The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson #bookreview #blogtour @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the brilliant new novel by Johana Gustawsson, The Bleeding. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.

1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.

2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.

Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…

MY THOUGHTS

I was told I would need to set an afternoon aside to read The Bleeding, and I definitely needed to. I flew through Johana Gustawsson’s latest novel in less than a single day. It feels like it’s been a long while since I read one of her books, which meant I was so exciting to read this one. I always find her ideas so interesting, and her books are so cleverly plotted, especially as they cover several time periods, sometimes spanning decades and hundreds of years. The Bleeding is a dark book; it does cover some heavy themes which may make some readers feel uncomfortable, but it is so compelling. It has all the makings of a classic.

Johana begins her novel in 2002 in Quebec, Canada, where a former schoolteacher has been accused of brutally murdering her husband. We meet Detective Maxine Grant, and from the outset, this is a very strange case, but just how is it connected to the disappearance of two young girls in 1899, and the life of a young girl, Lina in 1949?

I’m always left in awe at just how clever Johana’s novels are. I can only imagine that she must spend many weeks and months plotting her books. Her ideas are always so original, and there isn’t a writer, I can think of, that I can quite compare her work to. The murder in 2002 is very intriguing, particularly with the macabre discoveries Maxine makes at the home of the man who is murdered.

As I mentioned, Johana does cover some dark themes in this book, including black magic, and I have to admit these scenes did send a shiver up my spine as I was reading. I think this book is geared more towards fans of the horror genre, but the crime and mystery element was still there and so well done.

Maxine was a fascinating character, and her connection to the only suspect, who was once her teacher, was especially interesting as the investigation begins. It made me wonder how this would affect Maxine’s judgement of the woman.

The Bleeding is so well written and it instantly grips you. You definitely want to start this when you have a couple of hours to spare as you will not want to put it down. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th September 2022

Print length: 300 pages

The Bleeding is available to buy:

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The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Erin Kelly, The Skeleton Key.

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THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART …

Summer, 2021.
 Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve always enjoyed Erin Kelly’s work, so I was looking forward to reading her new novel The Skeleton Key, which has a very intriguing premise. Readers of gothic suspense will really enjoy her latest book. Erin Kelly begins the novel with a shocking opening with a horrific attack on a young woman, and the reasons behind her attack are disturbing, giving that opening prologue a chilling note that carries right the way through the rest of the story. This is what propels you into the book, as I wanted to understand more about what happened to the woman and why.

The central premise in Erin Kelly’s latest novel, centres on a book called The Golden Bones, which, although has brought success to the author and wealth to them, has also created turmoil and upset for decades since its release. It is focused on a treasure hunt for the bones of a woman named Elinor, scattered in the countryside, and one bone, fifty years later, still hasn’t been found. There are also a group of people who call themselves by the disturbing name ‘the bone hunters’ who are obsessed with the treasure hunt. Now that the fiftieth anniversary is approaching since the book was first published, the media interest is picking up again.

I was captivated by all the characters in this book. Erin Kelly delves into their stories and brings them to life so well on the page, making this book a masterclass in characterisation. I loved how Erin Kelly gradually pulled us further into the mysteries of the novel, making me even more curious about the character’s and what was going to happen to them, especially with what was going on with the bone hunters. You can see the obsession that the bone hunters have with this case. Erin Kelly draws on this well to create tension, especially with the main character, Nell, whose point of view the novel is mainly told from. You can see their obsession with the treasure hunt is becoming dangerous and I had no idea what they might do next to achieve their goal.

You can really feel the emotions Nell is going through especially as she becomes reacquainted with her family again, after she has stayed away from them for so long, following the trauma she went through. This really made me connect to her character.

The Skeleton Key draws you into the disturbing mystery Erin Kelly has created. It is definitely one of the most original thrillers I’ve read this year.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 1st September 2022

Print length: 545 pages

The Skeleton Key is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone #bookreview #blogtour @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Doug Johnstone, Black Hearts. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Death is just the beginning…

The Skelf women live in the shadow of death every day, running the family funeral directors and private investigator business in Edinburgh. But now their own grief interwines with that of their clients, as they are left reeling by shocking past events.

A fist-fight by an open grave leads Dorothy to investigate the possibility of a faked death, while a young woman’s obsession with Hannah threatens her relationship with Indy and puts them both in mortal danger. An elderly man claims he’s being abused by the ghost of his late wife, while ghosts of another kind come back to haunt Jenny from the grave … pushing her to breaking point.

As the Skelfs struggle with increasingly unnerving cases and chilling danger lurks close to home, it becomes clear that grief, in all its forms, can be deadly…

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of the Skelf series by Doug Johnstone, so I was really excited to hear that he was releasing a fourth book in the series. Black Hearts is the latest book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I finished it in a few greedy gulps. I’m always interested to see what the Skelf women are getting up to, the idea of meshing a funeral business, and a private detective agency, is an idea I’ll always love, and it’s part of what makes this series stand out to me, that, and the characters, and how Doug Johnstone brings Edinburgh to life.

Following the last three books in the series, tensions are still running high in the Skelf family, especially after what happened to them in the last book. You can feel the emotions they are experiencing following what has previously happened, and you experience the conflict and the guilt they feel. Doug Johnstone really knows how to draw you into the minds of his characters through their emotions, and this really makes you connect to them. I thought this particularly with Jenny in this book, as she definitely seems to be going through a tough time.

There are a few cases that the Skelf women become involved in, in Black Hearts. I particularly thought the case Hannah was investigating, was fascinating, after a grandfather, Udo, contacts her, who believes he is in touch with his dead wife’s spirit by using a Japanese wind phone. Spirituality is a key theme in this book and I liked how Doug Johnstone continued to explore this. I also liked how he explored Hannah’s line of work, and her interest in the universe further, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, is a topic I’m fascinated by. I particularly liked the scene when she was at a lecture focusing on exoplanets, and you can feel Hannah’s enthusiasm for the topic. Hannah is also facing difficulties with a stalker, which adds another layer of tension to the book.

This book does blend genres, and I think Doug Johnstone does this so well, by making me even more gripped by his writing and the lives of the Skelf women. I really hope that there a more books to come in this series, the writing is brilliant, and the characters will live in your mind long after you turn the final page. If you’re not yet reading this series, then you are really missing out on some of the best crime novels out there. I highly recommend them.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 29th September 2022

Print length: 300 pages

Black Hearts is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

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Your Word or Mine by Lia Middleton #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Lia Middleton, Your Word or Mine.

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Prosecutor Ava Knight always plays by the rules.

Until she meets fifteen-year-old Lily Hawthorne, accused of stabbing hotel magnate Michael Osborne in cold blood.

It should be an open-and-shut case. But Ava suspects something everyone else does not:
MICHAEL OSBORNE IS LYING.

Because eighteen years ago, Ava was brutally assaulted. The case went to trial. Her attacker was acquitted.

His name? Michael Osborne.

Now, court is in session.

And Ava must decide how far she’s willing to go to uncover the truth . . .

MY THOUGHTS

I thought Lia Middleton’s debut, When They Find Her, was one of the most original thrillers I read last year, so I was very excited to read her new novel, Your Word or Mine. For her second book, Lia Middleton has crafted a tense and very emotive courtroom drama, beginning eighteen years ago, when Annabelle King, a fifteen-year-old girl, is assaulted on her way home. Now, in the present day, Annabelle goes under a different name and is working as a prosecutor. And she is about to come face to face again with the man who attacked her all those years ago and got away with it, leaving her life in turmoil.

There is a lot of tension in this novel, particularly when Annabelle, now named in the present as Ava, finds out that she’ll be meeting the man who attacked her, Michael Osborne eighteen years earlier. I immediately connected to Ava, especially in the scenes when Lia Middleton takes us back to the time when her attacker was found not guilty. You can see the raw emotions this causes within her family as it feels as though she has been accused of lying about the attack. I wondered what she was going to do in the present day, as she met her attacker once again, and if she would do anything to try and get revenge. This is what drives the plot of the novel forward.

It feels as though history is beginning to repeat itself as Ava becomes involved in the case Michael Osborne is connected to. You can feel Ava’s determination to make people realise what sort of person Michael really is, and to do this, she must put her own career at risk. Lia Middleton has created a really dislikeable character in Michael Osborne, and I was rooting for Ava, right the way through the book, to succeed in getting him brought to justice.

I flew through Your Word or Mine. I liked the clever reveals that came as I delved deeper into the book. It makes for an addictive page turner and I was invested in the lives of the characters, particularly Ava’s, I really had no idea how things were going to pan out for her. I thoroughly enjoyed Lia Middleton’s second novel, I’m looking forward to seeing what she writes next. I’ve become a huge fan of her writing, and I hope there are many more books by Lia to come.

Publisher: Michael Jospeh

Publication date: 1st September 2022

Print length: 367 pages

Your Word or Mine is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves #bookreview #blogtour @AnnCleeves @panmacmillan @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Ann Cleeves, The Rising Tide. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.

Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . .

But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible . . .

MY THOUGHTS

I must admit, this is the first Vera novel I’ve read. I’ve watched and enjoyed the television series, but I’m always wary of starting a series several books in, without having read it from the beginning. But I needn’t have worried, The Rising Tide can easily be read as a standalone, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ann Cleeves has created an intriguing and well plotted case for Vera to get to grips with, and I wanted to find out what was going on, and who was responsible for the murder.

We meet a group of friends, who are traveling to Holy Island, off the Northeast coast of England, where they have met every few years to mark the anniversary of their first meeting when they were at school. Quite a few decades have passed now since they all first met. One of them, Rhys, is a minor celebrity, who’s career has stalled after a few scandals. And it’s Rhys, who’s body is found while they are on Holy Island for their anniversary. It’s also clear to see that there are a few people who have a grudge against him, and there are more than a few potential suspects. But Rhys isn’t the only dead body to soon be found.

It was fascinating to see how Vera gradually began to realise what was going on and who was behind the murders. I loved how Ann Cleeves portrayed her character and she was instantly likeable. I found it interesting how, having already watched the television series, to then seeing just how well Vera is portrayed on the screen, as I read one of the books for the first time.

I liked, in the beginning, how Ann Cleeves introduced us to each member of the group at the reunion on Holy Island, before Rhys’s murder takes place. Ann Cleeves doesn’t dive into the action right away but I still found the writing addictive nonetheless. It was interesting finding out more about who these people were, and you can begin to see their own opinions of each other.

Ann Cleeves draws on the setting of Holy Island so well. You get a sense of the danger, especially with the changing tide, which gives the setting a very atmospheric feeling. It is the perfect setting for a crime novel. One interesting fact I did learn from the book, is that Holy Island is one of the earliest sites where Christianity first appeared in Britain, it made me want to find out more about the setting.

I will definitely be catching up on the previous books I’ve missed in this series. Ann Cleeves is a brilliant writer. If you haven’t read this series yet, I would say that you’re definitely missing out. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Panmacmillan

Publication date: 1st September 2022

Print length: 384 pages

The Rising Tide is available to buy:

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The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Claire Douglas, The Girls Who Disappeared.

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THREE GIRLS MISSING

Twenty years ago, Olivia Rutherfood crashed her car while driving home with three friends.
When she regained consciousness, she was alone – her friends had vanished.

THEY WERE NEVER SEEN AGAIN

Now, journalist Jenna Halliday visits the town where it happened, determined to unlock the girls’ disappearance.

But Olivia won’t speak. And as Jenna probes further, the locals grow frightened . . .

How many secrets can one small town hide?

MY THOUGHTS

I loved The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas. Claire has created such an intriguing mystery and it had me gripped right from the first page. The opening scene pulled me into the story, when we see Olivia and her friends in a car, as they are heading out for the night. But when they have an accident down a road in their local town known as The Devil’s Corridor, only Olivia makes it out of the car alive. Her friends are nowhere to be seen.

I really wanted to know what had happened to Olivia’s friends following the accident. This is what journalist, Jenna Halliday has travelled to the town to investigate, twenty five years later, for a podcast she is working on. There is a really creepy vibe when Claire is describing the scene where the accident took place. Even when Jenna arrives in the town, travelling along the same road, she is greeted by a strange individual and this really chilled me.

I wanted to know what Jenna could possibly uncover about the accident a quarter of a century later, when no one has found any trace of Olivia’s friends. You can see that Olivia is still traumatised by what happened, and when Jenna tries to make contact with her, Olivia refuses to speak about what happened that night. She’s never spoken to the press before and she doesn’t want to speak to Jenna. Of course there are theories about what happened to the girl’s that night, that Jenna explores, including a suggestion by a witness, that aliens were involved. This is what makes the case even more mysterious. The way in which Claire writes this, even though you know it can’t be the case, still makes the idea seem credible. I had absolutely no idea what had happened to Olivia’s friends. It seemed, as I was reading, that anything could be possible.

Throughout the novel there are scenes told from the point of view of characters, who are on holiday in Thailand. I had no idea how these scenes would be linked to the main plot of the novel, but the way how Claire Douglas gradually revealed this was done so well. This novel is so well plotted and I loved how Claire revealed her secrets.

The Girls Who Disappeared is another addictive read from Claire Douglas. I loved it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 15th September 2022

Print length: 365 pages

The Girls Who Disappeared is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Capital Crime launches the Fingerprint Awards

On Friday, 26th August Capital Crime launched the inaugural Fingerprint Awards, designed to champion the very best in crime writing from across the globe published in 2021, as voted for by readers.

Authors both new and established are represented across the categories, which are Crime Novel of the Year, Thriller Novel of the Year, Historical Crime Novel of the Year, Debut Novel of the Year, Audiobook of the Year, and Genre-Busting Book of the Year.

On the Crime Book of the Year shortlist, heavyweights Val McDermid and Mick Herron are up against debut novelists Janice Hallett, author of The Appeal and Sarah Pearse, author of The Sanatorium; and the critically acclaimed Icelandic novelist Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, for her second novel Girls Who lie, which won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger.

Bestsellers Lisa Jewell and Paula Hawkins lead the Thriller Novel of the Year shortlist, with the critically acclaimed authors S. A. Cosby and Will Dean also in contention. Gold Dagger-winning M. W. Craven rounds up the shortlist with his latest Washington Poe thriller.

Multi-award winning Abir Mukherjee is shortlisted for the Historical Crime Novel of the Year for The Shadows of Men, his latest Wyndham & Banerjee novel, alongside the critically acclaimed Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson. Also shortlisted are The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell, A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago and A Comedy of Terrors by Lindsay Davis.

CWA John Creasey Dagger shortlisted-Welcome to Cooper by Tariq Ashkanani and How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina are both shortlisted for the Debut Crime Novel of the Year, alongside Girl A by Abigail Dean, Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison and Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner.

The Genre-Busting Novel of the Year shortlist, set up to recognise a book that defies the traditional genres and boundaries of crime fiction, features How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie, The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi, The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor and What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronvitch.

Leading the Audiobook of the Year shortlist is global bestselling sensation Anthony Horowitz, for his new Hawthorne & Horowitz thriller A Line to Kill. Also shortlisted are the critical successes True Crime Story by Joseph Knox, I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood, The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson and People Like Her by Ellory Lloyd.

The advisory board, consisting of authors, bloggers, journalists and leading industry figures have chosen a shortlist of five nominees for each category. Crime and thriller fans will now be given the power to decide who should be recognised for their work via the Capital Crime website.

In addition, two further categories will be selected solely by the Capital Crime Advisory Board; the Industry Award of the Year – recognising the best marketing campaign, editorial work, or publishing strategy; and the Thalia Proctor Lifetime Achievement Award- marking an outstanding contribution to the crime writing industry.

Capital Crime co-founder and Goldsboro Books managing director, David Headley, said:

‘My vision for Capital Crime was always to make it a festival for readers, and what better way to celebrate the readers who make it all worthwhile, than to give them the power to decide the winners of the Fingerprint Awards. Narrowing down the incredible body of work published last year to 6 categories of 5 books was no mean feat, but with the brilliant, well-informed advisory board we’ve gathered together, I’m confident that these shortlists represent the very best of crime and thriller writing from around the world.’

Readers can vote for their preferred winners here by 19th September 2022. The winners will be then announced from 7.30pm on Thursday 29th September, at a special ceremony as part of Capital Crime 2022, at the festival’s fantastic new home in the shadow of the iconic Battersea Power Station.

In addition, during the day on Thursday 29th September, Capital Crime will be hosting pitch an agent sessions with celebrated agents David Headley (DHH), Emily Glenister (DHH), Camilla Bolton (Darley Anderson) or Phillip Patterson (Marjaq). The slots are open to all unrepresented ticket holders working on their crime novel, completed novels or full synopsis preferred, to Capital Crime, as part of the Next Generation of Voices afternoon takeover at the festival this autumn. To apply for a slot please contact the team at info@capitalcrime.org for more information.

Across three days, Capital Crime 2022 promises a weekend full of fun, innovation and celebration of crime fiction, bringing together readers, authors, industry figures and the local community for the first major literary festival held on the site. Over 164 authors and journalists will be taking part in a range of panel events for attendees, including Richard Osman, Bella Mackie, Paula Hawkins, Rev Richard Coles, Dorothy Koomson, Kate Mosse, Anthony Horowitz and Robert Harris. Goldsboro Books will be setting up a pop-up bookshop in the iconic Pump House Gallery, alongside an array of London’s tastiest local street food vendors and bar area.

The full programme can be found here.

About Goldsboro Books

Goldsboro Books is an independent bookshop, based in central London, specialising in signed first edition books. Providing an expert, knowledgeable team and a carefully curated range is at the heart of the business, delivering the best book-buying experience for every customer. Goldsboro Books aims to interest and inspire book lovers, readers and collectors and provide the finest quality signed books in the world. Goldsboro Books was founded in 1999 by two friends and book collectors, David Headley and Daniel Gedeon. Their reputation for spotting quality books early on, an expert eye on the future collectibles, along with enthusiasm and passion for bookselling excellence has grown with the business and Goldsboro Books has become a world-famous and much admired bookshop. Their global reputation grew in 2013 when they were the only bookshop in the world to have signed copies of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, who of course turned out to be none other than J.K. Rowling.

Her Deadly Friend by Rae Sargeant #bookreview #blogtour @RachelSargeant3 @HobeckBooks

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new thriller by Rae Sergeant, Her Deadly Friend. With thanks to Rebecca Collins from Hobeck Books for inviting me to take part.

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The Suspect
Bullied by Steph Lewis at school, then betrayed by her lover, Amy Ashby still seethes with fury. Despite the decades-old resentment, she’s on the hunt for a new man and a fresh start. This time for keeps.

The Stalker
When both women are stalked by a figure from their shared past, danger threatens.

The Detective
Now Detective Inspector, Steph follows a tip-off to her old rival. After quarrels exploded beyond the playground and changed lives forever, she vowed never to see Amy again. But that was then.

The Deaths
Murder rocks the city. First one, then another. The body count reaches five, and all Steph’s leads point to Amy. But is Steph obsessed with a schoolgirl vendetta or closing in on a deadly killer?

MY THOUGHTS

Her Deadly Friend is the new novel by Rae Sargeant, and the first book in a new crime series. I’ve read Rachel’s books in the past, so I was excited to see what she had come up with next, and I really enjoyed it. Rae Sargeant opens the book with a compelling prologue, where we see a group of girls in their headmistress’s study at school, being told off for bullying. You can feel the tensions between the characters in this scene, and this made me wonder just how much of a role this would play, as the plot of the novel progressed.

In the present day, one of the girls, who we meet in the prologue, Steph Lewis, is now a police officer. She is about to become involved in a murder case that will take her back to her childhood, especially when she has to interview a girl who she went to school with, Amy Ashby, who Steph bullied. Now I could begin to see the significance of the opening, and I wanted to know what was going on, and who was behind the murders taking place. Was what happened during their school days, related to what was happening in the present?

Now, I can remember my school days vividly, so I can definitely see how people could hold a grudge for something that happened to them at school, years, even decades later. When you’ve been hurt by someone at school, it’s not something that is easily forgotten about, even when you’re an adult. You can see that this creates issues for Steph as she begins to investigate the murder, especially as she is forced to revisit her past. It adds to the tension well, and I wanted to see how her interactions with Amy would go.

I liked Steph in the present day. It didn’t seem as though she could’ve been a bully while she was at school. You could see how nervous this case was making her, particularly, as she became reacquainted with Amy again.

I flew through Her Deadly Friend. Rae Sargeant’s writing is engaging and I thought the ending was satisfactory and well thought through. I’m looking forward to seeing where she takes this series next.

Publisher: Hobeck Books

Publication date: 23rd August 2022

Print length: 318 pages

Her Deadly Friend is available to buy:

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The Couple at Causeway Cottage by Diane Jeffrey #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Diane Jeffrey, The Couple at Causeway Cottage.

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NEW START. OLD SECRETS.

Kat and Mark move to an island off the Northern Irish coast for a new beginning. Far away from their frantic life in London, it’s the perfect place to bring up the family they’re longing to start.

But as soon as they arrive, cracks begin to appear in their marriage. Mark is still texting his ex-wife. Kat is lying about a new friendship. And one of them is keeping an explosive secret about the past.

The couple in Causeway Cottage are hiding something – and the truth can be deadly…

MY THOUGHTS

The Couple at Causeway Cottage is a dark psychological thriller by Diane Jeffery. I’ve read and enjoyed all her books, but I think her latest is one of her best. Diane Jeffrey creates a real sense of mystery and intrigue as we meet Kat and Mark, who have recently bought a cottage on an island off the coast of Northern Ireland.

From the moment we meet Kat and Mark, I didn’t get a very good vibe from Mark, and it appears that Kat is hiding something in her past, making me already suspicious about her. When they first arrive on the island, Kat feels as though she already knows one of the residents and she is spooked by this. This made me wanted to know what had happened, and what potential connection this man had to her. It also gave the novel a very claustrophobic feeling, as it felt as though the walls were closing in on Kat. The island setting adds to the claustrophobic feeling as well as it made me feel as though Kat was trapped.

At the start of the novel it seems as though the move to the island is the best thing for Kat and Mark. The island seems idyllic and I loved the name Causeway Cottage that Diane Jeffrey gave their new home. I could picture it well, as well as the local residents. Kat is keen to start a family and you can feel her yearning for this as they settle into their new home.

Diane Jeffrey gradually builds on the tension, especially with Kat’s husband, Mark, still texting his ex-wife. I really didn’t like him as I was reading the book and I found the scene when Kat is speaking to Mark’s mother, who is living in a care home on the mainland, very chilling. It made me think that Kat was far better off without Mark. It also made me wonder if he was dangerous and if he was a threat to Kat, and this was where the darkness begins to creep into the novel. As the novel progressed Diane Jeffrey began to make me wonder just what Mark was capable of. Who was this person who Kat had married? What secrets was Kat keeping onto from her past? These were the questions that I wanted to know the answers to.

I really enjoyed reading this book, Diane Jeffrey knows how to grab the attention of her readers and I always look forward to seeing what she writes next. The ending of this book has left me still thinking about the characters, and what is happening to them now, particularly after that chilling final note. The Couple at Causeway Cottage is another excellent read by Diane Jeffrey. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 18th August 2022

Print length: 302 pages

The Couple at Causeway Cottage is available to buy:

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Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Sarah Bonner, Her Perfect Twin.

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When Megan discovers photographs of her estranged identical twin sister on her husband’s phone, she wants answers.

Leah already has everything Megan has ever wanted. Fame, fortune, freedom to do what she wants. And when Megan confronts Leah, an argument turns to murder.

The only way Megan can get away with killing her twin is to become her.

But then lockdown hits. How can she continue living two lives? And what happens if someone else knows her secret too?

MY THOUGHTS

I love a psychological thriller featuring twins, and Sarah Bonner has knocked it out of the ballpark with her debut novel, Her Perfect Twin. The tension in this book is there on every page and I flew through it, captivated by the lives of the characters.

Most people think that twins are very close, but that isn’t the case with Sarah’s characters, Megan and Leah. They’ve both gone onto lead very different lives, but it is clear to see just how much they hate each other. Megan can’t stand the fact that Leah took her dream, and has become a bestselling novelist and an influencer, and for what Leah shared about their lives to millions around the world. I could easily understand why Megan felt like this towards her sister.

I loved Sarah Bonner’s writing and the voices of her characters. The tension is always there simmering away, and I loved how Sarah builds on this, as she continues to explore what happens between Leah and Megan. When Megan kills her twin, I had no idea what was going to happen next, especially as she devises a plan to get away with murder, by becoming her twin. Even though they are identical in looks, this is a lot harder for Megan, especially when it comes to getting her sister’s personality right.

As I was reading I felt certain that Megan was going to be found out, especially when lockdown hits. I’ve read a couple of books that feature the pandemic, and Sarah Bonner really uses it well and to the plots advantage in her debut. You get the sense that Megan is trapped, with her sister’s body in her freezer, and it feels as though time is ticking for her.

Sarah Bonner keeps the twists and turns coming. I felt I could see part of the way through the novel, where the book was going to go, but Sarah always had something extra up her sleeve that completely floored me. She knows how to write characters that you can’t stop thinking about, and she knows how to create characters who will really make your skin crawl. I loved the ending, it was exciting, tense, and I was flying through the final chapters to find out how things were going to unfold for the characters.

Her Perfect Twin is a brilliant debut and I can’t wait to read what Sarah writes next.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 20th January 2022

Print length: 336 pags

Her Perfect Twin is available to buy:

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