Author Archives: Thebookreviewcafe

About Thebookreviewcafe

Hi and welcome to my blog, I love reading and always have a book or my kindle on the go. I love reading crime/psychological thrillers, but I will read most genres if a book takes my fancy. If you would like me to review a book for you please send me a email, although I cannot guarantee to review a book if it has a tight deadline due to work commitments. As a new blogger I would be grateful for any hints or tips established bloggers could give me, so feel free to email me. Thanks for calling in and hope you enjoy my reviews

Torment by a Mark Tilbury #BookReview #BlogTour @MTilburyAuthor @reviewcafe

I’m back but don’t get too excited it’s a one off! I’m doing a favour for author Mark Tilbury who is relaunching his book Torment today with a brand new cover, and to celebrate I promised to re-share my review as part of the blog tour, I’m not liking the new block editor so it’s definitely a one off 🤣🤣

Book description

Beth couldn’t be happier. She is eight weeks pregnant and married to the man of her dreams. But after returning home from a celebratory meal, she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife embedded in her pillow. There are no signs of a forced entry. Nothing is stolen. And no one other than the cleaner has a key to the house.

Then a campaign of terror begins. Beth becomes increasingly paranoid as it becomes clear that someone close to the family is behind these disturbing events.

But who would want Beth dead?

Does the past hold the clue?

And can Beth find the answer before it’s too late?

Torment is a story of misplaced loyalty, revenge and sacrifice.

My review 📚📚📚📚📚 

When I pick up a book by Mark Tilbury I’m never certain what to expect, and that’s why I love this author’s books I always think ‘expect the unexpected’ and the author normally delivers. Torment is the author’s latest stand-alone psychological thriller, it’s not as dark or gritty as some of his previous books but it still made for a heart stopping read. When someone wants you dead is there anywhere to hide? For Beth Cruikshank it appears not, unless she moved to a desert Island, but then where would be the fun In that? It appears eight week pregnant Beth has a stalker, an unbalanced one at that! First she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife lodged in her pillow (enough to freak out even the most fearless amongst us) but that’s just the start. So begins a campaign of terror, that will push Beth to the edge, its obvious someone wants Beth dead, but to the who? and why? you will just have to read Torment to find out.  

Mark Tilbury is a master in creating the most loathsome characters, their complex, calculated, and unlikable, they are the type of characters that make your skin crawl, their auras are surrounded by malevolence.  Beth’s stalker is such a character and although you have no idea who it is, it’s obvious they are one sick and troubled individual. You can’t help but have some sympathy for Beth’s predicament, and sense her growing panic and fear, as the stalkers psychological torment towards Beth escalates the sense of foreboding increases. Mark Tilbury keeps the reader engaged throughout as you are never sure what the stalker has planned next for poor Beth. 

I have to admit I guessed the offender, and worked out the ‘why’ quite early on in the book, but I must apologise to the author as I thought he had gone for a much-used plot that’s been done to death (no pun intended). I really thought that meant the book would hold no surprises for me, but guess what? 

The author still managed to combine an element of surprise, with a deliciously deceptive twist in its tail. 

Torment is the type of book where paranoia flourishes, each character raises suspicion, which added tension to the overall plot. I read a lot of psychological thrillers, plenty can produce the suspense but very few give the element of surprise that I crave in a book of this genre, but Mark Tilbury managed to accomplish both. For me personally I enjoyed the second half of the book the most, it’s here the author’s vivid imagination really comes into play. I read Torment literally in two sittings (always a sign of a good read) so absorbed was I in this tale of escalating terror. Highly recommended to those who enjoy a fast-paced narrative with a good deal of tension.

Buying link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Torment-misplaced-loyalty-revenge-sacrifice-ebook/dp/B08MWNK3KN

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The book review café A final farewell

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Today I have some big news to share, in many ways this post saddens me, but it’s one that I have been thinking about writing for a while now, so please excuse the ramblings.

This year has been a particularly tough year for every one including myself, who would  have thought back in December 2019 that the coming year would bring a pandemic, lockdowns, that we would be unable to hug or see vulnerable family members, hairdressers, pubs and non essential shops would be shut for business? Not me that’s for sure!

But the last few months have taken it’s toll I’m not reading as much as I would like to, reviews are becoming harder to write, (after nearly 5 years of blogging I feel I’m repeating myself time after time), I’m hardly posting anything on my blog and  I feel I am doing a disservice to authors and publishers who have put there trust in me.

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The burning question I kept returning to over the last few months was  ‘do I still enjoy blogging?’ and I must admit the answer was a resounding ‘no’, blogging was beginning to feel like a chore rather than something I loved and enjoyed. So after much thought and consideration I have decided to give up blogging and this post will be final one.

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I’m hoping that I will now be able to read a book because I want to, no deadlines, no writing lengthy reviews or putting posts together, if I’m honest it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’m really looking forward to reading all the books that have been sat waiting patiently on my bookshelves. 

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Please don’t think I’m moaning or it’s ‘a woe is me post’ I really have loved every minute of my blogging journey, I just feel the time is right for me to hang up my blogger hat. Talking of ‘hats’ I take my hat off to all the bloggers who post every day of the week, I applaud each and everyone of you, I’m not sure people realise just how much time and effort go into running a blog, it’s a full time job in itself.     

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Before I go I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to each and everyone of my followers, believe it or not I rarely check my stats, so I was flabbergasted to see I now have over 20,000 followers, although I’m sure the only reason some people follow me is because they think I’m a real book café (sorry if you were disappointed, when you found out it was a book review site🤣🤣).

A big thank you to all my fellow bloggers you’re an amazing bunch, supportive, passionate and incredibly focused on sharing the book love, and very generous to boot.  I have lost count of the number of bloggers who attended book events and sent me copies of books that they picked up knowing they were my favourite authors a big thank you to each and everyone of you.

Thank you for all your support, shares, likes and comments, especially when I know most of you all have such busy life’s. There are so many bloggers I would like to thank individually but I’m sure I would forget someone, and it would be a hell of a long list!

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A big thank you must go to all the fabulous publishers and authors out there who have given me the opportunity to read the most amazing books, a special thank you must go to Bookouture and Orenda Books, and two very special ladies Kim Nash and Karen Sullivan who have been a huge support to me over the years, and have provided me with some of the best books I’ve had the pleasure to read.

I have been incredible lucky to have become friends with some of my favourite authors and even now when I get an email or a message from them I still get really excited, and I would like to thank each and everyone of them for allowing me to read their ‘book babies’ and trusting me to write a review. 

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Who knows in six months time I may regret my decision, but I know I can always return to the book review café, become a guest book blogger  or I could start up a brand new book blog (I have the perfect name on the back burner, just in case!).

I will continue to follow my favourite bloggers and hopefully keep up with all things bookish, as I need recommendations for books to buy, just because I’m giving up blogging it doesn’t mean I will give up my passion for buying and reading books (sorry Mr book review café if you thought that was case 🤣😂).

I will keep my Twitter and Instagram accounts open so hopefully I will interact with some of you on there and the FB book clubs I belong too. I will also continue to share some reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Instagram when the mood takes. 

So for now it’s…Farewell, keep safe and keep sharing the book love.

Lorraine x x x

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Left for Dead by Caroline Mitchell BookReview @Caroline_writes @BOTBSPUBLICITY @AmazonPub #BlogTour  #thomasandmercer

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell blog tour. This book is one of my most anticipated reads of this year. Before I share my review here’s the book description to pique your interest.

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A victim on display. A detective on the rails.

Shopping with her sister, DI Amy Winter is admiring a Valentine’s Day window display of a perfect bride encrusted in diamonds and resplendent in lace—until she notices blood oozing from the mannequin’s mouth.

This is no stunt. A post-mortem reveals the victim was left to die on her macabre throne for all to see. When a second victim is found, it emerges that both women were ‘Sugar Babes’ arranging dates with older men online—and Amy finds herself hunting an accomplished psychopath.

As she tracks down the killer, Amy’s instincts go into overdrive when the charismatic head of the agency behind the display makes no attempt to hide his fascination with her serial-killer parents. What exactly does he want from Amy? With her own world in freefall as her biological mother, Lillian Grimes, appeals her conviction, Amy pushes the boundaries of police procedure when a third ‘Sugar Babe’ disappears…Is she as much at risk as the killer’s victims?

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At long last it’s time for the third book in the DI Amy Winters series,  Left For Dead. I seem to have been waiting for what seems like forever, as this is one of my favourite crime series and also one of my most anticipated reads of the year. If you haven’t started the series yet it’s one that’s best started from the beginning as Amy has such a fascinating backstory, I promise you it will be time well spent!  If you’re not convinced perhaps knowing that the first book Truth and Lies has been optioned for TV may tempt you. Caroline Mitchell captures the reader’s attention with a picturesque scene a beautiful bride, looking magnificent in her wedding dress, elaborately posed in a shop window, in full public view. Unfortunately the scene takes a macabre turn, the blushing bride isn’t a mannequin, she’s  a murder victim! The victims murder bears similarities to a case twenty years earlier. Are they connected? Is it a copy cat killer? you will just have to buy the book to find out! 

As well as tracking down the murderer, there is a secondary plot that focuses on Amy’s personal life but  rather than distracting from the main plot it compliments it. Amy’s character is evolving as the series progresses and I really like her character, she’s forthright and to all appearances lacks the ‘team player’ gene, which is hardly surprising when you read her back story, but she has empathy for her victims, determined to get justice for them by fair means or foul. Her past is a burden that weighs heavily on Amy, and every action and reaction as a DI is carefully scrutinised by those who know her history. Amy’s past is a big draw for me and it’s one of the reasons I love this series so much, I’m sure we still have so much to learn. 

I always think an author takes a bold step when they reveal the identity of the killer from the start, as part of the enjoyment of reading a crime thriller for me is working out the ‘who dunnit’. Caroline Mitchell uses this ploy to good effect though, because you know the identity of  ‘The Love Heart Killer’,  there are chapters told from their perspective so you get a sense of their personality, but you also get a chilling insight in to the mind of one seriously depraved psychopath. You know exactly what dark thoughts they are  entertaining, and who their next victim will be, adding an element of anticipation as you wait for the killers  next move. 

Caroline Mitchell is one of my favourite authors for a very good reason, I always find her plots imaginative, she knows exactly how to grab the readers attention from the off. Left For Dead is another stellar addition to the series, it’s a fast paced read,  with a fascinating array of characters, some you will love and others will make your skin crawl. The author leaves the reader with a teaser, which has left me incredibly excited for the next book in the series. This is a series I would gladly recommend to crime junkies, the plots veer towards the dark side, which is always an attraction for me, I’m sure a psychiatrist would have something to say about that! Highly recommended 

  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (8 July 2020)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the publishers, Sarah at BOTBSPublicity and the author for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

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An international #1 and New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author, Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time, with over a million books sold.

As well as her crime series, Caroline also writes stand-alone psychological thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim reached the Amazon number 1 spot in the UK, US and Australia and won first place as best psychological thriller in the US Reader’s Favourite Awards. Her previous thriller, Witness, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Awards in New York. She has also been shortlisted for ‘Best Procedural’ in the Killer Nashville awards. Her crime thriller, Truth And Lies recently became a No.1 New York Times best seller and has been optioned for TV. Her works have been translated worldwide and her book, The Silent Twin, has been converted as an interactive app in the Chapters Interactive game.

www.Caroline-Writes.com

F: www.facebook.com/CMitchellauthor

T: www.twitter.com/caroline_writes

 

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Sign up to join her Reader’s club for access to news, updates and exclusive competitions and giveaways. http://eepurl.com/IxsTj

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Quiet Acts Of Violence by Cath Staincliffe #GuestPost @CathStainclffe

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Quiet Acts Of Violence by Cath Staincliffe. Unfortunately due to the timeframe for this tour I couldn’t fit in a review, so the author has kindly written a guest post. I’m must admit I love the sound of this book and I will be adding it to my humongous and ever growing TBR pile.

Before I share Cathy’s guest post here’s the book description…..

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Family and betrayal, injustice and poverty, the ties that bind and those that break usQuiet Acts of Violence is a crime novel for our times.

A dead baby. A missing mother. A cradle of secrets. Has the woman killed her child? Is she at risk to herself? Someone in the neighbourhood of old terraced streets has the answers. But detectives Donna Bell and Jade Bradshaw find lies and obstruction at every turn, in a community living on the edge, ground down by austerity and no hope. A place of broken dreams. Of desperation. And murder.

When a stranger crashes into Jade’s life, her past comes hurtling back, threatening to destroy her and the world she has carved out for herself.   

Donna struggles to juggle everything: work, marriage, kids. It’s a precarious balancing act, and the rug is about to be pulled from under her..

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I’ve written three detective series, the
Sal Kilkenny private eye stories, the Blue Murder books and the Scott & Bailey novelswhich act as prequels to the brilliant TV series created by Sally Wainwright and Di Taylor. In them all I’m dealing with women characters who live real, messy lives often juggling home and work in a way that reflects what life is like for so many of us. (Even if we’re not chasing killers in the day job). And now it looks like I’m writing a fresh series.

Quiet Acts of Violence sees DI Donna Bell and DC Jade Bradshaw investigating the death of a newborn baby and launching a hunt for her missing mother. It’s set in 2018 against a backdrop of austerity, and resulting poverty. Donna and Jade, are the same detective duo, who investigated a transphobic murder in The Girl in the Green Dress. But you don’t have to have read the first book to enjoy the second.

The Girl in the Green Dress was initially a standalone book, the story inspired by my experience as the parent of a transgender child, and my knowing that she was at increased risk of violence simply because of her identity. I recognised then that Donna and Jade had the potential to return and several readers asked me if I’d plans to bring them back. They wanted more. Given how much I’d enjoyed writing them, and feeling there was lots still to discover about them, it seemed increasingly like an excellent idea.

I like the contrast between them, Donna is settled, married with five kids and she’s an experienced professional who is good at her job and gifted in dealing compassionately with people in the most horrific situations. Jade is much younger, inexperienced, though her tough early life has given her street smarts. Jade can be reckless, thoughtless and as Donna observes, Jade wasn’t wired like most people. The empathy gene missing or disabled. But she needed to grasp that part of being a good detective was to be able to put yourselves in someone else’s shoes. It required the ability to hold someone’s hand and walk them over the stepping stones of truth, steadily and with care, because no matter what horrors they had witnessed or perpetrated they were human. Like you. Could Jade learn any of that? Was the capacity in there hidden beneath the surface?’

I think Jade has the potential to learn and grow. But Jade is also vulnerable, she has her own demons to fight and in Quiet Acts of Violence they pursue her with a vengeance.

I’m not sure when Donna and Jade will next return but I can tell you that The Girl in the Green Dress has been optioned for TV so with a whole heap of luck we might one day see them onscreen. Fingers crossed!

  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (2 July 2020)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Praise for Cath Staincliffe:

‘A star in the firmament of British crime fiction’ Big Issue in the North

‘Sensitive and humane’ The Guardian

‘Unique in British crime fiction: truthful, affirmative and exciting.

Planted in the real world and looking good on it’ Literary Review

‘Harrowing and humane’ Ian Rankin

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Cath Staincliffe is an awardwinning novelist, radio playwright and creator of ITV’s hit series Blue Murder. Cath’s books have been shortlisted for the CWA Best First Novel award. She was joint winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2012. Letters To My Daughter’s Killer was selected for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club on ITV3 in 2014. Cath also writes the Scott & Bailey books based on the popular ITV series. She lives with her family in Manchester.

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My thanks to Cathy Staincliffe for her guest post

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I Know The Truth by M A Comley #BlogTour @ComleyMel @BOTBSPublicity 

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the  blog tour for I know The Truth by M A Comley.

M A Comley is an author whose books I’ve always been meaning to read, so when Sarah at Book On The Bright Side was looking for bloggers to join the I Know The Truth blog tour I jumped at the chance. Before you read my review here’s the book description…..

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She escaped his clutches.

Now she hides under a new name.

For the past five years, Lucy has lived in fear of her past.

But all that changes when Matthew enters her life.

Is she able to trust another man after…

Should she listen to her head or her heart?

As she fights for her future, someone is lurking in the shadows with their own agenda.

And they will determine whether she lives or dies.

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I’m one of those readers that appreciate a strong opening chapter, it’s one of the things that determine whether a book is likely to hold my attention. M A Comley did just that with an opening that immediately piqued my curiosity! It’s obvious from the start of this book that Lucy has escaped from an abusive relationship that has left her traumatised. The author slowly reveals shocking snippets that go a long way to explaining why Lucy finds it hard to trust people and prefers to keep them at arm’s length.

When we first meet Lucy life is looking good, she’s made plans to move in with her best friend,  and then when she least expects it she meets the man of her dreams, Matthew whose handsome, kind, generous, and well off. Life is looking good for Lucy, but like any good thriller nothing is straightforward and it soon becomes apparent Lucy can run from her past, but she can’t hide from it. As you learn more about Lucy’s past, things take a worrying turn. I found myself becoming more paranoid at each turn of the page. I convinced myself that every character was hiding something, either that or they were an axe murder in heavy disguise! That’s one of the things I love about a well written psychological thriller the author’s ability to make you feel the emotions of the victim, I became paranoid, terrified, and anxious as Lucy’s story progressed.

The author has a way of drawing you into a story that I found compelling, the conversations between Lucy and her best friend Tricia, and boyfriend Matthew make you feel you’re a bystander listening in, being drawn into their story. If I had one small quibble, it’s the lengths of the chapters, they are super long, which isn’t very good when you have a weak bladder and refuse to leave a chapter midway! Thankfully, the author writes in such a way you become so immersed in the plot, each chapter flies by.

A person lurking in the shadows, strange accidents, questionable characters and a dead body ensure the tension never waivers. As Lucy and Matthews relationships deepens alarm bells started ring, was I being misled? Or was there something far more sinister at play? I’m not saying, you will just have to read I Know The Truth to find it! Although I was expecting a twist that never materialised,  I really enjoyed this book, it made for a very entertaining read with plenty of suspense and mystery.

Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited (21 Jun. 2020)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the author and Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for my ARC in exchange for an honesty and unbiased review. 

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M A Comley is a KINDLE UNLIMITED ALL-STAR author as well as being a New York Times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, she has topped the book charts on iBooks as a top 5 bestselling and reached #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. Over two and a half million copies sold world wide. She’s a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that’s when she turned her hobby into a career.

When she’s not writing crime novels as well as caring for her elderly mother, she’s either reading or going on long walks with her rescue pup Labrador, Dex.

Here is a list of her books, Cruel Justice, Impeding Justice, Final Justice, Foul Justice, Guaranteed Justice, Ultimate Justice, Virtual Justice, Hostile Justice, Tortured Justice, Rough Justice, Dubious Justice, Calculated Justice, Twisted Justice, Prime Justice, Heroic Justice, Shameful Justice, Immoral Justice and Overdue Justice. There are several novellas and short stories in the series too.

No Right To Kill, Killer Blow, The Dead Can’t Speak, Deluded and The Murder Pact in the DI Sara Ramsey series.

Her other successful series are: The DI Sally Parker thriller series, which includes WRONG PLACE, NO HIDING PLACE, COLD CASE, Deadly encounter and Lost Innocence

The DI Kayli Bright Trilogy – The Missing Children, Killer on the Run, Hidden Agenda, Murderous Betrayal and Dying Breath.

The Hero series, TORN APART, END RESULT, IN PLAIN SIGHT, DOUBLE JEOPARDY and CRIMINAL ACTIONS.

There are three books in the Intention series, Sole Intention, Grave Intention and Devious Intention.

Plus a couple of standalone novels – EVIL IN DISGUISE and FOREVER WATCHING YOU.

I’ve also penned a cozy mystery Private Investigator series – Murder at the Wedding, Murder at the Hotel and Murder by the Sea.

As well as co-authoring the Deception Series co-authored by fellow NY Times bestselling author, Linda S Prather Clever Deception, Tragic Deception and Sinful Deception.

48121CE3-27DB-4A96-A01E-211DCBF1F8C2You can follow M A Comley via:-

Twitter @Melcom1

Blog

http://melcomley.blogspot.com

Facebook

http://smarturl.it/sps7jh

Newsletter

http://smarturl.it/8jtcvv

BookBub

www.bookbub.com/authors/m-a-comley
Sarah Hardy

Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo

Twitter: @BOTBSPublicity

Facebook: Book On The Bright Side

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All Fall Down by M.J.Arlidge #Review @mjarlidge @orionbooks

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for All Fall Down, the latest book in the Detective Helen Grace series. I have followed this series since the first book and this is one series that never gets stale. Before I share my review here’s  the book description……

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“You have one hour to live.”

Those are the only words on the phone call. Then they hang up. Surely, a prank? A mistake? A wrong number? Anything but the chilling truth… That someone is watching, waiting, working to take your life in one hour.

But why?

The job of finding out falls to DI Helen Grace: a woman with a track record in hunting killers. However, this is A case where the killer seems to always be one step ahead of the police and the victims.

With no motive, no leads, no clues – nothing but pure fear – an hour can last a lifetime…

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I can’t believe I read the first book in the Detective Helen Grace series Eney Meeny way back in 2014 and now here we are at book nine! I used to read many crime series, some I lost interest in over time, others became a chore to read, but this series is one that grabs my attention every time and makes me impatient for the next book in the series. Although All Fall Down could be read as a stand-alone, but it’s worth bearing in mind like any long running series, you will have missed out on the backstories of some of the more established characters. 

Imagine receiving a phone call, and someone declares, “You have one hour to live.” Would you shrug it off? Put it down to a prank call? Or would you run for the hills and hire a bodyguard? That’s the premise for All Fall Down, once the victim gets ‘that’ call it’s all downhill from there! The big question is why? Helen and her team really have their work cut out, there are wrong turns, false leads, and a case of mistaken identity. As to the killer they are one twisted, cruel individual, and as slippery as a snake,  always staying one step ahead of the investigation team. Helen’s private life has also gets complicated, thanks to her relationship with fellow officer DS Joseph Hudson.

One of the things I really appreciated about All Fall Down is the way M.J Arlidge incorporates a book within a book, extracts from ‘One Dark Night’ are peppered throughout the book , I’m not going to reveal what the books about or how it fits into the plot, the less said the better,  as it will make your reading experience all the more thrilling. Its these chilling extracts that heighten the suspense, whilst urging  the reader onwards to unravel the connections. Short,  snappy chapters ensure the reader’s interest doesn’t waiver, and propel the story forward at a speedy pace. As you would expect from M. J. Arlidge there are some jaw dropping twists along the way. Although perhaps not as gruesome as previous books it’s a worthy addition to the series and one that made for an exciting read. 

  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (11 Jun. 2020)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the publishers for my Arc in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

Other books in the series

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The House Guest by Mark Edwards #Review

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest offering from Mark Edwards, The House Guest.

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A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

The House Guest is the chilling new psychological thriller from the three million copy bestselling author of Here to Stay and Follow You Home.

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I’m Mrs Cautious and we’ve all heard of ‘stranger danger’ perhaps the couple in The House Guest would have done well to heed this advice! When the beautiful and charismatic Eden turns up on the doorstep of the house Ruth and Adam are housesitting, they not only invite her in but encourage to her stay! Immediately all my senses went on high alert, after all having read most of Mark Edwards books which involve scary things happen to ordinary people,  I knew Eden couldn’t possibly be your ‘average house Guest’.

I must admit when I first read the book description for The House Guest  I thought the plot didn’t sound very original. I have read so many psychological thrillers that centre around the uninvited House Guest who just happen to turn out to be a psychopath! So what makes this book different? you may well be asking, in typical Mark Edwards style he adds the all important twist and turns that make his books such an unpredictable and entertaining read.

The House Guest is broken up into three parts, the first part sets the scene and introduces numerous characters to the plot, the second part moves at a much faster pace with surprising revelations and tension building moments along the way. The third part of the book brings all the threads together with some shocks along the way. I enjoy a book more if I can relate to the characters but unfortunately I didn’t feel any connection to the characters in this story, so I wasn’t invested as much in their story as I would have liked. The House Guest read more like a thriller’, and like many thrillers in this genre I found I had to suspend belief at certain points in the story. Never the less it made for an enjoyable and quick read.

  • Print Length: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (3 Jun. 2020)

Buying link:  Amazon Uk 🇬🇧    Amazon USA 🇺🇸

My thanks to the author for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

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His And Hers by Alice Feeney #BookReview @alicewriterland’s @HQstories

Today I’m sharing my review for His And Hers by Alice Feeney, a psychological thriller full of surprises and twists. Read on for my review…..

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If there are two sides to every story, someone is always lying…

Jack: Three words to describe my wife: Beautiful. Ambitious. Unforgiving. 

Anna: I only need one word to describe my husband: Liar.

When a woman is murdered in Blackdown village, newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case. Anna’s ex-husband, DCI Jack Harper, is suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation.

Someone is lying, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.

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I’m not going to beat about the bush His And Hers by Alice Feeney made for one of those ‘complete head f##k’ kind or reads! The author expertly weaves a deliciously dark, twisty tale, which shocked me to the core! No mean feat when you read as many psychological thrillers as I do. His and Hers is mainly narrated by two characters, His: DCI Jack Harper, is the lead Detective on a murder case in the village of Blackdown, it soon becomes apparent that he knows more about the victim than he is letting on. Hers: Anna Andrews, a news presenter, and  borderline alcoholic, is sent to report on the murder. She discovers that her ex husband, Jack, is the senior investigating officer and the dead woman is part of her past, a past she prefers to keep buried.

Neither character is a reliable narrator, Jack and Anna don’t even trust each other! So how the hell is the reader meant to? As the story progresses there are lots of grey areas, the characters muddy the lines between half truths and lies, making sure the reader can’t take anything they say at face value, for me this made the read much more exciting, and unpredictable, something that can sometimes be lacking in a novel of this genre. If I’m honest Anna and Jack aren’t the most likeable characters, in fact sometimes I just wanted to give Jack an almighty slap! but that said, it’s their flawed personalities that make it difficult to trust them. Normally I need to feel a connection to the characters if I’m going to relate to their story, but in this instant it no way spoilt my enjoyment of this read, and come the end I found myself warming to both Jack and Anna.

The book takes a dark and more than one disturbing turn, some turns are shocking, others misdirect the reader. I found the pacing perfect, a constant shifting of tension which reaches fever pitch for the shocking conclusion. I read a lot of psychological thrillers, so rarely do they have the element of surprise I crave, but Alice Feeney pulled the rabbit out the hat with this book, I never saw THAT coming! His And Hers is an unsettling psychological thriller, with twists and misdirection at every turn, it’s one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve had the pleasure to read this year. Highly recommended.

Publisher: HQ (28 May 2020)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

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No Escape by Casey Kelleher #BookReview @CaseyKelleher @bookouture

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of No Escape by Casey Kelleher, read on for my thoughts…..

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The one place she never wanted to go back to. The one place she can’t escape.

When she was just five years old, Lucy Murphy witnessed her mother’s brutal murder in their home on London’s notorious Griffin Estate. The case was never solved. Now a newly qualified police officer, Lucy has been given her first job: she’s going back to the Griffin Estate.

She is there to protect the estate’s vulnerable residents, including Shannon and Kian Winters, two kids struggling to deal with their alcoholic mother. Fifteen-year-old Shannon is working every spare hour to keep a roof over their heads, but thirteen-year-old Kian has fallen under the sway of gang leader Jax Priestly. And now Jax has plans for Shannon too…

As Lucy gets to know Kian and Shannon she becomes determined not to let the two teenagers become Jax’s victims. But time is running out. Jax is out of control, and the gang’s violent reprisals are escalating. Can Lucy face down her own demons in time to prevent a tragedy? As a child, she already witnessed the murder of one innocent person. It will take all her courage and training to stop another.

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Casey Kelleher is one author whose books I turn to when I’m looking for my ‘grit lit fix’ I’m a huge fan of stories that delve into the murky world of crime. For me personally this type of book has to have an engrossing story line that features violence, feuds, and family. Even better if it’s a tale of survival against the odds. Guess what? No Escape the latest book by the author has it all, and so much more to offer. No Escape is set on the notorious Griffin Estate where crime and violence are very much part of the residents every day life. The plot follows the life’s of Detective Lucy Murphy,  Fifteen-year-old Shannon and her thirteen-year-old brother Kian.

The author has created some remarkable characters. My heart went out to Shannon and Kian, the responsibilities they have forced upon them through living with an alcoholic mum, mean they’ve had to grow up fast. The lack of parental supervision means Kian is the ideal candidate to be recruited by wannabe gangster Jax and the Griffin boys. Newly qualified police officer, Lucy Murphy is another character who I warmed to, despite witnessing her mothers horrific murder at five years old, she doesn’t come across as a victim, quite the opposite, as she’s determined to make a difference to the life’s of kids like Shannon and Kian. There is also a superb supporting cast, some I grew to loathe, but there were others that pulled on the heartstrings, offering hope in the most depressing circumstances.

Casey Kelleher takes the readers into the seedy and murky world of the criminals at work on the Griffin Estate it’s not pretty, it’s violent, grubby and sometimes very disturbing, the scenes, the violence, the gangs that prey on the vulnerable residents of the estate give this book an authentic feel to the read. The author draws you into this world; you feel the fear and emotions of the residents, experience their frustrations and pain, the Estate comes alive thanks to the authors descriptive writing. I really enjoyed No Escape with its vibrant characters and gritty, authentic plot. Casey Kelleher’s writing goes from strength to strength and I’m keeping everything crossed this is the first book in a series featuring Lucy Murphy and the Estate.  Highly recommended

  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (2 Jun. 2020)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon USA 🇺🇸

My thanks to the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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The Curator by M.W. Craven #Review @MWCravenUK @BethWright26 @TheCrimeVault #TheCurator #TeamPoe #TeamTilly

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Curator by M.W. Craven the third book in the Washington Poe series, and one of my most anticipated reads of 2020.

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It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetised, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

 And nothing will ever be the same again . . ..

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Woohoo Poe and Tilly are back in one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, The Curator. This has to be one of my favourite British crime series EVER! The Curator opens with a macabre murder scene, it’s gruesome and shocking, but the perfect opening to what I think is the best book in the series so far. Don’t get me wrong each book has been a fantastic read, but the authors writing goes from strength to strength. The plot lines are a work of a genius, they lure you in and keep you gripped until the very last sentence of this compelling series.

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with their most challenging case yet, it’s one that throws up more questions than answers, more suspects than victims. Why is a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria? Why were some victims anaesthetised, while others died in appalling agony? The investigation is such a complex one, that it tests Poe and Tilly investigation skills to the limit. I could rattle on all day about the plot, but in doing so I would giveaway spoilers, so all I will say it’s a cracking plot, modern and fast paced, and seriously twisted! 

The Curator like every other book in this series is as much about the characters as the plot. The relationship between the dynamic duo Poe and Tilly is stronger than ever, their unique personalities compliment each other perfectly. Poe is complex, charismatic, whereas the wonderful Tilly is naïve, painfully honest and just as complex. The dialogue between the couple is endearing, charming and funny, but it’s these moments that add light to the darkness of the plot. They are both such fabulous depicted, compelling characters they are one of the reasons this series is a must read for me.

M. W. Craven has written another fabulous addition to this series, throughout The Curator the plot is complex, clever and engrossing, just as you think the dynamic duo have the serial killer in their grips, the author throws in a twist that propels the story in a very different direction. One of the things I enjoy the most in a crime thriller is when the author can write a story that not only keeps you engrossed but one that also keeps you constantly guessing, never revealing too much in one go to spoil the read. For me this crime series has it all brilliant  characters, exceptional writing, twisted plots, gory crime scenes, and the most evil killers. The Curator is now firmly my favourite book in the series until the next book anyway! Highly Recommend.

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (4 Jun. 2020)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon USA 🇺🇸

My thanks to the publishers and the author for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

About the author

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M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

The Puppet Show, the first in a two-book deal he signed with the Little, Brown imprint, Constable in 2017, was released to critical acclaim in hardback in 2018. It has been sold in numerous foreign territories and the production company Studio Lambert, creators of the award-winning Three Girls, have optioned it for TV. The sequel, Black Summer, follows in June 2019.

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

Website: mwcraven.com
Twitter: @MWCravenUK

 

Other books in the series