Ten years ago, Jen’s cousin Meg killed herself after failing to escape an abusive relationship.
Now, Meg’s ex is back and Jen’s domestic abuse helpline has started getting frightening calls from a girl who knows things about Meg – details that only the dead girl or the man who hurt her could have known…
As Jen starts to uncover the past, someone is determined to stop her. Can she save this young woman from Meg’s fate? Or is history about to repeat itself?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Good grief! What an emotional rollercoaster ride this was. It took me several moments to recover from the devastating storyline Don’t Turn Around focused on.
Ten years ago, Meg killed herself. Her mother Ruth and cousin Jen have always believed Meg saw no other way to escape the abusive relationship she was in with her boyfriend Lewis. But lack of proof meant Lewis was never brought to justice. Now, Lewis is back in town and the helpline where Ruth and Jen work starts receiving frightening calls from a girl who knows things about Meg and is finding herself in the same situation. Can Ruth and Jen help this girl to safety before it’s too late?
This story is told through the perspectives of Ruth and Jen. Both of these characters struggle immensely with the guilt of not having seen what Meg was going through, of having been unable to see the signs and get her the help she needed. Throughout the story, you’re left to wonder if Ruth and Jen knew Meg at all as they delve into their memories of her short life. That in turn made me, as the reader, wonder about Meg as well. Was she someone who liked playing games, pulling people to her and then pushing them away again? Or was there something far more sinister going on that damaged her?
The search for the truth is not an easy one. Dealing with this new girl via the helpline has major consequences. Ruth and Jen have always vowed that the best way to deal with Meg’s loss is to make sure no other girl ever has to deal with what she dealt with. But does this determination blind them to the truth? And will they finally find out why Meg took her own life?
Amanda Brooke does an amazing job in delving into the aftermath of a loss like Meg’s for those around her. The immense struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on without her is utterly realistic and believable. Time does not heal all wounds and that’s something that’s very noticeable here. This isn’t the most comfortable storyline to read as it deals with the rather dark and disturbing topics of abuse and suicide but I feel the author tackled it brilliantly.
Don’t Turn Around is a gripping, suspenseful and emotive psychological thriller with plenty of twists and red herrings. It made me angry, it made me sad and had me completely engrossed right up until the incredibly shocking ending.
Breaking: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
Breaking: London hit, thousands feared dead
Breaking: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm
Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilization, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.
Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.
Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.
As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?
| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |
2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.
1990: Holly is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and Holly begins to realise she might just be a disposable pawn in a very sinister game.
| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |
Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.
With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.
Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish…
From dystopian to rom-com. This will be interesting. 😂
What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen! My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. Owen joins us today to play a around of Dessert Island Must-Haves but first, let’s see what the book is all about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.
When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.
Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered, one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.
As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.
Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?
Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…
My wife Christine set me this fun challenge… so I thought I’d share it with you.
Dessert Island Must Haves
You have been washed up on a desert island with no hope of rescue in the foreseeable future but before leaving the ship you have just enough time to grab 1 item from each of the following… Tell us what/who you would choose and why.
A Book – I suspect that being on a dessert island may not be all its cracked up to be, sure to be a few down days. And, as you’ve probably discovered, sand gets everywhere. With all of that going on I’m liable to need some spiritual uplifting. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho has helped me before and probably would again: a simple tale, simply told with a host of powerful messages on how to navigate the journey through life – and desert islands. Fantastic!
An Album – So many to choose from, but I’d go with something from a time when music was very important to me. I was still at school when The Beatles double album – sometimes called The White Album came out. And what an impression it made on me; great songs, too many to mention. Think I’ll put it on while I’m writing this. I remember teaching myself to play Blackbird in my lunchtime breaks and being over the moon when I got it.
A Film – Often comedy films don’t make me laugh. Having said that, probably my favourite film of all time is…As Good As It Gets. Jack Nicholson is always great but in this movie Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Junior and Greg Kinnear all give him a run for his money. The film manages to be cringe-worthy cruel, sad and laugh-out-loud funny. No wonder it won 2 Oscars. I’ve seen it a dozen times and if I see it another dozen that will be fine with me.
A fictional character – As a crime fiction writer I’m often asked who my favourite fictional character is and I always say Sherlock Holmes. However, old Sherlock would be heavy going on a desert island – out of his face on dope most of the time, because there would be no crimes to solve and he’s depressed. Then, when he gets started on his violin… couldn’t handle it. So who would I like to be there with me? No contest, Patrick Logue from the Charlie Cameron series. He would always make me laugh and if it turned out there were natives he’d soon be on first name terms. Might even keep us off the menu! Though I would have to keep my eye on him or he’d have the coconut milk out of my tea.
A luxury item – There would be plenty of time to kill so I’d take a guitar, I was always able to lose myself in music and I would maybe even discover that elusive 4th chord.
A photograph – I’d take the photograph I took of Christine a few days ago in Chania. She was looking wonderful, and I captured it.
A weapon – I’d take a machete because it could double as a tool. And if it turned out that there were natives and they weren’t friendly, they just might think twice before attacking a mad Scotsman wielding one of these – in my head I’m seeing Braveheart🤣
One useful item – I could imagine mosquito repellent just might come in handy, but I’d go for matches to keep that signal fire burning.
One food item – A big jar of curry powder for obvious reasons. Too long without a curry and I’d get withdrawal symptoms.
One drink item – Coffee, I’d definitely struggle without the bean! How could I possibly get into the day? I’d need to get used to no Stevia though; not looking forward to that.
One fun item – A football; nothing like a kick about on the beach!
I already got stuck on the first question 😂. Great answers, Owen! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this wish us!
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.
Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan.
Absolutely thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup today! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as Minister for Social Affairs, a year since the disappearance of her twelve year-old daughter. Linus Berger, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but can’t remember where he buried her dismembered corpse.
That day a young single mother is found murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen – she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, sent to investigate the crime, arrive to find a chestnut figure hanging from a playhouse nearby.
When yet another woman is murdered, and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women.
Thulin and Hess are drawn into a race against time, as the murderer is on a mission that is far from over
| MY THOUGHTS |
One year after the disappearance of her daughter, Rosa Hartung returns to work as Minister for Social Affairs. Linus Berger confessed to the daughter’s killing but can apparently not remember what he did with her body, which was never found. On that same day, a young mother is found murdered at her home. The only clue is a chestnut man figure hanging nearby. It becomes clear quite early on that the killer is on a mission but is there a connection to Rosa Hartung and if so, what is it?
Enter Thulin and Hess. Thulin, a single mum, would quite like to leave the murder division behind to focus on cyber crimes. Meanwhile Hess would just rather be somewhere else entirely. He used to work at Europol in The Hague but has been forced to return to Copenhagen under a cloud. What he wants more than anything is to return to his old job, which doesn’t exactly make this investigation a priority on his list.
If you’re one of those readers who is slightly put off by high page counts, try and put that aside. Yes, this novel is more than 500 pages long but it never felt that way to me. Apart from the cramps in my hands from holding it so tightly. This is one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read. The prologue alone sent chills down my spine and had me sitting upright and paying attention from the word “go”.
Incredibly dark and disturbing, extremely chilling, it’s one of those stories where you’re annoyed when you have to put the book down because your eyes stop cooperating. I couldn’t at all figure out who the killer was and the ultimate reveal left me spinning. But that was nothing compared to the emotions I went through when I discovered why the killer is such a damaged individual. The Chestnut Man has everything. From a fantastic setting, to intriguing characters; from gruesome murders to a rather heartbreaking backstory, it is just intensely engrossing and compelling.
Soren Sveistrup is an acclaimed scriptwriter and I felt that really showed in The Chestnut Man. There’s something about the way he sets a scene that makes it incredibly easy to see it play out right in front of your eyes, as if you were watching a film. The Chestnut Man is his debut novel and, goodness gracious me, what an absolute belter it is. If you like your crime thrillers, this needs to go onto your list right now! I have no doubt you’ll be seeing it again in my “best of” at the end of the year and I’ll be recommending it until I’m blue in the face!
Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman.
Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.
I’m kicking off the week with a stop on the blog tour for I’ll Find You by Liz Lawler. My thanks to Ellen at Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation to join. I have an extract to share with you all today but first, here is what this psychological thriller is all about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Emily Jacobs, a nurse, is in hospital for a minor operation. When she wakes in the night, woozy with anaesthetic, she sees the doctor frantically trying to resuscitate the woman in the bed next to her. In the morning, she is told that she must have had a nightmare. The bed has been empty all along . . .
When Emily returns to work she discovers a bracelet that she believes belonged to the missing woman. Soon, she becomes convinced that her colleagues at the hospital are hiding a terrible secret. What if she’s wrong? What if her own troubled past has affected her more than she knows?
But what if she’s right?
What else could they be capable of?
| EXTRACT |
Courage abandoned her as she stared into the darkness. Her legs turned to rubber, as if she’d run long and hard, and her heart thudded as she dragged in air. Her mind froze with indecision. She needed to get a grip. To just get on with it and start searching, before the porter returned and caught her there. Her week of spying on him and following and noting down times of his every movement could change. His nightly routine of hanging up his porter’s jacket in the staffroom, with keys still in the pocket, before getting into his car and driving off-site to one of three neighbouring takeaways was no guarantee he would not return any moment and catch her in the act. She needed to be quick.
She pressed her trembling hands together, attempting to squeeze away the tremors, and stiffened her legs to give them strength. It was not the fear of looking that stopped her taking this step, it was the fear of what she would find.
She reached out and patted the wall, feeling for the light switch, hearing the pings and buzz of electricity as each Perspex square on the ceiling above illuminated brightly. The noise filled her ears and in her heightened state she imagined it being heard outside the building. She listened intently, but the momentary sounds had already ceased, and she could find no more rea son to abandon her mission. The place was silent except for the sound of her own breathing.
The room – rectangular, windowless and very private – looked like a bank vault with safe deposit boxes, where clients were taken and left in privacy to open a box and store their most valuable items. The difference here was in the size of the boxes. Each was big enough to take a body. The first and last were even bigger and were used to take the largest of the cadavers. On one wall she counted twelve doors – enough fridges for twelve bodies. That meant there were twelve spaces to check, not counting those on the facing wall. If she hurried she could be out of there in minutes, have the keys back in the porter’s pocket with him none the wiser to her being there. It may only take the opening of one door to find who she was looking for…
The small terracotta floor tiles were worn and the black scuff marks told of the back-and-forth journeys of rubber-wheeled trolleys. Parked trolleys and a hydraulic lift sat at the far end of the room, the lift plugged in for battery charging. A single chair was set against a drab grey wall.
She would open doors from left to right, bottom to top so that she didn’t miss any out.
She made her way to the nearest fridge and gripped the handle. The heavy door opened with barely a sound and cold air cooled her heated face. The cadaver was zipped inside a white body bag. She held her breath, not wanting to breathe in the air of the dead, the lingering scent of hundreds of bodies that had lain here before. The temperature was set to keep bodies cool, but could not prevent rot. When she finally took a breath, she was relieved to find that all she could smell were the harsh chemicals that the fridges had been sterilised with. Her fingers trembled as she eased open the zip, relief flooding her as she saw grey, wispy hair. Inside was a featureless old man or woman with hollowed-out cheeks. She closed the bag, shut the door and moved to open the fridge above. Her eyes fixed on a bald head, noticing wrinkles and liver spots. There were simi lar bodies in the next few chambers, with more grey hair on some, whispery white patches on others, a peach-coloured afro on another, then a shock of white-blonde hair tied back with a scrap of bandage. Someone young.
Resting for a moment, she tried not to imagine a face to fit that body. She unzipped the next bag, gagged and had to cover her mouth. The head was charred black with red congealed blood that had settled like jellied lava pushing through burst skin. She banged the door shut and gulped the air, trying not to imagine the particles of dead flesh that she could be inhaling. The dead can’t hurt you, she whispered into her cupped hand. Only to discover a moment later that they could. Inside the next fridge was a tiny, cocooned shape wrapped in a white sheet. She felt an unbearable ache inside her throat. There was a pink teddy lying atop the shrouded baby. It may have been a gift from the parents, and she felt unforgivably intrusive for seeing something so private and precious.
She slumped to the floor and leaned back against the cold steel. She was torturing herself in this place. She should have requested this search in the presence of someone else; demanded that they show her the inside of every fridge, but she couldn’t run the risk of being refused or seeing the pity in their eyes as they reluctantly agreed. They would think she had lost her mind to request such a search. As far as they were concerned the patient had simply absconded and was not one of the dead lying in this mortuary.
She crawled to the last two doors and reached up to open the top one first. Hardened by what she had already seen, she unzipped the bag fast and was surprised to see the soles of feet. The underside of the toes was pure white, the arches and heels dark purple. They were young feet, smooth and unworn by time. They could be male or female, though they were small. Using the door to steady herself she stood up and felt her insides buck as she saw the painted toenails. Blue’s so much prettier, don’t you think? It shows off your tan better. With fingertips, she reached in and touched the feet. They were cold. She cried out, unable to stop herself. It could be her. A white identity band circled the left ankle, the name hidden from view. She twisted the band slowly until she saw a printed name: Jane Doe. It was the name used for an unknown, the unidentified. Her breath felt ragged. Until she saw the face, she couldn’t be sure.
The body was in the fridge but the wrong way round. She would have to pull out the tray to see the face. She gripped its rim and pulled, but it didn’t slide out. She tugged harder, but it stayed put. She stared at the sides of the tray to try and see why it was stuck but could see nothing obvious. Maybe it just needed a stronger pull. She placed a foot against the door below, leaned back and pushed hard with her foot to put her weight behind the tug, but it was hopeless. The tray refused to move. Frustrated, she stared in at the body bag, staring at the space above it. Calculating. Thinking. Maybe there was enough room for her to climb in over it. The compartment was bigger than the others, and there was a further tray slot midway up the wall, room for a second body. She would have to unzip the bag as she went along so that when she got to the end the bag would be completely open. But fear filled her. The space looked so small, a narrow icy tunnel with only darkness at the end. She would have no room to turn around. She would have to get out of the fridge feet first, slide over the uncovered body and pray she held her nerve.
Placing her knee gingerly on the tray, she positioned her self; left foot on the left side, right foot on the right side. Keeping her head low and her weight off the body, she crab crawled her way in. The air she breathed was dense and cold and it chilled her skin as it clung to her. Her thighs were already beginning to tremble as she held herself awkwardly on toes and hands, in a spread-eagled press-up. Arching her back to relieve the stress, she was startled as she felt the ceiling pressing down on her, reminding her how tiny the crawl space was. She gulped at the air, trying to quell her rising panic. She needed to use her knees to take her weight, so that she could rest on her elbows. She shook from the strain of her position and needed to get comfortable. Clumsily she moved one knee forward as the edge of the metal tray dug into the bone, before bringing the other forward to lessen the pressure. She brought her shoulders back and straightened her arms so that she was on all fours, and immediately realised her error. She was now higher, her back a solid plane fixed in position, a feeling of weight on top of her as she pressed against the roof. She had taken up all the space with her change of position and now she was stuck.
She struggled, instinctively, shaking her head like a rabid dog stuck in a hole, banging it against the steel, grunting with the effort to get free, but her hands and knees were locked and her inability to go backwards or forwards petrified her. She wheezed, a whistling sound as her airway closed, and then, spent, weak with effort, she flopped down, resting on the body beneath her. She touched the plastic bag, feeling its smoothness, its coolness, and slowly her limbs stretched out and she realised how foolish she was to have panicked. There was enough room for both her and this body.
Moving her hand beneath her, she reached down as far as her fingers could stretch, searching for the zipper. Her fingers fumbled as they touched the bag, and she felt a solid mass beneath, but no goddamn zip. Her face mashed against the plastic as she half twisted, pushing her shoulder down and straining her muscles to reach it. Please, please just give it to me, she chanted inside her head, and then let out a cry of victory as the metal piece slid between her fingers. Wasting no more energy she pulled the zipper towards her. The scratch ing of metal against plastic echoed loudly in the confined space. She stopped as she reached the neck, seeing the sud den strands of dark hair, her fingers becoming like boneless appendages as they touched its softness. Tears blurred her vision and she was thankful for the watery screen. She could view the face through a teary waterfall and climb back out of here and still not know if it was her. She could hold on to the hope that she wasn’t dead.
She blinked away the tears and let her eyes adjust to the darkness. Slowly she brought the zip all the way up to see the top of the head, and somewhere in the region of where her heart lay, she felt a stillness. An absence of a heartbeat to match the one against her. The eyes were closed, lips pulled together and skin a washed-out milky grey. She gazed at the face. Then it came. A crushing, a squeezing, a pressing feeling right inside her heart. She had found her.
‘Wake up,’ she whimpered. Then, shoving the body hard, she yelled: ‘Wake up, damn you. Stop fucking playing about!
She wrapped her arms and legs around the unyielding form, trying to make it move. ‘You’re not dead,’ she cried. ‘You’re just cold. People can be brought back to life when they’re cold. You simply have to get warm. Come on. Wake up. Please!
Shuddering with grief she huddled into the still figure, pla cing her warm face against the cold face, her tears and mucus dripping down the neck of the body she held. Her cries changed from howls to sobs to whimpers as her mind slowly absorbed reality. Her search had finally ended. She could now lie there. She would stay for ever. She would not leave her in the dark. Stay there till —
The fridge began to hum, a healthy sound to indicate it was on. The air had suddenly become colder. Solid blackness filled the space where she lay. The square of light, from where she had crawled into the space, was now gone. While she lay there someone had entered the morgue. Someone had seen the fridge open. Someone had closed the door.
I’ll Find You is available to buy in ebook format!
Liz Lawler had a 20-year career as a nurse before becoming a general manager of a five star hotel. She found it an easy transition as she used the same greeting to both patient and hotel guest ‘Good morning. did you sleep well?’
Oh, January, you’re killing me. First of all, if you could stop with the white fluffy shit or rain falling from the skies, that’d be brilliant. A girl needs some sunshine. Desperately. (Like seriously, I don’t have enough light to take pictures for Instagram. This is just not on!)
If I thought last week was making me grumpy, this week things went to a completely different level altogether. I’m not the most diplomatic of people so I kept my mouth shut and bit my tongue so much I was worried I’d lose a piece of it. It all resulted in a bit of an existential blogger crisis and words of wisdom from someone who “talked me off the ledge”, so to speak. This blogging community, for all its talk of being loving and supportive, is often anything but. And when it shows its true colours, I feel like running a mile. It’s quite sad. As if there isn’t enough drama in the world, and yet some people feel the need to create extra when there is no call for it at all.
So, time to make some changes. I don’t like most people at the best of times. It’s why I spend so much time surrounded by books. That is where my focus will be. Ignore everything and pretty much everyone else. Sounds like a good plan.
Now if WordPress could get its act together and stop deleting stuff from my posts after I’ve saved the drafts, that would be great and maybe I can finally find some Zen again!
| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |
Sadly, I’ll Find You was a DNF at 46% so I don’t feel that counts. But I’ll gladly consider the other five a major accomplishment, especially since The Chestnut Man was over 500 pages long. I’m on the blog tour for that one on Tuesday but let me tell you right, it’s an absolute corker!! And Janel and I flew through Dirty Little Secrets yesterday because it’s awesome!
| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |
Nothing. Not due to lack of trying, mind you. It seems all the books that are calling my name aren’t published yet. What you see here is my haul from last week’s virtual shopping with Janel. Fun times!
| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |
One for a blog tour, two I was invited to read. My shelf is slowly getting out of control, although I’m still hanging on to the 90-91% approval rating. Still, when they send you books, what’s girl to do? 😂
| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |
The Glass Woman courtesy of Michael Joseph for the blog tour in February. Breakers and Call Me Star Girl were sent to me by Orenda. Totally excited!
Monday : Blog tour | Extract | I’ll Find You by Liz Lawler
Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup
Wednesday : Blog tour | Guest Post | Out of the Silence by Owen Mullens Wednesday : This Week in Books
Thursday : Review | Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke
Friday : Blog tour | Guest Post | The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl
Saturday : Blog tour | Review | The Last by Hannah Jameson Saturday : Blog tour | Extract | Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz
Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up
Let the insanity of February commence! 🙄
Question of the week : Book jackets. This is a serious and obviously very deep question. When you read a book, do you take off the jacket or not? I’ve seen people mention they don’t because they want to protect the book. Now, I do take it off because I want to protect the jacket, which is ultimately what you see when you peruse my bookshelves. Thoughts? If any? 😂
That’s it for another week! Time to get my head down and fly through an enormous stack of February books to read. I may not survive this month!
Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of happy reading! xx
It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter. I have an extract to share with you all but first, here is what the book is about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.
It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…
| EXTRACT |
Anna was still staring at the photo half a minute later when her office door was thrust open and Detective Inspector Max Walker came rushing in. His face was pinched and tense and his bald head was shiny with perspiration.
He held up a sheet of paper and said, ‘We’ve got a live one, guv. Call just came in and it sounds pretty serious.’
Anna was at once alert. Even though he was still in his early thirties, Walker was one of the most experienced members of her team, and he was not prone to exaggeration.
‘There’s an ongoing incident at a nursery school in Peabody Street, Rotherhithe,’ he said. ‘Three men with guns entered the place and locked the all-female staff in a storeroom. There are four of them and one has been badly beaten.’
Anna jumped to her feet.
‘Who called it in?’
‘One of the women from inside the room. She used a phone the men didn’t know they had.’
‘Jesus. If it’s a nursery then there must be children.’
Walker nodded. ‘There are nine kids apparently, but the staff have no idea what’s happening to them because they were put into another room.’
Anna felt her chest contract as the adrenalin fizzed through her veins.
‘Have shots been fired?’ she asked.
Walker shook his head. ‘Not so far.’
‘Thank God for that.’ She grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair. ‘We’d better get over there fast.’
Minutes later they were in an unmarked pool car that was among dozens of police vehicles from all over South London converging on the Peabody Nursery School in Rotherhithe. Walker was driving while Anna concentrated on the constant stream of updates over the radio.
Yikes! If this extract has left you wanting more, In Safe Hands is now available to buy!
J. P. Carter is the pseudonym of a bestselling author who has also written sixteen books under the names Jaime and James Raven.
Before becoming a full-time writer he spent a career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and television producer. He was, for a number of years, director of a major UK news division and co-owned a TV production company. He now splits his time between homes in Hampshire and Spain with his wife. (
Absolutely thrilled to join the blog tour A Promise To The Dead by Victoria Jenkins today! My thanks to Team Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
On a dark night, on a mountain road, a young couple, Matthew and Stacey, are on their way home from a night out. Their car breaks down and Matthew leaves to look for help. By the next morning, Stacey is found murdered in the car and Matthew is missing, presumed guilty of her murder.
Called to the scene, Detective Alex King and her team soon see some terrifying links – to another local young man who is missing, and to the discovery of a body from 30 years ago.
Alex knows that the missing and the dead have a story to tell her. But will she hear it in time to uncover the killer before they strike again?
| MY THOUGHTS |
Matthew and his girlfriend Stacey are driving along a dark and quiet mountain road when their car breaks down. Matthew goes to find help, leaving Stacey alone in the car. But by the next morning, Stacey is dead and Matthew is nowhere to be found.
But that is not all and the team is overwhelmed with various cases landing on their desks all at once. Because on top of Stacey’s murder and Matthew’s disappearance, there is another missing person and the discovery of a body under a patio. There are few clues, a bit of frustration and lots of dead-ends. I too couldn’t see the forest for the trees and Victoria Jenkins managed to keep me guessing until the end, as always. As I’ve come to expect, there is some seriously heartbreaking stuff in this storyline, which left me with a massive lump in my throat. True to form, Victoria Jenkins manages to to make the reader sympathise with just about every character you meet, and that includes the ones who are committing a crime.
A Promise to the Dead had me hooked from the first page. It had me flipping the pages faster and faster, sitting on the edge of my seat with my heartbeat racing from the nail-biting tension. This is yet another insanely addictive page-turner with various layers and threads that have no problem whatsoever holding your attention throughout.
Back when I picked up the first book in the Detectives King & Lane series, The Girls in the Water, I just knew I was in for something special. There was something about Victoria Jenkins’ writing, the incredible plotting and the absolutely fantastic main female characters that got my pulse racing. Every book since then just got better and better and now here we are, at what looks like it might be the last one. For now, at least.
If this is to be the end, what a way to go. I’ll miss Alex and Chloë but this entire series has been the most incredible ride and I’m thrilled to have been a part of it from the very beginning. I absolutely love this series and no matter what Victoria Jenkins tackles next, I’ll be first in line!
Victoria Jenkins is a Welsh author who has made a name for herself writing the highly popular Detective King and Lane series of novels. The first novel in the series was “The Girls In The Water” that Jenkins first published in 2017, to much critical acclaim and popularity among crime fiction fans. The series of novels features Detective Constable Chloe Lane and Detective Inspector Alex King, who are the lead investigative characters that solve some mysterious murders in their hometown.
Jenkins lives with her husband and daughter in South Wales, where her series of crime novels featuring Detectives King and Lane is based.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Woman Inside by E.G. Scott. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the opportunity and to the publisher for my review copy!
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Rebecca didn’t know love was possible until she met Paul, a successful, charismatic, married man with a past as dark as her own. Their pain drew them together with an irresistible magnetism; they sensed that they were each other’s ideal (and perhaps only) match.
But twenty years later, Paul and Rebecca are drowning as the damage and secrets that ignited their love begin to consume their marriage. Paul is cheating on Rebecca, and his affair gets messy fast. His mistress is stalking them with growing audacity when Rebecca discovers Paul’s elaborate plan to build a new life without her. And though Rebecca is spiraling into an opiate addiction, it doesn’t stop her from coming up with a devious plot of her own, and this one could end absolutely everything.
| MY THOUGHTS |
If you suffer from major trust issues, step away now! Good grief! It is impossible to know who to believe or trust in this story, and quite frankly you may never believe or trust anyone ever again!
Things kick off with a most intriguing prologue. And then we have the pleasure, or displeasure, of meeting Rebecca and Paul. These two have been married for two decades but the cracks are starting to show. Paul is cheating and Rebecca has an addiction to pretty much anything that comes in pill-sized shapes. For years, they’ve been putting away money in order to build their dream home. But when Rebecca finds out all their savings have disappeared, well, let’s just say Paul had better watch out.
It took me a while to figure out what on earth was going on but the chapters were so intensely gripping that I just had to keep reading. Told mostly from the perspective of both Paul and Rebecca, the reader gets a really good insight into their marriage. These are not exactly your likeable characters. They are both incredibly flawed and there’s a lot going on with both of them. From infidelity, lies and deceit to addiction, it’s quite frankly a miracle this marriage made it to the twenty-year mark.
Because of Rebecca’s addiction to pills, it’s impossible to determine if she’s a reliable narrator. Is she suffering from hallucinations or paranoia? Or are the things she believes that are happening actually happening? This is where most of the tension comes from. Added to that is Paul’s latest mistress who can’t seem to take “no” for an answer and entertainment provided by two detectives investigating the disappearance of a woman. These two may just need a spin-off.
I was never quite sure how things would pan out but I thoroughly enjoyed the satisfying conclusion of Paul and Rebecca’s storyline. The Woman Inside takes dysfunctional to a whole other level and with plenty of twists and turns, this will leave you guessing until the end.
E. G. Scott is a pseudonym for two writers, who have been friends for over twenty-years, and have been writing plays, screenplays, and short stories separately since they were kids. They’ve collaborated on multiple projects from the beginning of their friendship, but “The Woman Inside” is their first published work together. This book came out of their shared love of thrillers and noir and wanting to collaborate on a novel for a long time. They are currently working on their next thriller.
They left four children safe upstairs. They came back to three.
On the fifth floor of the White Caps Hotel, four young boys are left alone while their parents dine downstairs.
But when one of the parents checks on the children at midnight, they discover one of them is missing.
The boys swear they stayed in their room. CCTV confirms that none of them left the building. No trace of the child is found.
Now the hunt is on to find him, before it’s too late – and before the search for a boy becomes a search for a body…
| MY THOUGHTS |
Gone By Midnight is the third instalment in the Crimson Lake series, a fact I was unaware of when I picked this one up to read. Now, luckily, this reads perfectly well as a stand-alone but I already know I’ll be making time to read the previous two as well because I can’t for the life of me figure out how these evaded my radar.
The premise of the story reminded me somewhat of the McCann investigation. Four eight year old boys are left alone in a hotel room while their parents go out to dinner. But when one of the parents returns to check on them, one of the boys has gone missing. The remaining three boys swear to high heaven that they never left the room and CCTV confirms none of them left the building. So surely the missing boy must be in the hotel somewhere but there is no trace of him.
This is the start of an amazingly intricate and complex investigation. Eight year old boys don’t exactly make great and reliable witnesses. For the longest time, I thought I knew exactly what had happened but I was proven wrong. I do so love it when an author manages to lead me in the wrong direction. Gone by Midnight is super tense, insanely addictive and has an incredibly delicious sting in its tail. Let’s not forget the amazing Australian setting.
I must say that while the search for the missing boy is intensely gripping, it’s the characters that really drew me into this story. Especially, Ted and Amanda. These two work together as a sort of private detective team but their backgrounds are utterly fascinating. I won’t be telling you what those are because I feel you need to find that out for yourself and to get a better picture of them, I recommend you start with the first book in the series. Now, I know I said at the start this can be perfectly well read as a stand-alone and that is still the case. You get plenty of background information so you don’t feel like you’ve missed out on anything. Yet, it’s also so immensely intriguing that the urge to go back and read the previous books to get the full picture is pretty hard to resist.
I honestly can’t believe this is the first time I’ve read a book by Candice Fox. Gone By Midnight had me hooked from start to finish and was just a fabulous treat.