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

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

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The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave.

Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy.

For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking…

The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave. 

Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy. 

For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking… 

MY THOUGHTS

Vanda Symon knows how to write a gripping first chapter. Expectant is the latest book in her Detective Sam Shepherd series, and it is another belter of a crime novel. We are launched into the story with the discovery of a murdered woman by a group of teenagers, and even more horrifying, it soon becomes apparent that the woman was pregnant, and that her unborn child was taken from her.

This case hits very close to home for Sam. Sam, herself, is pregnant and just about to give birth. You know that the case of the murdered woman is going to become a very personal case for Sam. You can clearly see her determination to get to the bottom of this, and how frustrated she is, when her boss insists on taking her off the case, because she might be too emotionally close to the investigation. I wanted Sam to be the one to get to the bottom of things as I knew she would make sure that no stone would be left unturned, and I thought her boss was treating her very unfairly in this book, which made me want to yell at him in anger. But I was also worried that Sam might be putting herself and her unborn child in danger. There is still no understanding of what the motive is behind the killing of the young woman, and there is a sense of real threat that they may strike again, and this tension continues to build.

There is a real sense of foreboding throughout the novel as Sam and the team race to find the killer. As Sam and the team try and find a motive behind the killing of the woman, Sam looks into recent similar events to see if she can find a link. Although Expectant is a work of fiction, it is horrifying to think that there are cases, like what Vanda Symon describes in her book, that exist in real life. You can see the effect that learning about these cases has on Sam, as she prepares to give birth to her own child.

I was not expecting the revelations that came as Vanda Symon wrapped up the book. There are some heart-breaking reveals, that had me flying through the final chapters at top speed to see what the final outcome was going to be. I would have to say that Expectant is the best book in this series to date.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for Sam Shepherd. This series continues to go from strength to strength. I highly recommend Expectant.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 16th February 2023

Print length: 320 pages

Expectant is available to buy:

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Dirt by Sarah Sultoon #bookreview #blogtour @SultoonSarah @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

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

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This is no utopia…

1996. Northern Israel. Lola leaves an unhappy home life in England for the fabled utopian life of a kibbutz, but this heavily guarded farming community on the Arab-Israeli border isn’t the idyll it seems, and tensions are festering.

Hundreds of miles away, in the Jerusalem offices of the International Tribune newspaper, all eyes are on Israel’s response to a spate of rocket attacks from Lebanon, until cub reporter Jonny Murphy gets a tip from a mysterious source that sends him straight into the danger zone.

When the body of an Arab worker is discovered in the dirt of the kibbutz chicken house, it triggers a series of events that puts Lola and the whole community in jeopardy, and Jonny begins to uncover a series of secrets that put everything at risk, as he begins to realise just how far some people will go to belong…

MY THOUGHTS

Sarah Sultoon is back with her latest novel, Dirt, and once again, it is clear to see that she is an author who is a master of creating atmosphere and a sense of place in her writing. Sarah Sultoon takes us back to 1996 to a kibbutz on the borders of Israel and Lebanon. Sarah opens her novel with such a vivid first chapter, that I don’t think I’ll be able to get it out of my head any time soon. It did send shivers down my spine as I read Sarah’s vivid descriptions of the body waiting to be discovered. I wanted to know who this person was and why they had been murdered.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, when reviewing Sarah’s books, but what I love about her writing, is her ability to draw upon her own experience as a journalist, which she uses very well to create a real sense of authenticity in her books. In Dirt we meet Lola, who is from the UK. She has travelled to this part of the world to join the kibbutz, even though it is fraught with danger. You can especially see what a change in environment it is for Lola, but she struck me as a person who can adapt well to new surroundings. There is also, in this area, the constant threat of an attack and missile strikes. Lola also has to deal with the misogynistic behaviour from men, which made me angry as I was reading. I was drawn in by her story and thought she was a fascinating character to follow.

We also meet journalist Jonny, who, like Lola, is from the UK. He comes across a really likeable character. You can see that he is determined to chase down big stories and to make a name for himself. It is what Jonny is looking into at the farm, where Lola is working, that becomes the main driving plot point of the novel. It becomes clear that there is something more going on here that poses high risks for the characters. Sarah Sultoon delves deep into both Jonny and Lola’s characters, and she makes their stories come through stronger on the page with each new revelation about then.

As this novel is set the year after I was born, I’m not aware of what was going on in this part of the world at all during this time. So once again, for me, Sarah Sultoon has created a really eye-opening story. Sarah Sultoon ratchets up the tension as she reveals what has been really going on at the farm where Lola is working. There is a lot of political tension going on in the background and this was fascinating to learn about as well.

I was totally immersed in Sarah’s story as I was reading. I’m looking forward to seeing what topics she covers in her next book.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 19th January 2023

Print length: 320 pages

Dirt is available to buy:

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The Pain Tourist by Paul Cleave #bookreview #blogtour @PaulCleave @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #YeahNoir

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Paul Cleave, The Pain Tourist.

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How do you catch a killer…
When the only evidence is a dream?


James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.

But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help. Especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…

MY THOUGHTS

Paul Cleave has definitely become an auto-buy author for me, after reading his first two books, The Quiet People, last year and now The Pain Tourist.

Paul Cleave opens his new novel with a horrific opening where we see a family being attacked by a group of strangers in their own home. The outcome of the attack is devastating, with the parents both being shot dead, their son James left in a coma, and their only daughter, Hazel, the only member of the family to survive. What is even more horrifying is that the attackers got the wrong house and targeted a totally innocent family.

It’s been nine years since the attack. James has finally woken from his coma, and the full horrors of what happened to his family are revealed to him. For him, the day the attack took place, only happened yesterday. But the people who killed his parents and left him hospitalised in a coma, got away with what they did. Now, the police believe that with James regaining consciousness, they might have a chance of solving the case, and you can feel the detective’s determination to bring this case to a conclusion.

This was such an intense read, particularly the first few pages which throw you into the story and make sure you keep reading. The tension rises further as the police try to get to the bottom of what happened once and for all, and to bring those responsible to justice. Paul Cleave explores an intriguing idea in his book, in which he focuses on James, who the police believe may hold vital evidence. The only problem is, is that James dreamed this while he was in the coma. Paul Cleave also tells the story from the point of view of the people who were responsible for the attack. They know James is awake and this could potentially mean the police will catch up with them, and it appears they are willing to do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I really felt for James as he comes to terms with what has happened to his family, and as he struggles to cope with life after waking from his coma. You can see how difficult he is finding it when the police are keen to speak to him, about what he remembers from the day of the attack on his family.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Pain Tourist. It is highly addictive; and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. You will be turning the pages late into the night to finish this book. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication: 10th November 2022

Print length: 300 pages

The Pain Tourist is available to buy:

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Suicide Thursday by Will Carver #bookreview #blogtour @will_carver @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

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

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Eli Hagin can’t finish anything. 

He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a story beyond the first chapter. 

Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction. 

When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike did…

Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended … and a series of text messages that Mike received before his death point to something much, much darker…

MY THOUGHTS

Will Carver is back with another pacy and addictive thriller, in his new book, Suicide Thursday. Once again Will Carver delves into the minds of his characters, really getting under their skin in a book, I’m sure, readers won’t be forgetting about in a hurry.

We meet Eli, who is one of the most intriguing of Will Carver’s characters to date. It feels as though he is at a crossroads in his life, unable to make a decision on things that matter to him; if he wants to stay where he works, or if he wants to stay with his girlfriend. His relationship with his girlfriend, Jackie is also a very interesting aspect to this story and I was fascinated by them both. Eli is also desperate to write a novel, but he can never get past the first chapter. His voice is very engaging and you really feel as though Will Carver is delving into his subconscious. Will Carver has a real gift for creating very real characters that pull you into the story.

Once again, Will Carver doesn’t tackle a light topic in his book. We also meet Mike, who is struggling in life, and these scenes, featuring Mike, are often told through a series of text messages to one individual. It isn’t revealed who the individual is who Mike is talking to, but there are some dark exchanges between them as the book progresses, which may make some readers feel uncomfortable. Mike is in a very dark place, threatening to commit suicide, but there seems to be something there making him cling onto life, even though someone else is urging him to end it all, which adds to the tension throughout the book.

Will Carver has written a very clever story in the way in which he entwines the character’s lives in Suicide Thursday. I loved the sense of mystery surrounding them in this book, which is what was urging me to keep reading, and I wanted to know how things were going to pan out for Eli. The dark, foreboding atmosphere is also there right from the beginning. One thing you should not expect when you read a Will Carver book is for it to be a light read.

Will Carver has written another superb, original thriller that kept me gripped.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 24th November 2022

Print length: 276 pages

Suicide Thursday is available to buy:

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Wolf Pack by Will Dean #bookeview #blogtour @willrdean @PointBlankCrime @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the new novel by Will Dean, Wolf Pack, on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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When there’s a pack on the hunt, nobody’s safe

A closed community

Rose Farm is home to a group of survivalists, completely cut off from the outside world. Until now.

A missing person

A young woman goes missing within the perimeter of the farm compound. Can Tuva talk her way inside the tight-knit group to find her story?

A frantic search

As Tuva attempts to unmask the culprit, she gains unique access to the residents. But soon she finds herself in danger of the pack turning against her – will she make her way back to safety so she can expose the truth?

Will Dean’s most heart-pounding Tuva Moodyson thriller yet takes Tuva to her absolute limits in exposing a heinous crime, and in her own personal life. Can she, and will she, do the right thing?

MY THOUGHTS

It’s always a treat to read a Tuva Moodyson thriller at this time of year as the shorter nights roll in. These books are the perfect novels for the autumn months. Will Dean is a writer who is an expert at creating an atmospheric landscape. Wolf Pack is the latest book in this series, and it follows reporter, Tuva, who is still reeling from events that happened in the last book, Bad Apples. Tuva feels as though she is lost, especially with what has happened to her girlfriend, Noora, and she feels as though she has nothing to focus on. But when a young woman, Elsa, disappears from a mysterious farm, Tuva becomes in embroiled in the mystery, and trying to work out what happened gives her a sense of purpose again.

This is a thriller with real emotional depth, and you can feel the trauma Tuva has been through and is still going through. I was glad, in this book, that she did have something to focus on, with the disappearance of the young woman, Elsa. As Tuva begins to further investigate what happened to Elsa, I wanted to find out what was going on at Rose farm, that Elsa was connected to. Was the mystery behind Elsa’s disappearance connected to the farm?

Will Dean knows how to hit the ground running in his books. The opening pulls you into the story and once again Will Dean pulls you into the darkness of the Swedish forest that has become a main character, in his Tuva thrillers. For those of you who are familiar with Will’s work, you may know that he lives in the centre of a Swedish Moose Forest, so this gives him a real advantage of creating this setting. I always definitely feel as though I am there, in amongst the trees, listening out for the baying sound of a moose or the howl of a wolf. It creates such a distinct and chilling atmosphere which is what I love about the Tuva Moodyson series.

As Tuva began to try and find out more about Rose farm, in the wake of Elsa’s disappearance, I wondered how much danger she would be putting herself in and the tension builds as Tuva investigates further. It felt as though there was a lot more going on here than first meets the eye, and again Will Dean has created a cast of characters that Tuva investigates, who appear to be hiding secrets and this creates a sinister tone to the novel. I felt that the farm could be a cult, and this is what really adds to the tension in this book. Tuva really throws everything into this investigation and is determined to make sure that Elsa isn’t forgotten about, and that the person responsible for the crime is caught. This becomes very personal to her.

If you love a crime novel with a dark and foreboding atmosphere you need to be reading this series if you haven’t read it already. Wolf Pack is another brilliant addition and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Publisher: Point Blank

Publication date: 8th September 2022

Print length: 323 pages

Wolf Pack is available to buy:

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Red as Blood by Lilja Sigurdardóttir #bookreview #blogtour @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Lilja Sigurdardóttir Red as Blood. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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When entrepreneur Flosi arrives home for dinner one night, he discovers that his house has been ransacked, and his wife Gudrun missing. A letter on the kitchen table confirms that she has been kidnapped. If Flosi doesn’t agree to pay an enormous ransom, Gudrun will be killed. 

Forbidden from contacting the police, he gets in touch with Áróra, who specialises in finding hidden assets, and she, alongside her detective friend Daniel, try to get to the bottom of the case without anyone catching on.

Meanwhile, Áróra and Daniel continue the puzzling, devastating search for Áróra’s sister Ísafold, who disappeared without trace. As fog descends, in a cold and rainy Icelandic autumn, the investigation becomes increasingly dangerous, and confusing. 

Chilling, twisty and unbearably tense, Red as Blood is the second instalment in the riveting, addictive An Áróra Investigation series, and everything is at stake…

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve been really looking forward to reading Red as Blood by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, who is such an exciting writer, and it did not disappoint. Lilja’s writing is so fast paced, and I always fly through her books, often in the matter of a few hours. She opens Red as Blood with a tense opening, getting the action going right away, when Flosi, a multi-millionaire, returns home to discover his wife, Gudrun, has disappeared. A ransom note has been left behind, demanding a vast sum of money in exchange for his wife’s safe return, leaving him in turmoil.

Lilja’s detective, Áróra, is back in this book, and she has been through a very recent trauma with the disappearance of her sister, Ísafold, which remains unsolved, and she is still trying to work out what happened. I wondered how she would be able to cope taking on a missing person’s case, when her sister still hadn’t been found, and this adds a layer of tension to the plot as Áróra tries to work out what is going on. Although Lilja does revisit this part of Áróra’s past, you do not need to have read the first book in this series to read Red as Blood, as it can easily be read as a standalone. But I highly recommend that you do read the first book, Cold as Hell.

With any missing person’s case, when a ransom is demanded, it’s always risky for the victim’s family to contact the police for help, and the police know this as well, meaning they must work carefully, and not make any mistakes that would let the kidnappers know they are involved. This continues to add to the tension in the novel. But even though a ransom demand has been made, Áróra looks deeper into the case, and attempts to work out what happened in the lead up to Gudrun’s disappearance, and it seems as though there are definitely more questions here.

The further Áróra delves deeper, the more complex this case becomes, and the investigation takes a darker and surprising turn as she begins to work out what happened. I could feel her determination to get to the bottom of this case. I was kept invested as she tried to get to the bottom of things.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir kept me turning the pages and the pace really kept me gripped. Once again you get a brilliant, vivid portrayal of the Icelandic landscape, as well as the weather as they head towards winter, making this book even more immersive.

Red as Blood is a brilliant addition to this series, and I can’t wait to see where Lilja Sigurðardóttir takes her characters next, especially after the final chapter. If you haven’t read any of Lilja’s books yet, you really need to.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 13th October 2022

Print length: 276 pages

Red as Blood is available to buy:

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All the Wicked Games by Lauren North #bookreview #blogtour @Lauren_C_North @TransworldBooks

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Lauren North, All the Wicked Games. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Are you ready to play?

Best friends Cleo and Rachel spend their evenings pretending to be people they’re not, inventing elaborate stories to escape the monotony of their real lives. It’s all harmless fun – until they play the game on the wrong person…

It’s your move now.

Five years later, Cleo is still struggling to come to terms with the night that destroyed her friendship with Rachel and almost cost them their lives. And then she receives a text: Rachel is missing. Have you seen her?

There’s only one person to blame.

Wracked with guilt for failing Rachel the last time they were in danger, Cleo races to find her friend. But could the past be repeating itself? Only this time, they’re caught up in a far darker game.

The rules don’t matter when the goal is revenge.

MY THOUGHTS

I raced through All the Wicked Games by Lauren North. It’s definitely one of the most gripping crime novels I’ve read this year. There is so much tension in this book that kept me flicking through the pages at breakneck speed. Every time I reached the end of a chapter; I had to keep reading on to find out what was going to happen.

When Cleo reports her friend, Rachel, missing to the police, the police take very little interest in her concerns; they believe that Rachel has just gone on holiday and will be home soon, although there is one detective who has some concern. But Cleo is adamant that something terrible has happened to Rachel and when the police won’t help her, she begins to investigate on her own, and begins to find information about her friend that she never knew before.

I felt so frustrated for Cleo when she couldn’t get the police to take Rachel’s case seriously. You can see how determined she is to make sure that Rachel is okay. You really get the sense that there is something sinister going on here, especially as Cleo begins to delve into Rachel’s recent past and what she was getting up to.

As Lauren North begins to reveal more about Cleo and Rachel, we learn about something horrific that has happened in their past, something they have both struggled to move on from. The revelation of what took place added to the tension, as Cleo desperately tries to track Rachel down. I really wanted to know what had happened to Rachel, even though everyone else seemed to believe that she would turn up in a few days time, this made me feel more sure that something terrible had happened. The novel takes an even darker turn as Cleo delves deeper into her friend’s life. It’s a novel that makes you think of how far you would go to protect and help your friends.

I did not suspect at all, the direction which Lauren North took the book. I was stunned as I got to the final chapters, but everything did make a lot of sense as the book reached its conclusion. Lauren wrote these scenes so, so well, and I was hooked on every word. I thought the ending was cleverly done and it was so chilling.

I’m certain that All the Wicked Games will be one of my favourite reads of the year. This is the perfect book to take with you if you’ve got a long journey ahead, as you’ll be kept gripped and thoroughly entertained. I really enjoyed this book.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 11th August 2022 (kindle) 1st September 2022 (paperback)

Print length: 354 pages

All the Wicked Games is available to buy:

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The It Girl by Ruth Ware #bookreview #blogtour @RuthWareWriter @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m thrilled to be joining the blog tour for the new novel by Ruth Ware, The It Girl. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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Everyone wanted her life
Someone wanted her dead

It was Hannah who found April’s body ten years ago.
It was Hannah who didn’t question what she saw that day.
Did her testimony put an innocent man in prison?
 
She needs to know the truth.
 
Even if it means questioning her own friends.
Even if it means putting her own life at risk.
 
Because if the killer wasn’t a stranger, it’s someone she knows…

MY THOUGHTS

There is a very intriguing mystery element to Ruth Ware’s latest novel, The It Girl. I love a good novel which takes you back and forwards in time, particularly in a thriller. Ruth Ware moves her book between the present day where we meet Hannah, who is pregnant, and living with her husband, Will, and to their university years several years earlier where they first met. We know that April, Hannah’s friend from university, has been murdered, but we don’t know the circumstances leading up to her death. Only that the person who was arrested and convicted for the crime, has now died.

When Ruth Ware takes us back to Hannah’s university days, we see the moment she first meets her close friend at the time, April. I disliked April right from the start. Ruth Ware delves into her character well, even though these scenes are told from Hannah’s point of view. I warmed to Hannah. You can see just how nervous she is about attending Oxford, especially at the thought of fitting in with the rest of the crowd, who all come from families who have money; you can see why she sticks with April.

I really liked the Oxford setting; Ruth Ware draws on it so well and she creates some tense scenes as the plot of the novel develops. You can begin to see the mystery surrounding April’s death beginning to unfold. As Hannah begins to question if her actions led to an innocent man being convicted for the crime, in the present, I could think of plenty of people who may have wanted to harm April, particularly with how she was behaving towards some of her friends at university.

I would say that this is more of a slow burner, rather than a fast paced read, but I still found it very absorbing. It was the mystery of what really could have happened to April that kept me turning the pages. I felt scared for Hannah in the present, particularly as she is pregnant, and she is determined to try and find out what really happened to April; her pregnancy really adds to the suspense as she also has to think of the safety of her unborn child. I knew that if someone else was responsible for her death, that they had been able to get away with it for ten years. You can see that that person wouldn’t be coming clean lightly.

Ruth Ware delivers a tense intriguing read. I was keen to find out the truth behind what had happened to April. The It Girl is another enjoyable read from Ruth Ware.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Publication date: 4th August 2022

Print length: 432 pages

The It Girl is available to buy:

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The Retreat by Sarah Pearse #bookreview #blogtour @SarahVPearse @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Sarah Pearse, The Retreat. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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This is a warning for all our guests at the wellness retreat.

A woman’s body has been found at the bottom of the cliff beneath the yoga pavilion.

We believe her death was a tragic accident, though DS Elin Warner has arrived on the island to investigate.

A storm has been forecast, but do not panic. Stick together and please ignore any rumours you might have heard about the island and its history.

As soon as the weather clears, we will arrange boats to take you back to the mainland.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy your stay.

MY THOUGHTS

I loved Sarah Pearse’s debut novel, and I was really eager to read her latest, The Retreat. Sarah’s latest book is set on an island off the coast of Wales. The primary setting is a luxury retreat, but the island also has a dark past, and when a woman’s body is found, people begin to wonder if the island’s history is firmly in the past, or if it is about to resurface.

I love a mystery novel set in an isolated location. You can instantly feel the creeping sense of danger as you know that the person behind what is happening is still on the island. You don’t know who to trust amongst the characters, and you have no idea if this person will strike again. Sarah Pearse knows how to deepen suspense in her writing, and I loved the creepy vibe to this book which drew me in from the first few pages, keeping me hooked.

I liked that she brought back the Detective from her first novel, Detective Elin Warner, and it was good to get to know her more. In the first book to feature her, Elin was out of her comfort zone as she was on holiday, and out of her jurisdiction. Now she is back on her home turf. It was interesting to see the change in this dynamic. The characters who are on the island, on holiday, were intriguing as well, and I thought Sarah Pearse gave them some interesting backstories.

I really wanted to know what was going on, on the island, and if there was any chance that the events happening in the present were linked to the events that happened there in the past. I loved the backstory that Sarah Pearse gave the location which really added to the tension. It really helped bring the setting to life, and I’m still thinking about the island now, after I’ve read it.

I was utterly gripped by The Retreat, Sarah Pearse is fast becoming a favourite author of mine, and I know that I’ll read whatever she writes next. If you love a creepy setting, then you definitely need to pick up The Retreat.

Publisher: Bantam Press

Publication date: 21st July 2022

Print length: 368 pages

The Retreat is available to buy:

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Dark Objects by Simon Toyne #bookreview #blogtour @simontoyne @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Simon Toyne, Dark Objects. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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An Impossible Crime Scene
A wealthy woman is found brutally murdered in the locked fortress of her London mansion. Surrounding her are four mysterious objects, including a book on forensics by Dr Laughton Rees.

An Inescapable Past
As a teenager, Laughton’s life was destroyed after witnessing her mother’s brutal murder. Now a mother herself and forensic analyst, she is an expert on how to read crime scenes – but never works live cases.

An Uncatchable Killer
Pressured by the lead detective to help with the investigation, Laughton begins to realise that the objects left by the body are not just about the victim, they’re also about her. Her childhood was destroyed by one killer. Now she must catch another before her daughter’s is destroyed too.

MY THOUGHTS

Dark Objects by Simon Toyne is one of the most addictive crime novels I’ve read. I really, really enjoyed reading this book and the character’s came to life on the page. With knife crime sky rocketing, the police are facing intense pressure. But they are faced with a perplexing crime scene, when the body of a wealthy woman is found, in an affluent area of London, but beside the body, is a book written by Dr Laughton Rees on how to get away with murder.

I loved the set-up to this book. It makes for a very complex case, especially when the woman’s husband is nowhere to be found, immediately making him a suspect. I had to know what happened in their home in the hours leading up to the discovery of the woman’s body. What makes things even more complicated for the police is that the press immediately descend.

I liked DCI Tannahill Khan the moment Simon Toyne introduced him and Dr Laughton Rees. Laughton is a very intriguing character; she has her own personal problems going on in her life, especially with what is happening to her daughter, Gracie, at school, and I could feel the emotions that she was experiencing because of this. I liked the working relationship between Laughton and Tannahill, you can see that they enjoy each other’s company after they first meet each other, and I loved the chemistry that was there between them.

I was never sure what direction this book was going to take. The crime is very perplexing and it made me wonder if the police were looking in the right areas. There are plenty of twists and turns which make the book hugely enjoyable, and it becomes even more interesting when Laughton becomes involved. This turns up the tension, especially as her book was found at the scene, and I wanted to see what she could add to the investigation. Would she be the key to unlocking the mystery and finding the person responsible?

There is a real sense of danger, especially with the discovery of Laughton’s book at the scene. It felt as though the person behind the crime was targeting her, and it made me eager to know what was going to happen as the book progressed. There is a lot that is going on in this book, but the pace flows really well and I loved the short, snappy chapters. I raced through it in a just a few greedy chunks. This is a book that you will not want to put down.

I’m certain Dark Objects will be in my top ten reads of the year. It’s certainly one of the best crime novels I’ve read recently. Crime fiction fans, you are in for a real treat if you haven’t read this book yet. I highly recommend it! 

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 7th July 2022

Print length: 416 pages

Dark Objects is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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