Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly #bookreview

Stone Mothers has been on my reading list for a while now and I was so pleased to get the chance to finally read it last week as I am a huge Erin Kelly fan.

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‘The Victorians used to call their mental hospitals stone mothers,’ I say. ‘They thought the design of the building could literally nurse the sick back to health.’

Marianne grew up in the shadow of the old asylum, a place that still haunts her dreams. She was seventeen when she fled the town, her family, her boyfriend Jesse and the body they buried.

Now, forced to return, she can feel the past closing around her. And Jesse, who never forgave her for leaving, is finally threatening to expose the truth.

Marianne will do anything to protect the life she’s built; the husband and daughter who must never know. Even if it means turning to her worst enemy…

But Marianne may not know the whole story – and she isn’t the only one with secrets they’d kill to keep.

Moving back through time to reveal twists you’ll never see coming, STONE MOTHERS is the gripping new suspense novel from the bestselling author of HE SAID/SHE SAID.

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve read a couple of books by Erin Kelly now, but I think Stone Mothers has to be her best yet. If you haven’t yet read any of her books, then you really need to.

There’s a very dark atmosphere to this book. Imagine finding out that your partner has gone behind your back and bought a property, thinking that it is your dream home. But actually, it isn’t your dream home. This is what happens to Marianne in the opening chapters. There are dark secrets attached to the apartment her husband has bought. Dark secrets from Marianne’s past which threaten to derail her future.

The location which Erin Kelly has chosen to set her latest novel is a gothic, Victorian building which used to be an asylum known as the ‘Nazareth’. The asylum was closed down, and eventually, it was turned into luxury flats. In the local village, there is a deep sense of betrayal. The asylum used to be the lifeblood of the local town, providing work for generations. There are a lot of people who still believe it was a crime to close it down.

Although we first come to the asylum in the present, Erin Kelly does take us back to the time when it was a hospital. Some of these scenes were quite horrific, and it makes you realise just how utterly helpless the patients were. I was really intrigued by this part of the story; I wanted to see how it fed into the present day.

There are three central characters to Stone Mothers, Marianne, her ex-boyfriend Jesse and an MP, Helen Greenlaw. The plot which pulls them all together is really well thought out, and everything has been thought out in great detail. We know in the early beginning that dark secrets connecting the three of them and I was so keen to find out what this was. Erin Kelly kept me utterly gripped as she continued to peel away the layers.

Stone Mothers is a very dark novel that pulls you in from its opening pages. This is another brilliant book by Erin Kelly, and as I said earlier, I think it’s her best yet. Haunting and filled with suspense, highly recommended!

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 4th April 2019

Print length: 352 pages

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

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On My Life by Angela Clarke #bookreview

I featured On My Life in my most anticipated reads post earlier in the year and I’m kicking myself that I’ve taken this long to read it and I’m pleased to say that it’s a real corker.

On My Life: the gripping fast-paced thriller with a killer twist by [Clarke, Angela]

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Jenna knows she didn’t do it. But she is running out of time to prove it . . .
A heartbreaking, compulsive thriller with a killer twist!

Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant. 

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it . . .

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:

Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer

But can she do it in time?

MY THOUGHTS

On My Life by Angela Clarke is a powerful read that will pull at the heartstrings. There’s action right from the get-go when we find our protagonist, Jenna being escorted in a prison van towards her new life. Jenna knows she is innocent of the crime she has been accused of, and Jenna knows she has a fight on her hands to prove her innocence, especially when the whole country and the justice system is against her.

Angela Clarke’s latest novel is really taut. Right from the first page, you’re thrown into the action, and you are fighting with Jenna as she attempts to prove her innocence. What she has been accused of is a heinous crime which makes her a target among certain prison inmates, who are out to cause her harm. At the same time, she is trying to keep it a secret from everyone else inside. You feel as though she is walking on eggshells. It seems that at any moment her secret is going to come out and everyone will know what she has been accused of. As the reader, you know that once this does happen, everyone will turn against her.

Angela Clarke’s writing kept me furiously turning those pages as I waited to see how Jenna was going to be able to prove her innocence when it seemed that so much evidence was stacked against her. You can sense the walls closing in on her, but she is determined not to let this happen. I felt really angry for her. She has to try and grow accustomed to her new life before her trial, but a spanner is thrown into the works when she finds out that she is expecting her fiancés baby. Her fiancé has disappeared, and she has been accused of having a hand in his disappearance. But she has also been accused of killing his teenage daughter.

I really liked the friendship Jenna had with the woman she shares a cell with, Kelly. Kelly is inside for a much lesser offence, but the two women form a bond, and Kelly seems to be the only source of solace Jenna has. Kelly is also pregnant, and this strengthens their friendship. You can tell that Angela Clarke has put in a lot of research into this subject within the prison system. You can’t help but feel sorry for Jenna, and I was just hoping that she was going to be able to get out of the situation she was in.

On My Life is really tense and thought-provoking; I’m still thinking about the ending days after I’ve read it. You will be rooting for Jenna right from the first page.

It’s one of my top reads of the year.

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Publication date: 7th March 2019

Print length: 384 pages

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

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Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay #bookreview

Elevator Pitch: The gripping new crime thriller from number one Sunday Times bestseller for fans of David Baldacci’s The Winner by [Barclay, Linwood]

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It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world – and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment – is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men and women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers . . .

Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

MY THOUGHTS

Elevator Pitch is a slick page-turner by Linwood Barclay, and the tension ratchets up a further notch with every page. I know a couple of people who are terrified of lifts. Even when I step in one, there’s always a niggling, claustrophobic feeling in my mind as the door shuts and I hate the idea of being trapped. This book will make you think twice about using elevators again in the future. Perhaps you may choose to take the stairs, to be on the safe side.

Across the city of New York, high rise buildings are being targeted by a different kind of criminal. Whoever is behind these attacks is highly intelligent, and they are striking unassuming people as they go about their daily routine. But it becomes increasingly hard for the NYPD and the FBI to track this person down. They are using the cities elevators to carry out their crimes. But they can do so far away from the building and can remain undetected. The mayor of New York, Richard Headley, takes a personal interest in the case as does journalist, Barbara Matheson and their paths cross in more ways than one.

The opening chapter sets the bar high for Linwood Barclay, but he absolutely nails it. There was so much tension in those opening pages, and I just knew that something terrifying was going to happen. Although the characters only appeared in this very short scene, I feared for them, and I didn’t want anything terrible to happen.

The writing is so addictive, and I kept flicking those pages forward as I wanted to know who was behind the crimes and what their motive was. Was terrorism the reason behind the attacks, or was this something much more personal? Was there a reason why these people were being targeted?

There’s high tension and suspense right throughout this gripping read, and there is huge entertainment value here. I would love to see it on the big screen. It is a story that isn’t hard to follow at all, and it doesn’t get over complicated. Great stuff.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Print length: 400 pages

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

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Cold Heart by Stephen Edger blog tour @StephenEdger @Bookouture

I’m thrilled to be joining the blog tour for Cold Heart today, which is the third novel in Stephen Edger’s Detective Kate Matthews series.

Cold Heart: A gripping serial killer thriller (Detective Kate Matthews Book 3) by [Edger, Stephen]

Source: Netgalley

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It has been a week since anyone last saw fifteen-year-old Daisy, after she left her best friend’s house and started her short walk home. Detective Kate Matthews and her team have been looking for her ever since.

When a tip-off leads Kate to a disused gymnasium at Daisy’s school, she is shocked to find evidence linking to the murder of a different girl.

Working the two cases side by side, Kate’s blood runs cold when a gift-wrapped box containing a human heart is delivered to her at the station. The heart belongs to yet another unknown victim, but the message is clear: there will be more, and Daisy could be one of them.

When activity on Daisy’s Facebook account indicates she is still alive, the race is on for Kate and her team. Will Daisy be the killer’s next victim? Is Kate prepared to risk everything to stop another innocent life from being taken?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephen Edger Profile photo (b&w)

Stephen Edger is a British crime writer, who has been writing since 2010. In that time he has written and published eleven novels, and five short stories. He writes mysteries and thrillers focused on crime.

Stephen was born in the north-east of England, grew up in London, but has lived in Southampton since attending university in the year 2000. Stephen works in the financial industry, and uses his insider knowledge to create the plots of his books. He also has a law degree, which gives him a good understanding of the inner workings of the UK justice system.

Stephen is married, and has two children, and two dogs. He is passionate about reading and writing, and cites Simon Kernick and John Grisham as major influences on his writing style.

https://www.stephenedger.com

MY THOUGHTS

If you’ve read my recent reviews, you’ll know that I’ve become quite a fan of Stephen Edger’s Detective Kate Matthews series. And I really enjoyed his latest offering. Cold Heart is dark, gritty and full of suspense. In my opinion, I think it is the best Kate Matthews book yet.

Daisy Emerson is already missing when the book begins. Kate and her team are halfway through the investigation. The police suspect that Daisy may have run away, but Kate isn’t willing to give up on Daisy just yet. When Kate returns to Daisy’s school to follow up on enquiries, a gruesome discovery is found in a building marked for demolition, which shines a new light on the case. But as the investigation deepens, disturbing new information is uncovered which may finally answer what happened to Daisy, and if she is alive or dead. Could Daisy have uncovered a dark secret?

From the start of this book, I wanted to know what had happened to Daisy. I thought it was an interesting idea for Stephen to start the novel several days into the investigation, as already you can see lines wearing thin among certain people in Kate’s team. As the reader, you really want Kate to fight for Daisy’s corner and get to the truth. Stephen does take a surprising turn in this book, and this turn, is what makes this novel even darker. But I’m not going to say too much here as I don’t want to spoil the story for readers.

As well as being under pressure to crack this case, Kate is also having to deal with a colleague’s personal problem and this is another source of tension in the novel. We aren’t quite sure what is going on in his life, until Stephen reveals the twist, and it was one that I didn’t see coming. In these moments in the book, it really brings out the best in Kate’s character, not only is she a great detective, but she would also be a great friend to have around, especially in a sticky spot.

This is another excellent addition to this series and I’m really excited to read the next book. Thank you to Noelle Holten for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 12th March 2018

Print length: 364 pages

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Cold Heart - Blog Tour

Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford blog tour @MJFordBooks @AvonBooksUK

I’m thrilled to be joining the Hold My Hand blog tour today, which is a fantastic debut crime novel by M.J. Ford and as part of the blog tour I have an extract of the book to share with you.

Source: Review Copy

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How long do you hunt for the missing?

A horrible vanishing act…

When a young Josie Masters sees a boy wearing a red football shirt, Dylan Jones, being taken by a clown at a carnival, she tries to alert the crowds. But it’s too late. Dylan has disappeared…

Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found – complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Is it the boy she saw vanish in the clutches of the clown? Or is it someone else altogether?

And then another child disappears…

EXTRACT

The paperwork didn’t take long, but the questions got more personal as they went along.

First, the basics. Name (Josephine Masters); address (she gave the rented place in the south of the city; didn’t need Ben somehow getting mail about this); DOB (as if she needed reminding); occupation (copper). Then medical history. Clean bill of health, apart from the scare last year; alcohol unit intake (everyone lied, right?); do you smoke (no, but gagging for one right now); last period (the 18th); last instance of sexual intercourse (regrettable); last pregnancy (she paused a moment, wondering whether it was the conception date they wanted, or the date of the miscarriage, then opted for the latter).

The secretary tapped deftly at the keyboard with manicured fingers. She was perhaps early twenties, a pretty, natural blonde, combining elegance and amiability in a way Jo could never have managed at that age.

Jo wondered what the young woman thought of her. Did she judge? What did she think of the going-on-forty-year-old sitting opposite, her hair needing a colour, her crow’s feet obvious, her sensible shoes and middle-of-the-range navy suit? Did she wonder why Jo was here, why she didn’t have a partner, if . . .

You’re getting bitter, Josephine. Stop it.

MY THOUGHTS

Josie Masters will never forget the last day that she saw Dylan Jones alive. Thirty years later, and she is working as a police officer, and when she is called to a disturbing scene, where a child’s skeleton has been unearthed, it reopens old questions about the case she has never forgotten. Has Dylan finally been found? But as the investigation steps up a pace, another child disappears in eerily similar circumstances. Now the race is on to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself.

Hold My Hand is a fantastic crime debut by M.J. Ford. We follow Josie Masters as she tries to piece together what happened to a young boy thirty years ago, when he disappeared from a fair. In the opening chapter, M.J. Ford captured the ensuing panic that rises, when the boy’s mother realises that he is missing and it compelled me to continue reading. The fairground provided the perfect creepy atmosphere, for such a horrible crime to take place. Clowns have always terrified me, so when I read that scene, in which the little boy is being taken away by a clown, it really gave me chills. I just hope I’m not going to have nightmares. We then fast forward thirty years when Josie is now working as a police officer in Bath. She is a character who is haunted by this event that she has witnessed in her past. The fact that she had a personal connection to the case made her a really fascinating character to explore. We can see that she still carries the guilt all these years later, about the fact that she didn’t do anything that day to prevent Dylan from being kidnapped. Now, she hopes that she can finally bring some closure for his family.

The tension in this novel really picks up as the investigation into the two cases steps up and there are several surprising twists and red herrings. The ending of this book really came as a shock and I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. But I’m not going to say anything more about that here; you’ll have to read the book if you want to find out what happens.

This is a cracking novel from M.J. Ford. I’m always excited to read a book by a new crime author, and I’m sure I’ll be keeping an eye out for what he’ll come up with next. This book kept me reading well into the small hours, I was desperate to find out what happens. Hold My Hand is a gripping story that will keep you engaged from start to finish. Thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for sending me a copy of the book to review and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 8th March 2018

Print length: 336 pages

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The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti book review

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In a quiet town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a school playing field. As journalists flock to the scene, one of them catches a teacher, Nate Winters, embracing a female student. The student claims that she and Nate are having an affair, sending shockwaves through the close-knit community. Then the student disappears, and the police have only one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s wife, Alecia, is left wondering if she ever really knew her seemingly loving husband. Nate’s co-worker, Bridget, is determined to prove his innocence and find the missing student. But both women will have to ask themselves do they really know what Nate is capable of?

MY THOUGHTS

The Blackbird Season is the first book by Kate Moretti, which I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is brimming with drama from page one, and the story had me hooked.

Nate Winters is liked by everyone who meets him. But when a stunning accusation is made against him, it brings his world and those within it, crashing down. Questions haunt his wife, Alicia. Does she really know the man she married? Why does he follow his student’s social media accounts, is there anything sinister in that? Can his colleague, Bridget, keep quiet about what she has seen? Can she uncover the truth before it is too late?

Kate has created a gripping mystery in this book. She has a talent for creating intriguing characters who I wanted to find out more about.

What I really liked about this book is how the author examined the traits and personalities of all her main characters. I am a huge fan of books that are told from different narratives. It is a great technique for a writer to use as we get to see a character through the eyes of different people.

Each character in this book has a strong voice; if I had to pick a favourite, I would say that it would have to be Bridget. She really is the main drive of the story, and she will do whatever it takes to protect her friend.

The Blackbird Season is a really good read with hugely addictive writing; I’m sure I’ll be returning to Kate Moretti’s work in the future.

Publisher: Titan Books

Publication date: 26th September 2017

Print length: 384 pages

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