February Book Watch: Close Your Eyes – Nicci Cloke

Publication Date: 23rd Feb from Bonnier Zaffre (Hot Key Books)

Source: Netgalley

Southfield High School is oh so normal, with its good teachers, its bad, and its cliques. But despite the cliques, there’s a particular group of friends who have known each other forever and know that they can rely on each other for anything.

There’s the twins: Aisha, rebellious, kind, and just a tiny bit worried about what the hell she’s going to do once this year is over, and Vis, smart, quiet and observant. Then there’s Remy, the loudmouth, and Gemma, who’s more interested in college boys and getting into the crap club in town. And then there’s Elise: the pretty one.

But at the start of Year 11, when the group befriend the new boy, Elijah, things start to change. The group find themselves not as close as they used to be. Until one Tuesday, when the students are trapped inside the school building. And one of them has a gun.

Close Your Eyes is the story of a school shooting which, through interviews, messages and questionable actions, asks: Who is truly responsible?

I read “Close Your Eyes” in one sitting – this is not the first (nor is it likely to be the last) book I have read recently that has a school shooting at the heart of it – but this one resonated, probably due to the clever plotting and emotional core of it.

We follow a friendship group through the ups and downs of school life, of family, the deeper connections forming, all whilst knowing that things are not going to end well for everyone. I think what I liked most was the depth given to each of the characters – and how, in the end, the author brought a difficult but realistic understanding of why a tragedy unfolded. Nicci Cloke got me invested in these people, in their inner thoughts and feelings and so when things go so horribly wrong there is a real tug on the heartstrings.

It is beautifully written, cleverly obfuscated and purely character driven. It is not about shock value but about personality, events that form us, things that others casually throw out there not knowing the hurt they are causing (or sometimes knowing exactly that) Nobody in Close Your Eyes has entirely pure motives all the time, they are human beings with all their flaws, jealousies and idiosyncrasies – and sometimes that adds up to mental instability and a lashing out. Not always with violence, but this author takes on the nuances.

I thought it was very very good indeed. Because it is an easy read but also an extraordinarily hard one. Addictive and pacy at the same time as considered and intriguing.

Yes. I’d definitely recommend it.

Find out MORE

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To Purchase Close Your Eyes clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading.

The Intrusions Stav Sherez – Author Interview.

Today I am VERY happy to have the incomparable Stav Sherez answering some little questions for me all about his latest release – The Intrusions. Which I loved. You can read my review if you hit the link I’ve handily provided below but first…

So, lets kick off with a quick retrospective – this is the third outing for Carrigan and Miller a couple I love as literary characters – as an aside I’m glad no Nuns were harmed during the making of this novel – how does it work for you in the series sense – you have to keep finding new ways for them to express themselves. Do you have an arc in mind that covers future books too or is it more organic than that? They are both walking a line in “The Intrusions” for differing reasons.

Thanks, Liz – it’s lovely to know that readers are connecting with the two main characters and I’m so glad now that I held back on killing more nuns!

As to the first part of your question – yes, absolutely. The hardest thing I’ve found in writing a series is keeping it fresh, both for myself and, more importantly, for the readers. The basic structure of a police procedural means that there are a lot of scenes that necessarily have to be repeated in each book (discovery of body, briefing, autopsy, interviews etc.) I wrote the first 70 pages of The Intrusions and it wasn’t working at all; the structure felt too familiar – I was getting bored and I knew the readers would too so I started again and changed things around. I think stylistically too, in terms of sentence structure, each book differs from the others.

In terms of an arc, no, I don’t have one planned. I very rarely plan more than one chapter in advance! I also quickly realised that having a plan would tie me down and, with each book, the story and characters have taken strange paths that I could never have plotted out beforehand. There are certain themes that will appear and re-appear from book to book and certain things I want to do with the characters – but none of this is planned out. If it fits the novel I’m writing at the time, then it goes in, otherwise I shelve it in my head for a later book.

In this instalment you take a look at the impact Social Media has had on crime – both in the sense of victimology and as an investigative tool – what inspired that as a concept and do you think generally that the explosion of social media is a good or a bad thing? I guess the devil is in the details…

Real-life policing and real-life crime inspired the concept. Reading about it every day in the papers. Realising how the internet and social media have subtly altered out consciousness and reshaped our world.

The Intrusions actually started out with me wanting to write a straight serial killer thriller. About eight months in, I realised this wasn’t what I wanted to do at all and that technology, in all its forms, was creeping into every sentence of the book. It normally takes me a year of writing to work out what the book is really about (as opposed to what I think it’s about) – once that happens, everything starts to fall into place. It was also, referring back to your last question, a way to write this book differently from the previous two as the investigative procedure and tools have altered significantly.

The Internet has changed our consciousness in fundamental ways, most of which we won’t even begin to comprehend for at least a generation. It has also changed policing and crime. Murder Investigation teams are no longer reliant on shoe leather and hunches but on geeks burrowed in front of screens mining for miniscule bits of data. A lot of criminality has shifted into the virtual world. War and terrorism have shifted onto the virtual world. Our lives are lived out in two spheres now – the so-called real life and the life we have chatting with each other through the medium of screens. In The Intrusions I was interested in looking at how this new technology has permeated every part of our lives and how an older policeman like Carrigan has to suddenly climb a steep new learning curve.

On whether all this is a good or bad thing, I think, as with most things, it’s both.

There’s a line in the book that says “Like any weapon, its power lay only in the direction in which it was pointed,” and another that says “She stared at the screen, wondering whether for every benefit technology bestowed there was a corresponding evil? Or was it simply that human hearts had the gift of turning everything to their own dark slidings?” – and that’s as good an answer as I can give you. The Internet has been liberating in so many ways and awful in so many other ways.

One thing I love about your writing and plot construction is how the crime elements are really secondary to the human ones – the impact events have on the personality and true centre of all the characters we meet. Not only with the two mainstays of the series, you give just as much attention and depth to those who are in the individual story only, those we are unlikely to meet again. The dark side of human nature if you like, but also the inherent decency of most people. Where do you draw inspiration from to give them all such an authentic touch – and what fascinates you particularly about the vagaries of human nature?

I think what fascinates me most is that we are capable of utter cruelty and supreme kindness at the same time. Cruelty, horror and atrocity obsess me, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now! I have so many history books called “The Great Book of Horrible Things” or “The 100 Worst Atrocities”, and even the most benign history contains cruelties and horrors far removed from our sense of progress and fairness. It seems so distant from how most of us live our lives. Do we all have this capacity or is it only manifest in some people? These are questions of character, circumstance and morality – themes that I believe the crime novel is so much better tooled to handle than other kinds of fiction.

So by the end of “The Intrusions” there are things that both Carrigan and Miller will have to deal with – a rocky road ahead it feels like – can you speak a little about what is next? Or are you not there yet..

Well, next will be a standalone! I need to force myself to write something different and there are ideas I’ve been toying with for a couple of years that don’t fit the Carrigan and Miller mould. But yes, I have some thoughts about the next Carrigan and Miller and where it finds the two characters. Things will be very different is all I can say!

Finally I’ve been reading some really brilliant books that are out over the course of 2017 – have you yourself read anything recently that you would like to give a shout out and recommendation to?

I’ve been so busy with research reading that I have a pile of books glowering at me from the other side of the room. But of the few I have managed to read, I was very impressed by Henry Sutton’s debut under the name Harry Brett. It’s called Time to Win and is an incredibly atmospheric and gripping crime novel. For a deliciously dark and accomplished debut I recommend Joe Knox’s Sirens. I also loved Paul Auster’s mammoth 4321, his best book for two decades, the kind of old-fashioned novel that seems replete with entire worlds and that you can lose yourself in for days. I’m halfway through Erin Kelly’s He Said/She Said which I am loving. I’m a huge fan of Kelly’s work and this has some of her best writing so far. The book I’m by far most looking forward to is Steve Erickson’s Shadowbähn – Erickson is one of my favourite novelists and his new book about the Twin Towers suddenly reappearing in the middle of the South Dakota badlands with the ghost of Elvis’s dead twin living inside sounds like just my kind of novel!

Sounds just like my kind of novel too! Thanks Stav!

About the Book:

Would you even know?

Detectives Carrigan and Miller are thrust into a terrifying new world of stalking and obsession when a distressed young woman bursts into the station with a story about her friend being abducted and a man who is threatening to come back and ‘claim her next’.

Taking them from deep inside a Bayswater hostel, where backpackers and foreign students share dorms and failing dreams, to the emerging threat of online intimidation, hacking, and control, The Intrusions pursues disturbing contemporary themes and dark psychology.

Read my review of The Intrusions HERE

Follow Stav on Twitter HERE

To Purchase The Intrusions clickety click right HERE

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Happy Reading!

 

 

Her Every Fear – Peter Swanson. Blog Tour Review.

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold move after her American cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap – Boston for London.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin’s relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. so how can she trust any of the strangers she’s just met?

I loved Peter Swansons last novel so I was hugely looking forward to Her Every Fear and it did not disappoint.

I adore a good twisted plot where you are not sure how things will end up – I liked the almost claustrophobic feel of the story as Kate, getting over a trauma of her own, faces yet another in Boston but this time with no-one to help her. I read this fast, wanting to know who was doing what but the Swanson style means it is ever complex but beautifully done.

The writing is great, the story bangs along, descriptively the immersion of Kate into a different world than her own works really well. Ultimately I was not utterly surprised at the ending but once again Peter Swanson has written an intelligent, atmospheric novel with what are becoming his trade mark divisive characters.

Overall really really well done. Can’t wait to find out whats next!

Recommended.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Her Every Fear clickety click right HERE

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Happy Reading!

Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough. Author Interview.

Today I’m talking to lovely lady (and evil genius writer) Sarah Pinborough all about Behind Her Eyes, her incredible new novel, a psychological thriller with bite and, for once, an ending you genuinely won’t see coming. Its really pretty damn good you know!

So we need to talk about THAT ending without actually talking about the ending. See this is how you twist me in knots. I guess I’m interested in how it came to you – did the idea for the ending come first or suddenly come to you while you were writing the story of Louise, Adele, David et al. It is kind of a chicken and egg question…

Ha! I definitely had the ending at the start. I was sitting in a cafe (of course I mean pub) trying to come up with an idea to pitch to HarperFiction (they’d approached me to see if I’d like to write for them – OF COURSE I DID) and I was playing around with ideas about a couple and an affair, but nothing was really making it stand out. Then, just as I had almost given up, I had a proper ‘What if?’ moment and the ending was just there. I can’t imagine writing a book like Behind Her Eyes without having the ending already there and working towards it. But then, I’m a massive planner. I like the puzzle part of putting a book together. I don’t do a lot of drafts – I tend to finish, tidy and send in – because I plan in quite a lot of detail as I go. And I pretty much always have the ending in place – or at least a rough version of it – in my head when I start.

If we stick with that theme for a moment, as twist endings are kind of my favourite thing if they get me, usually I get annoyed when marketing focuses on the “huge twist you won’t see coming” because I always see them coming. Not with you. Even though I do know your writing well having been a huge fan forever, you got me good and proper. In this case the marketing is entirely justified – but generally speaking do you think it does a book any favours to promise a huge surprise that may not pay off?

I love the hashtag of #WTFthatending but I was very worried it was setting me up to fail – thankfully in the main, judging from reactions thus far, it hasn’t at all. However, I do think it can be a problem in that people are reading towards a twist rather than just enjoying the ride. Marketing wise, it’s great though, and I am really really happy with the twist in my book, and I hope readers love the rest of the book too. I have read a few though where I’ve been expecting some amazing twist and what’s occurred hasn’t surprised me at all, and I’ve had to take a step back and remember that it was still a good book, even if it didn’t do – for me at any rate – what the hype was promising. MINE DOES THOUGH. (I hope!)

Backing away from that now, even if you take away the shock factor, the rest of the novel is entirely compelling and terrifically addictive – that WTF moment is just the icing on the cake. You like to tell stories that can’t be quantified – yes Behind Her Eyes is a psychological thriller but like you do with everything you write you’ve got your own vibe going on, that elusive x-factor that makes a book stand out. Is that deliberate in some ways or just the way your creative streak works?

Hmmmm…. tricky to answer. In the main, it’s just how my brain works, and it probably would have served my career better to have picked one box to sit in and stayed in it, rather than Tiggering around genres and narrative types. With this book, however, I really wanted to write the kind of psychological thriller that I’ve been reading and enjoying recently, and something really commercial, but I did want to do something different with it. Which may make it Marmite to readers, but we shall see. I’m enjoying writing thrillers, both YA and adult at the moment.

You are a prolific reader as well as a writer – are there any novels you’ve read that are coming in 2017 that you would recommend?

I’m not that prolific but over the past year or so I’ve got back into my reading habit! I would highly recommend, ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ by Gail Honeyman, ‘Ararat’ by Christopher Golden, ‘The Forgotten Girl’ by Rio Youers, and I currently have the new Sarah Lotz to start, but it too was set on a snowy mountain and after just finishing Ararat and then Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, I needed a break before diving into a similar setting.

On a personal note, you have a new addition to your family in the form of Ted, a rescue dog who seems to have made himself utterly at home, are you loving having him around?

Most people just want me to shut up about Ted! I’m not going to lie, there were a few days when I was filled with ‘OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?’ mainly because he was terrified of other people and refused to go outside, (He’d been dumped on the streets of Romania and then got attacked and needed stitches) but he’s a little champ and is settling in fabulously, and is spoiled rotten by all my family. He’s been really good for me actually – there’s a lot less lazing around on a sofa with a dog in the house. He is totally the boss of me though;-). He’s asleep beside me on the sofa at the moment.

Finally, can you tell us anything at all about what is next for you in the writing stakes? That question I have to ask because you KNOW I suffer from chronic impatience and don’t like waiting for anything…

Ha, well I’m on the home straight of the next thriller ‘Cross Her Heart’. I should have finished it by now, but I had to write a short novel for a limited Edition press (called They Say a Girl Died Here Once) last year, and I wrote a film and I’m just finishing a ‘short’ story for an anthology that was supposed to be around 5,000 words, and is going to be about 20,000. Sigh. This is why I don’t write short stories. BUT I’m really pleased with how Cross Her Heart is coming along. Like Behind Her Eyes is very female centric – perhaps slightly more complex in some ways – and it does have a great twist. I’ve realised that my new genre is ‘books you can’t really say anything about without giving it all away.’ Not overly great for marketing;-). But my UK and US agents have read the first 30,000 words and at that point both thought it was better than BHE, and that’s all you can hope for with a next book. I want it finished and in by 7th February when I go on the US tour for Behind Her Eyes, so I can get on with the next YA thriller when I get back hopefully.

Well now I want to read it immediately but this is the life of a book addict…thanks Sarah!

About the Book:

Don’t trust this book. Don’t trust this story. Don’t trust yourself.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David’s new secretary, is drawn into their world, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far someone might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

 

Read my initial reaction to Behind her Eyes HERE and my full review HERE

Find out MORE

Follow Sarah on TWITTER

To Purchase Behind Her Eyes clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

Happy Reading!

 

 

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New Release Spotlight: Behind Her Eyes Sarah Pinborough

Don’t trust this book. Don’t trust this story. Don’t trust yourself.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David’s new secretary, is drawn into their world, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far someone might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

AT LAST you can all read Behind Her Eyes which is so brilliant in so many ways even before that incredibly wickedly evil ending that will have you wandering around in  a daze of WHY what the hell just happened. Yes you’ve all seen the hashtag if you follow social media #wtfthatending is about right.

BUT step back a moment. Lets pretend for a minute that this book didn’t have that little gem of a finale. Would it stand up against other psychological thrillers, be different, unique and all that jazz?  Yes. Yes it would. Because the story of David, Adele and Louise is utterly compelling. It is gripping from the moment you read the opening salvo. And can I just please for a moment pay as much homage to the start as I do to the finish. That opening paragraph just sucks you right in, I can almost guarantee that if you read that stood in the bookshop you’ll just want to take the book home with you and finish it. Probably in one sitting.

So outwardly we have a lot of the themes that make psychological thrillers so popular – some people all caught up in each others lives, some with nefarious intentions, forget your unreliable narrators the author has created her very own type of storyteller. I can’t think of a decent name for it but then that’s why I’m not a writer. But she has redefined this genre – I read somewhere someone called it a psychological thriller with added Pinborough – spot on that person. If you have read her before that will make perfect sense and if you have not well, I hazard a guess you will be reading more soon.

Stunningly clever characters, a twisted plot to wreak havoc with the most clever of readers, plus an addictively intelligent tale with that x factor that makes you crazily turn the pages, Behind Her Eyes will definitely be one of my books of the year. Its a book you are desperate to talk about with everyone, so much so that you feverishly beg them to read it quickly so you can be less alone with it all.

AND NOW YOU ALL CAN. I’m so jealous of those who have yet to experience it.

Get it, read it, be in on the conversation – because #wtfthatending its coming for YOU.

HIGHLY recommended. Dive in, enjoy the ride but watch out – it’ll blow your socks off.

Find out MORE

Follow Sarah on TWITTER

To Purchase Behind Her Eyes clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

 

 

Getting to Know You with T M Logan.

Today I’m getting to know T M Logan, author of the tense psychological thriller Lies. A review for this will appear soon so watch out for that – for the moment lets find out a little about the author…

 

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it..

LIES is a psychological thriller with a dark edge, a gripping, pacy read that will keep you guessing right to the end. It’s about the things that are important to all of us – love, trust, loyalty, family – but it’s also about the darker side of human nature. Betrayal, adultery, revenge and the lies that grow when obsession takes hold. It’s about a man trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not, after a single decision makes him question everything he thought he knew about his life. And he stands to lose everything – unless he can figure out where the truth lies.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in a place called Earley, near Reading in Berkshire, the youngest of three brothers. My dad was an academic and my mum – who was born and grew up in Germany – was a teacher. They still live there. My memories of childhood are happy: my brothers and I went to the local comprehensive and played together a lot, we had a camp in the back garden (really a hole in the ground covered by corrugated plastic) where we would make poison and traps and set fire to things, as small boys tend to do. In the summer we would go on holiday to Devon or Cornwall, or sometimes camping in France, visiting Germany too so we could see mum’s side of the family.

Academic or creative at school?

A bit of both. I was on the creative side of things, I liked English and history and drama, hoped to study English at university but couldn’t get in anywhere, so I switched to history.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

As a boy, I wanted to be an astronaut – I wanted to see the earth from space and be weightless (I guess I still do). But it turns out there aren’t many astronauts who are rubbish at maths and science. So I thought I’d try to be a journalist instead.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

I’ve loved creating stories for as long as I can remember. As a teenager I wrote short fiction, bad poems and really terrible song lyrics full of teenage angst. I think I knew even then that I wanted to write for a living, but didn’t have much of a clue how you were supposed to go about doing it. I kept plugging away with short stories – crime, horror and sci-fi, sometimes a mix of all three – sending them off to magazines more in hope than expectation. Then in my early 20s, I read A Simple Plan by Scott Smith, and remember thinking: One day, I hope I can write thrillers as good as this. That was a while ago…

Who are your real life heroes?

The people who work for Medicins Sans Frontieres: doctors and nurses who choose to go out to the most dangerous places on the planet, so they can use their skills to help people and save lives. Incredible bravery and dedication. The closest we have to real-life superheroes.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

A French public swimming pool in Normandy, a few years ago. We were on holiday. I got changed into my UK-style swimming shorts to go into the pool with my son, only to be admonished by the female pool attendant that our shorts were not allowed. Non, monsieur. Solution? She points to a metal cage full of the oldest, saggiest, greyest third-hand Speedos you’ve ever seen (reminiscent of the ancient PE kit at school that you have to wear if you’ve forgotten to bring your own). My son and I had to change into these briefest of saggy grey briefs – no doubt worn by dozens or hundreds before us – to be allowed out to the pool area. Then the walk of shame as I went repeatedly up and down the poolside trying (without contact lenses) to find my wife and daughter, squinting at people and praying the elastic wouldn’t fail. It had something of Mr Bean about it. My wife still laughs about it now.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

Phone a friend. My idea of DIY is copious amounts of superglue.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Sun worshipper.

A book that had you in tears.

Before I Say Goodbye by Justine Picardie. A memoir of her last months as she fought terminal cancer.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson. Nuts.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

I’m with Ferris Bueller on this: ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.’

Thank you! 

About the Book:

When Joe Lynch sees his wife going into a hotel on the way home from work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her.

He witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, little knowing it is a moment that could tear two families apart.

Just a single moment, but it’s enough to raise a question Joe has never asked in nine years of marriage: can we ever really trust those closest to us?

When a confrontation between the two men turns violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe flees. Returning later, he finds that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Lies clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

 

The Trophy Child Paula Daly – Blog Tour Review

Publication Date: 7th March from Grove (US) and Transworld (UK)

Source: Netgalley (Grove)

A doting mother or a pushy parent?

Karen Bloom expects perfection. Her son, Ewan, has been something of a disappointment and she won’t be making the same mistake again with her beloved, talented child, Bronte.

Bronte’s every waking hour will be spent at music lessons and dance classes, doing extra schoolwork and whatever it takes to excel.

But as Karen pushes Bronte to the brink, the rest of the family crumbles. Karen’s husband, Noel, is losing himself in work, and his teenage daughter from his first marriage, Verity, is becoming ever more volatile. The family is dangerously near breaking point.

Karen would know when to stop . . . wouldn’t she?

Another brilliantly insightful psychological thriller here from Paula Daly –  a one sitting read for me, with more of her trademark divisive characters and a genuinely enjoyable and thought provoking storyline.

Karen is a tiger mother – her daughter Bronte is dragged around from one activity to another, pushed to her limits and despite many people trying to tone down Karen’s incredibly forceful nature things are reaching breaking point as the rest of the family crumbles…

Of course things could not keep up that level without something giving and that is what the author explores here, this is utterly character driven and yes we have a murder and a mystery but also a sharp and intelligent look at family dynamics and loyalties. Many layers are at play here and it all makes for terribly addictive reading.

I couldn’t feel even vaguely sorry for Karen, she was just horrible, but I loved that her nature was fully explored, through meeting her parents and seeing how she treats the rest of her family, you just wanted to yell FOR GODS SAKE STOP WOMAN at her for the most part, as a reader I was totally engaged with this first page to last.

Also I want to move to the Lake District now which happens every time I read a Paula Daly novel – as yet I have not but maybe in the future. The sense of place she brings to the setting is gorgeous and despite horrible things happening to people in her tales of ordinary people caught up in ordinary lives that shatter, you still see the beauty of it.

Overall fantastic yet again. Brilliantly written with a cutting edge and a dark heart.

Highly Recommended.

You can purchase The Trophy Child HERE (UK) and HERE (US)

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Corpus – Rory Clements. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Bonnier

Source: Review Copy

1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland. In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror. Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand?

When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson…

Not usually the biggest fan of historical, me, but this was one that I actually was really keen to read and all the yays I thought it was great.

I found it to be HUGELY entertaining and the historical  background to it is actually one I know something about – yes unusual I tend to live in the present but  school- and Rory Clements really brought the sense of time and place to life in Corpus. He  has  also created a terrifically engaging character in Thomas Wilde, he will make an excellent series protagonist. Clever not caricature and I look forward to reading more.

Mixing politics and crime in an intriguing and full of flair fashion, the plot was superbly crafted, complex yet ever addictive and there is a richness to the historical detail here that really packs a punch. I do love a good atmospheric novel and Rory Clements has a terrifically sharp writing style that completely drags you in.

Mystery abounds, the political climate is rabid, social divides are explored and overall Corpus is a terrific mystery thriller which really should appeal to a wide range of readers – so if you, like me, rarely if ever read historical novels then I would happily recommend you pick this one up to give it a go.

Great stuff! Bring on the next one…

Find out MORE

To Purchase Corpus clickety click right HERE

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From the Purchased Pile: A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay

Publication Date: Available Now from Titan Books

Source: Purchased copy

The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories begin to surface and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed.

I LOVED this although you know, I hid under the duvet for a lot of it. Kind of peered out every now and then and read a bit more, hurriedly, before diving back under and contemplating whether or not I could make it to the kitchen for a cup of tea and back without dying horribly.

I survived. Just.

ANYWAY A Head Full of Ghosts is brilliantly done, razor sharp, genuinely shiver inducing but also quite frightening for other reasons that are not necessarily the loud ones. Paul Tremblay has written a supernaturally subtle and  haunting tale that screams out loud then gets you properly with the quieter moments, its all in the things that you don’t see. Just like the best horror movies, there are a lot of levels to this novel and I was engaged with every single one of them. And kept my sanity. Oh ssh…

SO Merry as a child lived in a house with a Sister, Marjory,  who was possessed by a demon. Probably. As is the way of things in our modern age a reality tv show was made about the whole affair,  following the family as it worked up to an exorcism- Merry, now an adult, looks back on this time with an ironic eye and a whole new wisdom – she tells her story and it is utterly gripping, endlessly compelling and creepy as all hell. Really genuinely great stuff.

And the ending was BOOM. I was very impressed (after I’d gotten over the traumatic “What? Why? Hang on a minute” phase that lasted a while) and it just sealed the deal for this reader. This is a damn good book.

Anyone remember that Halloween special from years ago – Ghostwatch – that had half the country semi hysterical when they thought it was all real?  Those that missed the exploding studio at the end when it became obvious to even the silliest of people that this was a hoax, were still nervous the next day. That was a genuine water cooler moment before water cooler moments were a thing, if you do remember then you will appreciate this novel for sure.

The author  builds to a climax in a tension filled, superbly intuitive narrative that hits a crescendo then brings you down a little gently before leaving you with a few things to contemplate. It is both definitive and interpretive and as such is hugely satisfactory and yep I’m a fan.

Just don’t forget – make the tea before you start and if someone could bring me a cup now I’d really really appreciate it. I’m not moving from under this duvet yet a while. It is axe and ghost  proof you know…

Highly Recommended.

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Latest Reads: Perfect Remains – Helen Fields

Publication Date: 26th January from Avon

Source: Netgalley

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Perfect Remains is basically a totally addictive utterly gripping one sitting read. It is brutal though, be warned, some of the descriptions made me peek out suspiciously from behind a cushion, a bit like when I pretend I’m brave enough to fully embrace those horror movies…

One thing I really liked about this one is that its not a traditional whodunnit or even really whydunnit its more about the psychology of the crime, in its investigative elements that trend continues, those out to solve the case are put under the microscope just as much. As the start to a new series it was done very well, I was intrigued and engaged by both Luc and Ava, especially in relation to their growing relationship, it is obvious that Helen Fields is not going to pull any punches and I shall certainly be reading on when the next one is out.

The writing is riveting and clever, drawing you in, the level of suspense is brilliantly done, ramping things up as we go, keeping that sharp, knifes edge feeling about proceedings throughout then throwing us into a heart stopping and ruthless conclusion.

Overall I really enjoyed it – if you like your crime fiction vicious yet human, razor sharp and captivating, then Perfect Remains is probably for you.

Recommended.

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