The Missing Wife by Sam Carrington #bookreview blog tour @sam_carrington1 @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of The Missing Wife by Sam Carrington as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to take part.

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You think you know those closest to you. You are wrong…

A sleep-deprived new mother approaching her fortieth birthday, the very last thing Louisa wants to do is celebrate.

But when her friend Tiff organises a surprise party, inviting the entire list of Louisa’s Facebook friends, Louisa is faced with a room full of people she hasn’t spoken to in years – including someone she never expected to see again: her ex-boyfriend, Oliver Dunmore.

When Oliver’s wife Melissa goes missing after the party, everyone remembers the night differently. Someone knows what happened to Melissa, and Louisa is determined to find them. But the truth could be closer, and the deception more devastating, than she’d ever imagined…

A gripping psychological suspense novel, perfect for fans of Samantha Downing’s My Lovely Wife, Lucy Clarke’s You Let Me In and Linda Green’s The Last Thing She Told Me.

MY THOUGHTS

Sam Carrington’s The Missing Wife could very easily have been a one-sitting read for me. It did take me just two days to finish it, and it’s clear to see that Sam is a writer who is going from strength to strength, and she has become one of my favourite authors. I absolutely loved the pace in her latest book, and it had such a compelling mystery that I couldn’t stop turning those pages.

What we are first faced with is the disappearance of Oliver Dunmore’s wife, Melissa, who vanished after attending the fortieth birthday of Oliver’s former girlfriend from college, Louise. Louise isn’t best pleased when she finds out that her friend, Tiff, has organised the surprise, and is horrified when she finds out that Oliver has been invited. But what really puzzles Louise is that she can’t remember seeing Melissa on the night in question at all. Then, when Oliver uses Melissa’s disappearance to slip back into her life, it is clear that there is something much darker going on here.

Louise was a character who I really felt sorry for, a lot of the time, in this book. Louise is just approaching her fortieth birthday, and she has just given birth to her second child, her son Noah. Sam paints a vivid picture of the struggles often new mother’s face, and there were some times when I could have shouted with frustration at Louise’s family for the way they were speaking to her. You can clearly see how this begins to affect her.

This book does mark a break-away from Sam’s previous two novels, which although were two separate stories, they did feature some of the same characters. Although I did miss, DI Lindsay Wade and DS Mack, I did enjoy getting to know Sam’s new characters. Louise and Oliver both made the story a compelling read as it became clear that something had happened in their past which binds them both together. I was very keen to know what that something was.

As the novel reached the end, I often thought about how I would choose to react if I was put in the same situation as Louise. It was quite horrifying as it dawned on her what was happening. I was literally glued to the final pages. There’s plenty of action towards the end of the book, and it did make me feel as though I was watching the story unfold on the big screen. The Missing Wife is pacy, addictive and has some richly developed characters. I would definitely recommend it. I can’t wait for Sam’s next book.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 27th June 2019

Print length: 352 pages

If you would like to purchase The Missing Wife, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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The Dead Wife by Sue Fortin #bookreview blog tour @suefortin1 @rararesources

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Dead Wife by Sue Fortin on my blog today. With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.

The Dead Wife by [Fortin, Sue]

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SINCLAIR WIFE DEAD!  HUSBAND CLEARED! 

Police have ruled out suspicious circumstances in the investigation into the death of Elizabeth Sinclair, wife of charismatic entrepreneur Harry Sinclair, found drowned in the lake of the family’s holiday park.

It’s been two years since the Sinclair case closed but when reporter Steph Durham receives a tipoff that could give her the scoop of the year, she’s drawn deeper and deeper into the secretive Sinclair family.

Elizabeth’s death wasn’t a tragic accident. And the truth will come at a deadly price…

MY THOUGHTS

This was a really exciting read, I just had to find out what the truth was. The Sinclair family are certainly a group of people who you wouldn’t want to cross. I think if I’d have been in Steph’s position, I would have wanted to just forget about the whole issue and get out of the place. But then I liked Steph’s determination to find out what was really going on and to prove if Elizabeth’s death was really an accident once and for all.

As Steph continued to investigate what happened to Elizabeth, I really started to fear for her, particularly as she seemed to be getting close to uncovering what was going on. One of the characters in this book I really didn’t like was Dominic, and I kept thinking that he was going to do something terrible to Steph to stop her from investigating further. The Sinclair’s were an intriguing group of characters. We have Dominic, Harry and Owen who are in charge along with their mother, Pru at the helm. They’re certainly keen not to let anyone else in on their business, and it had me really thinking about what was going on their world and what they weren’t keen to let anyone else, no matter how close that person is to them, have a stake in. One of the things which Sue Fortin excelled at in her writing was in creating that real sense of danger.

As the story developed, I was able to guess what some parts of the final outcome was going to be, but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. I flew through the last chapters as I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to Steph, and I wanted to see if she would finally get to the truth.

One of the other parts of this story that I liked was Sue’s exploration of Steph’s relationship with her mother, Wendy. Her mother is just retiring from the police force. She worked on the original investigation into Elizabeth’s death. The scenes when Steph was having a conversation with Wendy about the case made me feel even more convinced that something terrible was going on behind the scenes.

This is the first book by Sue Fortin which I have read and I will certainly read more from her in the future. I’ll also be catching up on her previous books as well. If you’re a psychological thriller fan, I would definitely recommend this book.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 12th July 2019

Print length: 416 pages

If you would like to purchase The Dead Wife, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox #bookreview blog tour @josephknox__ @TransworldBooks @alisonbarrow @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox today on my blog. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Sleepwalker (Aidan Waits) by [Knox, Joseph]

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‘He said he didn’t remember killing them…’

As a series of rolling blackouts plunge the city into darkness, Detective Aidan Waits sits on an abandoned hospital ward, watching a mass murderer slowly die. Transferred from his usual night shift duties and onto protective custody, he has just one job…

To extract the location of Martin Wick’s final victim before the notorious mass murderer passes away.

Wick has spent over a decade in prison, in near-total silence, having confessed to an unspeakable crime that shocked the nation and earned him the nickname of TheSleepwalker.

But when a daring premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead and another one fighting for his life, Wick’s whispered last words will send Waits on a journey into the heart of darkness…

Manipulated by a reticent psychopath from his past, and under investigation from his new partner, Detective Constable Naomi Black, Waits realises too late that a remorseless contract killer is at work.

Can Aidan Waits solve his last case before fleeing justice?

Or will his name be next on the hit list?

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Joseph Knox’s gritty crime thrillers set in Manchester. There is a real sense of authenticity to the setting of these books, and I love how Manchester is brought to life, especially in the darker areas of the city where gang lords rule, which Joseph Knox paints in a vivid portrayal. His writing definitely makes you feel as though you are there.

This time round in The Sleepwalker, Detective Aidan Waits is posted outside the ward of sadistic killer Martin Wicks who is on his deathbed. Martin was convicted of killing a mother and her three children several decades ago. But he has never revealed the location of one of the children he murdered. The police are hoping that Martin will finally tell them the location of the body of his last victim. But when Martin does speak to Aidan, he confesses that he is innocent and Aidan believes him. But something shocking happens. Martin comes under attack and is killed within the secure unit of the hospital, along with another officer, and another police officer is injured. Is someone determined to make sure that Martin stays silent?

Joseph Knox’s latest novel follows a very intriguing, multi-layered story. Joseph Knox also continues Aidan Waites own personal story which he began to peel back in the last book The Smiling Man. And again I found Aidan Wait’s story a really interesting part of this plot, especially his relationship with his mother and his sister, who he hasn’t seen for the best part of twenty years. This part of the story puts Aidan under quite a lot of strain, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to effect him as the story progressed.

The part of the mystery which I really wanted to know the answer to was if Martin Wicks was really guilty of the crimes he was convicted for or if he was innocent as he protested to Aidan. I could sense trouble ahead for Aidan as he was starting to come round to the idea that this was really the truth, but it doesn’t stop him in his quest.

I also really liked Aidan’s partnership with Naomi Black. Their partnership and friendship are put under some strain, but I thought they both worked really well together and there did seem to be chemistry between them. Aidan is such a compelling character and it’s been really intriguing to see his story develop over the course of three books. I’m really hoping that there are going to be more novels featuring him.

The final scenes to this book are action filled, pacy, tense, and I couldn’t stop reading until I had turned the final page. The Sleepwalker has a real addictive quality to it, and I would definitely recommend picking up the first two books as well as this one. Very, very good.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 11th July 2019

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase, The Sleepwalker you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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What You Did by Claire McGowan #bookreview blog tour @inkstainsclaire @damppebbles @AmazonPub @EmmaFinnigan

I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Claire McGowan’s latest thriller, What You Did on my blog today. With thanks to Emma Welton from Damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part.

What You Did by [McGowan, Claire]

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A vicious assault. A devastating accusation. Who should she trust, her husband or her best friend?

It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.

When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?

When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.

MY THOUGHTS

I was definitely intrigued when I learned that Claire McGowan had written a stand-alone thriller, having previously read her Paula Maguire novels I knew I was in for a treat.

There’s an intense opening to What You Did. Twenty-five years after a group of friends first got together at university they are having a get together. But calamity strikes when one member of the group, Karen, enters her friend, Ali’s house, and tells Ali that her husband, Mike, has raped her. Ali is torn between her best friend and her husband. Who does she support? Who should she believe? But as an intense police investigation ensues, it brings back haunting memories from their time at university, when one of their classmates was murdered. No one was ever caught for their friend’s murder. Could they finally find out what happened all those years ago?

This was a real page-turner. Right from the shocking opening, I wanted to know what the outcome for Ali and her family was going to be. I was convinced there was definitely more to the situation they now found themselves in. And then I was trying to work out if anyone else in the group could have been responsible for what happened to Ali, or if someone else could have gained access to the property. This was another possible theory I kept thinking about.

Each character kept me asking questions, particularly about their time at university twenty-five years ago when one of their friends was killed. I was convinced they knew more than they were letting on. There’s a darkness that runs right throughout the book, especially when there is an even more shocking turn of events which forces Ali into an impossible dilemma, and she learns some horrifying truths. She is a character who goes through a lot of emotions in this book, and she is someone who is torn between her loyalties.

This is a top, extremely well written psychological thriller from Claire McGowan with strong character development. I’ve always found her writing gripping, and her latest book is no exception. I was kept hooked right the way through.

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: 1st August 2019

Print length: 269 pages

If you would like to purchase What You Did, you can do so by clicking on the following link below. 

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Sign of the Cross by Glenn Cooper blog tour #extract @GlennCooper @blackthornbks

I’m delighted to be bringing you an extract from Sign of the Cross by Glenn Cooper as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Holly at Blackthorn Books for inviting me to take part.

Sign of the Cross (Cal Donovan Thrillers) by [Cooper, Glenn]

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Abruzzo, Italy: a young priest suffers the stigmata of the crucifixion.

The Vatican, Rome: the Pope calls on Harvard professor Cal Donovan to investigate the truth of the priest’s claim.

Berlin, Germany: a neo-Nazi organisation believes the priest is the key to an earth-shattering secret. A secret that can be used as a deadly weapon.

When the priest is abducted, a perilous race against the clock begins. Only Cal can track down the ruthless organisation and stop it, before an apocalyptic catastrophe is unleashed.

EXTRACT

ONE

Syria Palaestina, 327

The relentless Jerusalem sun had baked the earth hard as stone. Despite the midday heat, the leather-skinned laborers swinging heavy picks dared not break their cadence. The lady was close by, watching their every move, listening to the musical pings of iron striking the hard concretion.

She sat, shaded by her tent, on a flattened mound of detritus overlooking the excavation. Unsmiling Roman soldiers stood guard at each corner of the open-sided enclosure. These men and their comrades, who encircled the site with a ring of steel, were no ordinary legionnaires, but an elite cohort of centurions chosen by the emperor himself. It was not as if there were specific threats against the lady’s person or even a general sense of menace. In truth, most of the people of Jerusalem were supportive of her actions and appreciative of her generosity to the poor. But there was no room for a cavalier error. One malcontent with a sling could have wrought disaster. This was the emperor’s mother, an empress in her own right.

Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta.

The tavern girl who was consort to an emperor, Constantius Chlorus, and birthed a greater one, whom history would come to know as Constantine the Great. The man who defied centuries of Roman tradition, sweeping aside the gods and embracing Christianity.

If Constantine did the sweeping, then Helena was the broom.

So enamored was she with this young Christian religion, that at the age of near-eighty – when most noble women in extreme dotage were being carried from room to room in comfortable Roman villas – spry Helena was making pilgrimages to distant lands in search of the relics of Christ.

Arriving in the holy city of Jerusalem with her entourage, she astonished the ordinary populace by walking among them in their markets and churches, asking what they had learned from their ancestors about the location of Christ’s tomb and Golgotha: the site of his crucifixion. The oral history was strong. Three hundred years in a land so ancient and rich in storytellers was but a grain of time. Now, two years into her expedition, the end was in sight and Helena’s success was staggering. She had churches built on the site in Bethlehem, which she deemed to be that of Christ’s birth, and on the Mount of Olives, the place of his ascension. These discoveries were but a trifle compared with the enormous task at Calvary: the site most often mentioned by locals as Jesus’s burial place. Two hundred years earlier, Emperor Hadrian had undertaken a reconstruction of Jerusalem following the violent and destructive Jewish revolts. At Calvary, he covered the mound with earth and erected a large temple to Venus and it had fallen to Helena to take that building down, block by block.

The venerated Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem was Helena’s constant companion, spiritual advisor and it was he who had chosen the spot for excavation, once the ground was laid bare. A team of pick and shovel men (Syrians and Greeks for the most part) led by the foreman, an unctuous Syrian named Safar, had soon found an old, Jewish-style rock-cut tomb. Safar helped Macarius descend a ladder into the excavation pit and when the old bishop returned to Helena’s side he tearfully proclaimed it to be the Savior’s very tomb. Weeks later, at a nearby location, the diggers unearthed three sets of decayed and petrified timbers. Lifted from the pit and laid out for Helena’s inspection, she and Macarius joyfully declared them to be the crosses of Christ and the two thieves. But which one was Christ’s?

Macarius proposed a solution to the vexing problem.

Pieces of each cross were taken to the bedside of a cachectic woman dying from tumors in her belly. Firstly, one piece of wood was placed in her hand. Nothing happened. Likewise a second piece had no effect. But the third piece was miraculous. Clutching the splinter, her color went from yellow to pink and the swelling of her belly receded. She sat up, the first time she had been able to do so in ages and smiled.

They had found the True Cross.

Now Helena had one final quest before she could bundle up her relics and journey back to Rome. She sent the diggers back into the pit to find the nails of the crucifixion.

‘Will there be three or four?’ she asked Macarius.

The bishop sat beside her in the tent. ‘I cannot say, my lady. Some executioners preferred a separate spike for each ankle. Others speared both ankles with a single one.’

‘I do wish they would hurry,’ she said. ‘I am an old woman.’

The bishop dutifully laughed. He had heard her say the same countless times.

Down in the pit and hidden from view, Safar watched his men scrape away at the earth beneath the spot where they had found the True Cross. His keen eye spotted something. He pushed the nearest man aside and continued the task with his handpick. Digging on his knees he exposed a large spike, black with oxida¬tion. It was as long as a man’s hand, quadrangular, with an intact, flat head. He was about to pull it out when his eye settled on a black dot a short distance away and soon he had exposed a second nail, this one shorter, with a broken tip. Then a man several feet away called out to him in Syrian. He had unearthed another nail and while Safar was cleaning along the shaft he noticed yet another trace of black. Soon four nails were exposed. The last one was missing half its head, apparently sheared off in its insertion or removal from the cross.

‘The lady will be pleased, no?’ the worker said to Safar.

‘I am sure she will be most pleased,’ Safar said, looking up at the pale sky. ‘Her work is done. She will leave us now.’

‘Will she give us coins?’ the worker asked.

‘She will give me a bag of coins and if you keep your mouth shut then I will give you a nice share.’

‘Keep my mouth shut about what?’

‘She will receive three nails only.’

‘What of the fourth?’

‘That one is mine,’ he said, pointing to the last found, the one with the broken head. ‘I have long endured laboring under the yolk of a woman.’

‘She is an empress.’

‘She is still a woman. This is my reward for the indignity. Besides, it is broken and she will accuse us of causing the damage. I will sell the relic. If you talk, you will die poor.’

Safar used his pick to loosen the dirt around the fourth nail, until he could pry it out. He greedily closed his fingers around it to feel its heft but he loosened his grip at once. There was a tingling sensation in his wrist, a slightly unpleasant warmth, and he quickly shoved the nail into the front pocket of his robe.

The other worker climbed from the pit and ran over to Helena’s tent.

‘Safar has found the nails, your majesty!’ he declared.

Helena’s wrinkled face lit up at the news. ‘How many?’ she asked, as Safar approached. ‘Three or four?’

Safar gave her a gap-toothed grin. ‘Three, your majesty. Only three.’

If you would like to purchase Sign of the Cross, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear #bookreview blog tour @CazziF @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

Stone Cold Heart: the addictive new thriller from the author of Sweet Little Lies by [Frear, Caz]

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A fractured marriage. A silent family. A secret worth killing for.

When DC Cat Kinsella is approached by Joseph Madden for help with his wife, Rachel, there’s not much she can do. Joseph claims that Rachel has been threatening him, but can’t – or won’t – give Cat details as to why. Dismissing it as a marriage on the rocks, Cat forgets about it.

That is until Naomi Lockhart, a young PA, is found dead after a party attended by both Joseph and Rachel, and Joseph is arrested for the murder.

Joseph says his wife is setting him up.
His wife says he didn’t do it.
The trail of evidence leads to even more questions . . .

Adulterer. Murderer. Victim. Who would you believe?

MY THOUGHTS

All I’m thinking after turning the last page of Stone Cold Heart is, whoa. Suffice to say it has left me eager to get my hands on the next Cat Kinsella novel as soon as possible.

Caz Frear is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. When I read her debut, Sweet Little Lies, I absolutely loved her writing style, and I instantly got on with Cat Kinsella. She is a character who is full of wit, but she isn’t without her own flaws. Events in the last book nearly broke her after she learned the truth about a girl who went missing from her hometown in Ireland almost twenty years previously. Although there are some references to that case in this book, it can still be read as a stand-alone, but I would definitely recommend that you read the first one as well.

The novel starts with a shifty individual, Joseph Madden asking Cat for help after he has become concerned about threats his wife has made against him and he is desperately seeking advice. Cat is quite quick to dismiss the claims, but after a girl has been found dead, after a night out at a party which Joseph attended, along with members of his family, she has to get to the bottom of what’s going on. And she has to unpeel the layers sewn together by those closest to events which took place to uncover the truth.

There are so many interesting aspects to Cat Kinsella’s character. I particularly enjoyed reading the scenes when she is with her own family and her relationship with them, particularly with her father, is put to the test, both in this book and in the last.

Caz Frear is a writer who really adds depth to her characters. It is as though they could be people you know in real life. Stone Cold Heart is utterly brilliant. Once the next book is out, I’m sure I’ll be dropping everything to read it. Great stuff. If you haven’t yet read Caz’s books, you really need to.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 23rd May 2019

Print length: 336

If you would like to purchase Stone Cold Heart, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Am I Guilty? by Jackie Kabler #bookreview blog tour @jackiekabler @rararesources

Today I’m joining the blog tour for Jackie Kabler’s Am I Guilty? With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.

Am I Guilty?: The gripping, emotional domestic thriller debut filled with suspense, mystery and surprises! by [Kabler, Jackie]

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A mother’s job is to protect her child…

But everyone makes mistakes…

Gripping, exciting and emotional, this book will grab you from the first page and refuse to let you go until the final chapter!

I never thought it would happen to me…

One moment I had it all – a gorgeous husband, a beautiful home, a fulfilling career and two adorable children. The next, everything came crashing down around me.

They said it was my fault. They said I’m the worst mother in the world. And even though I can’t remember what happened that day, they wouldn’t lie to me. These are my friends, my family, people I trust.

But then why do I have this creeping sensation that something is wrong? Why do I feel like people are keeping secrets? Am I really as guilty as they say? And if I’m not, what will happen when the truth comes out…?

MY THOUGHTS

When we are introduced to Thea in Jackie Kabler’s Am I Guilty? We already know that she has done something terrible. It was in the disgusted glances that people were giving her and the shame that she felt that made me so eager to find out what it was she had done. The truth of what happened to her six months previously turns out to be very horrific, and it makes for a very tense finale as everything came together.

This is a very well developed book that takes us into the lives of a group of people who were all witnesses to a tragic event which has since destroyed Thea’s life. But perhaps everything isn’t as it seems. It really does seem impossible to talk about the plot without giving any of the details away. Jackie Kabler has crafted a very twisty story here. On several occasions, I thought I had everything worked out, and I thought I knew how the ending was going to unfold, but I was proven wrong, in a very big way, but it did make so much sense.

Thea is a character who I did feel desperately sorry for, not straight away though when I began to understand why she was in the position she was now, but I really did start to connect to her as Thea tried to sift through the puzzle of information that she had to get to an answer. It made for very tense reading as she reached the dramatic conclusion.

Sometimes I find that when drama is played out in books, I don’t always find it very believable, but here everything did feel very real and I could totally understand how the characters were behaving the way they were. I thought this particularly towards the end when secrets that had been kept were slowly revealed to other characters who had previously been in the dark.

I was desperate to know the truth about what had happened to this group of people and find out once and for all if Thea was responsible. I could sense her own need and desperation to get to the bottom of it, even if it did prove if she was guilty. And some of the scenes were definitely shocking.

Jackie Kabler brings her tightly woven story into a very believable, heart-breaking, but satisfactory ending. This is a read which I certainly wouldn’t hesitate in recommending. Jackie Kabler is a name I will be watching out for in the future.

Publisher: Killer Reads

Publication date: 19th April 2019

Print length: 304 pages

If you would like to purchase Am I Guilty? You can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

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The Lies We Tell by Niki Mackay #bookreview blog tour @NikiMackayBooks @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of The Lies We Tell by Niki Mackay on my blog today. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

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Last night I betrayed my husband.

This morning my daughter disappeared.

My husband may have forgiven my first mistake. But he will never forget this.

And so I have to find her.

Before it’s too late. For all of us.

MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed meeting Madison Attallee in Niki Mackay’s debut I, Witness so I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for her next. If you are new to this series, it’s certainly possible to read Niki’s latest book as a standalone.

In The Lies We Tell Miriam Jackson’s daughter, Tabitha, has gone missing, but she doesn’t want her husband, who is away on business in America, to know about her disappearance. Miriam, a well-known radio presenter, is fearful for Tabitha’s safety, but she fears if she tells her husband, dark secrets about her past will come to light, and that he won’t forgive her for what she has done. So she enlists the help of Madison Attallee to help find her.

Niki Mackay’s writing is brilliantly immersive. I was pulled into the mystery, and it was great catching up with Madison again. The Lies We Tell is a story with many layers, and I was interested to see them come together. As Miriam’s daughter goes missing in the present, we’re also taken back to 1994 when we hear from a character called Ruby. Ruby is a character who I felt desperately sorry for, and I became really intrigued in her story and how it would affect events happening in the present. And as the novel progresses, Niki Mackay reveals some really dark truths. This was when I became really fearful for Tabitha. I wasn’t sure at all how things were going to pan out for her and if she was going to make it out alive by the ending. I had several guesses along the way as to how events were going to unfold, but Niki successfully thwarted them.

I think the first thing that had me interested in this book was why Miriam didn’t want to tell her husband that their daughter was missing. Surely this would be the first thing, as a parent, you would do, and so I wanted to know what she was so desperate to hang onto in her past, that meant she didn’t want her husband involved in looking for Tabitha. Did it have any link at all to what had happened to her?

There were so many tense scenes throughout this book. What I really like about Madison’s character is, as a private investigator, she can gain the trust of people who otherwise wouldn’t have revealed everything they know to the police. This is the advantage that she can work with. I also liked the close relationship she has with the rest of the team who work with her, and I thought the scenes when she is with them at her offices were really well written.

Niki Mackay’s latest book has a clever and intricately woven plot. There are some heartbreaking revelations which really did make me feel for the characters. Very intriguing and addictive, this book comes totally recommended from me.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 27th June 2019

Print length: 336 pages

If you would like to purchase The Lies We Tell, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Forget Me Not by Claire Allan #bookreview blog tour @ClaireAllan @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Forget Me Not by Claire Allan today on my blog. With thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to take part.

Forget Me Not: An unputdownable serial killer thriller with a breathtaking twist by [Allan, Claire]

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I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

MY THOUGHTS

Forget Me Not was so, so good. Again, I’m now kicking myself that I haven’t read an author’s previous work before as this had me gripped right from the first page. I still have Claire Allan’s first two books to read, so I will definitely be bumping them higher up my reading pile.

In Claire’s latest book, we meet Elizabeth and Rachel, and it is their points of view the novel is told from. The book opens with Elizabeth discovering a body while out walking her dog. The woman who has been found, Clare, is just holding on, but while Elizabeth tries to comfort her, she dies, and her death sparks a massive manhunt for her killer, and the media become very interested in the case. Rachel is one of Clare’s closest friends and it soon becomes apparent that the killer isn’t finished. After Rachel receives some strange, terrifying notes, she knows she is next in the killer’s sights.

I think what made this book so gripping; aside from the storyline, was how Claire Allan writes. I became totally immersed in the story, and the short chapters always had that hook at the end which made me think, oh I’ll just read one more. I became very interested in Rachel’s backstory as the reasons behind Clare’s murder became clearer, and it seemed to be the case that it was something in their past linking them to the events happening in the present.

There’s a really chilling atmosphere right throughout the book as the police raced to catch the person responsible for Clare’s death. I could sense the clock ticking down, and I kept thinking that something bad was going to happen before any resolution to the investigation was made. And the notes left by the killer, for the supposed potential victims, really had me questioning who they were and what their motive was.

This is a novel that will keep you completely gripped. Forget Me Not is very, very good. I can’t wait to read more from Claire Allan.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 30th May 2019

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase Forget Me Not, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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Cold as the Grave by James Oswald blog tour #guestpost @SirBenfro @Wildfirebks @annecater

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the ninth novel in James Oswald’s Inspector Tony McLean series, Cold as the Grave today on my blog and I have a fascinating guest post from James to share with you. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Cold as the Grave: Inspector McLean 9 (The Inspector McLean Series) by [Oswald, James]

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Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.

As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.

But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…

GUEST POST – 10 THINGS ABOUT JAMES OSWALD

1 – Although I come from a Scottish family and have lived most of my life in Scotland, I was actually born in the Rye Street Hospital in Bishops Stortford, England. Just across the road from the vets. I grew up across the county line, in north Essex, and so am technically an Essex boy.

 

2 – Much like my fictional detective, Tony McLean, I was sent away to boarding prep school at a very young age. I won’t name the school, as it’s not like it was back then at all, but I disliked it as much as Tony did his.

 

3 – My first car, bought very second hand not long after I had passed my driving test, was a 1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV. It cost me the princely sum of £750, and the same again to insure each of the four years I owned it. Sadly, like many Alfas of its vintage, it dissolved into rust and had to be scrapped. It fired a lifelong love of the marque though – I currently own two – and inspired my choice of car for Tony McLean.

 

4 – My first paid job was a pre-Christmas stint working on a turkey farm. I initially spent my time stubbing turkeys that had just been plucked (removing the few remaining feathers and broken quills from the still-warm skin), but I soon graduated on to weighing and processing orders. I can still smell them to this day, and haven’t had a turkey at Christmas since.

 

5 – I lived in a little village in the Cambrian Mountains in Wales called Cwmystwyth for almost ten years, moving there when my partner took up the post of livestock research scientist at the nearby Pwllpeiran Research Farm. The area, and the language and folklore of Wales inspired my epic fantasy series The Ballad of Sir Benfro.

 

6 – One of several short-term jobs I had while living in Wales was for a project called Wales Worm Watch. The job involved regular visits to a number of sheep farms dotted around the country, to collect fresh samples of sheep pooh for analysis to see whether their intestinal worms were developing resistance to the drugs used to kill them. Mostly this involved picking up pooh from the ground, but a few samples had to be taken directly, as it were. I can thus say that I have had a truly shit job.

 

7 – (Chief) Inspector McLean began life as a support character I wrote for a comic script submitted on spec to 2000AD in the early 1990s. He was originally called John, until I remembered that the Bruce Willis character in the Die Hard movies is John McClane. That comic script was never published, but it formed the basis for the eighth novel in the series, The Gathering Dark, written twenty five years later. Nothing is ever wasted!

 

8 – My first ever published work was in 2000AD. A Tharg’s Future Shock three page short story, it was called ‘It’s A Cold World’ and appeared in Prog. 865 in December 1993.

 

9 – In 2014 I appeared on American TV, on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. It was just as bizarre and surreal a situation as you might imagine. Craig did his very best to promote me and my books, but due to some unexplained error, my US publisher had sent a copy of The Hangman’s Song, which wasn’t actually out until a few months later. It appeared as a prop in the next episode, as they recorded two back to back, but alas, no one was able to go out and buy it.

 

10 – When Penguin Books bought the rights to my first three Inspector McLean novels in late 2012, I spent the bulk of my initial advance payment on a new tractor. The manufacturer (Claas), found out, and ran a feature in their corporate magazine Tractor Times, with me on the cover.

 

If you would like to purchase Cold as the Grave, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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