Ones to Watch in 2017 – The Intrusions. Stav Sherez

31426837

Publication Date: January 2017 from Faber

Source: Review Copy

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.

The Intrusions is a joy to read even through the fear (switches computer off, deletes all social media never uses a credit card again fear) because as usual for this particular author it is so beautifully written both in style and substance that the world just goes away.

I’ve loved all the books but I am particularly fond of the Carrigan and Miller series because of the beautifully flawed, memorable characters – and I’m not just talking about the main pair here – the gritty yet gorgeous realism ingrained into the storytelling and the fascinating, socially relevant subject matters covered. In the case of The Intrusions my eyes were opened to many many things and this one kept me up at night. Is still keeping me up at night. Will probably keep me up at night for a while.

Its not always about the crime when you read a crime book – not with the good ones anyway and oh boy is this a good one – but often about what lies beneath the crime – within the people, victims and others, a kind of peeling back of the layers of humanity, something which Stav Sherez does all too well. Razor sharp and brilliantly insightful, The Intrusions will take you to the dark side, a place that is sadly all too real.

The plot twists unexpectedly without having to shout about it, the characters who we know progress down an ever more challenging path, the ending is subtle but stunning in its impact and the entire thing is just a little bit epic. That was my smallest childs word by the way – I asked him how he would describe something that he thought was one of the best things ever  – his answer, “that was epic”

The Intrusions

That was epic…

Follow Stav on Twitter HERE

To Purchase The Intrusions clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

31426837

 

 

Ones to Watch in 2017: Sirens – Joseph Knox

 

41ebgtjnxrl-_sx325_bo1204203200_

Publication Date: January 2017 from Transworld.

Source: Proof copy

The runaway daughter of a dirty politician.
The unsolved disappearance of a young mother.
The crime lord who knows the city’s secrets.
The disgraced detective on the edge of it all.

Many questions. Not many answers. Not yet.

Ok so I’ve been sat here for a while having no earthly idea what to say about Sirens that could possibly get across how emotionally traumatised I am right now having been put through the wringer by debut author Joseph Knox – with whom I shall be having words. Serious words. Here we are (at time of writing) gone 11pm on a Sunday night and I seriously doubt I’ll be sleeping anytime soon. Someone for the love of everything send me all the ice cream…

I can’t remember the last time I read a crime novel that was quite definitively a crime novel but at no point felt like one to me -from the opening salvo until I finally put it down my life was irrevocably linked to the lives of the characters that live within the pages, to Manchester where they reside and to the story unfolding before me. The writing is stunningly immersive, dark yet beautiful, violently gripping and the emotional resonance does not let up for a single second.

The whole thing will haunt me, I just know it will – you always know when those books come along, the ones that stay with you, this one will do that. If you are going to ask me why then the answer is no idea.

Possibly it lies with Detective Aiden Waits who outwardly is your usual damaged detective but don’t let the blurb fool you, there is nothing standard about this character. Just wait. Yes I did that.

Possibly it is the Sirens of the title – the girls who live a dangerous and knifes edge life within the drug trade – it might even be the dangerous men at the heart of THEM – maybe just maybe its the city. The living city which breathes around them.

Take your pick.

The plotting is taut and authentic, nothing is unlikely, everything is horribly gorgeously realistic but the writing talent comes often in the sparsity of prose used to create a mental image. With a few sentences Joseph Knox creates a whole world of emotion, often less is more – he hits you right in the gut dammit, not just occasionally with a twist or a turn but every blinking moment. There were times during the reading of it that I literally forgot to breathe and had to take a sudden gulp. Look now I’m back in it, where is that darned ice cream already…

For those of you reading this who know me just think back to the last few books I’ve been fanatical about and accept your fate – you WILL be reading Sirens whether you like it or not. YOU WILL THANK ME I PROMISE because…

Sirens is intense, twisted, gorgeous and heart breaking on so many levels that I cannot even begin to speak to them here.

HIGHLY Recommended.

Follow Joseph Knox on Twitter  HERE

Order “Sirens” by clickety clicking right HERE

Happy Reading!

41ebgtjnxrl-_sx325_bo1204203200_

 

 

 

 

The Last Days of Jack Sparks. You can run but you can’t hide.. (2016 Spotlight)

28765598

Publication Date : 28th July from Orbit (available now on Kindle)

Source: Review copy. And netgalley. Jack REALLY wanted me to read this book. From beyond the grave he insisted.

Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.

In 2014, Jack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances.

To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours.

Warning: It is entirely possible that while reading Jack Sparks you’ll metaphorically die of laughter. Or of fright. Or possibly a mixture of both. But it’ll be worth it. Also keep lots of coffee handy coz this one will keep you up all night. And I am talking AFTER you have read it..

Anyway to the point, I loved this. I read it in a day. Not even a day. A matter of hours. It is utterly gripping and darkly witty to the point that you will laugh out loud and scare anyone in your general vicinity but thats fine because whilst you are scaring THEM Jason Arnopp will be scaring YOU. Quietly and without warning. The Last Days of Jack Sparks creeps up on you. One minute you are giggling at Jack’s anecdotal witticisms then you suddenly realise its very quiet where you are right now…and what was that noise? Hang on it IS daylight right? (At this point switch all the lights on just in case it gets dark while you are busy being absorbed into this horrifically addictive world – don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning)

Reading this book is akin to being insanely tickled then randomly hit on the head with a blunt object. Repeatedly. One then the other. Over and over until you emerge, blinking, back into reality. This is reality right?

Yep thats how it gets you.

So the thing is you get a lot of bang for your buck with this story. Supernatural shenanigans. Many many surprises. A lot of laughs. Chapter six-six-six just made me giggle. That just before I was hit with another creepily insane moment. Descriptively this is gorgeous, the characters are vividly alive, even the dead ones, it rocks along to THE most terrifically and horrifically imaginative conclusion and whilst you know things are not going to turn out well for Jack the author still manages to keep you on a knifes edge. I’m actually *really* happy I don’t live inside Mr Arnopp’s head right now.

Or perhaps I do.

Perhaps we all do.

Gulp.

No no…don’t look behind you. Or down there. OR up there. Just be very still. All may still be well.

Creepily, stealthily, hilariously, inventively brilliant.

Highly Recommended.

I would absolutely NOT go and find out more here (oh go on then…)

Or follow the author on Twitter here ( perhaps you’d better, might be safer)

If you are brave (and very savvy ) you can purchase Jack’s story HERE

Happy Reading!

28765598

 

 

 

 

2016 Spotlight: The City of Mirrors Justin Cronin. Its Time….

12379094

Publication Date 16th June 2016 from Orion

Source: Netgalley. Also I have the hardback on order ready to complete the collection. One of my most anticipated novels ever.

“The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?”
The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.
But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy, humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.
One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

City of Mirrors is going to be an incredibly hard book to review with any sense of professionalism, such was its impact and indeed the impact of this entire trilogy on me as a reader. I have loved every moment of it, the writing is truly sublime, the epic and sprawling story utterly convincing and completely addictive every step of the way and probably the most important thing to say is that if you are a fan and have been worried that Justin Cronin could not POSSIBLY pull off a perfect and killer ending then fear not. The man is a genius.

And he made me cry. I was traumatised at the end of this novel, some of it because of what happens which I’m not going to tell you a THING about – sorry, no spoilers here, nothing even close to it. Some of it because now its all over what the HECK am I going to do without those characters in my life and some of it just because I’d been in a little bubble of elsewhere during the entire read and coming up for air was something of a shell shock. Trauma I tell you! Book trauma of the best kind. These are the reads we live for.

Lets go back a little…because Something is coming...

2776789

Ok so maybe on a slightly more practical note we’ll see how we go – The Passage was my read of the year in its year – echoes of King when he plots to perfection, a pre apocalyptic post apocalyptic magnum opus in the making, with characters that take up residence inside your head and linger there and a truly magnificent piece of storytelling that was fascinating, horrifying, so strangely possible in a lot of ways that it was scary as all hell. But also beautiful, intriguing, extraordinarily clever and a book that rewarded readers in surprising and unexpected ways. The Passage on its own was epic. A truly  remarkable achievement.

Then….Fear the dark…

13078298

We moved onto “The Twelve”. Now I think its fair to say that some readers who loved The Passage had issues with The Twelve. Not everyone loved it. Some didn’t think it was as good. I had endless discussions with other readers of this trilogy about how The Twelve took us away from the Passage rather than moving it on, changed things too much – but for me it worked on every level. I could kind of see what the author was up to, the middle novel, the one that is often the “lesser” for me in this case was more than. Much more than.To my mind The Twelve had a gorgeous sense of anticipation to it. That is the best way I can put it. Again, no real detail. You must, simply MUST read these for yourself.  Also in defence of The Twelve, to those who were not sure of it, I think that if you reread it in its place, after The Passage, before City of Mirrors it will take on an entirely different sense and an entirely different vibe. I refer you back to Justin Cronin being a genius.

Now…Its time.

12379094

And here we are now then. Its time. The City of Mirrors completes this story, we will have to say goodbye to Amy and Sarah and Peter and Alicia and oh all of them too many to mention, including every one of The Twelve,those stunningly layered and well drawn characters who have captured our imagination, made us root for them, had us holding our breath, or hiding under the duvet or upon reading a particuarly thrilling moment clutching our heads in dismay and concern. The relationships created and lost, the world they live in an ever changing landscape, so intimately imagined you live there with them, time lost, time gained, the whole wonderful, creative, genuinely absorbing, intensely insane reading MADNESS of it, it is done.

And done in such a way that you will absolutely never forget it. This trilogy I will read again, start to finish, many times. Many many times. Justin Cronin has taken hold of my reading soul and won’t let go easily. And at the end of City of Mirrors I realised that even if I read it all 20 times I’m still going to find little nuances, little bits of foreshadowing little moments that I missed in the sheer joy of reading it, this is a trilogy that itself will be an ever changing landscape upon revisiting it.

Be prepared. Expect the unexpected. It will still surprise you. Everything you have read before within this story you will look at very differently when you have finished City of Mirrors. I cannot imagine that it could be better. We had to wait for this and trust me trust me it was worth every MOMENT of that wait. Every chronically impatient moment of it. Ok so I havent been that practical. I can’t tell you about the technical stuff, I CERTAINLY can’t break down the plot and tell you what works and what doesnt and why it should do this and where it falters because for ME it never faltered. Not for one moment. I LIVED it. And Died in it. Then lived in it once more.  Every page. Every word.

That is what reading is about. Isnt it?

Do I need to say Highly Recommended? Pfft. You know the score. Justin Cronin I thank you.

And as for Amy, the Girl from Nowhere – I have no words.

Find out more HERE.

Follow the author on Twitter here:

To purchase the trilogy clickety click right HERE

Happy Traumatic Reading to you all!

27767891307829812379094

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Spotlight: The Constant Soldier by William Ryan. Books for my soul.

416hB6-rgfL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

Publication Date: 25th August 2016 from Mantle.

Source: Review Copy

The pain woke him up. He was grateful for it. The train had stopped and somewhere, up above them, the drone of aircraft engines filled the night sky. He could almost remember her smile . . . It must be the morphine . . . He had managed not to think about her for months now.

1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut – a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who – against all odds – have so far survived the war.

When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her.

But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. And while hope – for Brandt and the female prisoners – grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever.

And, in a forest to the east, a young female Soviet tank driver awaits her orders to advance . .

Well. In that rather random way that I write reviews by just thinking out loud I’m a little lost for words on The Constant Soldier (hang in there that’ll last all of five minutes I’m not a quiet person) To be fair the gorgeous Sophie Goodfellow did warn me by using the shorthand method of just sending me the book without checking the current status of my reading frenzy first, she only does that when she knows and has never been wrong.

I loved it. I did shed actual tears several times, felt it to my core and eeked out the reading of it so I wouldnt have to leave it behind me, now I’m feeling slightly bereft. I’m probably going to watch tv for the rest of the day because I wouldn’t envy whoever I read next. They’ve got something to live up to.

William Ryan writes with a simple, elegant and utterly poetic style that just immerses you totally into the reading experience of it. Character study, setting, plot, everything working on every level, that is the bottom line. If that wasnt enough he’s telling a fictional story here with its basis very firmly in fact and taking you back to a time of war, a world in turmoil, men and women living on the edge of reason and he makes it all so real and in the moment and so completely present that you could almost imagine it was happening around you right now. That is not technical writing skill that is creative genuis right there.  I’m not sure if this is new for this writer but I’m about to find out as I just bought the entire back catalogue. YES its one of those (sorry everyone who blames me for their extreme book buying)

The story itself is emotive, thought provoking and completely engaging first page to last, I suffered huge amounts of book trauma (the good kind) a fair bit of fingernail biting and all the rest. The plot is taut and authentic, the descriptive prose practically flawless – if you are an emotionally charged reader like me you are just going to devour this and if you are of the more practical head screwed on variety the very least that will happen is you will appreciate the skill. Although I dare anyone to come away from The Constant Soldier without at least one pure emotional sense running through them, whatever that may be. Me I’m slightly dazed but not at all confused about what is coming next and that is me driving everyone I know completely nuts about this book. Sorry (not sorry)

Reminding me in sense although they are both unique, of  another darned book trauma causing writer I have recently been shouting about everywhere, I’m hoping to put the two of them together for a feature on release (hence this early review) so watch this space. I may need to bake a cake first (just say yes guys, you don’t want the cake trust me)

If you want a more considered, focused review that takes apart the plot and tells you all about it in that way or tells you about all the characters and things that happen you’ll have to wait for the next reviewer (although there are parts of the novel I’d like to quote verbatim just so I can go LOOK LOOK especially with relation to the father/son relationship in the story here, so so gut wrenching at times)  –  because for me this was about the heart  of it, I knew that after the first couple of pages, it was going to be a book for my soul. So for that reason I give it a Highly Recommended tag as if that was even close to being enough. It may not be officially out until August but don’t worry I’m not going to let you forget.

And you could find out more about things here

Or follow Mr Ryan as he hovers around Twitter somewhere here

To Order “The Constant Soldier” clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

416hB6-rgfL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Spotlight: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. A YAY book!

2785009225733990

Publication Date: 21st April 2016 from Penguin (Michael Joseph) UK and Del Rey (US)

Source: Netgalley (UK)

A girl named Rose is riding her bike home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Ha! Sleeping Giants is quite simply brilliant.

Scoring a 10 on my chocolate scale, which means it is right at the top when it comes to addictive quality, Sleeping Giants is a dream of a novel involving weird artifacts, a cast of extraordinary characters and a tendency to make me snort tea out through my nose during the more humerous asides.

This is science fiction/fantasy at its best, a rollercoaster reading ride which once started is impossible to put down – I read it in one huge gulp of a sitting, sometimes on the edge of my seat, laughing out loud more than once, at the end I felt like I’d just watched a masterful performance at the theatre and a distinct urge to get up and applaud came over me.

Talking more practically, the construction is superb – using a series of interviews conducted by an unknown shadowy figure (who by the end of the novel I adored with a fiery passion) we meet a team of people assigned to discover the truth behind a giant metallic hand that emerged from the earth some years before. One of the scientists is Rose, there at the beginning, now fully responsible for the project, the more she discovers the more gripped you will be. The cast is a group dynamic, brilliantly drawn, held together by our interviewer, and seriously the eye Sylvain Neuvel has for character study is truly superb and gosh can this author weave one heck of a tale.

I was truly blown away by this one. Like The Martian it had it all – an ingrained and ironic sense of humour, enough edge of the seat moments to keep the adrenalin pumping, a clever and highly imaginative central plot and some nerdtastic science elements that managed to never get repetitive or dull. The ending was SO perfectly placed I simply cannot wait to see what happens next.

Ace. I do like an ace book. This one was about as ace as it is possible to get with this type of story and quite possibly the most fun you’ll have with a book this year.

Highly Recommended.

Find out more here:

Follow the Author on Twitter here:

 You can purchase Sleeping Giants by clickety clicking right HERE

 

 

As an early reader I received this brilliant memento and I’d like to say no no, Thank YOU. Made my reading day Mr Neuvel. Good books are made this.

13001079_10207800244296561_1471406942114670548_n

Happy Reading Folks!

 

2016 Spotlight: Fellside by M R Carey

cover82407-medium

Publication Date: 7th April 2016 from Little Brown (Orbit)

Source: Netgalley

Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It’s a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Fellside then. One of my most anticipated for 2016, even given that Mr Carey had the probably intense pressure of following up his incredible previous novel “The Girl with All The Gifts” a book I still throw at people now, so madly did I feel that one at a time I needed a reminder of why I read. My review for that can be found HERE.

So did Fellside live up to my hope and expectation? Oh yes and then some but I would caution that the two novels are entirely different entities when it comes to the storytelling. Both brilliant in their own way, but completely in their own way – if someone said “but which did you like better” it would be like asking me which of my children I love more. Impossible to answer. Well apart from one of said children made me toast this morning so at the moment…

Fellside is a novel you should go into cold – like The Girl with All the Gifts the more you know about it the less you will feel it -for that reason I will speak about plot as little as possible – but from the opening page it is peculiarly haunting, beautifully constructed and embeds itself into the darker recesses of the mind so you think about it at odd moments of the day. To me this was a sign that I was both going to adore it and have to endure a certain amount of book trauma at the end – and that turned out to be absolutely true.

Jess Moulson is a character to die for, undeniably conflicted, following an unknowable path to very dark places, you are with her all the way – and honestly that is the least of it, the author has a real talent for group dynamic within a story and setting this one in a prison, an eerie place and a character in its own right, just added more atmospheric layers into an already desolate landscape. You never know what might be just around the corner, often I was not sure I wanted to find out but kept going anyway unable to stop.

Blurring the lines between light and dark, good and evil, creating a mythology that lingers in the mind, Fellside is not one thing but many – a novel I shall return to as I’m sure I missed some nuances, but also the descriptive language in parts is so beautifully perfect you just want to read the words again for the sheer pleasure of it. If like me you like to be challenged and emotionally disturbed by a novel then Fellside and indeed The Girl with all the Gifts will hit the sweet spot on that particularly. The best way I can describe my feeling while reading this is it was like having that falling dream, where coming out of it leaves your heart pounding. I was distraught at the end, a little tearful but mostly AGAIN going “Yes see? This is why I read”…

I’m fairly sure this will divide opinion – when you write a novel that does what The Girl with all the Gifts did, then as I said at the start you are probably going to be under a particular pressure –  but MY opinion, for what its worth is that Fellside is both charming and horrific, creepy and engaging, it gets under your skin and stays there. Jess and the numerous other people I found inside the walls of Fellside will not leave my head anytime soon. Nor will the place itself, so the only thing I can do is say….

Highly Recommended.

Follow the author on Twitter here.

You can Purchase Fellside by clickety clicking HERE

 

Also Available: Also Highly Recommended:

22875099

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

You can Purchase The Girl with all the Gifts HERE

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Spotlight: Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman: Teaser review

cover77864-medium

Publication Date May 5th 2016 From Little Brown.

Source: Netgalley

Girls on Fire tells the story of Hannah and Lacey and their obsessive teenage female friendship so passionately violent it bloodies the very sunset its protagonists insist on riding into, together, at any cost. Opening with a suicide whose aftermath brings good girl Hannah together with the town’s bad girl, Lacey, the two bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything…

Whilst it is way to early to do an in depth review of Girls on Fire, having finished it yesterday it is impossible for me to do anything other than tell you just a little about the reading experience. When 2016 is upon us and May approaches, which will be sooner than you think, I shall be talking a lot about this one and writing a much longer article about this whole wonderful, heartbreaking, intensely authentic piece of storytelling genius. Liz is about to get fanatical.

It is powerful, hard hitting, so full of beautiful and yes often unrelentingly emotional language, the very definition of words having power. It sucked me in and stole my soul. On the list of reads I’ll never forget this just went somewhere near the top of the pile.

I will read it again. And my “Quotes” book in which I keep a note of all the quotes from books that speak to me hard in the moment has over 3 pages added to it from this novel alone. So, you know. There it is.

Incredibly insightful, a novel that fills all the senses, I have never read a book quite like it and possibly never will again.

Highly Recommended in every way possible. If you are the type of reader that  feels every moment of the good ones you’d better hold onto your hats and be prepared.

Pre -order here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Girls-Fire-Robin-Wasserman/dp/1408707101/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448457401&sr=1-1&keywords=girls+on+fire+robin+wasserman

Find out more about Robin Wasserman here: http://www.robinwasserman.com/

Follow her on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/robinwasserman

Read it. Live it. Love it. (Then sob into your pillow)

Happy Reading Folks!

2016 Spotlight: The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

26226418

Publication Date: January 7th 2016 from Sphere

Source: Netgalley

When three-year-old identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco during her father’s 50th birthday weekend?

Set across two weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second, at the funeral of Coco’s father, where at last, the darkest of secrets will be revealed…

Blimey talk about a book that rips your heart out then stomps all over it, The Darkest Secret is an intense and engaging character drama focusing on a, to be honest, quite horrible set of people – a fractured family and their fractured friends, a more selfish and self absorbed bunch you’d be hard pressed to find, they are intricately fascinating from the offset. It’s hard to look away, like watching a car crash, as you turn the pages waiting waiting to find out the truth behind the disappearance of identical twin Coco.

Incredibly dynamic, incredibly moving and at times incredibly frustrating The Darkest Secret will take you on a  dark journey indeed – Alex Marwood has written a powerhouse of a novel, unrelenting in its demands on your emotions and creating a truly unforgettable bunch of characters, all individually drawn with complexity of ego, insightful prose that gives you a true sense of who they are. Throughout the narrative there is a pervading sense of complete horror. But also I was enthralled. Completely and utterly..

Sophisticated plotting done in the simplest of ways – two weekends, years apart, tell the tale of our bunch of misreants and creates a totally addictive and involving read as you see what went before and the ever outward rippling affect this has on the people they have become today. The tangled web of a family divided and constantly reborn, bang at the heart of it Ms Marwood puts the ones who have no choice in any of it – the children.

Through Mila and Ruby,  the author shows us just what damage can be done with often the simplest of dismissals or declarations then takes it several steps further by adding a truly terrible event – one that throws their life into disarray, a life lived in the spotlight of public and press recognition and speculation. One of the best things about The Darkest Day for me was watching these two come together after years of being apart, their developing relationship and spark of understanding, in a lot of ways I wish I could go further down that path with them.

I really don’t want to say anymore – with a novel that is as definitely authentic and character driven as this one, it is perhaps better that you come to each strand of the story in your own way, meeting each personality on their own terms and drawing your own conclusions and taking from it your own perspectives. This is not a book that tries to be smugly clever, to deliver the unexpected twist, to fool you into thinking in a particular way. It is surprising in its own way, beautifully written, deliciously readable, with an ending that just…well it just.

Highly Recommended. With bells on. And some fireworks going off in the background.

Find out more here: http://alexmarwood.com/

Follow Alex on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/AlexMarwood1

Pre-Order information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkest-Secret-Alex-Marwood-x/dp/0751550701/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447506601&sr=1-1&keywords=9780751550702

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liz Currently Loves….Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt.

24251164

Publication Date: Available Now from Schribner UK

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Spring, 1945: A man wakes in a field in a country he does not know. Injured and confused, he pulls himself to his feet and starts to walk, and so sets out on an extraordinary journey in search of his home, his past and himself.

His name is Owen. A war he has only a vague memory of joining is in its dying days, and as he tries to get back to England he becomes caught up in the flood of refugees pouring through Europe. Among them is a teenage boy, Janek, and together they form an unlikely alliance as they cross battle-worn Germany.

Devastation Road is a truly brilliant read, beautifully written, emotionally resonant and utterly gripping, a novel to be inhaled rather than just read and one that will hover in the back of your mind for a long time after finishing it.

Owen is a character you will never forget. That forms the basis for the rest – this man and his slowly returning memories, on a road to discovery – the people he meets along the way, set against the aftermath of a devastating war. With true originality of substance, the author explores humanity, the vagaries of memory and the true meaning of redemption, this novel encompasses both a physical and a symbolic journey that fills the senses and captures the heart.

Jason Hewitt writes with a melodic and poetic style, visually stunning and descriptively perfect, but most of all, best of all, he tells us a story – an old school, truthful piece of storytelling genius, doing that thing that books are supposed to do – make you feel, make you consider, make you cry or laugh or get angry at the world, to believe just for a time that these characters and events are actually unfolding and taking you right along with them. These are the books I read for, this is what it is all about.

Devastation Road is, without doubt, one of the best and most impactful novels I have read to date – it is likely one I will return to, one of those books that you just know you will get more out of upon further reading, the ending of this one had me in utter pieces on the floor. Incredible piece of writing, remarkable.

Quite definitively Highly Recommended.

Find out more here: http://jason-hewitt.com/

Follow Jason on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/JasonHewitt123

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Devastation-Road-Jason-Hewitt/dp/1471127443/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1445763368&sr=1-1

Happy Reading Folks!