October First Monday Crime @1stMondayCrime @wekesperos

First Monday Crime is back after a summer break and we have four brilliant authors appearing on the panel. First Monday Crime will be online and it can be viewed live on their Facebook page at 19:30 p.m. on Monday, 4th October 2021. I’ll have all the details about how you can access the link and who will be appearing at the end of this post. But first I have a review of the stunning debut novel by Inga Vesper, The Long, Long Afternoon for you. Inga is one of the authors who will be appearing on the panel.

The Long, Long Afternoon: The captivating mystery for fans of Small Pleasures and Mad Men by [Inga Vesper]

BLURB

Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time . . .

It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.

While the Haney’s neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family’s ‘help’, who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes’ starched curtains than anyone, and it isn’t long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help. But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole ‘perfect’ world to set alight . . .

A beguiling, deeply atmospheric debut novel from the cracked heart of the American Dream, The Long, Long Afternoon is at once a page-turning mystery and an intoxicating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are diminished, silenced and ultimately under-estimated.

MY THOUGHTS

The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper is a beautifully written novel set in California in the 1950s. The writing is highly engaging and the mystery of Joyce Haney’s disappearance drew me into the story. It is very well written and Inga Vesper highlights important social issues of the day.

When Joyce Haney goes missing, the first suspect the police consider is the family’s help, Ruby Wright. There are some police officers who would much rather pin the crime on her and have it be forgotten about, but Detective Blanke, who is new to the area, is appalled by this. He is determined to solve the mystery of Joyce Haney’s disappearance and he is determined to make sure the right person put behind bars.

As we get to know more about Joyce Haney we get to see that there are lot of mysteries in her life. She seems to be very different to the women in the neighbourhood. I wanted to get to the bottom of who she was and what had been happening in her life in the run up to her disappearance. There was also a lot of mystery surrounding her family which I wanted to find out more about.

I really felt frustrated for Ruby. You can see that she is doing everything to try and help but she seems to hit a brick wall every time she tries to do this. It highlights the racism that Ruby experiences. This does create tension in the book as well, particularly as people from Ruby’s part of town don’t like the police. But Ruby is determined to help the police solve the mystery of Joyce’s disappearance.

There are a number of suspects Detective Blanke investigates but I was never able to guess if any of them had anything to do with Joyce’s disappearance. I wasn’t able to make up my mind either if whether or not she would be found alive or dead. The residents of the town made me feel as though they were all hiding something.

Inga Vesper brings the setting to life really well and I felt as though I was there. The setting really helped in bringing this book to life. I loved the way how Inga described California and Sunnylakes, where the crime takes place.

The Long, Long Afternoon is a brilliant debut. I really enjoyed reading it and I thought it felt very fresh. If you’re looking for an engaging crime thriller, I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Manilla Press

Publication date: 2nd February 2021

Print length: 333 pages

The Long, Long Afternoon is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

First Monday Crime is being broadcast live on Facebook at 19.30 p.m. on Monday 4th October 2021. Appearing on the panel we have, Inga Vesper author of The Long, Long Afternoon, Lesley Kara author of The Dare, Mara Timon author of Resistance, Tariq Ashkanari author of Welcome to Cooper. The panel will be moderated by Jonathan Whitelaw. You can access the event by clicking on the link below:

First Monday Crime

The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain #bookreview @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks @1stMondayCrime

On my blog today I’m sharing my review of the latest psychological thriller by Jo Spain, The Perfect Lie. Jo is one of the authors who will be appearing on the First Monday Crime Panel on Monday, 7th June 2021. I’ll have all the details about who will be appearing and how you can access the event at the end of this post. But first let’s find out more about The Perfect Lie.

BLURB

He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.

But it was all built on the perfect lie.

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Jo Spain’s books, and I couldn’t wait to get started on her latest. The Perfect Lie is one of the most gripping books I’ve read this year. It’s addictive, clever and so well plotted. I devoured it in just a couple of sittings.

The pace and tension is excellent, and the taut writing keeps the book flying forward. We meet Erin, a publisher, who has moved to America from Ireland. She falls in love with a police detective, Danny, and they marry. Five years later, Erin is left devastated when Danny throws himself to his death when police detectives visit them at their home. Still grappling with what has happened, Erin is horrified when eighteen months later, she is on trial for his murder.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding Danny’s death which I wanted to get to the bottom of. Erin’s frustration comes through very clearly as she tries to make sense of the man she thought she knew well. But it appears that he was keeping secrets from her. Why did he feel as though he had to end things this way? What prompted him to kill himself? Erin fights to get answers to this, and as she gets closer to understanding why he did what he did, she uncovers some uncomfortable truths. Like Erin, I had to know if what she found out about him was true; I didn’t know who to believe.

Jo Spain also takes us back to 2016 at Harvard University, where we meet Lauren and Ally, two students. It’s not clear when we first meet them how their story connects to Erin’s life in the present. I wanted to know how this was going to be weaved together, and Jo Spain does this in a very clever way. I had no idea how the plot was going to unfold as I was reading. It’s what kept questions ticking over in my mind as well, as I tried to work out what was really going on with Danny and what he was involved in.

Jo Spain keeps the tension turning up a notch as the book races towards its finale, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was utterly gripped; once you start it, I guarantee you will not want to put this book down. It’s the perfect book which you could happily lose a Sunday afternoon too. I highly, highly recommend this book; you don’t want to miss it!

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 13th May 2021

Print length: 400 pages

The Perfect Lie is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

If you would like to tune in to watch Jo Spain talk about her book and her writing, you can do so via the First Monday Crime Facebook page. The event is being live streamed on Facebook from 19.30 p.m. UK time. Alongside Jo we also have appearing, Imran Mahmood author of I Know What I Saw, Dorothy Koomson, author of I Know What You’ve Done and Patricia Marques, author of The Colour of Death. To access the event please click on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

First Monday Crime

The Therapist by B A Paris #bookreview Extra May @1stMondayCrime @BAParisAuthor

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Therapist by B A Paris on my blog today. B A Paris will be appearing at tonight’s First Monday Crime panel which is being live streamed on their Facebook page. I’ll have all the details about tonight’s event at the end of the post, but first let’s find out what The Therapist is about.

BLURB

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

The million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author B A Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in this powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.

MY THOUGHTS

The Therapist is the latest novel by B A Paris, and once again, she has written a very addictive read. There are short snappy chapters, and the tension grew as the book raced towards its conclusion.

Alice and Leo have just moved into a gated community. But not long after they move in, Alice begins to notice strange things. She also doesn’t understand why Leo isn’t happy about her inviting the neighbours over for drinks. But what is even more disturbing is that someone, unbeknown to Alice at the time, enters the house, on the pretence they are a neighbour. Who are they, and what do they want? What secrets has Leo been keeping from her?

I really wanted to know what was going on behind Alice’s back and what Leo was keeping back from her. I love a novel set in a gated community, and I think it works well in adding to the tension, especially as it is a community that can be very tight-knit. I didn’t know who I could trust, and I felt fearful for Alice as she began to get closer to the neighbours.

B A Paris drops some bombshells when she reveals what really happened and what Leo has been keeping from Alice. It makes for some tense reading as she understands the truth and the tension between her and Leo grows. I could understand why Alice felt the way she did towards Leo. I did raise my eyebrow at some of the decisions which Alice made as she comes to terms with what she has uncovered. But at the same time, it made me wonder what was going to happen to her next. I was fearful she was getting too close to what happened in the past. I was also afraid that she was putting herself close to danger. I also liked the scenes told from a mysterious voice; I wanted to know how this was connected to the main plot and who this person was. This is also what makes the book very tense.

I flew through this book, B A Paris’s writing has such an addictive quality to it, and it’s something I’ve found from all the books I’ve read by her. This is a very immersive, exciting book that will keep you gripped.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 368 pages

The Therapist is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

First Monday Crime is taking place tonight live on Facebook from 19.30 p.m. Alongside B A Paris, the authors attending are, Fiona Cummins author of When I Was Ten, Mel McGrath author of Two Wrongs, Laura Shepherd-Robinson author of Daughters of Night. The panel is being moderated by Jake Kerridge. To access the event please click on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

First Monday Crime

The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan #bookreview @Phoebe_A_Morgan @1stMondayCrime @HQstories

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan. Phoebe is one of the authors who will be appearing on this month’s First Monday Crime Panel. I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of the post.

BLURB

In a luxury lodge on Botswana’s sun-soaked plains, four friends reunite for a birthday celebration…

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL
Has it all, but chose love over her friends…

THE TEACHER
Feels the walls of her flat and classroom closing in…

THE MOTHER
Loves her baby, but desperately needs a break…

THE INTROVERT
Yearns for adventure after suffering for too long…

Arriving at the safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They’re alone, in the wild.

THE HUNT IS ON.

MY THOUGHTS

I was utterly gripped by The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan. It’s the first book by Phoebe, which I’ve read since I read her debut a few years ago. Now, I’m desperate to catch up on her books which I’ve missed. This is a very clever and a really chilling mystery; I flew through it.

When a group of women start to receive invitations to a luxury retreat in Botswana from an old friend, they are suspicious that something is up. The holiday is really appealing, and they can’t resist taking up the invitation. But when they arrive there, they aren’t greeted by their friend, and someone has left strange notes in their rooms which strikes a chilling chord with all of them.

I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on here. I wanted to know where the person who invited them was and why she hadn’t turned up to greet her friends. You can sense just how nervous the group are as they try to understand what is going on, and Phoebe Morgan writes this very well. Phoebe Morgan creates a very sinister atmosphere, and it compels you to read on.

As the women’s fears begin to grow and as the danger really begins to creep up on them, Phoebe Morgan takes us back in time. We begin to understand what went on in the past and what has led to the current events happening now. The plot turns even more sinister as Phoebe Morgan gradually begins to reveal what happened between them, and there are some jaw dropping and unsettling twists. The tension keeps ticking up a notch, and I was flying through the final chapters at breakneck speed; I was so desperate to find out what was going to happen.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading at the end, and the twist completely floored me. It’s one of those moments which makes you sit bolt upright as you begin to understand what is happening. I thought it was a very satisfactory ending, and I thought it was very clever how Phoebe Morgan weaved it into her plot.

The Wild Girls is the type of thriller which you can devour in a single day. It only took me a couple of sittings to finish it, and I loved it. I highly, highly recommend this book! Psychological thriller lovers, this is a book that’s not to be missed.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 320 pages

The Wild Girls is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

First Monday Crime is back on Monday, 10th May 2021. It’s a week later again this month due to the Bank Holiday. Alongside Phoebe Morgan, appearing on the panel will be, Tina Baker, author of Call Me Mummy, James Delargy author of Vanished and Marion Todd, author of What They Knew. The panel is being moderated by Jacky Collins. The event starts at 19.30 p.m. and it is being live streamed on the First Monday Crime Facebook page, which you can access by clicking on the link below.

First Monday Crime – Facebook page

Deity by Matt Wesolowski #bookreview April First Monday Crime @ConcreteKraken @1stMondayCrime @OrendaBooks

On my blog today, I’m sharing my review for Deity by Matt Wesolowski which I originally posted as part of the blog tour in February. Matt is appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday, 12th April 2021 alongside three more brilliant writers. So if you haven’t got any plans for tomorrow night at 19.30 p.m. be sure to check it out the First Monday Crime Facebook Page. I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of this post. But first let’s take a look about what Deity is about.

BLURB

A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

MY THOUGHTS

Matt Wesolowski is back with the latest episode in his Six Stories series featuring Scott King. The latest book in the series is Deity which is another utterly compelling read. I always look forward to reading Matt’s book, and this one didn’t disappoint. Once I had started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down, and the unique way Matt tells his stories, kept me turning the pages. I was eager to see what each new episode would reveal and what secrets were waiting to be uncovered.

There isn’t another writer out there who writes quite like Matt Wesolowski. If you are new to this series, the novels are told in the form of a podcast. The presenter is Scott King, who has recently made a name for himself after cracking several infamous cases. Over six weeks, Scott King examines a new case and presents new details and interviews with new witnesses in each episode.

This time around, Scott is examining pop star Zach Crystal’s case whose charred remains were discovered at his burnt-out mansion in Scotland. Zach was adored by millions around the world, but particularly by younger people. So what happened the night Zach Crystal was killed? Was it a tragic accident, or was someone else to blame? Scott King intends to find out.

Zach Crystal was such an intriguing character. Throughout the book, we read extracts from his last exclusive interview, which he did as he was relaunching his career. By that time Zach was in his mid-forties, but Zach was still an idol to many young people growing up now. On the outside, he seems like a very humble and caring person. But there is a darker side to this that Scott King explores over his podcast series.

There is a very dark, foreboding feeling to this book. I wanted to get to the bottom of who Zach Crystal really was. He seemed to have an element of control over his fans, which is what I thought as I was reading the book, which gives it a very chilling atmosphere. Everyone who comes into contact with him is in awe, and Zach knows how to use this to his advantage. He displays a very confident image, but, I also felt that there was a sense of vulnerability about him as well. This made me even more interested in him.

With recent stories that have made headlines over the past few years, you can see where Matt Wesolowski drew his inspiration from this novel. It does get very dark in places and unnerving as well as Scott King gets closer to the truth. The tension really ramps up in the final pages as we begin to understand just what was going on in Zach Crystal’s life.

Matt Wesolowski has produced another absolutely gripping book in this series. It’s dark, chilling and so absorbing. I can’t wait to see what case Scott King investigates next. Long may this series continue!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 18th December 2020 (kindle) 18th February 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 253 pages

Deity is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

If you would like to join us for First Monday Crime on Monday, 12th April 2021, it’s being streamed live on their Facebook page from 19:30 p.m. The other authors who are appearing are, David Baldacci author of A Gambling Man, Sarah Pearse author of The Sanatorium and David Fennell author of The Art of Death. The panel is being moderated by Jacky Collins. To access the event you can click on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

The Art of Death #bookreview April, 1st Monday Crime @DavyFennell @1stMondayCrime

First Monday Crime is back on Monday, 12th April 2021 at 19:30 p.m. UK time (it’s a week later due to the Bank Holiday) and we have another brilliant panel for you. I’m re-sharing my review of David Fennell’s fantastic, The Art of Death which I originally shared as part of the blog tour in February. David is one of the authors who will be appearing on the panel. I will have all the details at the end of this post.

BLURB

Death is an art, and he is the master . . .

Three glass cabinets appear in London’s Trafalgar Square containing a gruesome art installation: the floating corpses of three homeless men. Shock turns to horror when it becomes clear that the bodies are real.

The cabinets are traced to @nonymous – an underground artist shrouded in mystery who makes a chilling promise: MORE WILL FOLLOW.

Eighteen years ago, Detective Inspector Grace Archer escaped a notorious serial killer. Now, she and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, must hunt down another.

As more bodies appear at London landmarks and murders are livestreamed on social media, their search for @nonymous becomes a desperate race against time. But what Archer doesn’t know is that the killer is watching their every move – and he has his sights firmly set on her . . .

He is creating a masterpiece. And she will be the star of his show.

MY THOUGHTS

The Art of Death is a fantastic start to a new crime series, and David Fennell is a new crime writer to watch out for. This book utterly gripped me, and I read it really quickly. If you’re a fan of serial killer thrillers, then you need to read this book.

Grace Archer is a fascinating new detective on the crime fiction scene. In David Fennell’s first book, she faces a sadistic serial killer, and it becomes a race against time to catch him. He is a deranged individual who creates art out of his victims. He puts Grace’s entire team on edge when they discover his first victims, and they know he isn’t finished. He has already gained a following on social media, and he is keen to show more of his work. He also has a star victim in sight. I wanted to know if he would succeed in carrying out his plans, and I was rooting for the police to catch him.

The tension in this book never lets up. The chapters are short and snappy, and the dialogue keeps the pace flowing forward. There is tension on every page as Grace and her team race to find the killer and there are also chapters told from his point of view. We get to see how he chooses his victims, and it makes for terrifying, but utterly gripping reading as he carries out his plans. I found myself wanting to scream at the characters he was targeting. I wanted them to see him for who he really was.

I liked the team Grace worked with as well. There is a lot of wit in their conversation. You can see that they all get on with each other and I’m looking forward to seeing how their friendships develop in future books. We are aware that Grace has gone through something terrible in her past, but David Fennell doesn’t go into a lot of details regarding this. One part I really liked was Grace’s relationship with her grandfather, which makes her a really likeable character.

David Fennell certainly doesn’t shy away from gruesome details, and there are some quite graphic scenes. You get a real sense of how insane the killer is and how keen he is to carry out his crimes. The only way he is going to be stopped is if the police catch him first. As the novel drew closer to its conclusion, I was able to guess who the killer was, but I wanted to see how things were going to pan out.

The Art of Death is an exciting, gripping start to a new series, introducing a fresh new voice in the crime fiction market. I loved it, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Art of Death is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

First Monday Crime is live on Facebook at 19.30 p.m. on Monday, 12th April 2021. We have David Fennell author of, The Art of Death, Sarah Pearse author of The Sanatorium, Matt Wesolowski author of Deity and David Baldacci author of A Gambling Man. You can access the event by clicking on the following link below. The panel is being moderated by Jacky Collins.

First Monday Crime

First Monday Crime March @1stMondayCrime

First Monday Crime is back on Monday, 1st March 2021 after a two month break. As it has been for a while now, it’s live on Facebook, so you can watch it from the comfort of your own home. This month we have an exciting line up which includes, Nadine Matheson author of The Jigsaw Man, Abigail Dean author of Girl A, Tim Glister author of Red Corona and Fermi Kayode author of Lightseekers. The panel is being moderated by Leye Adenle.

I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of this post but first let’s take a look at what the books are about.

There’s a serial killer on the loose.

When bodies start washing up along the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley fears it is the work of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But it can’t be him; Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.

The race is on before more bodies are found.

She’d hoped she’d never have to see his face again, but Henley knows Olivier might be the best chance they have at stopping the copycat killer. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping Henley is the last thing on his mind . . .

Will it take a killer to catch the killer?

Now all bets are off, and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley, or the Jigsaw Killer?

If you’d like to read my review of The Jigsaw Man, you can do so by clicking here

‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, Girl A is a story of redemption, of horror, and of love.

If you’d like to read my review of Girl A, you can do so by clicking here.

It’s 1961 and the white heat of the Space Race is making the Cold War even colder.

Richard Knox is a secret agent in big trouble. He’s been hung out to dry by a traitor in MI5, and the only way to clear his name could destroy him.

Meanwhile in a secret Russian city, brilliant scientist Irina Valera makes a discovery that will change the world, and hand the KGB unimaginable power.

Desperate for a way back into MI5, Knox finds an unlikely ally in Abey Bennett, a CIA recruit who’s determined to prove herself whatever the cost…

As the age of global surveillance dawns, three powers will battle for dominance, and three people will fight to survive…

When three young students are brutally murdered in a Nigerian university town, their killings – and their killers – are caught on social media. The world knows who murdered them; what no one knows is why.

As the legal trial begins, investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo is contacted by the father of one of the boys, desperate for some answers to his son’s murder. But Philip is an expert in crowd behaviour and violence, not a detective, and after travelling to the sleepy university town that bore witness to the killings, he soon feels dramatically out of his depth.

Will he finally be able to uncover the truth of what happened to the Okiri Three?

If you’d like to access the event on Monday, 1st March, you can do so via the FirstMonday Crime Facebook page. I’ve included the link below so you can access the event. The panel starts at 7.30 p.m.

First Monday Crime

The Open House by Sam Carrington #bookreview @sam_carrington1 @AvonBooksUK @1stMondayCrime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the latest thriller by Sam Carrington, The Open House on my blog today. Next month on, Monday, 7th December 2020, Sam will also be appearing on the First Monday Crime Panel. I’ll have more details at the end of this post. First, let’s take a look at what the book is about.

The Open House: One of the most perfect, gripping reads of 2020 from the USA Today bestseller by [Sam Carrington]

BLURB

Everyone’s welcome. But not everyone leaves…

Nick and Amber Miller are splitting up and selling their Devon family home. But despite the desirable location, the house isn’t moving. Not a single viewing so far.
 
When their estate agent suggests an open house event, Amber agrees, even as she worries about their gossiping neighbours attending and snooping around their home.
 
But Amber has more to worry about than nosy neighbours. Because thirteen people enter her house that afternoon, and only twelve leave.
 
Someone doesn’t want the house to sell, and is willing to do anything to stop it…

MY THOUGHTS

Many will know how stressful moving house can be. But in The Open House by Sam Carrington, the stress levels are taken up a notch for Amber. She is currently going through a divorce which is the reason why she is selling the house they were gifted by her mother-in-law when she and her husband, Nick, got married. But Nick’s mother certainly isn’t supportive of the idea of Amber selling the home and moving elsewhere with her grandchildren. But is there a darker reason why Nick’s mother doesn’t want the house to be sold? What secrets is she hiding?

I think this is Sam’s most chilling book to date. In an effort to track more potential buyers, Amber decides to take the advice of the estate agent when he suggests an open house event. Amber can see the visitors enter her home. Fourteen enter the property, but only thirteen emerge. Had Amber simply miscounted? But what is even more concerning is when her son is too frightened to sleep in his own bed and complains of the man upstairs in the house.

I loved the mystery element behind this book. As well as what is happening in the present; we also have the mystery of what happened to Nick’s brother, Tim. Tim disappeared when they were teenagers, and it is part of the reason why Nick later joined the police force. He does so in the hope of finding evidence of what happened to his brother. This is also one reason why his mother doesn’t want Amber to sell the house and move. She feels as though her family is breaking apart and after the disappearance of her son, she says it’s all she has left.

I wanted to know what Amber’s former mother-in-law’s motives were and the real reasons behind her not wanting the house to be sold. For me, I didn’t quite believe that this could simply be the case that she didn’t want her family to move away. Amber is determined to find out the reasons why. I also wanted to know what had happened to Nick’s brother all those years ago.

I really enjoy Sam Carrington’s books, and if you haven’t discovered her writing yet, then you really need to. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 10th December 2020

Print length: 376 pages

The Open House is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

First Monday Crime is back for December at 19.30 p.m. on Monday, 7th and as it was last month, it’ll be streaming live from the First Monday Crime Facebook page. The authors taking part in the December panel are, Susi Holliday, author of The Last Resort, AK Turner, author of Body Language, Sam Carrington, author of The Open House and Deborah Masson, author of Out for Blood.

To access the event simply click on the following link: First Monday Crime

First Monday Crime November @1stMondayCrime

Although, sadly, we can’t meet up as per usual at City University for First Monday Crime, it doesn’t mean that its not going ahead. As many things have been this year, First Monday Crime is moving online. For November we have S W Kane, author of The Bone Jar, Vicki Bradley author of Before I Say I Do, David Young author of The Stasi Game and Chris McGeorge author of Inside Out. I’ve already read and reviewed two of these books and I’ll include the links to my reviews here, but let’s take a look at what the books are about. I’ll also include links which will take you directly to the event on Monday, 2nd November 2020.

The Bone Jar (Detective Lew Kirby Book 1) by [S W Kane]

Two murders. An abandoned asylum. Will a mysterious former patient help untangle the dark truth?

The body of an elderly woman has been found in the bowels of a derelict asylum on the banks of the Thames. As Detective Lew Kirby and his partner begin their investigation, another body is discovered in the river nearby. How are the two murders connected?

Before long, the secrets of Blackwater Asylum begin to reveal themselves. There are rumours about underground bunkers and secret rooms, unspeakable psychological experimentation, and a dark force that haunts the ruins, trying to pull back in all those who attempt to escape. Urban explorer Connie Darke, whose sister died in a freak accident at the asylum, is determined to help Lew expose its grisly past. Meanwhile Lew discovers a devastating family secret that threatens to turn his life upside down.

As his world crumbles around him, Lew must put the pieces of the puzzle together to keep the killer from striking again. Only an eccentric former patient really knows the truth—but will he reveal it to Lew before it’s too late?

You can read my review of The Bone Jar by clicking HERE

HER DREAM WEDDING
IS ABOUT TO BECOME A NIGHTMARE

It’s Julia’s wedding day. Her nerves are to be expected – every bride feels the same – but there’s another layer to her fear, one that she cannot explain to her soon-to-be husband, Mark. She’s never told him the details – and she is determined he never finds out.

As she begins down the aisle, spotting Mark in his tailored suit, she knows she is taking her first steps to happiness – her past is behind her, it can’t catch her now. Mark turns to face her . . .

But it isn’t Mark in the beautiful suit – it’s his best man.

Because Mark is missing.  

And Julia’s past is closer than she thinks . . .

You can read my review by clicking HERE

The Stasi Game by [David Young]

A man’s body is found buried in concrete at a building site in the new town district. When People’s Police homicide captain Karin Müller arrives at the scene, she discovers that all of the body’s identi?able features have been removed – including its ?ngertips.

The deeper Müller digs, the more the Stasi begin to hamper her investigations. She soon realises that this crime is just one part of a clandestine battle between two secret services – the Stasi of East Germany and Britain’s MI6 – to control the truth behind one of the deadliest events of World War II.

SHE WAS SENT DOWN…
Cara Lockhart has just commenced a life sentence in HMP North Fern – the newest maximum security women’s prison in the country. She was convicted of a crime she is adamant she didn’t commit.

SHE WAS SET UP…
One morning she wakes up to find her cellmate murdered – shot in the head with a gun that is missing. The door was locked all night, which makes Cara the only suspect.

BUT THAT WAS JUST THE BEGINNING.
Cara needs to clear her name, unravelling an impossible case, with an investigation governed by a prison timetable.
But as Cara starts to learn more about North Fern and the predicament she is in, she finds connections between the past and present that she never could have imagined.

Indeed it seems that her conviction and her current situation might be linked in very strange ways…

If you’d like to tune into the event, First Monday will be streaming live on Facebook on Monday, 2nd November from 19:30 p.m. UK time. You can access the live stream from their Facebook page by clicking here.

The Cutting Place by Jane Casey #bookreview @JaneCaseyAuthor @1stMondayCrime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the latest Maeve Kerrigan thriller by Jane Casey, The Cutting Place. Of course, First Monday Crime was meant to be taking place tonight but due to the ongoing crisis it has had to be cancelled. Jane was meant to be appearing alongside, Dominic Nolan, Chris Whitaker and Tim Glister so please do check out the other authors who were meant to be on tonight’s panel.

The Cutting Place: The gripping latest new crime thriller from the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author (Maeve Kerrigan, Book 9) by [Jane Casey]

BLURB

Everyone’s heard the rumours about elite gentlemen’s clubs, where the champagne flows freely, the parties are the height of decadence . . . and the secrets are darker than you could possibly imagine.

DS Maeve Kerrigan finds herself in an unfamiliar world of wealth, luxury and ruthless behaviour when she investigates the murder of a young journalist, Paige Hargreaves. Paige was working on a story about the Chiron Club, a private society for the richest and most privileged men in London. Then she disappeared.

It’s clear to Maeve that the members have many secrets. But Maeve is hiding secrets of her own – even from her partner DI Josh Derwent. Will she uncover the truth about Paige’s death? Or will time run out for Maeve first?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve long been a fan of Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series, and The Cutting Place is her best yet.  The pace moves fast right from the opening pages when Maeve arrives at a crime scene. The body of a woman, cut up has been discovered on the banks of the River Thames. The victim is later identified as journalist, Paige Hargreaves who up until recently had been investigating a private club. The Chiron Club is exclusive, and not everyone can join. But what gave Paige a reason to investigate it, and why did she have to die? What did she discover? As Maeve and her team investigate it further, it is clear that the club’s members carry dark and disturbing secrets, and they are willing to do anything to make sure that no one finds out the truth.

One of the strongest parts of this series is Maeve’s friendship with her colleague Derwent. Although this can be stretched at times, I think they work together really well, and I am always excited to see them return in a new book. There is always a lot of humour whenever they are together, and it makes for really entertaining reading. This time around Derwent is faced with a new dilemma which I won’t go into any further details about here as I don’t want to spoil it, but it does paint his character in a new light. We also see this as well when he gets involved in a police investigation into a cot death and is briefly taken away from the investigation into Paige’s murder.

There is a really chilling atmosphere inside The Chiron Club. This is a club that is dominated by male masculinity, and Jane Casey explores dark themes as she takes the reader inside. I felt more fearful for the characters as they stepped closer to uncovering the truth about what goes on there. The people who run the club aren’t keen to divulge any information to Maeve and her team. It is going to be tough for them to get to the bottom of what goes on behind the club’s closed doors, but Maeve is determined to make sure that they find out the truth.

Jane Casey’s writing is absorbing from the first page; I’m always drawn right into the plot and into the lives of characters. Every time I come to the end of one of her books, I can’t wait to get my hands on her next. Jane Casey always writes thrilling and gripping police procedurals, and I can’t recommend her novels highly enough.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 3rd April 2020 (kindle) 16th April 2020 (hardcover)

Print length: 390 pages

The Cutting Place is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones