Tag Archives: Must reads 2018

**Blog tour** The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction

 

After a much needed extended break the book review cafe is back. My first review is for a crime series that just happens to be one of my favourites, so I’m over the moon to be taking part in the blog tour for The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 as I’m a huge fan of the Matilda Darke series, did it live up to my expectations? Read on for my thoughts…..

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Your life is in his hands.

In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.

There’s a killer in your house.

The Hangman waits in the darkness of your living room. As soon as you get home, he will kill you – hang you by the neck – and make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

He knows your darkest secrets.

The police are running out of time. DCI Matilda Darke is facing her worst nightmare: a serial killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice, whose campaign of violence is spreading fear throughout the city.

And he is closer than you think.

As the body count rises, Matilda is personally targeted and even her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

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OMG what a book The Hangman’s Hold turned out to be, this is one of my all time favourite crime procedure series, so I knew I was in for a thrilling read but Michael Wood has taken this brilliant series to a whole new level. It’s a shocker, brutal, dark and fabulously twisted in the best possible way. It’s not often when I finish a book I’m lost for words but I must admit I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then re-read the last few chapters just to process what I was reading.  Michael Wood is a gifted story teller and deserves high praise indeed as this is definitely the best book in the series so far.  Although this book could easily be read as a standalone I would urge you to start at the beginning just because you are missing out on a “must read” series. 

Matilda Darke is one of my favourite fictional Detectives the author has incorporated traits into her character that make her relatable to readers, as a Detective she’s confident, resourceful and determined but you also have a woman who is still grieving for her husband alongside the guilt she feels about a crime she was unable to solve, which makes her character vulnerable but at the same time far more likeable. Just as you think the author is going to bring some happiness into Matilda’s life things go down hill rapidly.  Matilda is targeted by the serial killer and things take a creepy and sinister turn, one that will make her question the loyalty of her own team.

A vigilante turned serial killer isn’t an original plot but Michael Wood puts his own unique spin on the subject and has written a story that’s gripping, fast paced with some real shockers hidden within the pages.  Now normally this type of serial killer would make me question the rights and wrongs of what they were doing, but not this one, he seems to relish what he’s doing (no spoiler here as the sex of the killer is in the book description), and there’s definitely more behind his motives but to what my lips are tightly sealed.  There are few scenes that some may find upsetting but they are paramount to the plot and aren’t to explicit. 

The Hangman’s Hold is rife with tension, the author throws in plenty of red herrings to misdirect the reader and thus maintaining the suspense to the heart stopping conclusion. I definitely can’t wait for the next book in the series after Michael Wood left a clue to the subject of the next book. In my humble opinion The Hangman’s Hold is a dark and engrossing tale that any crime thriller will enjoy. Highly recommended. 

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Hangman’s Hold the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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Paperback: 450 pages

Publisher: Killer Reads (20 Sept. 2018)

Links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US🇺🇸

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Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield.

For Reasons Unknown was Michael Wood’s debut novel, which was published in 2015. Harper Collins published the second instalment, Outside Looking In 2016 and A Room Full Of Killers in 2017 

Other books in the series

 

Link to buy further books in the series Matilda Darke series

Follow the rest of the blog tour…..

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#TruthAndLies by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_Writes #MustReads #NewCrimeSeries

 

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell. It’s the first book in the DI Amy Winter crime thriller series and what a gripping read it turned out to be. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description….

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Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

6964FDB0-E0FD-4BD0-AC03-BC0E4DF97731Every  time I see Caroline Mitchell is publishing a new book I get really excited, but when she brings out a new book that’s also the first book in a new crime series well let’s just say my excitement reaches fever pitch. Truth And Lies is the first book in the DI Amy Winter series and what a cracking start to the series it turned out to be.  There are so many police procedure crime thrillers on the market, so for me personally to commit  to a new crime series it’s got to grab me by the throat,  with an interesting protagonist, gripping story line and plenty of heart thumping moments that leave me desperate to read more and guess what? Truth And Lies ticks every box and more.  

A police officer who happens to be the daughter of a pair of notorious serial killers was sheer genius on the author’s part, not so good for Amy I must admit, especially when her mother Lillian Grimes contacts her promising to reveal the location of three of her victims, but what will she want from Amy in exchange for the truth? and what twisted game is Lillian playing? and where does a young girl going missing fit it? There were so many questions I was desperate to find the answers to.  

I have to mention what a fabulous character Lillian turned out to be, I do love a well depicted serial killer, she’s  creepy, a master of manipulation, and cold hearted to say the least! and yet I couldn’t help but be intrigued by her character, on many occasions I felt a chill settle on me as her calculated games grew more sinister. As for Amy the author has created an exciting and complex protagonist, yes she has her problems like many fictional detectives, but how many have serial killers as parents? As you learn more about Amy’s horrifying childhood you can’t help but become involved in her story,  and it’s a chilling one to say the least.  Another fascinating character was Paddy,  Amy’s work colleague and right hand man, his story? well let’s just say “there were a few surprises there”, and certainly added a mysterious element to the overall plot.   

On many occasions whilst reading about the crimes Amy’s biological parents committed  I couldn’t help but think of notorious serial killers Fred and Rose West, which made this book more horrifying. Caroline Mitchell never fails to amaze me, I love her style of writing and her characters, add to the mixture a gripping plot, and a couple of real “OMFG” moments (very devious, but loved them) Truth And Lies has “bestseller” written all over it. I’m already excited for the next book especially as the author leaves the reader with a humdinger of a teaser.  Would I recommend this book? you bet I would. If you consider yourself to be a  crime thriller lover this is one not to be missed.  

I’m giving Truth And Lies the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (30 Aug. 2018)

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To celebrate Caroline Mitchell’s Truth And Lies being her 10th book to be published she is running a FB party on Saturday 1st September if you pop by you can interact with the author and win some fab goodies link below……..

Caroline Mitchell FB Party 🎉🎈📚

 

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**Blog tour** #BeforeHerEyes by Jack Jordan @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #Must Reads2018

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I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for one of my most anticipated reads of the year Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan. If you enjoy a psychological thriller with lots of twists and a gripping story line look no further, read on for me review, but firstly the book description……

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She can’t see the killer

But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in a small, claustrophobic town, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But then she stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. 

Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

As the police begin hunting the person responsible and more victims are discovered, Naomi is forced to answer the question on which her fate hangs: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

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“Oh, what a tangled web Jack Jordan weaves when first he practice to deceive” and boy does he deceive in the best possible way, what a gripping and compelling read Before Her Eyes turned out to be,  this book rattles along like a express train, giving the reader no time to breathe. Full of misdirection and unreliable characters I can honestly say “this is definitely the authors best book yet”. Perhaps a **word of warning** from the wise (cough!) clear your schedule, lock the doors, it’s one of those books that the slightest irritation will bug the life out of you. 

What I loved about this book was it felt far more menacing than most psychological thrillers I read, partly because the protagonist Naomi is blind, this adds a creepy vibe to the whole plot as you realise the killer is hiding in “plain sight”  I felt the hairs on the back on my neck stand on end as things became far more sinister. When Naomi stumbles across a body, and knows there is someone there in the shadows watching her, her sense of fear and anxiety were palatable,  countless times I found myself holding my breath on her behalf. This turned out to be a nerve wrecking book, as the author puts Naomi in jeopardy on more than one occasion.  Before Her Eyes is fraught with tension and feels very claustrophobic thanks to the “small town, living in everyone’s pockets” setting and Naomi’s condition.  

Detective Markus Campbell is at the centre of the police investigation and he’s certainly got his work cut out with a cold case and more victims being discovered, but he’s determined to get to the truth and protect Naomi. Jack Jordan deviously keeps  the attention of the reader deliberately focused on the numerous red herrings and false motives in order to conceal the identity of the murderer, and my god he does it with confidence and flair. The author teases the reader by throwing numerous “suspects” into the ring, just when I thought I had it all worked out it and had the culprit  firmly in sight, he deviously twisted the knife (excuse the poor pun) and made me question everything I had read.  

As reviews go I’m keeping this one vague as I would hate to spoil the read for others, but I do hope this review will pique your interest enough to pick this book up. With an original premise Before Her Eyes made for a terrifying and atmospheric thriller, I literally read this book in one hugely satisfying sitting. As psychological thrillers go this is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year, I really enjoyed the element of surprise that I can find sometimes lacking in this genre.  Highly recommended.

 This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving Before Her Eyes the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page. 

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  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (16 Aug. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), and Before Her Eyes (2018). 

To find out more about Jack, enter numerous annual giveaways to win signed copies of his books, and be one of the first to hear of new book releases and news, follow him here:

Facebook: JackJordanOfficial

Twitter: @JackJordanBooks

Instagram: @JackJordan_Author

Goodreads: JackJordanOfficial

If my review hasn’t convinced you to buy this  book, you may want to check out my fellow book bloggers  reviews…..

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**Blog Blitz** #TheForgotten by Casey Kelleher @CaseyKelleher @Bookouture

 

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers on the Blog Blitz for The Forgotten by Casey Kelleher. If you love a gritty crime series then I might just have found your next book. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description…….

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The more people you love, the more you have to lose…

Nancy Byrne might be the head of the notorious Byrne crime family, but she’s determined to give her little daughter, Scarlett, the best start possible.

After the death of her beloved father, the notorious gangster Jimmy Byrne, nothing’s stopping Nancy from making money on her own terms – even if she has to combine motherhood with providing for her entire family. But with enemies at their door, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones.

But then comes the day when Scarlett goes missing, snatched by a stranger during a trip to the local park, and Nancy’s world is torn apart. Amidst the terror of losing her precious daughter, Nancy is sure of only two things. Someone has taken her daughter … and when she finds them, there’s going to be hell to pay.

Can she find Scarlett – before it’s too late? Or will Nancy’s life of crime come back to haunt her in the worst way possible. 

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Oh my what an explosive book The Forgotten turned out be, when it comes to writing hard hitting crime thrillers Casey Kelleher’s  up there with the best. Not only has she written a cracking story but she managed to incorporate all the elements I love in this type of read, a gritty storyline, dysfunctional characters, violence and treachery  all combined  together in one darkly wrapped package. I would recommend you read all three books in the series as each is a continuation of the last, but it wouldn’t be any hardship to start at the beginning as it’s such a brilliant series. 

Nancy as the head of the notorious Byrne crime family has gathered many enemies over the years, each one holds a grudge and it’s time for them to exact their revenge,  as the old adage says “revenge is a dish best served cold” and my god Nancy’s enemies are queuing up in droves to get theirs. The Byrne family are the definition of dysfunctional, each has their own secrets they would prefer to stay buried, the simmering anger between them causes tension and rather like car crash you can’t help but read on in horrified fascination, as you know things are going to get a lot worse!  

Nancy is one hell of a character ballsy, confident and doesn’t suffer fools gladly, even if their members of her own family, but now she has a daughter to protect you can actually see a chink in her armour, a softer side that wants to protect her daughter at any cost. There’s violence and swearing but that’s pretty much standard in a book that’s set around the criminal world, personally I think it gives the book an air of gritty realism. The author certainly knows how to keep the reader entertained with Nancy facing crisis after crisis I flew through the pages. The Forgotten is a story of treachery, loyalty and family ties and although these are familiar themes in the authors book, she still manages to write an exciting tale with surprises galore which make this a “must read” series for crime thriller lovers.

  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (7 Aug. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧          Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author 

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Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole. 

Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time. 

She has since published 

Rise and Fall, 

Heartless, 

Bad Blood, 

The Taken, 

The Promise, 

The Byrne Trilogy

The Betrayed (Book 1 Byrne series) 

The Broken (Book 2 Byrne series) 

and her latest The Forgotten (Book 3 Byrne series) due for published on the 7th August 2018. 

For all news and updates:

www.caseykelleher.co.uk

 

 

 

To learn more about the series or buy the authors books….Casey Kelleher Books

My thanks to Kim Nash, Noelle Holten and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Don’t forget to check out my fellow book bloggers reviews……..

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**Blog tour** #DoNoHarm by L V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the many bloggers taking part in the blog tour for Do No Harm by L V Hay, published by Orenda books,  you don’t even have to wait to get a copy, one click and it’s yours, but a **word of warning** you may want to clear your schedule before starting this one As it’s such a compelling read. Before I share my thoughts here’s the book description……..

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After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…

Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…

Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

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What a fabulous and captivating  psychological thriller Do No Harm turned out to be. Deviously plotted the L V Hay delivers a story with sustained tension, surprises, and a constant sense of impending doom, definitely my kind of read. There is nothing  I find more satisfying than reading a book that heightens my feelings of anticipation, excitement and anxiety and this is one of those rare books that managed to evoke all these feelings and more.  

Lily is looking forward to starting a new life with Sebastian, she believes she can finally shut the door on her first marriage to Maxwell, a possessive control freak, but before the ink has even had time to dry on the marriage certificate, it soon becomes apparent  someone will do anything to break the couple up. Hay drags the reader into a compelling plot that’s claustrophobic and very tense, you very much feel like a “fly on the wall” as the couples life begins to unravel, you want to jump into the pages and warn them “to trust no one”. 

Do No Harm is an unsettling tale of obsession, Lucy Hay explores the persistent disturbing preoccupation someone appears to have with the couple through occasional chapters told from their POV, it’s these chapters that make you realise how obsession can turn into something much more dangerous and chilling.  The author has created a cast of characters who can only be described as untrustworthy, and that’s the thing I loved about this book as the reader your on high alert looking for inconsistencies in the characters dialogue, constantly second guessing and trying to work out who and why someone is manipulating the couples relationship, I think every character featured as a “suspect” at some point hence my constant feelings of anxiety.  Although I did guess the “culprit” correctly I still really enjoyed this book as I was stilll left wondering WHY? and the motive behind   their increasingly disturbing behaviour.  

Do No Harm has all the ingredients I’ve come to expect in a psychological thriller and then some,  with unstable characters, steeped in mystery and suspense.  I raced through this book, it’s satisfyingly twisted and made for a compelling read.  I should mention I loved the conclusion so satisfying and yet shocking. L V Hay is definitely an author to look out for and I’m excited to see what twisted plot she comes up with in her next book.  Highly recommended. 

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Jun. 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. Lucy’s the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS for fiction as well as screenwriting. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN,  published by  Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine.

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Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #BookReview @penguinrandom @riley_sager #SummerReads

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Today I’m sharing my review for The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager another one of my most anticipated reads of the year, before I share my review here’s the book description

Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all… 

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Riley Sager is back with a cracker of a crime thriller,  I was a huge fan of his debut novel Final Girls , Last Time I Lied is intense, addictive, and such a Compelling read . I do love the way the authors books are written, they very much remind me of the 1980’s scarey  movies I was so fond of back in the day, minus the dramatic music of course! A word of **Warning** once you pick this book up prepared to drop everything else, full of misdirection and deceit it’s a book that’s nigh on impossible to put down. One thing I will say if you loved Final Girls for the horror/slasher vibe running through it, you may find The Last Time I Lied slightly disappointing as this book isn’t as dark, but never the less I still found it a really enjoyable read.

Years after Emma’s three friends went into the woods and disappeared, she returns to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale, hoping to find out what really happened to the three young girls. Oh how I absolutely adore an unreliable and troubled narrator, and boy does Emma fit the bill perfectly. Her story is one of teenage lies and mental illness, which make this book so unpredictable. Last Time I Lied is told  through past and present chapters, all I will say is the author is a master in deception, so good luck with trying to separate fact from fiction, as I didn’t even get close to working out where this tale was heading.  

Although some may consider the start to be a slow one, it’s definitely worth persevering, Riley Sager firstly sets the tone and atmosphere of the story helped along by Camp Nightingale the perfect location for a crime come horror thriller, with a cinematic narrative it feels like you are actually watching a movie rather than reading a book. With an underlying sense of menace running through its pages Last Time I Lied is definitely one to be read during day light hours. As a huge crime thriller reader there is nothing I like more satisfying than an author  taking me by surprise, now this could be an unexpected plot twist or something else entirely, and the author managed both, to the “why” or the “what” my lips are sealed. Highly recommend.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Digital (12 July 2018)

 

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧          Amazon US 🇺🇸

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**Blog blitz** #BeforeIMetHim by John Nicholl @Nicholl06 @Bloodhoundbook

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Today I’m thrilled to share my review of Before I Met Him by John Nicholl as part of the blog blitz. If you’re a fan of dark, gritty crime thrillers then look no further they don’t come much darker than this one.  I mean just look at the cover it’s enough to give you nightmares,  but what a fab cover. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description……

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Every once in a while the hunters become the hunted…
When Rebecca’s childhood abuser avoids prosecution, it sets her on a path to revenge and soon she is handing out retribution on any man who preys on the innocent.
The twenty-three-year-old poses as a child online and sets her trap, luring one predatory sex offender after another to their deaths.
When a severed head is found washed up on a windswept estuary beach, DI Gravel and his team are called in to investigate.
In what might be his toughest case yet, DI Gravel finds himself asking if vigilante justice is ever justified…
Read this chilling new psychological thriller and decide for yourself.

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John Nicholl isn’t afraid to write stories that challenge and shock, he pushes the boundaries of what we expect, if anything Before I Met Him is his most shocking and disturbing book yet. This book deals with a very tough subject child abuse, and for that reason I’m not sure this book will be to everyone’s taste, it’s definitely not one for the faint-hearted as they are some pretty detailed scenes that are grim and very violent. Rebecca’s childhood is left in shatters when her abuser escapes justice. Fast forward seventeen years and Rebecca wants her revenge what follows is a dark and very disturbing tale.

Before I Met Him is a book about vengeance and getting revenge on the worse kind of people, that commit the most abhorrent crimes. It’s very clear from John Nicholl’s writing that he is extremely knowledgeable in both police matters and child abuse, so although Before I Met Him makes for a grim read, it also unfortunately makes for a very credible one in parts. The author gives an ugly insight into the minds of the predators who carry out the most heinous crimes, as a reader you can only hope these men get “their just deserts”.

Before I Met Him is a very dark psychological thriller there no doubt about that, but it’s also fraught with tension and the sense of evil radiating from the pages is palatable. Before I Met Him shows that nothing is black and white, sometimes the lines between become blurred, what happens when the justice system fails the very people it’s there to protect? Is it ever acceptable for someone to take the law into their own hands to seek justice? these were questions I found myself thinking about as I read this book, it’s a controversial story that I’m sure will raise many a debate amongst it’s readers. This novel is definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste It’s shocking and makes for a disconcerting read, so would I recommend it? Yes but only to those with a strong disposition.

Buying links:  add links

About the author

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John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller. John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild, with a second expected in August 2018. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.

John is represented by Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.

You can find out more about John and his books at: http://www.johnnicholl.com

Links:

Facebook
 

 

You can follow the rest of the tour and see what my fellow partners in crime (excuse the pun) have to say about Before I Met Him in the tour poster below……

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**Blog tour** #NowYouSeeHer by Heidi Perks @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing #SummerReads

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Blog tour for Now You See Her by Heidi Perks, I have a feeling this is going to be one of the most talked about reads this summer. Before I share my review here’s the book description……

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She’s playing at the school fete with your children. You pull out your phone, scroll through Facebook, and look up again.

NOW YOU DON’T

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable, tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.

Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

E1F3660A-E5FA-4419-8451-16F1D13B7348Three year old Alice goes missing, hardly an original theme you might think and to some degree I would agree with you,  but then Heidi Perks comes along and turns what could have been another “run of the mill” psychological thriller into something very special. Imagine being asked to look after your best friends child and then you lose them, what would be worse losing  your own child or someone else’s? that’s pretty much the premise for Now You See Her. Friendships are tested, scrutinised And dissected, fingers of suspicion are pointed, making Now You See Her a suspense fuelled and very compelling read.  

Unusual in a book with this theme the main focus isn’t on the police investigation but centres around the two main characters Charlotte and her best friend Harriet, both flawed, with very different personalities. The author explores their unlikely friendship and as she scratches away at the surface she deftly pulls the threads of their friendship apart. I found my feelings towards both characters constantly shifting as more details about them were revealed, I found myself distrustful of both characters at different points of the story, which certainly added to my enjoyment of this book. There’s one character who deserves a mention without giving too much away, they made my skin crawl and my hackles rise,  definitely a testament to the author’s writing skills that a character could get under my skin and stir up emotions I wasn’t expecting.  

Now You See Her alternates in chapters between Charlotte and Harriet and move back and forth between events before and after Alice’s disappearance. Sometimes I can struggle with this format, but not this time this form of story telling actually made this book a more enjoyable read as I found myself constantly second guessing things. I did have a niggling feeling I knew where the plot was heading and although I guessed correctly the author still managed to surprise me on one or more occasions.  

I wouldn’t consider Now You See Her to be action packed, but like many psychological thrillers the emphasis is very much on the characters, you will find yourself doubting them, questioning their motives, and desperately turning the pages to get to the truth. With familiar themes of deception, manipulation and secrets Now You See Her is a book I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy a psychological thriller with intriguing characters. Personally I think this book is the perfect beach read,  and I can definitely see this being one of the most talked about books this summer.  

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Century (26 July 2018)

Buying links :    Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.

Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.

Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.

She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional. 

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In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

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Today I’m sharing my review for In The Dark by Cara Hunter and what a gripping crime thriller it turned out to be, read on for my thoughts, but first the book description

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of the massive bestseller CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

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Last year I read Close To Home the debut novel from Cara Hunter which I thought was a pretty amazing crime thriller.  In The Dark the second book in the DI Fawley series has made this an unmissable series. Yes it can easily be read as a standalone but because this is shaping up to be a such a gripping series it’s definitely worth starting at the beginning.  In The Dark opens with a belter of chapter, A young woman and a child are found locked in a cellar, William Harper the owner is an elderly man who  appears to be confused, and is unable to remember how they got there. Neither of the victims can speak due to trauma they suffered. Which means DI Fawley and his team start an investigation where they find themselves literally working “In The Dark” who is the woman?  how did she end up in the cellar of a quiet Oxford street? These are just some of the questions that are at the forefront of this gripping and compelling crime procedure thriller. 

Cara Hunter has a gift for writing crime books centred around police procedures, she not only tells a story in the conventional way, but adds police interviews, forensic reports, social media post and newspaper articles to make the reader feel they are right there amid the investigation sifting through the clues. This way of sharing the information gives the plot a present day feel but it also makes the whole investigation feel very credible. It’s very cleverly done in my opinion as it adds a sense of urgency to the plot, the need for answers to the why and how,  keep the reader fixated.

Creating a character whose confused to say the least, who also happens to be the main suspect was sheer genius on the author’s part. Although there is some character development of Fawley and his team, the investigation is definitely at the forefront of this book, so no time is wasted on unnecessary chapter filling, which made this book even more enjoyable to read. There is nothing more satisfying than being surprised by a book, and boy did Cara Hunter surprise me! At one point I thought the author was rehashing a well used plot in crime thrillers but when I least expected it she threw in the mother of all curve balls, it truly was a “OMFG I never seen that coming” type of moment.  Definitely one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year, with a compelling narrative, twists galore and oodles of deceit, I have a feeling In The Dark is going to be a HUGE success and one of this summers MUST reads. Highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (12 July 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧           Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #SummerMustReads @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

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I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. I’m not normally one of those readers who takes much notice of the cover of a book, but I love this cover. Read on for my thoughts about this fabulous book, but first the book description……

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Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? 

What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story … with a tragic heart. 

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Sometimes as a reader a book comes along that blows me away, it doesn’t happen very often I must say. There are books I love and books I will treasure forever and The Lion Tamer Who Lost by the superbly talented Louise Beech falls into the latter.  As far as I’m concerned Louise Beech is the “queen” of story telling, this novel was such a compelling and emotive read, and so beautifully written I’m not convinced anything I write will convey how truly wonderful this book was. When Andrew and Ben meet by chance little do they realise their meeting will irrevocably change their destinies forever.

Louise Beech has written one of the most powerful love stories I have read in a very long time, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story of love, secrets and coincidences, but at the same time it’s also an emotive and beautifully told love story, that will break the most hardened heart into a million pieces. I’m not going to waste words on regurgitating the plot, read the book description if you want, but this is a novel that no book description can do justice to the captivating and bittersweet story that lies within its pages. 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story that is superbly told, interspersed with extracts from Andrew’s book, and chapters set in the UK and on a Zimbabwe lion reserve. The author writes in such a descriptive way I could feel the heat, the smells, and the sounds of the Lion reserve, bringing scenes I could only dream about to life. For me personally it was the characters that made this such a fabulous read I’m sure Andrew and Ben will be in my thoughts for a long time to come, never have characters had such a profound effect on me, I laughed, I cried and then cried some more. Even Ben’s dad grew on me as the novel progressed despite his bigotry comments and his constant womanising. 

This is a modern day tale that tackles subjects that  many may consider to be taboo, but the author has an incredible way of writing, one that includes sensitivity and beautiful poetic prose that even the most narrow minded readers will find it difficult not to fall in love with this book and it’s characters. The Lion Tamer Who Lost made for an intense, all consuming read, and one I simply adored. 

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving The Lion Tamer Who Lost the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (15 July 2018)

Pre-Buying Links :   Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

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