Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald #bookreview #blogtour @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Helen Fitzgerald, Keep Her Sweet. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Desperate to enjoy their empty nest, Penny and Andeep downsize to the countryside, to forage, upcycle and fall in love again, only to be joined by their two twenty-something daughters, Asha and Camille.

Living on top of each other in a tiny house, with no way to make money, tensions simmer, and as Penny and Andeep focus increasingly on themselves, the girls become isolated, argumentative and violent.

When Asha injures Camille, a family therapist is called in, but she shrugs off the escalating violence between the sisters as a classic case of sibling rivalry … and the stress of the family move. 

But this is not sibling rivalry. The sisters are in far too deep for that.

This is a murder, just waiting to happen…

Chilling, vicious and darkly funny, Keep Her Sweet is not just a tense, sinister psychological thriller, but a startling look at sister relationships and they bonds they share … or shatter.

MY THOUGHTS

If you enjoy a family drama, then Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald should definitely be your next read. I’ve read Helen’s past two novels, and every time I’ve read something new by her, I’ve recognised her voice straight away, especially in the unique way she creates her characters. I think if you’d given me this book without telling me who it was by, I would have been able to guess that it was written by Helen from the first page.

In her latest psychological thriller, Helen Fitzgerald zooms in on one of the most dysfunctional families I’ve come across in crime fiction. We meet two sisters, Camille and Asha, and immediately we can see the tensions that there are between them. They’ve recently moved back in with their parents, Penny and Andeep, and right from the first few pages, I felt like I was a fly on the wall, listening in, waiting for something catastrophic to happen. It did feel as though the family were discovering more about each other for the first time, especially once a therapist gets involved.

All of Helen’s characters in this book are well rounded and I thought their individual personalities and backstories came through strongly on the page. They are people who you want to find out more about. Camille and Asha’s Dad, Andeep, is a disgraced comic, and his family are the ones who still have to put up with his jokes. The novel is also told from the point of view of their Mum, Penny, and Joy, The Therapist. I think I found the parts told from the therapist’s points of view the most intriguing. I thought it was interesting how Joy peered into the lives of Camille and Asha’s family. I immediately wanted to find out more about her right from the first line, “Unhappy families always cheered her up.” This had me hooked. What had happened to this family?

Asha and Camille’s relationship also kept me invested in the story. Helen Fitzgerald delves deep into their history, although we particularly see this from Camille’s point of view. I really like the scenes which were told through diary extracts as her voice came through really strongly. You can feel Camille’s emotions as she is describing events that have happened between her and Asha in the past. You can see clearly the rivalry that exists between them, especially from Camille’s view point. But you do also get a sense that Asha and Camille do care deeply about each other, particularly when Camille explores their past.

I really could not believe what I was reading as I reached the final closing chapters. It was such a dark and tense finale, and I’m sure I’ll be thinking about what happened at the end of this book for a long time. Helen Fitzgerald explores some tough themes in Keep Her Sweet that bring her characters to life in rich, vivid detail, and it makes for an absorbing and an utterly compelling read. Another excellent novel from Helen Fitzgerald.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 26th May 2022

Print length: 222 pages

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Faceless by Vanda Symon #bookreview #blogtour @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Vanda Symon, Faceless, on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Faceless by [Vanda Symon]

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Worn down by a job he hates, and a stressful family life, middle-aged, middle-class Bradley picks up a teenage escort and commits an unspeakable crime. Now she’s tied up in his warehouse, and he doesn’t know what to do.

Max is homeless, eating from rubbish bins, sleeping rough and barely existing – known for cadging a cigarette from anyone passing, and occasionally even the footpath. Nobody really sees Max, but he has one friend, and she’s gone missing.

In order to find her, Max is going to have to call on some people from his past, and reopen wounds that have remained unhealed for a very long time, and the clock is ticking…

MY THOUGHTS

I love Vanda Symon’s writing and her latest novel, Faceless is another utterly gripping read. It’s Vanda’s first standalone and I raced through it in just two days. It is so good and there is real emotional depth to Vanda’s writing. I had to know what was going to happen. It’s a really powerful piece of writing that will make you root for the characters. 

Max is a character who’ll really pull at the heart strings. I really felt for him, especially as he tried to express his concerns to the police that his friend, Billy, a teenage escort is missing. You can see that apart from one police officer, he is struggling to make his voice heard to those who should be taking his concerns seriously. I could really feel his frustration and concern for his friend.

The tension in this book does not drop at all. Vanda Symon writes some intense scenes, especially those which feature Max’s friend Billy. Billy’s story is a heartbreaking one. She is still a teenager and it is heartbreaking that she has been forced to work as a prostitute on the streets. It seems that Max is the only one who cares for her and when she goes missing it becomes his determination to find her, even if no one else is prepared to listen. I really admired Max and he comes across as person who would be a good friend for anyone to have around. I was rooting for him all the way through the book and I wanted him to succeed in finding Billy.

Vanda writes some very tense scenes from Billy’s perspective. We know what has happened to her which is why I felt so frustrated when the majority of the police officers showed little or no interest in finding her, despite Max’s protests. I was so desperate for them to take Max seriously as I had no idea if Billy was going to survive. Vanda Symon creates a real sense of danger and this kept me utterly gripped to the book.

Vanda’s characters are so well developed. Their emotions come through so strongly on the page. You get a real sense of what drives them, especially with Max. This is a real page turner of a novel. It is so addictive and the short snappy chapters kept the pace flying forward.

Fans of Vanda Symon’s novels, you are in for a real treat. Faceless will keep you utterly gripped right the way through. I loved it!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th January 2022 (kindle) 17th March 2022 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

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Off Target by Eve Smith #bookreview #blogtour @evecsmith @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the gripping new novel by Eve Smith, Off Target. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Off-Target by [Eve Smith]

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A longed-for baby
An unthinkable decision
A deadly mistake

In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect … altering genes that may cause illness, and more…

Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.

But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…

Bestselling author of The Waiting Rooms, Eve Smith returns with an authentic, startlingly thought-provoking, disturbing blockbuster of a thriller that provides a chilling glimpse of a future that’s just one modification away…

MY THOUGHTS

I loved Eve Smith’s debut novel, The Waiting Rooms, and once again, she has explored a scarily realistic idea that doesn’t feel too far away in the future. Her latest novel is Off Target. In Eve’s version of reality, people are able to edit the genes of their unborn babies, which was specifically introduced to help prevent specific diseases. But people are now taking advantage of this science and are using it to create designer babies, and this sparks huge ethical questions about gene editing.

We meet Susan, who is facing an impossible dilemma when she becomes pregnant with her first child. She and her husband have been desperately trying for a baby, so she should be thrilled to learn the news that she’s pregnant. But Susan is sure that the baby isn’t her husband’s after mistakenly having a one night stand. But there are ways that she can get around this.

I loved the original spin that Eve Smith put on her idea. It’s what made this story so exciting, and so tense as it made me think that what she was planning to do would go horribly wrong. I’m sure this book will make many people wonder what they would do if they were in Susan’s position. What makes Eve’s idea so different as well is that she includes newspaper reports on different events, linked to the plot, happening around the world. You can see just how well Eve has researched this topic.

Following on from the drastic decision that Eve makes, we fast forward several years later, when her baby, Zurel, is now, almost, a grown adult. We can begin to see the consequences of the decision Susan took when she was pregnant, and we can see how Susan is plagued with guilt. But it is not clear if, what is now happening to Zurel is linked to what Susan did all those years ago. She is constantly living in fear, that someone will discover her secret, but she is also extremely worried about her daughter’s health and if she is to blame. The uncertainty about Zurel’s situation also drives the fear and the tension in Susan’s life. Zurel also has questions about what happened very early on in her life.

It was interesting to see the relationship between Susan and Zurel play out, now that Zurel is just about to reach adulthood. There is a lot of tension there and it made me wonder what would happen to their family if the truth about what Susan did came out. Eve Smith kept me utterly gripped as I waited to find out what was going to happen to them and how things would unfold.

I love books that blend genres and Eve Smith achieved that so well here. She has become a must-read author to me and I’m certain that I’ll read anything that she writes next. I highly recommend Off Target.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th December 2021 (kindle) 17th February 2022 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

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Unhinged by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst #bookreview #blogtour @EngerThomas @LierHorst @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst, Unhinged. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Unhinged (Blix & Ramm Book 3) by [Thomas Enger, Jørn Lier Horst, Megan Turney]

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When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between several Oslo murder cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution style. And in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the killer’s next victim.

Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.

As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can trust … and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…

Two of Nordic Noir’s most brilliant writers return with the explosive, staggeringly accomplished, emotive third instalment in the international, bestselling Blix & Ramm series … and it will take your breath away.

MY THOUGHTS

Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst have created one of my favourite series in the crime fiction genre. In Unhinged, the latest book in the Blix and Ramm series, Detective Alexander Blix is thrown head first into a tense, very personal investigation, when his daughter, Iselin becomes involved in a complex police investigation, following the shocking murder of a police officer.

What I love about these books, is that Enger and Horst always begin each novel with action, and the action in the book never lets up. The books are always so intense, and Unhinged takes the level of intensity, in Enger and Horst’s writing, up a notch. In the opening section of this book, Blix is being questioned by police officers about his actions in an investigation. I wanted to know what it was Blix had done to make the police want to question him.

Without trying to give too much of the plot away, this is also a book with a strong emotional core. The authors really do put their characters through a very difficult time, beginning with the murder of one of Blix’s work colleagues, Sofia Kovic, and the character’s emotions come through very strongly on the page. You can feel this right from page one, as Blix is trying to come to terms with what has already happened. I was rooting for Blix right the way through this book, to get the answers that he was seeking. There are some really shocking revelations as the plot progresses.

Right from the get-go, I wanted to find out more about the investigation, and if Sofia Kovic knew more about what they were investigating and if she potentially knew who was involved. Sofia is also a close friend of Blix’s friend, journalist Emma Ramm, who, like Blix, is heavily affected by her death. The plot is so well thought out, and Enger and Horst really do take you on a whirlwind of a ride, as Blix and Ramm try to work out who is behind the horrific events. You can see just how desperate for answers Blix is, and I wasn’t sure just how far he was willing to go to achieve his goal. It’s what makes this book such a tense read and I flew through it, as I was desperate to find out who was the person responsible.

This is the best book yet in this series. It has made me wonder how Blix and Ramm will progress from here, especially after everything that has happened in this book, it is clear that things will never be the same. Unhinged is an outstanding addition to this series. I was captivated right the way through. If you’re not yet reading these books, then you really need to.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th December 2021 (kindle) 17th February 2022 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

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Demon by Matt Wesolowski #bookreview #blogtour @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Matt Wesolowski, Demon as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Demon (Six Stories Book 6) by [Matt Wesolowski]

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In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act.

And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, and King himself becomes a target of media scrutiny and the public’s ire, it becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…

MY THOUGHTS

The Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski continues to go from strength to strength. Demon is the latest addition to the series and if you love a good horror novel, mixed with crime, then you definitely need to read it. In the latest episode, presenter Scott King examines a horrific case which took place in 1995. I could see where some of the inspiration for this story comes from, especially the Jamie Bulger case here in the UK, and it’s what makes this novel all the more chilling and harrowing. It feels like this can happen and that’s what makes it so scary.

Once again, Scott King is taking a look into the supernatural as he tries to understand what happened in 1995, when a young boy is killed by two boys the same age as him. The village in which the crime took place is called Ussalthwaite and it is a village said to be haunted by an evil spirit. There are lots of different stories told by people over the years about this, and I wanted to know more about it. As locals described the events that led up to these hauntings, it did send a shiver up my spine.

I really liked how Matt Wesolowski blended the supernatural and the real world. The way how he describes the supernatural events leaves just enough room open to make you wonder what is really going on here. It doesn’t make you think straight away that this couldn’t happen. This is also what makes the stories that are told so terrifying.

As with the previous books in this series, we hear the story through six podcasts from the show Scott King hosts. This is what I really love about this series. We always have Scott King, who, in his world, has become quite famous, but with each new book, we hear from a cast of new characters as Scott King tries to uncover the real facts behind the case he is investigating. With each episode, you know you are getting closer to the truth and it makes me turn the pages faster as I want to know what really happened in the events Scott is investigating. It’s what makes these books so gripping and I always look forward to the next book in the series. It’s such a clever way of telling a story.

I feel Scott King’s character also continues to develop with each book. He examines quite a lot of dark stories and he really delves deep into the mind-set of the people who were involved. The end of each book does make me wonder what is going on inside his head and what case he will choose to investigate next.

I really enjoyed Demon, it is always a real treat to read a new Six Stories novel. I can’t wait to see where Matt Wesolowski takes the series next.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 26th November 2021 (kindle) 20th January 2022 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

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Fall by West Camel #bookreview #blogtour @west_camel @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

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

Fall by [West Camel]

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Twins Aaron and Clive have been estranged for forty years. Aaron still lives in the empty, crumbling tower block on the riverside in Deptford where they grew up. Clive is a successful property developer, determined to turn the tower into luxury flats.

But Aaron is blocking the plan and their petty squabble becomes something much greater when two ghosts from the past – twins Annette and Christine – appear in the tower. At once, the desolate estate becomes a stage on which the events of one scorching summer are relived – a summer that shattered their lives, and changed everything forever…

Grim, evocative and exquisitely rendered, Fall is a story of friendship and family – of perception, fear and prejudice, the events that punctuate our journeys into adulthood, and the indelible scars they leave – a triumph of a novel that will affect you long after the final page has been turned.

MY THOUGHTS

West Camel is such a brilliant writer. I loved his debut novel and his latest book, Fall, is another brilliant, beautifully written piece of fiction. The prose is stunning and the characters are so well drawn. There is real magic in West Camel’s writing; it draws you into the worlds he creates and holds your attention.

We meet twin brothers, Aaron and Clive who both lived in the same apartment building in Deptford. It is their childhood home but both have different ideas for the future. The building is filled with ghosts from their path and this haunts them both. The brothers different ideas create a strain in their relationship. It also becomes apparent that there is a dark secret hidden in their past. I wanted to know more about this from very early on and I wanted to know what really went on between them. As the story unfolds West Camel begins to make clear why both brothers have a very different view of their home. And this is where the darker picture in the story begins to come clear.

The novel is told over a forty year period. In 1976 something horrific happened at the tower which has affected the lives of everyone who was there that night ever since.

All the characters came to life well. We also meet another set of twins Annette and Christine who lived in the tower block in the 70s. They were the towers first black residents and you can clearly see how many people in the building feel about this. They strike up a friendship with Aaron and Clive and I really enjoyed reading the scenes when they were together. The dialogue between them was really well done.

Zoë Goldsworthy is another interesting character. She designed the tower block and I loved that we got added bonus material in the book, drawings showing the building how Zoë imagined it. Zoë is a character who fascinated me from the moment we were introduced to her. I wanted to learn more about her background and what role she had in the story. 

There are some shocking final reveals as the full scope of the family tragedy becomes clear and West Camel reveals what really happened that fateful night that haunts Aaron and Clive’s memories. Fall is such a brilliant book and the title is perfect for it in so many ways. It is a multi-layered book that is so well written and thought out. West Camel is fast becoming a favourite writer of mine and I can’t wait to read what he writes next.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 9th October 2021 (kindle) 9th December 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

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The Source by Sarah Sultoon #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the brilliant debut novel by Sarah Sultoon, The Source.

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One last chance to reveal the truth…

1996. Essex.
 Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier…

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth … and justice.

MY THOUGHTS

The Source is a powerful, gripping story by Sarah Sultoon and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get round to it. The novel takes place over a period of ten years, following thirteen year old Carly and journalist, Marie. In 2006 Marie is on the verge of breaking a big story. Both Marie’s and Carly’s stories are intertwined with each other. When we visit Carly in the 1990s, we see a very dark story begin to emerge and there are some hard hitting revelations.

I thought Sarah Sultoon’s characters really shone through in this book. I could see Marie’s determination to get the story she was working from out there. You can see that she really cares and feels for the victims of the crimes she is trying to expose. She isn’t just a journalist who is looking for their next big break. You can feel the horror of everything that has happened through her eyes and it made me feel and care for the characters.

Sarah Sultoon does tackle some horrific subjects, such as child abuse and grooming, but she does this sensitively. It made me feel angry as I read the scenes told from Carly’s point of view. I felt angry that she didn’t have anyone who was really looking out for her. She has a lot of responsibility for someone who is so young, including looking after her younger sister and making sure her mother is alright. It’s shocking when Carly’s older brother Jason, who is hardly around at all to help out with the family, suggests something to Carly and her friend that is so unforgivable. It’s hard to believe that such things do go on in the world. Sarah Sultoon does an expert job of shining a light on the sad reality. I really wanted Carly to get out of the situation she was in.

The dialogue and the short chapters made this book such a gripping read. The dialogue between the characters was so well done and it really helped bring them to life.

I loved how Sarah Sultoon pulled everything together and there were some shocking revelations, as the book reached its conclusion, that I didn’t see coming. I thought it was so well thought through. The Source is gripping and a thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 320 pages

The Source is available to buy:

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Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver #bookreview #blogtour @will_carver @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks

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

Psychopaths Anonymous (Detective Pace Book 4) by [Will Carver]

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Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: A functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men. 

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve. 

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. 

She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. 

But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

A scathing, violent and darkly funny book about love, connection, obsessions and sex – and the aspects of human nature we’d prefer to hide – Psychopaths Anonymous is also an electrifyingly original, unpredictable thriller that challenges virtually everything.

MY THOUGHTS

With each of Will Carver’s books, you know that you’ll get something a little bit different and a little bit mad each time. Psychopaths Anonymous, his latest offering is another stunning, brilliantly crafted novel. Maeve, the character at the heart of the novel is a very twisted individual; she’s also one of the most original characters I’ve come across in crime fiction for a while. If you’re looking for a very dark read, perfect for when the nights draw in then look no further than this book.

I think before you read this book, it does help to have read Will’s first book in this series, Good Samaritans, but it can easily be read as a standalone.

What I love about Will Carver’s books is that he always delves into the minds of his characters really well. There is a lot of heavy stuff going on inside Maeve’s head and this book is almost like a rich character study. We see the world through her eyes and Will Carver understands Maeve really well. She is very unpredictable; I got the feeling that she could snap at any moment and that no one around her was safe. This really drives the tension and it kept me turning the pages.

What this book will also have you doing is thinking about people in a different way. I loved the idea of the Psychopaths Anonymous meeting. It was a very chilling thought. It was interesting to see Maeve’s perspectives on the people in the group she has created. I’ve recently heard that one in one hundred people are psychopaths and this is portrayed very clearly in this book.

As well as an addiction to killing, Maeve also has an addiction to sex. Her relationship with Seth is very intriguing and it kept me on tenterhooks as I had no idea how Maeve was going to react next. This isn’t a very light book at all, so if you are a bit squeamish it may not be one for you. It is really chilling how she chooses her next victims; they could be anyone, perhaps just someone who she happens to randomly pass on the street. It’s what makes her such a frightening character as well.

So if you’re looking for a wild, entertaining, very dark read, then I highly recommend Psychopaths Anonymous. It might not be one that you want to read just before going to bed.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 25th September 2021 (kindle) 25th November 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

Psychopaths Anonymous is available to buy:

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The Quiet People by Paul Cleave #bookreview #blogtour @PaulCleave @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Paul Cleave, The Quiet People. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

The Quiet People by [Paul Cleave]

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Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time… 

Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.

MY THOUGHTS

The Quiet People by Paul Cleave is a rollercoaster of a read. I flew through this book. Right from the first page the tension begins to build and the tension does not let up at all; it propels you into the story right from the get go. This is a very clever book and I was utterly gripped.

We meet Cameron and Lisa Murdoch who face every parent’s worst nightmare when their son Zach goes missing. They think he may have run away after he argued with them earlier in the evening, but the police begin to suspect foul play. Soon it isn’t long before the police and the public point the finger at them and they are held responsible for their son’s disappearance. But how can they convince the police and the community that they are innocent when the evidence against them seems overwhelming?

A really interesting aspect of this book was that both Cameron and Lisa are crime writers, a husband and wife crime writing team, and this forms part of the evidence against them. They know all the ins and outs of a police investigation from their research. Is it possible that they had a role to play in Zach’s disappearance? They have joked before that they would easily be able to get away with a crime.

There is a lot of emotion and anger in this book. It is told from the point of view of Cameron, Zach’s father and he goes through utter turmoil in his fight to prove his innocence. It is through Cameron that we feel this anger and his character is what makes this story so compelling. Although Cameron and Lisa are fighting for their innocence, part of me did call into doubt their story and I wasn’t sure if I could entirely trust them. I had to know how things were going to unfold for Lisa and Cameron and especially their son. But as things go from bad to worse for Cameron I could totally understand some of the decisions he was making.

The pace never drops and I loved the short snappy chapters which kept me turning the pages. There are more than a few heart pounding moments throughout this book, especially when it comes to the final reveals as we close in on the end. The plot was very clever and well thought out.

The Quiet People is an outstanding, original and an utterly gripping thriller with an explosive, heart wrenching ending. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I highly recommend it!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 25th September 2021 (kindle) 25th November 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

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Cold as Hell by Lilja Sigurðardóttir #bookreview #blogtour @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new thriller by Lilja Sigurðardóttir on my blog today, Cold as Hell. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Cold As Hell (An Áróra Investigation Book 1) by [Lilja Sigurdardóttir, Quentin Bates]

BLURB

Icelandic sisters Áróra and Ísafold live in different countries and aren‘t on speaking terms, but when their mother loses contact with Ísafold, Áróra reluctantly returns to Iceland to find her sister. But she soon realizes that her sister isn’t avoiding her … she has disappeared, without trace. 

As she confronts Ísafold’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend Björn, and begins to probe her sister’s reclusive neighbours – who have their own reasons for staying out of sight – Áróra is led into an ever-darker web of intrigue and manipulation. 

Baffled by the conflicting details of her sister’s life, and blinded by the shiveringly bright midnight sun of the Icelandic summer, Áróra enlists the help of police officer Daníel, as she tries to track her sister’s movements, and begins to tail Björn – but she isn’t the only one watching…

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Lilja Sigurðardóttir. When I started Cold as Hell, I devoured more than half of the book within a couple of hours. It is that good and it only took me a couple more sittings to finish it. This is such a gripping read!

Áróra has never seen quite eye to eye with her sister, Ísafold, but when Ísafold drops all contact, her mother pleads with her to travel to Iceland to try and find out what has happened. Áróra isn’t as keen to track down her missing sister as her mother is. When Áróra travels to Iceland she has no idea what she will find. It is clear as she starts looking into what has happened to her sister, that there is something sinister behind Ísafold’s disappearance.

The characterization in Cold as Hell is brilliant. I was interested in Áróra and Ísafold’s relationship and why they had both taken very different paths in life. Áróra is living in the UK with her British mother, but Ísafold is living in Iceland with her boyfriend. There are many strange individuals in Ísafold’s close neighbourhood, and it seems that she was hanging out with some very unsavoury characters. There are some sinister scenes told from the point of view of a mysterious individual who seems to know more about what has happened to Ísafold. I wanted to know what their connection was to Ísafold’s disappearance, what role if any had they played? I also wanted to know more about Ísafold’s boyfriend and if he had any connection to what had happened.

There is a lot of emotional depth in this book which is what I really liked; it made the characters really come to life. As Áróra begins to understand that something terrible might have happened to her sister, this causes her to feel a lot of guilt. She is desperate to know what has happened to her and where she is now.

The story moves along at a fast pace and the mystery comes together really well. This is the perfect read to lose a cold, wintry afternoon to. The Icelandic landscape and the characters will pull you into the story. Once again Lilja Sigurðardóttir has created a cast of unforgettable characters and I can’t wait to see where she takes them next in this series. I highly recommend Cold as Hell.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 28th August 2021 (kindle) 28th October 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 276 pages

Cold as Hell is available to buy:

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