Dead Inside by Noelle Holten #bookreview @nholten40 @KillerReads

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Noelle Holten’s Dead Inside which is published this week. This is a book I was hugely excited about reading and it didn’t disappoint.

Dead Inside: A totally gripping and terrifying serial killer thriller (Maggie Jamieson Crime Thriller, Book 1) by [Holten, Noelle]

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The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

MY THOUGHTS

When I first heard that Noelle Holten was bringing out her debut crime novel, I was very excited, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Needless to say, it went straight to the top of my TBR pile, and after the chilling and powerful opening, I was hooked. Being an avid crime fiction reader and reviewer herself, I was very interested to see what Noelle would come up with.

Dead Inside is a well-crafted debut; I just know that I’m going to be reading every book that follows on in this series. Noelle draws on her own experience of working as a probation officer, and this adds a ring of authenticity to her book. The fact that one of her main characters is a probation officer really interested me, and it caught my attention. It’s not often that stories are told from their point of view, so it was exciting to read a crime novel from a different viewpoint and to learn about another side of the world of law and order.

This is Lucy Sherwood’s story, a probation officer who is currently handling cases of domestic abuse. Lucy speaks to men daily who abuse their partners, and for her, this begins to hit far too close to home.

Then we have DC Maggie Jamieson who has just been handed the toughest case of her career when the body of a man connected to a case of domestic abuse is discovered. As the book progresses, two more bodies are found. And soon everything draws back to Lucy. But what is really going on?

Dead Inside can be quite a tough read at times; you can see where Noelle’s own personal experience from her line of work has fed into her novel, and the emotion in her writing comes through so strongly, particularly in the first chapter. The emotions of the team working on the cases of the murdered victims come through very well, particularly as none of the victims are likeable, and many of the police officers feel they have got their just deserves. It must be so hard to try and not let your mind be clouded by judgement. When you look at similar cases that have happened in the news, such as when vigilantes take action into their own hands, you hear many people talk about how these people are doing the public a favour.

The pace in this novel never drops, and Noelle kept me on my toes as I tried to work out what was going on and who was behind the murders that were taking place. When everything started to come together towards the end, I thought I could see everything clearly, but Noelle still had one clever twist up her sleeve which threw me, and it was one I didn’t expect.

Noelle sets the scene perfectly for book two in the series, and I for one can’t wait to find out what happens next, and it looks as though there is going to be a tough case to come. If you’re a crime fiction lover, you have to give this a try. Dead Inside wins a very easy five stars from me. Excellent from start to finish.

Publisher: Killer Reads

Publication date: 31st May 2019 (kindle) 22nd August 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 293 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Whisper Man by Alex North #bookreview

The Whisper Man was one of my top anticipated reads of 2019 and it certainly lived up to my expectations. For crime fiction loves this is one not to be missed.

The Whisper Man by [North, Alex]

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

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window…

MY THOUGHTS

I remember first hearing about The Whisper Man a little over a year ago, and I was desperate to get my hands on a copy. Although I was slightly worried as it had received a lot of early praise if it would live up to my expectation, and I’m relieved to tell you that it certainly did. This is one of the best crime novels I’ve read this year. Alex North’s writing is totally immersive and the line “if you leave the door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken,” chilled me. This is a very well thought out book with a chilling and creepy atmosphere, and it was done really well.

Tom and his son Jake move to the quiet town of Featherbank following the death of Tom’s wife. They’re hoping for a fresh start, but soon strange things start to happen, especially with Jake who begins talking to imaginary friends which Tom, as you can imagine, has a lot of concerns about. A couple of decades ago a serial killer abducted and killed several children, one remains missing. In the present day, another child has disappeared, and soon the killer has their eyes set on Jake. But there are some scary similarities to the crimes that took place several decades before. But the man responsible for those crimes is in prison. Who is carrying out these crimes now?

This is a novel with a huge amount of heart. Tom confesses in the opening lines how he has struggled to bond with his son, but you can really see their relationship develop throughout the course of this book and this makes the final scenes so tense and gripping. I couldn’t be sure where we were going to end up at the end, and there were some times when I almost couldn’t bear to find out as I didn’t want anything bad to happen to the characters. A book is only gripping, I find if you care a lot about the characters and this is what Alex North has achieved with this book.

There is real depth to Alex North’s writing, I really engaged with Tom and his son as they tried to make a new start. You can see just how difficult this is for them and there are some scenes that I’m sure will pull at the heartstrings of many readers. Right from the start of the novel I just got the feeling that something terrible was going to happen and this darkness ran right from the beginning to the heart pounding conclusion.

The Whisper Man is a top crime novel, one I’m certain will hit the bestseller lists. Alex North is a writer who I’m sure will jump straight to the top of my TBR pile whenever he has a new book out. Brilliant and captivating. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 13th June 2019

Print length: 386 pages

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

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse #bookreivew @LWhitehouse5 @4thEstateBooks

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Detective Inspector Robin Lyons is going home.

Dismissed for misconduct from the Met’s Homicide Command after refusing to follow orders, unable to pay her bills (or hold down a relationship), she has no choice but to take her teenage daughter Lennie and move back in with her parents in the city she thought she’d escaped forever at 18.

In Birmingham, sharing a bunkbed with Lennie and navigating the stormy relationship with her mother, Robin works as a benefit-fraud investigator – to the delight of those wanting to see her cut down to size.

Only Corinna, her best friend of 20 years seems happy to have Robin back. But when Corinna’s family is engulfed by violence and her missing husband becomes a murder suspect, Robin can’t bear to stand idly by as the police investigate. Can she trust them to find the truth of what happened? And why does it bother her so much that the officer in charge is her ex-boyfriend – the love of her teenage life?

As Robin launches her own unofficial investigation and realises there may be a link to the disappearance of a young woman, she starts to wonder how well we can really know the people we love – and how far any of us will go to protect our own.

MY THOUGHTS

Critical Incidents is a strong start to a new crime series by Lucie Whitehouse featuring former detective inspector Robin Lyons, whose backstory really pulled me into this story. I absolutely loved Lucie’s writing which was very immersive, if you enjoy crime fiction with a literary edge, then this is a book for you.

As I mentioned at the start, I was really intrigued by Robin’s backstory. She has recently been dismissed from the Metropolitan police in for misconduct and is back in her hometown and living with her parents, along with her teenage daughter. Robin has taken on a job at a private detective agency, a business owned by a family friend. And things aren’t set to get any better for Robin when one of her closest friends is killed in a house fire which the police believe was an act of foul play. Desperate for answers Robin tries to get to the bottom of what happened and in doing so uncovers some uncomfortable truths about the family who she thought she knew inside and out. It appears that everyone has secrets.

Lucie’s writing really makes this book a page-turner. Although I wouldn’t describe the book as fast paced, I became engaged very quickly. I wanted to find out who was responsible for the house fire and what the reasons behind starting the blaze were and the reasons behind this were shocking. Lucie creates a very complex investigation that also draws close to Robin’s own case she is working on, that of a young woman who has gone missing in the local area. What makes this novel so interesting is that because Robin is no longer working in the police, she can sometimes draw more information out of suspects and witnesses than perhaps the police can as they may feel more comfortable talking to her.

Robin’s emotions come through very strongly as she tries to understand what has happened to her friend and things certainly don’t get any easier for her as the story progresses. There was one point where I was thinking, just how on earth was she going to get out of this okay.

This is the first book I have read by Lucie Whitehouse, and it definitely won’t be my last. Critical Incidents is an engaging and a totally immersive read. It comes highly recommended from me.

Publisher: Fourth Estate

Publication date: 18th April 2019

Print length: 400 pages

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

Amazon UK   Waterstones

Dark Sky Island by Lara Dearman #bookreview @laradearman @TrapezeBooks

Happy Publication day to Lara Dearman, who’s latest novel, Dark Sky Island is released today.

Dark Sky Island: A chilling mystery set on the Channel Islands (Jennifer Dorey) by [Dearman, Lara]

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DCI Michael Gilbert is called out to Sark – the world’s first dark sky island – after bones are found on Derrible Bay. He is followed by journalist Jennifer Dorey, driven by a secret in her own past. The remains are decades old, but after a body is discovered Jennifer and Michael fear there may be a killer on the island. Together they follow a dark trail of bad blood and a conspiracy of silence.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. No one is what they seem. And the murderer could strike again at any time… 

MY THOUGHTS

It’s been brilliant to catch up with journalist Jennifer Dorey and DCI Michael Gilbert again in the latest book from Lara Dearman, Dark Sky Island. I’ve enjoyed both books in this series, and I’m really hoping that Lara is going to write more novels featuring the characters, it will be interesting to see where she takes them next after the events which took place in the finale.

There is a real emotional core to the plot which touches Jenny and really sparks her intrigue. Two years ago her father disappeared on the Island of Sark, which is located a short distance away from Guernsey and has a handful of residents. With the discovery of human remains on the Island, Jenny heads there in the hope of finding out what has happened to her father. But while the police investigate how these remains came to be there, which could potentially have been lying undiscovered for decades, another man is murdered and dark secrets about what has been happening on the island come to light.

I really like the chemistry that there is between Jennifer and Michael, although you think it’s a relationship that couldn’t work there is definitely a spark between them and this comes across well in Lara’s writing. There’s an exciting mystery to follow here with the discovery of the bones in the cave on the island and the murder of a man. At the heart of all of this, there is a group of people on the island who appear to be harbouring many secrets, including a mystery figure, a multi-millionaire who bought a smaller island and built a colossal mansion which includes its own pub and needless to say there are many rumours flying around about him.

There is a strong sense of place in Lara’s writing, particularly as she describes the island which gives the place a chilling and mysterious feeling. There is a real sense here that they are cut off from the mainland and that anything could happen. I felt I could never make my mind up about any of the residents, and I was kept gripped as I tried to work out which of them had been involved in the crimes which had been uncovered. Lara certainly doesn’t make it easy for the reader to work out what it is that has gone on, and I was fascinated by how everything was unravelled towards the end which was done in a really clever way.

Again Lara touches on the myth and legends that many people talk about in Guernsey and Sark, which I remember being absolutely fascinated by in her last book and they really help in bringing the location and the people to life.

This is another exciting read from Lara Dearman. If you love atmospheric crime fiction, then you should definitely pick this book up and the first book as well which is just as brilliant.

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 18th April 2019

Print length: 336 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins #bookreview @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillan

I’m absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Fiona Cummins brilliant new crime novel The Neighbour on my blog today.

The Neighbour by [Cummins, Fiona]

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FOR SALEA lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .

And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.

On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune.

The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.

After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.

MY THOUGHTS

I absolutely loved this one. Having been a fan of Fiona Cummins’ first two novels, I was more than intrigued to see what she would write next, and the answer is The Neighbour which is a crime novel of pure brilliance. Fiona’s writing makes her books exactly the type of read you could race through in one sitting. Genuinely chilling and with short, snappy chapters that will have you itching to read the next, this is top-rate crime fiction.

Fiona develops her characters so, so well. We have the Lockwood’s who have just moved into The Avenue and the creepy neighbours who will have you examining and thinking about each and every one of them. I had so many suspicions about all of them, and I loved how Fiona led me down several different paths and how she then thwarted my thoughts at the end as the final truths were revealed, and this was done so very brilliantly.

There is such a creepy premise to this book that will have you looking at your own neighbours with suspicion, perhaps, depending on how well you get on with them I suppose and how well you know them. We hear from the killer’s thoughts throughout the book, and there were some lines in these scenes that did give me chills. The characters will also have you thinking just what lengths will you go to protect your loved ones, especially from the secrets you hide. You will see what I mean when I say that this is a genuinely chilling read.

The Neighbour is a novel I did not want to put down. The only problem I have now is that I have to wait a while for Fiona’s next book. This is very much a character-driven crime novel, and they will all stay in your mind for a while after you read it. This definitely comes highly recommended from me.

Publisher: Pan

Publication date: 4th April 2019

Print length: 416 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

 

 

The Lost by Mari Hannah #bookreview

The Lost (Stone and Oliver Book 1) by [Hannah, Mari]

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‘He was her child. The only one she’d ever have. It would kill her to learn that he was missing.’

Alex arrives home from holiday to find that her ten-year-old son Daniel has disappeared.

It’s the first case together for Northumbria CID officers David Stone and Frankie Oliver.

Stone has returned to his roots with fifteen years’ experience in the Met, whereas Oliver is local, a third generation copper with a lot to prove, and a secret that’s holding her back.

But as the investigation unfolds, they realise the family’s betrayal goes deeper than anyone suspected. This isn’t just a missing persons case. Stone and Oliver are hunting a killer.

MY THOUGHTS 

The Lost is a very twisty crime novel from Mari Hannah which delves into a family’s secrets when a ten-year-old child disappears.

I absolutely loved this book. It’s the first one by Mari Hannah which I have read and I was really impressed by how Mari drew everything together, especially as this was a very complex investigation that her police team were investigating. I thought it was brilliant how Mari completely threw me with the twist towards the end which was so chilling.

I think what made this novel so intriguing from the beginning was the family who were involved and at the centre of the case the police team are investigating. For me there was something that just didn’t sit right about them. I really wanted to get to the bottom of who these people were and there were so many different aspects about their personalities which kept me intrigued and searching for answers.

This book did take a very different direction to the one which I was expecting it to. We are first introduced to one of our main characters, Alex, when she is on holiday in Majorca with her sister, only to come back to the UK to discover that her son is missing. But as Mari’s two new lead detectives, David Stone and Frankie Oliver investigate; they discover that there is more to this family than meets the eye and they have to unpick the layers to get to the heart of what is really going on in the lives of the people involved.

Detectives Stone and Oliver are a welcome addition to the crime fiction world. There is a strong working and friendly relationship between them and it’ll be interesting to see how they progress from here. I suspect that there is more about Frankie to be discovered as there is a hint about something in her past which I am definitely interested to find out more about.

With a brilliant, cleverly thought out plot and addictive writing, I can’t recommend this book highly enough for crime fiction lovers. It’s a book that I found very difficult to put down. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: 22nd March 2018

Print length: 416 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

A Gift for Dying by M.J. Arlidge #bookreview blog tour @mjarlidge @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for M.J. Arlidge’s first stand-alone novel A Gift for Dying. I’m a big, big fan of his Helen Grace books so I was really intrigued to see what he had come up with.

A Gift for Dying by [Arlidge, M. J.]

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With just one look, she knows how and when you will die . . . 

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her.

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Being a big fan of the Helen Grace books, I was so excited to find out that M.J. Arlidge had a new stand-alone coming out and he explores a very interesting and scary premise. Kassie is a teenager who you wouldn’t want to come across. Kassie believes she has an incredible but terrifying gift, she can see exactly when and how you’re going to die, and there is very little she can do to prevent it. Her psychiatrist, Adam tries to understand what is going on inside her head, but as he gets to know the young girl better, he begins to wonder if there is perhaps any truth in her claims, and the closer he gets to her, the more danger he is putting himself in.

What I absolutely love about M.J. Arlidge’s writing, is that he never fails to grip me straight away. Following on in the same style as the Helen Grace series, A Gift for Dying is told in short, punchy chapters. The storyline is very different compared to his previous books; although it does partly follow a police procedural element, it is also set across the Pond in the United States, Chicago.

Kassie was a character who I wanted to get to the bottom of. Like Adam was to begin with, I too was sceptical of her claims, so it was fascinating to see their relationship develop. As Kassie herself became more deeply connected to the murders that were taking place in her home town, I did begin to wonder myself if she was more involved than she was letting on and I was thinking about several reasons why this could be the case.

I became utterly gripped by the storyline in this book, and I deeply cared for Kassie, and I wanted to find out more about her. As I raced through the final chapters to get to the end, I didn’t once look up from the writing on the page, I just had to know what was going to happen and what Kassie and Adam were going to do next, any jobs that needed doing just had to be put aside until I was finished.

A Gift for Dying is a terrific stand-alone thriller. This is one of those books which will just keep you engrossed in the storyline and the characters; M.J. Arlidge is a writer who knows how to write gripping prose. Addictive and brilliantly written, I have no doubt at all that this will be a bestseller.

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, and to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 7th March 2019

Print length: 468 pages

If you would like to purchase A Gift for Dying, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

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Now You See Her by Heidi Perks #bookreview @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing

Happy publication day to Heidi Perks, who’s latest novel Now You See Her is released in paperback today.

Now You See Her: The compulsive thriller you need to read by [Perks, Heidi]

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Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

MY THOUGHTS

Now You See Her by Heidi Perks explores a scarily realistic premise. What if you were to lose someone else’s child while they are in your care? It is a scenario that must run through the minds of many whenever they’re responsible for a friend’s child; this is what happens to Charlotte when she takes Harriet’s daughter, Alice to the school fete. One moment, Alice is playing quite happily with her children, but the moment she is out of sight, Alice disappears. Of course, if you were in Charlotte’s position, you would be hoping that they would reappear within the next few moments, unscathed at all by all the fuss that has been created. But what is even more chilling is that another young boy disappeared several months previously and the boy was never found. Is there a kidnapper at large and has the same person struck again?

This book was a compulsive page-turner. Once I started reading, I really couldn’t stop, and I just had to know what had happened to Alice. The story is told from the viewpoints of both Harriet and Charlotte and in two timelines, before and after Alice’s disappearance. What was really striking for me was, even though Alice wasn’t Charlotte’s child, she seems more affected by the disappearance than Harriet is. Harriet is of course devastated, but Charlotte has to carry the burden that she was in charge of Alice the day she went missing, and she will be thinking about this for the rest of her life.

The police investigation into Alice’s disappearance does take more of a back seat as the plot unfolds, but it is the psychological insight into the two women at the heart of the novel that carries it forward. This for me is what made the novel stand out. There are quite a few novels I have read recently which revolve around a missing child, and so I thought this was a really interesting direction for the author to take this story. It definitely does make it feel quite different.

Heidi Perks writing is sharp, and there is tension on every page as Charlotte and Harriet both try to work out what happened. I think I did connect more with Charlotte than I did with Harriet, but perhaps this was because she was the one in charge of Alice when she went missing.

This was a pacy, character-driven psychological thriller. It is a book that will have you questioning everything you think you know about the characters, I know I had so many thoughts and ideas running through my head as I was reading it. I can’t wait to read more from Heidi Perks.

I received a free e-arc of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Arrow

Publication date: 7th March 2019

Print length: 432 pages

If you would like to purchase Now You See Her, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer #bookreview @carolewyer @bookouture

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping second novel in the DI Natalie Ward series by Carol Wyer, Last Lullaby. I read this while I was away for a few days the week before last and I finished it in just two days.

Last Lullaby: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Natalie Ward Book 2) by [Wyer, Carol]

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Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?

When the body of young mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband in their immaculate, silver bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: the word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood.

Determined to find justice, Natalie quickly discovers the husband is hiding a troubled past, and she’s sure the teenage babysitter’s alibi doesn’t quite add up.

But before Natalie can dig deeper, another mother is murdered, her young son left distraught, staring at a fresh ‘who’ scrawled beside her.

Natalie knows it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again, but all the key suspects have alibis. It’s her toughest case yet, and with her marriage hanging by a thread, the cracks are beginning to show.

Just when Natalie finds an unsettling clue she thinks could solve the case, another young woman and her baby disappear, and a member of Natalie’s team is put in terrible danger.

Can Natalie stop this twisted killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?

MY THOUGHTS

I finally got round to reading the second book in the DI Natalie Ward series by Carol Wyer, Last Lullaby, and I absolutely loved it. I knew I was in for a treat as I really enjoyed the first book The Birthday and it only took me three days to finish it. If you’re not yet reading Carol’s gripping new police procedural series, then you really need to get your skates on as the third book is out very soon.

DI Natalie Ward is a character who is really starting to grow on me. She is passionate about her job, although this does cause some tension in her home life, as in her mind, her career and commitment to the victims of the crimes she is investigating comes first. And it is her commitment to her job that is causing some frictions.

Straight away Carol starts building the tension as a young couple making their way home are being tailgated by another car causing them some alarm. A short while later, Charlotte Brennan is discovered murdered, although her baby son, Alfie, who was close to her at the time of the attack remains unharmed. When Natalie and her team start to investigate, they believe that someone close to Charlotte and her husband, Adam may have murdered her. But soon another murder takes place, and a chilling sequence of events follow.

Carol throws in plenty of twists and turns in her latest book which kept me asking questions about the characters. There are plenty of suspects for the team to investigate, and you get a real sense of how difficult this case is going to be for the police as there are many people here who don’t want to tell the truth. Also falling under suspicions is Charlotte’s own husband Adam and I could never quite be sure how I felt about him, especially as he has quite a murky past himself.

This is another excellent novel from Carol that will keep you hooked all the way through. I really liked how everything came together in the end. Last Lullaby is totally engaging with a gripping mystery to follow. As I said earlier, if you’re not yet following this series, you really need to be. Roll on book three.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 7th December 2018

Print length: 338 pages

If you would like to purchase Last Lullaby, you can do so by clicking on the following links below.

Amazon UK 

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan blog tour, author interview @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQstories

I’m thrilled to be talking to Phoebe Morgan today, author of The Girl Next Door as part of the blog tour. I really enjoyed her debut novel The Doll House, so I can’t wait to read it.

The Girl Next Door: a gripping and twisty psychological thriller you don’t want to miss! by [Morgan, Phoebe]

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One little lie just became deadly…

Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Jane Goodwin has spent years building her picture-perfect life in the quiet town of Ashdon.

So when the girl next door, sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards, is found murdered, Jane knows she must first protect her family.

Every marriage has a few white lies and hers is no exception. Jane’s worked hard to cover up her dark secret from all those years ago – and she’ll do anything to keep it hidden…

AUTHOR Q&A 

Hi Phoebe. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Firstly can you tell us a little bit about what your new book is about?

Of course! The Girl Next Door is a psychological thriller about a claustrophobic, close-knit community of middle-class people who are hiding secrets behind closed doors. It tells the story of Clare Edwards, a 16 year old girl found dead at the start of the book, and the subsequent police investigation into how and why she was killed.

What is your writing process like? Do you plan everything out before you put pen to paper or do you let the story evolve as you’re writing?

I wish I planned everything out but I don’t think it’s the way my brain works! I tend to have an idea or a few characters in my head and begin writing, and often I have an idea of how I want the book to end as well – and then the middle sections I make up as I go along! I find that once I start writing, new ideas come to me, but I do often go back and rewrite, meaning that the editing process can be a bit painful at times! But my day job is as an editor so I actually quite enjoy that part of it – it’s easier than the gruelling first draft!

How long does it take you to write a novel?

It usually takes me a few months to write the first draft, and then editing could take another month or two on top of that. At the moment, I have one book a year coming out (The Doll House was out last year and there will be a book three in 2020) and that schedule suits me – I’m not sure I could write any faster what with working full time as well!

Have you always been drawn to the crime genre?

When I was younger I read less crime and more what the publishing industry would term ‘women’s fiction’ – people like Jane Green and Sophie Kinsella, but as I grew older I started reading psychological suspense and now I can’t get enough of it! I’d say I read more suspense than straight crime, although if a detective is likeable and believable (something I think Paula Daly does very well) then I can enjoy police procedurals a lot too. I love a good twist and although there is a lot of suspense out there at the moment, I think as long as you’ve got a strong enough plot and a clear, unique voice, there’s still room for more books on the shelves!

Are there any other genres you’d like to explore in your writing?

I’ve always wanted to write short stories, and I do sometimes for magazines or just for fun, so one day I’d love to write a whole book of those although I’m fairly sure nobody would buy it… I’ve also had a historical fiction idea in my head for a few years, which I hope to eventually finish!

Did the process of writing your second book change compared to when you wrote your first?

I suppose it was more pressurised – I had a one book deal for my debut and then a two book deal for books two and three, so I did feel the slight tension there as to whether my publishers would like it and whether it’d be good enough for them to make my agent an offer. But I think I also felt more confident, because I knew I had got to the finishing line of a book before so I just had to keep reminding myself of that and reassure myself that I could probably manage to do it again!

When you published The Doll House how did it feel to have your book out there in the world for the first time?

Oh it was amazing! I was so happy. It’s something I had always wanted to achieve so it was wonderful seeing people reading it and hearing the reader responses. Luckily most of them were positive though of course there’s always the odd one star review from someone who didn’t like it, but because of my day job I think I’m reasonably immune to that now. I was very pleased to be able to give copies of my book to my family and to people who had supported me along the way, that made it all feel worthwhile.

If you could pass on one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Don’t give up! Everyone says it but it is so true. I never thought my first book would see the light of day but this morning I got the news that it’ll be translated into French, as well as a few other territories – so you honestly never know what will happen in the future if you keep going. And if you don’t sell your first book, you might sell your next one. I know tons of authors who didn’t sell their debut and went on to do brilliant things. Keep writing as long as you still enjoy it, and remember that getting a book published is not the be all and end all. Don’t let it define you, because I think that can start to feel really unhealthy and upsetting if you put all your focus on what is essentially an industry that revolves around luck and timing a lot of the time! Remember to live your life and if you need a break from writing, have one. Just go back to it if you’re serious about getting published – you will get there.

How will you be celebrating publication day?

I’m having a launch party in the evening, the first one I have ever had, so I’m a bit nervous about that! My family and friends are coming as well as some other writers, my agent and my editor, so I’m looking forward to thanking them and having some cake! And the day after that I’m going on holiday for the weekend, which should be nice and might stop me obsessing over Amazon rankings a bit…

And finally, is there anything you can tell us about what you are working on at the moment?

I’ve almost finished my first draft of book three so will send that to my editor soon. The working title is The Babysitter though that might change, and it’s about a couple who go on holiday to France – only for the doorbell to ring and the police to arrest the husband on suspicion of a murder back in the UK. And then a baby disappears… It is out in 2020 and I hope you all like it!

Thank you to Phoebe for taking the time to answer my questions and to Lucy Richardson at HQ for the invitation to join the tour.

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

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 21st February 2019

Print length: 384 pages

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