The Family at No. 12 With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.

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The explosive new thriller from international bestseller Anita Waller.

When Janette answers the door to a potential customer looking to board his dog, she never imagines he has nefarious plans.

But minutes later he’s dead and in her cellar.

Weeks later she realises she’s pregnant.

And so she becomes Mother and the baby Child, and a hidden life begins.

But all secrets come out eventually . . .

MY THOUGHTS

I was intrigued by the blurb for The Family at No.12 and Anita Waller is a new author to me, so I thought I’d give it a go. There is a harrowing opening to this book, in which we see Janette being attacked and raped by a random stranger in her own home. There are some vivid details in this scene. But what is even more distressing for Janette, is when she finds out she’s pregnant with her attacker’s child. This throws her into a new terrifying situation she knows she’ll have to deal with on her own.

I felt for Janette in the opening pages in this book, and I could sense how the attack, and subsequent events, had left their mark on her. I liked that she ended up getting a dog, and the relationship there was between them, but I struggled to warm to Janette further after her daughter was born. I could see why Janette treated her child with disdain, not even giving her a name, referring to her only as “the child,” and why Janette almost, didn’t want anything to do with her child. But I was willing there to be some sort of a bond to develop between them, as I thought this would be good for both of them.

I was interested to see what would happen to Janette’s child, and this is what the second part of the novel is devoted to. I don’t want to give anything away here, as this will spoil what happens, but it was fascinating seeing what becomes of her, especially, as she was never allowed out of her house in her early years, and had no social interaction with anyone else. I felt the pacing did drop a little bit in this second half of the novel, but I was still kept invested in her story.

Anita Waller creates a lot of tension, and I was never sure what was going to happen to Janette’s child as she started to grow. Despite the horrific event that happened to her mother, her daughter was innocent in what happened and this was what made me really feel for her as the story progressed.

The Family at No.12 is quite a harrowing read, but I was invested in the characters particularly in the life of Janette’s daughter, and this kept me reading.  

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: 29th November 2022

Print length: 336 pages

The Family at No.12 is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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Homecoming by Isabel Ashdown #bookreview #blogtour @IsabelAshdown @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Isabel Ashdown, Homecoming, as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part.

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Welcome to The Starlings… sun, sea and neighbours to die for.

Security, a sparkling sea view and the best kind of neighbours – The Starlings gated community has it all. Here, doors are left open, children run free, and at the heart of it all is the entrepreneurial Gold Family, who first dreamed up this aspirational vision of ‘Dorset’s Safest Community’. To the outside world the popular family appears glitteringly blessed… until an idyllic party takes a dark turn and one of their number is found slumped at the foot of the clocktower. Who knows what really happened? And what answers are harboured within the old building, the former Highcap Mother and Baby Home?’

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Isabel Ashdown’s writing, so I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour for her latest book, Homecoming. I love a thriller that zooms in on a tight knit community and this is what Isabel Ashdown does in this book and it is a gripping read.

The setting of this novel is a former Mother and Baby Home which does carry with it, a dark and intriguing past. But the home is now a luxury development called The Starlings, created by the Gold family who also live there. Some of the residents who have moved in, have a connection to its past, and they are keen to bring the knowledge of what happened at the home into the public domain. This sort of setting, a new luxury retreat, with top of the range security, can be idyllic, but it also gives the feeling that there are people watching you, and that everyone knows everyone’s secrets and Isabel Ashdown describes it very well.

It’s the characters who really pulled me into the story and the secrets they might be hiding. This is what creates tension. I felt as though there was something dark going on here, especially when things take a more sinister turn, with the discovery of a body at the foot of the clock tower. As the police get involved, it feels as though Isabel Ashdown really is putting her characters under the microscope. I was especially keen to find out more about Ginny and her past and what happened at the top of the clock tower.

I loved the way how Isabel Ashdown peeled back the layers of what is really going on inside this community. I wouldn’t describe this as a particularly fast paced book, but Isabel Ashdown’s writing is very addictive. Isabel Ashdown builds characters really well and they are what make her books stand out. There is also a lot of emotion in her book, especially as the history of the starlings is explored further, and there are some harrowing secrets which come to light.

Isabel Ashdown is a brilliant writer. If you haven’t discovered her books yet, you need to read them.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 24th November 2022

Print length: 356 pages

Homecoming is available to buy:

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The Shadows of Rutherford House by Caroline England #bookreview #blogtour @CazEngland @HeraBooks

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new gothic thriller by C E Rose, The Shadows of Rutherford House.

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Darkness lies at the heart of this family…

In 1959 Milly starts her new life as a housemaid at Rutherford House, working for the aristocratic Rutherford-Percy clan. Entranced by her new mistress, Vivienne, she becomes deeply embroiled in the household and the keeper of dark secrets the family conceals beneath the mansion’s grand exterior.

In the present day, Christie is working as a psychiatric nurse when she meets troubled patient Lillian Percy, Vivienne’s granddaughter and heiress to Rutherford House. They soon bond over the loss of their mothers
– Lillian’s died when she was a child; Christie’s mysteriously disappeared over twenty years ago – and Christie finds herself increasingly fascinated by
Lillian’s family and their imposing ancestral home.

As Christie learns more about the Rutherford-Percys, she finds a shocking clue that could help her uncover what happened to her own mother. Desperate for answers, Christie puts her job, her family and even her very life on the line. But how much of the truth does she really want to know?

A twisty, chilling and unputdownable page-turner about family secrets, perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Louise Douglas and Harriet Evans.

MY THOUGHTS

The Shadows of Rutherford House is an engaging new gothic suspense novel by C E Rose. C E Rose does a brilliant job of drawing you into her writing by her characters, who inhabit Rutherford House, and the house itself. C E Rose brings her setting to life very well. You often hear the phrase “if walls could talk,” and I was certainly thinking that as I was reading this book.

I think this is definitely more of a slow burner, but the suspense builds as we begin to understand more about what has happened in the past and how this links to the present. The chapters are also short, which is what I also quite liked about this book.

We follow three separate timelines. In the present Christie has arrived at Rutherford House, following the recent disappearance of her mother. C E Rose brilliantly intertwines Christie’s story with stories of people who have previously lived at the house. As the plot develops and as we get to know the character’s further, it darkens, and makes you turn the pages even faster to get to the end.

The plot is quite a complex one, particularly with the different narrations and the timelines, but C E Rose handles this very well, and it’s part of what made me even more invested in the lives of the characters. One of C E Rose’s most brilliant skills, I think, as a writer, is her characterisation. She really delves into their emotions and makes them feel like real people. In the present I could feel Christie’s determination to get to the bottom of what happened to her mother, but she is also doing this at her own personal cost which adds to the tension in the book.

One of the characters who I found really intriguing was Imogen. C E Rose creates a real sense of darkness about Imogen and this made me eager to find out more about her. This is what helps to create a sinister atmosphere in the book.  There are some chilling moments throughout the history of Rutherford House in recent decades that really did put me on the edge of my seat.

The Shadows of Rutherford House is another intriguing read by C E Rose that kept me engrossed right the way through.

Publisher: Hera Books

Publication date: 10th November 2022

Print length: 349 pages

The Shadows of Rutherford House is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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Hidden Scars by Angela Marsons #bookreview #blogtour @WriteAngie @bookouture

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Angela Marsons, Hidden Scars on my blog today.

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While Jamie’s cold, lifeless body lay in the morgue, Detective Kim Stone stared at the empty board in the incident room and felt her anger boil. Why were there no photos, details, or lines of enquiry?

When a nineteen-year-old boy, Jamie Mills, is found hanging from a tree in a local park, his death is ruled a suicide. Detective Kim Stone’s instincts tell her something isn’t right – but it’s not her investigation and her temporary replacement is too busy waiting for the next big case to be asking the right questions.

Why would a seemingly healthy boy choose to end his life?
Why does his mother show no sign of emotional distress at the loss of her son?

Still mending her broken mind and body from her last harrowing case, Kim is supposed to be easing back into work gently. But then she finds a crucial, overlooked detail: Jamie had a recent injury that would have made it impossible for him to climb the tree. He must have been murdered.

Quickly taking back charge of her team and the case, Kim visits Jamie’s parents and is shocked to hear that they had sent him to a clinic to ‘cure’ him of his sexuality. According to his mother, Jamie was introverted and prone to mood swings. Yet his friend speaks of a vibrant, outgoing boy.

The clues to smashing open this disturbing case lie behind the old Victorian walls of the clinic, run by the Gardner family. They claim that patients come of their own accord and are free to leave at any time. But why are those that attended the clinic so afraid to speak of what happens there? And where did the faded restraint marks identified on Jamie’s wrists come from?

Then the body of a young woman is found dead by suffocation and Kim makes two chilling discoveries. The victim spent time at the clinic too, and her death was also staged to look like a suicide.

Scarred from an ordeal that nearly took her life, is Kim strong enough to stop a terrifying killer from silencing the clinic’s previous patients one by one?

MY THOUGHTS

It’s always exciting to hear when Angela Marsons is releasing a new Kim Stone book, and each book has always gone straight to the top of my TBR pile the moment it’s downloaded onto my kindle. I couldn’t wait to read Hidden Scars, book seventeen in the series, from the moment it was announced. After the traumatic events that took place in the last book, it was going to be interesting to see how Kim was coping. If you haven’t read the last book, this book does contain some small spoilers, so I would certainly suggest reading the previous book first if you’re a fan of the series. Kim’s team have been patiently waiting her return to work, especially as they have found life without her at the station difficult, particularly with their new boss, who has taken charge in Kim’s absence.

In Hidden Scars, the novel opens with a devastating scene, following the suicide of a young man. But Kim can see that there is something more here than what first meets the eye. It certainly feels that if she wasn’t back in time for this investigation, it may well have been brushed to the side.

Angela Marsons explores some heart-breaking stories in this book and she explores the topic of conversion therapy. It’s harrowing to hear how people, who are gay, are forced to try and change who they are, often by their own family, who can’t accept that they are gay. It’s flabbergasting to think that there are people out there who believe they can change who a person is. Angela Marsons brings this to light well in her book, in a sensitive way as well. You can feel the emotions right throughout this story, especially how angry these new revelations make Kim and Bryant. I was desperate to know who was behind the killings and, as per usual, I was rooting for Kim and Bryant to catch them.

Each book always brings something new to this series and Angela Marsons always, expertly, manages to keep things feeling fresh. I will never stop reading the Kim Stone novels. Hidden Scars is another brilliant read from Angela Marsons and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Kim next.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 9th November 2022

Print length: 356 pages

Hidden Scars is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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Suicide Thursday by Will Carver #bookreview #blogtour @will_carver @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Will Carver, Suicide Thursday. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Eli Hagin can’t finish anything. 

He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a story beyond the first chapter. 

Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction. 

When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike did…

Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended … and a series of text messages that Mike received before his death point to something much, much darker…

MY THOUGHTS

Will Carver is back with another pacy and addictive thriller, in his new book, Suicide Thursday. Once again Will Carver delves into the minds of his characters, really getting under their skin in a book, I’m sure, readers won’t be forgetting about in a hurry.

We meet Eli, who is one of the most intriguing of Will Carver’s characters to date. It feels as though he is at a crossroads in his life, unable to make a decision on things that matter to him; if he wants to stay where he works, or if he wants to stay with his girlfriend. His relationship with his girlfriend, Jackie is also a very interesting aspect to this story and I was fascinated by them both. Eli is also desperate to write a novel, but he can never get past the first chapter. His voice is very engaging and you really feel as though Will Carver is delving into his subconscious. Will Carver has a real gift for creating very real characters that pull you into the story.

Once again, Will Carver doesn’t tackle a light topic in his book. We also meet Mike, who is struggling in life, and these scenes, featuring Mike, are often told through a series of text messages to one individual. It isn’t revealed who the individual is who Mike is talking to, but there are some dark exchanges between them as the book progresses, which may make some readers feel uncomfortable. Mike is in a very dark place, threatening to commit suicide, but there seems to be something there making him cling onto life, even though someone else is urging him to end it all, which adds to the tension throughout the book.

Will Carver has written a very clever story in the way in which he entwines the character’s lives in Suicide Thursday. I loved the sense of mystery surrounding them in this book, which is what was urging me to keep reading, and I wanted to know how things were going to pan out for Eli. The dark, foreboding atmosphere is also there right from the beginning. One thing you should not expect when you read a Will Carver book is for it to be a light read.

Will Carver has written another superb, original thriller that kept me gripped.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 24th November 2022

Print length: 276 pages

Suicide Thursday is available to buy:

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Sleep When You’re Dead by Jude O’Reilly #bookreivew #blogtour @judithoreilly @HoZ_Books @soph_ransompr

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the new novel by Jude O’Reilly, Sleep When You’re Dead. With thanks to Sophie Ransom for inviting me to take part.

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In thirty-six hours, thousands of innocent people will die. There’s not a second to waste. And no time for sleep…

Michael North has a bullet lodged in his brain which could kill him any second. That makes him the perfect MI5 asset: he’s ruthless, loyal, brave. And, best of all, disposable.

Teenage computer expert Fangfang Yu does not feel the same way. She’s determined to keep her friend out of danger – however many cyber laws she has to break to keep him alive.

Now North has been sent undercover into a doomsday cult on a remote Scottish island. He has thirty-six hours to stop their charismatic leader from inciting the murder of thousands. He can only do it with Fangfang’s help – but when they uncover a shocking link between the cult and the dark heart of the US defence establishment, it doesn’t just put North’s life at risk… it threatens Fangfang too.

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve followed Jude O’Reilly’s Michael North series since the beginning and I am a huge fan of these books. Sleep When You’re Dead is the third book in the series, and as with Jude’s previous novels, it opens with a bang and the pace does not drop at all throughout the novel. You do not, however, need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one, but I highly recommend that you do, particularly if you enjoy high octane thrillers.

Michael North is such an interesting character. He is a man who can die at any moment, with the bullet that is lodged in his brain. If it moves at all, it’ll kill him. Perhaps this is the reason why he is willing to take risks, knowing that just a slight nudge of the bullet will leave him dead, what else has he got to lose? In this book, Michael North is being sent to investigate a cult on a Scottish Island, the leader of which is preparing something big. Jude O’Reilly opens the novel in a big way, that really sets the scene for the focus of the rest of the novel, and the story kept me utterly hooked. I wanted to know what was going on, on this island. Jude O’Reilly creates a mysterious atmosphere surrounding the island so well, and I felt as though I was part of the action that was taking place there.

What I really like about these books is Michael’s relationship with Fang, like Michael, she is another fascinating character in this series and Jude O’Reilly brings them to life so well on the page. You can feel how much Fang doesn’t want North to come to harm, and I think she would much rather it be the case that he was out of the way of danger.

There is real tension as Michael North delves further into what is going on the island. You can feel that he is racing against time to stop what is about to happen, and I had no idea how things were going to pan out, but I was rooting for him to succeed in his mission.

Sleep When You’re Dead is an action packed thriller and it is really entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve definitely said this before, but I would love to see these books adapted into a film. I can’t wait to see where Jude O’Reilly takes her characters next.

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication date: 13th October 2022

Print length: 403 pages

Sleep When You’re Dead is available to buy:

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Wolf Pack by Will Dean #bookeview #blogtour @willrdean @PointBlankCrime @RandomTTours

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

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When there’s a pack on the hunt, nobody’s safe

A closed community

Rose Farm is home to a group of survivalists, completely cut off from the outside world. Until now.

A missing person

A young woman goes missing within the perimeter of the farm compound. Can Tuva talk her way inside the tight-knit group to find her story?

A frantic search

As Tuva attempts to unmask the culprit, she gains unique access to the residents. But soon she finds herself in danger of the pack turning against her – will she make her way back to safety so she can expose the truth?

Will Dean’s most heart-pounding Tuva Moodyson thriller yet takes Tuva to her absolute limits in exposing a heinous crime, and in her own personal life. Can she, and will she, do the right thing?

MY THOUGHTS

It’s always a treat to read a Tuva Moodyson thriller at this time of year as the shorter nights roll in. These books are the perfect novels for the autumn months. Will Dean is a writer who is an expert at creating an atmospheric landscape. Wolf Pack is the latest book in this series, and it follows reporter, Tuva, who is still reeling from events that happened in the last book, Bad Apples. Tuva feels as though she is lost, especially with what has happened to her girlfriend, Noora, and she feels as though she has nothing to focus on. But when a young woman, Elsa, disappears from a mysterious farm, Tuva becomes in embroiled in the mystery, and trying to work out what happened gives her a sense of purpose again.

This is a thriller with real emotional depth, and you can feel the trauma Tuva has been through and is still going through. I was glad, in this book, that she did have something to focus on, with the disappearance of the young woman, Elsa. As Tuva begins to further investigate what happened to Elsa, I wanted to find out what was going on at Rose farm, that Elsa was connected to. Was the mystery behind Elsa’s disappearance connected to the farm?

Will Dean knows how to hit the ground running in his books. The opening pulls you into the story and once again Will Dean pulls you into the darkness of the Swedish forest that has become a main character, in his Tuva thrillers. For those of you who are familiar with Will’s work, you may know that he lives in the centre of a Swedish Moose Forest, so this gives him a real advantage of creating this setting. I always definitely feel as though I am there, in amongst the trees, listening out for the baying sound of a moose or the howl of a wolf. It creates such a distinct and chilling atmosphere which is what I love about the Tuva Moodyson series.

As Tuva began to try and find out more about Rose farm, in the wake of Elsa’s disappearance, I wondered how much danger she would be putting herself in and the tension builds as Tuva investigates further. It felt as though there was a lot more going on here than first meets the eye, and again Will Dean has created a cast of characters that Tuva investigates, who appear to be hiding secrets and this creates a sinister tone to the novel. I felt that the farm could be a cult, and this is what really adds to the tension in this book. Tuva really throws everything into this investigation and is determined to make sure that Elsa isn’t forgotten about, and that the person responsible for the crime is caught. This becomes very personal to her.

If you love a crime novel with a dark and foreboding atmosphere you need to be reading this series if you haven’t read it already. Wolf Pack is another brilliant addition and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Publisher: Point Blank

Publication date: 8th September 2022

Print length: 323 pages

Wolf Pack is available to buy:

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The Call of Cassandra Rose by Sophia Spiers #bookreview #blogtour @sophia_spiers @lume_books @instabooktours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut novel by Sophia Spiers, The Call of Cassandra Rose.

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Annabelle seems to have it all. The perfect house, a successful husband, a darling son. But Annabelle is troubled. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, failing at motherhood, and at odds with her new privileged lifestyle, Annabelle begins to self-harm, a habit resurrected from her traumatic past. When she meets the alluring and charismatic hypnotherapist Cassandra Rose, she is offered a way out. Through hypnosis, Annabelle is encouraged to unearth her painful repressed memories and face her childhood demons. But as the boundaries between her hypnotic trance and reality begin to dissolve, Annabelle becomes increasingly vulnerable to much darker forces. Filled with twists and suspense, The Call of Cassandra Rose is a chilling thriller that examines how trauma shapes our lives and asks whether we can ever really escape our pasts.

MY THOUGHTS

Wow, this was a tense read. I’ve been excited to read The Call of Cassandra Rose, Sophia Spiers’ debut, for a while now, and I was not disappointed. I felt as though my heart was in my throat the entire time while I was reading this book. 

We meet Annabelle, who, since she has got married, and since she has become a mother, has been struggling with her mental health, and the tension is only growing between her and husband. Sophia Spiers delves into the emotional trauma Annabelle is experiencing and she is a character who I really felt for as I was reading this book. So, when she first meets therapist, Cassandra Rose, Cassandra seems to her to be like a lifeline. I really did not like Annabelle’s husband, Matt, and I was rooting for Annabelle to get out of the marriage which felt incredibly toxic. But as she started to take the next steps to take more control of her life, I feared how her husband was going to react.

Cassandra is a very intriguing character. Throughout the novel, I wasn’t sure if I could entirely trust Cassandra, and it made me fear for Annabelle as Annabelle gets closer to her. I really wasn’t sure how things between them were going to pan out. I could feel the same pull Annabelle was feeling, and I wanted to find out more about Cassandra. As she and Annabelle get to know each other, you can see just how Annabelle begins to rely on her, almost to the point of obsession, and this is what kept me gripped as I was reading. It’s as if Annabelle can’t live without Cassandra, and Sophia Spiers uses this to create tension in her novel very well. I really felt for Annabelle as she tried to reach out, and this really heightens the conflict and tension in the book. There are some themes Sophia Spiers explores which may be distressing to some readers, especially self-harm, but Sophia does this sensitively, and it made me feel for Annabelle even more.

The tension is there on every page of this book. There is such a tense finale that I refused to put the book down until I had turned the final page. The Call of Cassandra Rose is an excellent psychological thriller and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sophia Spiers writes next. She is an exciting new writer to watch.

Publisher: Lume Books

Publication date: 13th October 2022

Print length: 384 pages

The Call of Cassandra Rose is available to buy:

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Red as Blood by Lilja Sigurdardóttir #bookreview #blogtour @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Lilja Sigurdardóttir Red as Blood. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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When entrepreneur Flosi arrives home for dinner one night, he discovers that his house has been ransacked, and his wife Gudrun missing. A letter on the kitchen table confirms that she has been kidnapped. If Flosi doesn’t agree to pay an enormous ransom, Gudrun will be killed. 

Forbidden from contacting the police, he gets in touch with Áróra, who specialises in finding hidden assets, and she, alongside her detective friend Daniel, try to get to the bottom of the case without anyone catching on.

Meanwhile, Áróra and Daniel continue the puzzling, devastating search for Áróra’s sister Ísafold, who disappeared without trace. As fog descends, in a cold and rainy Icelandic autumn, the investigation becomes increasingly dangerous, and confusing. 

Chilling, twisty and unbearably tense, Red as Blood is the second instalment in the riveting, addictive An Áróra Investigation series, and everything is at stake…

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve been really looking forward to reading Red as Blood by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, who is such an exciting writer, and it did not disappoint. Lilja’s writing is so fast paced, and I always fly through her books, often in the matter of a few hours. She opens Red as Blood with a tense opening, getting the action going right away, when Flosi, a multi-millionaire, returns home to discover his wife, Gudrun, has disappeared. A ransom note has been left behind, demanding a vast sum of money in exchange for his wife’s safe return, leaving him in turmoil.

Lilja’s detective, Áróra, is back in this book, and she has been through a very recent trauma with the disappearance of her sister, Ísafold, which remains unsolved, and she is still trying to work out what happened. I wondered how she would be able to cope taking on a missing person’s case, when her sister still hadn’t been found, and this adds a layer of tension to the plot as Áróra tries to work out what is going on. Although Lilja does revisit this part of Áróra’s past, you do not need to have read the first book in this series to read Red as Blood, as it can easily be read as a standalone. But I highly recommend that you do read the first book, Cold as Hell.

With any missing person’s case, when a ransom is demanded, it’s always risky for the victim’s family to contact the police for help, and the police know this as well, meaning they must work carefully, and not make any mistakes that would let the kidnappers know they are involved. This continues to add to the tension in the novel. But even though a ransom demand has been made, Áróra looks deeper into the case, and attempts to work out what happened in the lead up to Gudrun’s disappearance, and it seems as though there are definitely more questions here.

The further Áróra delves deeper, the more complex this case becomes, and the investigation takes a darker and surprising turn as she begins to work out what happened. I could feel her determination to get to the bottom of this case. I was kept invested as she tried to get to the bottom of things.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir kept me turning the pages and the pace really kept me gripped. Once again you get a brilliant, vivid portrayal of the Icelandic landscape, as well as the weather as they head towards winter, making this book even more immersive.

Red as Blood is a brilliant addition to this series, and I can’t wait to see where Lilja Sigurðardóttir takes her characters next, especially after the final chapter. If you haven’t read any of Lilja’s books yet, you really need to.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 13th October 2022

Print length: 276 pages

Red as Blood is available to buy:

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The Hike by Susi Holliday #bookreview #blogtour @SJIHolliday @AmazonPub @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Susi Holliday, The Hike. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Four hikers enter the mountains. Only two return. But is it tragedy? Or treachery?

When sisters Cat and Ginny travel with their husbands to the idyllic Swiss Alps for a hiking holiday, it’s not just a chance to take in the stunning scenery. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with each other after years of drifting apart—and patch up marriages that are straining at the seams.

As they head into the mountains, morale is high, but as the terrain turns treacherous, cracks in the relationships start to show. With worrying signs that someone might be following them, the sun begins to set and exhaustion kicks in. Suddenly, lost high on a terrifying ridge, tensions spill over—with disastrous consequences.

When only two of the four hikers make it down from the mountain, the police press them for their story—but soon become suspicious when their accounts just don’t add up.

What really happened up on that ridge? Who are the survivors? And what secrets are they trying to hide?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve always found Susi Holliday’s writing addictive, and her latest book, The Hike, is no exception. There is a real intense atmosphere in this book, set in the Swiss Alps, and Susi Holliday builds on this setting to create tension, so well. We meet a family, two sisters and their husbands, who have travelled for a hiking holiday, but something terrible is about to happen to them in the mountains. Only two people will survive.

I loved the way how Susi Holliday peeled back the layers of each character, especially as they made their way up the mountain, making things between them more intense. The interaction between the two sisters, Cat and Ginny, I thought was particularly interesting. You can see what they think about each other and I wanted to know what was going to happen to them while they were up there. From the opening prologue you know that something terrible has happened, and Susi Holliday creates layers of suspicion very well in her writing, pulling you deeper into the lives of her characters. They are certainly not very likeable people, but this is what made them all the more interesting and the characterisation is so well done.

As I mentioned earlier, Susi Holliday creates an intense atmosphere in The Hike. You can feel the danger the characters are in, as they make their way up the mountain, but it seems that it isn’t the dangerous terrain around them, or the intense cold, that they need to be wary of. Susi Holliday keeps on adding to the tension as we begin to find out what happened to the group. It is on the mountain that the character’s true colours begin to emerge, and this may be more dangerous to them than the threat of avalanches, or what else is lurking on the mountainside.

Susi Holliday has written another terrific, tense thriller, that I’m sure will thrill fans of her previous novels. The Hike will keep you entertained and gripped to the words on the page. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 1st October 2022

Print length: 266 pages

The Hike is available to buy:

Amazon UK

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