So Pretty by Ronnie Turner @Ronnie_Turner #SoPretty @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #thriller #psychological #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for So Pretty by Ronnie Turner. I read this book before Christmas and adored its eerie atmosphere. This book also became one of my Top Reads of 2022! Also, I really have to mention the cover of this book 😱 it is insanely appropriate!

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this amazing book from Orenda Books.

The arrival of a young man in a small town sparks, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother… A hypnotic gothic thriller and a mesmerising study of identity and obsession.

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

MY REVIEW

Oh My Goodness!!! What an amazing book this was. The author started with one thing then it gradually morphed into something so much darker than I ever expected, all in a very, very good way I must add.

This story is about two people and the chapters alternate between the two of them. Ada is a single mother and lives in Rye, never quite fitting into this small and clique-ridden village. She is always polite but always on the edge of things.

Teddy arrives and gets a job in an old curiosity/ knick-knack/ random things and objects shop. The owner is a bizarre man, to say the least, he doesn’t speak, he hasn’t interviewed Teddy and seems to lurk in the shadows.

It is natural that these two lonely people should meet and become friends. But there are warnings for Teddy about the shop and of things that may have happened in the past. Ada is aware that something has happened, she doesn’t know the full story though.

This is a remarkable book to read, it is a story that feels frantic at times with the emotions of the characters tumbling across the pages. Then there are quieter, more considered and slower breathing spaces where the author describes this sinister shop and the curios within its doors and behind the windows.

The shop is one of those weird and wonderful places full of things you would expect to see in one of those old museums that is hidden on a back street somewhere. In fact, this place sort of reminded me of a curious and wonderfully bizarre museum I visited on holiday in Ilfracombe in Devon. A place where there are drawers of insects, jars of animal parts and yes even shrunken heads! For me, this book brought memories of some of the objects I had seen, but then the author so brilliantly added a dark and atmospheric air to her story. This at times felt incredibly creepy, sinister and macabre.

The way emotions of the characters and also the way she has made the shop a character in its own right are fabulous. There is a wonderful, almost lyrical way to her writing at times and this almost lulls the reader into a false sense of security.

The storyline itself,m well that is something that I didn’t expect, well I say that, but I did have a feeling where things may go but definitely not to the extent they did.

This is a brilliant book and it is one that I adored from the first pages to the very last. A tense, mysterious thriller that had me hooked. An amazing book and one that I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age,
she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author.
Ronnie now lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare
time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. Ronnie is
a Waterstones Senior Bookseller and a barista, and her youth belies her
exceptional, highly unusual talent.

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Lost by Leona Deakin #psychologicalthriller #thriller #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Lost by Leona Deakin. This is the 2nd book in the Dr Bloom series and if you are a fan of intriguing crime and psychological thriller then this is a series that you will want to have a look at.

HOW CAN YOU SOLVE A CRIME IF YOU CAN’T REMEMBER THE CLUES?

There is an explosion at a military ball. The casualties are rushed to hospital in eight ambulances, but only seven vehicles arrive. Captain Harry Peterson is missing.

His girlfriend calls upon her old friend Dr Augusta Bloom, who rushes to support the investigation. But no one can work out what connects the bomb and the disappearance.

When Harry is eventually discovered three days later, they hope he holds the answers to their questions. But he can’t remember a single thing.

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book in this author’s Dr Bloom, series, I have read the 1st one and the 4th one. Nothing new for me to read out of order.

After a rough start in the first book, Marcus Jameson decides to come back to help Augusta Bloom. She is asked to investigate the disappearance of the boyfriend of one of her old friends. The friend Kerena is concerned about her boyfriend after a bomb exploded at a military ball. Captain Harry Peterson was at the ball and caught up in the explosion, Kerena had seen him just after but went to help someone more seriously wounded. It is when she tries to visit him that she discovers that he is missing, not at the hospital where the other injured were taken. Randomly he turns up at a different hospital, looking far worse than he did when she had last seen him.

What follows is such an intriguing and devious thriller that takes Augusta and Marcus around the country and also steps back into the clutches of a certain psychopath.

If you have read the first book then you will realise some of the back stories of the main characters. If not you will start to get an idea of what has happened but you would also be missing out on an amazing twisted and devious plot.

With the disappearance of a military man, you would imagine the military to be all over it. The thing is there is an interest but not one that has an urgency to it. This is something for Augusta and Marcus to try and work their way through. There are also some strange messages and it does have a cat-and-mouse feel to the plot, but one that doesn’t make sense to the characters until much later in the story.

The story isn’t straight forward and the authors stretches out the storyline to include others. This gives a dangerous predicament and one that has implications for Harry.

This is a brilliantly plotted story and it is one that I couldn’t see what was coming. I do love it when an author does this and twists things like this. By the end of the story, there are a lot more surprises that were unexpected but felt very right for this style of this book. Nothing is as it seems and there are some wonderful revelations.

This is another fabulous book in this series and I will be reading the 3rd one soon. This is great for fans who love a crime thriller plot with a strong psychological feel to it. It is one I would definitely recommend. 

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The Imposter by Leona Deakin @LeonaDeakin1 @RandomTTours #crime #mystery #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Imposter by Leona Deakin. This is the 4th book in the series and if you are a fan of riveting psychological thrillers then this should be on your TBR list.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the publisher.

Dr Bloom is faced with her most challenging case yet as she races to catch a highly unpredictable
murderer in London. He doesn’t just want your identity. He wants your life…


No one sees him coming.


A stock-market trader is pushed from a high-rise balcony and falls to his death on the street below. The only clue the police can find is a box of matches.

No one survives for long.


The decomposing body of a member of the Saudi Royal Family is discovered in a car. Evidence suggests the killer took the man’s life, then stole his identity, wore his clothes and lived in his hotel room – before vanishing into thin air like smoke.

Nothing but matchsticks are left behind.


Dr Bloom realizes the only thing linking these murders is a trail of burnt matches and broken lives. Time is running out – and if she isn’t careful, she might be the next to burn …

MY REVIEW

This is a series that I do think you need to have at least read the first book, as I have, to understand the relationship between three of the characters. The three are Dr Augusta Bloom, Marcus Jamieson and Seraphine. These three have a special link, it is one that I really enjoyed reading in the first book, and I can see the author has developed this even more. There are mentions of previous cases that I assume are part of the two books I have not read. I do think this book works without reading the previous ones.

A murder has occurred, and Bloom is called in for her expertise in psychology and profiling. Bloom looks at scenes in a slightly different way and she is able to spot some similarities between this and another murder. Once she finds a link in one, she looks for further clues, unfortunately, it is not as easy as that and there is something that doesn’t quite match up. This throws the case into confusion, and some think that Bloom has alternative reasons for being on the case. She works with Marcus and together they try and get their heads around what is going on. Then we have Seraphine, nothing is straightforward if she is involved, but what role she actually plays and how she schemes are something that she specialises in.

This is a brilliant book for lovers of psychological thrillers and crime stories. Having the viewpoint of a psychologist trying to help connect the clues is great. It gives one side to any analysis the other side is that of the psychopath. You just have to know who the psychopath is, or in this case, which of the psychopaths are involved in what crime?

This is a riveting cat-and-mouse story with many different twists and also more than one storyline. This could make it confusing to follow, but the author has kept control and leads the reader through the clues, the links and to the conclusion.

I really enjoy the tense and suspense-fuelled feel of this book. Even though I missed a couple of the books I immediately remembered the main three characters and how much I enjoyed the first story.
The author delves into some really interesting psychological conditions, and what an interesting this concept made to the story.

This is a well-paced book, it does feel fast-paced but not massively so. There are times when the author stops to give her cast a chance to stop and think. It is during these moments that I discovered more about the case and also where the leads were potentially taking the team.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and I am annoyed with myself for missing books 2 and 3, but I am glad I have read the 4th. This is a tense and chilling story, it is one that had me hooked from the first few pages. Ideal for those who adore thrillers, crimes, procedural style and psychological stories. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leona Deakin draws inspiration for her writing from her own experiences having started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police and her successful work in psychology since. Leona was part of a team responsible for designing methods of selection for recruiting and promoting officers from PC to Chief Superintendent. Her role was to create realistic policing scenarios – from personnel issues to large scale incidents (plane crash, terrorist bomb etc) – that could be used to test leadership skills. To do this she spent a great deal of time interviewing and observing officers at various ranks and reviewing cases. This gave Leona an insight into the police culture that helps her to write authentic character interactions in her novels.
Leona is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds. She has written four novels in the acclaimed Dr Augusta Bloom series: Gone, Lost, Hunt and The Imposter.

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The Flock by J. Todd Scott #mystery #thriller #crime #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Flock by J. Todd Scott, this was a book I chose from the Prime Reading selection that you get with your Amazon Prime Membership at the beginning of each month. As I had recently watched the Amazon Prime program WACO, I decided it would be good to then read this book as it is based on a cult.

From J. Todd Scott comes a chillingly engrossing thriller about a cult survivor who must confront the horrors of her past to ensure the safety of the future.

Ten years after a fiery raid kills her family, former cult member Sybilla “Billie” Laure has a completely new identity. She’s settled in rural Colorado with her daughter, hoping for a quieter life. But the world has other plans.

With wildfires raging and birds dropping from the sky, Billie wonders if her cult leader father’s apocalyptic predictions are finally coming true. When an intruder murders her husband and kidnaps her daughter, Billie has no choice but to confront the secrets of her past. But Billie’s journey has other perils, too—namely, a police chief hot on her trail, determined to expose the dangers of the defunct doomsday cult.

To save her daughter, Billie will have to go back to where it all began—to the ruined compound in New Mexico where the real threat is the truth.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that I really enjoyed once I got into it, initially a little slow but this was due to me not really connecting with the characters. There are a few characters and it took a while for me to get my head around who they were and what they did or are doing. There are some who have different names in this book as well.

The story is one that has its origins in a cult. Sybilla and her daughter have escaped from the cult that they have known all their lives. Sybilla is seen as a chosen one and her standing within the group increases with the birth of her daughter. When she realises that the cult is not the place to raise a child she looks to leave. She eventually makes this departure and becomes a face known by many as she is photographed walking away from the burning compound with her daughter in her arms.

The story of what happened is gradually realised in small amounts throughout the book, this doe makes for an intriguing read as details are given. It has been a decade since that night and Sybilla has made a new life, she is married but not one for mixing. Then she comes home to find her husband has been murdered and her daughter has been taken. She knows that there is a new branch of the cult and that they will be responsible. Now she needs to find them and her daughter.

This is an intriguing book as the cult deals with end-of-the-world scenarios, and one of the signs is wildfires. As we have been witnessing wildfires around the world it is plausible that people will see this as the end of days especially given the pandemic, floods, climate change and other global events.

While Sybilla is looking for her daughter, there is also the matter of the murder. The local police chief, Elise, is trying to keep on the case, well I should say cases as this isn’t the only death. There is the danger that the FBI or CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigations) could take over.

This is one that was a slow-burner to start, not so much in the action side of it, just in the way it took me quite a while to get into it. Once I got the basics then I seemed to fare a lot better and this then meant the pacing got quicker. I could then focus more on the story from the emotional side of a mother trying to find her daughter and how time is of the essence. There was a reason for the kidnapping and this is based on the date of Ascension according to the cult followers.

The author has done a really good job of showing how a cult can pray on the vulnerable, those who have gone through divorce or bereavement and are alone, those who feel displaced and misunderstood and then manipulate and basically brainwash.

This is a story that I enjoyed because I am aware of what happened in the Waco Siege of 1993, it is easy to imagine some of the scenes that are discussed. There is a lot of information about Waco and it does make for grim reading at times, as does this book. I think it is the sense that vulnerable people are being exploited, manipulated, used and brainwashed by controlling leaders that really angers me. But, I can see how easy it could be achieved.

The story does make you stop and think especially with the things that we are all witnessing on a global scale. This is a mix of a police procedural, crime thriller and psychological thriller that I would happily recommend to readers who prefer a grittier and hard-hitting subject in their reading.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J. Todd Scott was born in rural Kentucky and attended college and law school in Virginia, where he set aside an early ambition to write to pursue a career as a federal agent. His assignments have taken him all over the U.S and the world, but a gun and badge never replaced his passion for stories and writing.

When he’s not hunting down very bad men, he’s hard at work on his next book.

His debut novel, THE FAR EMPTY, was published 2016 by Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons. The sequel, HIGH WHITE SUN came out in 2018. And THIS SIDE OF NIGHT, the third book in the Chris Cherry / Big Bend Series, was released in 2019.

His stand-alone Appalachian crime novel, LOST RIVER, came out in 2020.

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The App by Stuart James @StuartJames73 @ZooloosBT#psychologicalthriller #crime #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The App by Stuart James. This is a brilliant psychological thriller and one that really made me think about the internet and the way we use apps on our phones.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo Books Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

The App…

Once you’re in, they’ll never let you leave.

Whatever happens, don’t download The App.

* It will come in the form of a link. Maybe in your DM’s on a social media account, the junk folder of your emails or a WhatsApp message from a friend.

  • You’ll be enticed by the chance of winning one hundred thousand pounds on offer every Friday, wired straight into the winner’s bank account.
  • It’s not a joke.
  • This part is genuine.
  • Someone can and will win the money.
  • But at what cost?

Marty Benson gets the link sent to him by a friend. So what is the harm in looking?
He clicks it, downloads the app and enters a few basic details.
A message prompts him to wait while he’s loaded onto the system.
An hour later, another message.

• Do not delete the app.
• Do not tell anyone outside of your family about the app.
• Send the link to one person who is close to you.

  • Do not throw your phone away.
  • Always narrate while streaming.
    • If you break any of the rules, we’ll kill a member of your family. Then we’ll kill you.

Marty is sent a picture of his wife, who is shopping with her mother in Oxford Street.
As Marty struggles to breathe, he clicks the links and watches the most recent streams, realising what happens within the
app.

Every Friday morning, a person is randomly picked from social media.

They now have a bounty on their head—a death warrant. But they don’t know it.

Their profile appears on the app’s main page; all their details are displayed.

Every app member must play the game at least once a month or face the consequences.

Kill the person randomly selected from social media.

Win one hundred thousand pounds.

As Marty watches the terror unfold and everyone streaming the hunt within the app, he realises he has to do something.

But how do you stop a murder, when everyone could be the killer?

MY REVIEW

So most of us own a mobile, and most of us download apps. So what if you were sent a download to an app from a trusted friend that could potentially bag you a nice sum of money? Sounds good, and yes we all know that you “don’t get ‘owt for nowt” but all that is required is your name. Great, simple, but then after that, you get a message to say you are not allowed to delete the app, talk about the app or go to the police about the app otherwise a family member will be killed. As proof that they are not joking a photo of one of your family members is sent to you, it is recent, and when you look through the links you realise that this is not a joke. You will be expected to kill someone chosen randomly once a month or a member of your family dies.

I love the psychological taunt of this, the synopsis is brilliant at setting the sense of suspense, tension and dread as the realisation sets in for what is going to happen in this book. A simple app that will make you turn to murder. It sounds unbelievable but when the owner of the app seems to know everything about you and your family then things become serious. We are all aware of people being coaxed into doing things via social media, from the harmless little challenges to the awful and heartbreaking suicides. So, when a story like this comes up I always think to myself, this would never happen in real life. But would it? This is where a story like this works so well and the author has done an amazing job of creating an addictive and dangerous story that is much more than a simple game of cat and mouse.

This is a fabulous story and one that got under my skin, it does have a weird effect as you read it, it makes you think about what you use your phone for, how intrusive social media can be and how easy it is for hackers to get into accounts and manipulate data for their own ends.

A tense and action-filled thriller that starts off at a nice pace but then suddenly screams into a super fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat race against time to save the people that the main characters of the story care about the most. This really had me hooked to the point where I jumped feet and scared the poor dogs to bits when my own phone rang!!!

If you like a story with thrills, action, suspense, mystery and a few bodies, then this is going to be one for you. I adored it and would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.
There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breathe away.
I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns. My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.
This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.
I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.
I’m 49, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing. I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come. That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

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Forget Me Not by Miranda Rijks @MirandaRijks @InkubatorBooks @ZooloosBT  #psychologicalthriller #murder #mystery #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Forget Me Not by Miranda Rijks. This is a fabulously creepy psychological murder mystery.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my copy of the books and also my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy from Inkubator Books.

Six years ago, Helen lost her husband. Now she may lose her life.

Five years ago, Helen’s husband Paul went missing while skiing in the Swiss Alps. His body was never found, but he is presumed dead because no one could have survived a night on that freezing mountainside.

It took Helen a long time to get over her loss, but now she has pulled her life back together – she is an acclaimed interior designer in a loving relationship with a new man.

Even better, Helen has just been offered her dream project, renovating a luxurious chalet in an idyllic location. There’s only one catch – it’s right next to the resort where Paul went missing.

She decides to take the job anyway, convincing herself that a visit to the scene of her great tragedy will actually be good for her, that it will give her a chance to lay old demons to rest.

But soon after she arrives, she makes an utterly shocking discovery and finds herself caught up in a nightmarish web of treachery and deceit where nothing is as it seems.

Only one thing is certain – the mountains want to claim another body…

MY REVIEW

This is such an addictive read and I think it is the first time I have read a book by this author, but I have seen there are quite a few books for me to read and I will definitely be looking at the previous books she has written.

This book is a domestic noir mystery thriller and there is a good amount of twists to keep you on your toes. The story is of a couple going on holiday, but only one of them returns. Paul, the husband is missing and believed to be dead. The Swiss authorities have searched for his body, and after finding a ski they conclude that he has died on the mountain and it is unlikely that his body will be found given the terrain.

This is something that must be awful, not only are you left in limbo, but effectively life is on hold while the required seven years pass before a person can be declared as being dead. This is where interior designer Helen now finds herself. She has a daughter with Paul, but as life has moved on she has now found a new partner in Andrew. They are looking to get married as seven years will have passed.

In the meantime, life has to go on, and when Helen gets a commission to design a chalet in the area where her husband went missing she is doubtful. This commission will however build up her reputation and give her some serious contacts.

The author has created a great sense of suspicion around this story, given that Helen is returning to a place of sadness for her, but the memories are still there. As she has never fully been able to grieve, Helen’s mind plays tricks on her and she imagines that she sees Paul. This is where the psychological side of the story really shines through as Helen isn’t sure if she is imagining things or not. this living in limbo with no body to bury plays havoc with her.

The author does go further as things start to happen to Helen, a sense of being watched, things being cancelled for the commission, deliveries being changed and noises. Being a woman alone in a cabin in the Swiss mountains sounds great, but in all honesty, it would creep me out so I can see why Helen is on edge.

This is a story that got me hooked pretty quickly. I wanted to know what the random mishaps and changes to the schedule were about and all the time there is a sense of something deeper. The area has had people go missing and also people dying, obviously not all are going to be visitors. With locals who have lived in the area for many years, they have a close community.

The story doesn’t have a huge cast of characters, but there is enough to plant seeds of doubt and a sense of mistrust. A very addictive storyline and one that kept me turning the pages and made it a one-sitting read for me. A fabulous story that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Miranda Rijks is a writer of psychological thrillers and suspense novels. She has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all of her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.

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The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas @MichaelJBooks #NetGalley #crime #psychologicalthriller #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Girls Who Disappeared by Claire Douglas. This is such an atmospheric and creepy read. My thanks to Michael Joseph Books who granted my request to read this title via NetGalley.

Three missing girls. A twenty-year mystery. A woman who may be able to crack this cold case.

In a rural Wilshire town lies The Devil’s Corridor. A road which has witnessed eerie happenings from unexplained deaths to the sounds of a child crying at night.

But nothing more puzzling than the Olivia Rutherford case. Four girls drove home but after their car crashed only Olivia was found.

Twenty years later, journalist Jenna Halliday is covering the case. But the locals aren’t happy with this stranger’s arrival. Least of all Olivia.

Jenna soon starts receiving threatening notes and it is clear someone wants her out of this town before she suffers a dark fate . . .

MY REVIEW

This was a brilliant one-sitting read for me, it began with a prologue before getting into the story proper. The story is told in two parts, the main story is a present-day where Jenna, a journalist, looks into the disappearance of three girls 30 years ago. There is a second timeline line in this story and it took me a while before I realised where it fitted, this section is written in italics so you realise what is happening as you flit back and forth.

This is a complex storyline and one that had me addicted from the very beginning. As Jenna arrives in this small out of way rural in Wiltshire she has to drive along a road called the Devil’s corridor. From the outset, the setting of Wiltshire and the name of this road added a wonderful psychological atmosphere. with the area known for its standing stones, ley lines and various other occult, supernatural and legendary tales. The author uses this atmospheric vibe throughout the story and it adds a wonderful suspenseful, nervy and tense feel.

AS Jenna works on her story for a podcast, the author gives more details about her and also the locals that she interviews. As an outsider, there is the obvious expectation that people will not be completely open or honest with their answers to telling of their memories.

As the author delves deeper into the main story, the italicised story is also starting to emerge, this is one that is just as addictive as the main one. When I suddenly realised how things connected I realised how cleverly the author had woven her tales.

this is a fabulous read and one that I literally could not put down. It has that eerie mysterious spookiness and is a tense thriller with a good psychological vibe and is brilliant reading. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Claire Douglas always wanted to write novels and, after many years of trying to get published, her dream came true when she won the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award in 2013 with THE SISTERS.

Her second and third novels, LOCAL GIRL MISSING and LAST SEEN ALIVE (Penguin), are Sunday Times bestsellers.

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The Botanist by M.W. Craven #crime, #thriller #psychological #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Botanist by M.W. Craven. This is the 5th book in the Washington Poe series and as with all the other books, I adored this one.

Any regulars to my Blog may be aware that I am prone to read books in a series out of order. It is sometimes because it’s a book that I have seen on NetGalley and requested or it has caught my eye as part of a Blog Tour.

The Washington Poe series I have followed from the start and each book has been read in order. Yep, I am very proud of myself 🙂

‘I swear I’m one bad mood away from calling it black magic and going home . . .’

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.

And then there’s Estelle Doyle. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time has she gone too far? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints going in. Since her arrest, she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’

Meanwhile, a poisoner the press has dubbed the Botanist is sending high-profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.

For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life . . . 

MY REVIEW

This is yet another fantastic book in the Washington Poe series, to be honest though, I wouldn’t expect anything less. These books can be read as standalones, but to get a real sense of the working relationship between Poe, Tilly, Doyle and Flynn you really need to have started this from the beginning. And, also because they are great books.

This starts from an odd place and is very far from Cumbria. The author gives a quick prologue before returning back to what is the start of the case. In fact, there are not one but two cases in this story. One involves the arrest of Estelle Doyle, the teams go to a pathologist as she has just been arrested for murdering her father. Then there is the case, well it is more than one case, of people being poisoned.

With Poe trying to be in two places at one time, something is going to have to give. Wanting to be there for his friend and colleague Doyle is great but also too personal and it doesn’t look good when he is seen visiting Doyle in prison when someone who he is supposed to be protecting dies. Realising he has to prioritise his focus he again looks at the poisoning cases.

The dynamics between Poe and Tilly have become legendary in this series, if you have read them from the beginning then you will know what I mean. But there are also the dynamics of Flynn and Doyle that are also part of this great crime-busting outfit. Flynn is responsible for keeping things within the law and getting requests signed off, Tilly is the tech genius, Doyle is the Pathologist and Poe is usually the one they are all keeping an eye on to make sure he does wander too far off course. Together they all bring something special. Over the course of the books, this team have become a family and they will fight for each other.

Having two cases, one looking like a locked-room mystery and the other one that is leaving them playing catch up with the killer always ahead of them. Even with their combined expertise, this would be tough, but without having input from Doyle, things are even tougher.

The poisoner is clever, plans well, thinks out the scenarios and is not compulsive. It seems he has thought of everything. He is being talked about and tweeted about and people are noticing him.

The author really has done an amazing job with this story. Again it is complex and compulsive reading. There are mentions of tech, biology and other specialist stuff but it isn’t too over the top. Thank goodness things have to be basic for Poe to understand or else there would be a few confused readers as well!

With time being a crucial part of this story, the pacing is fast and the author conveys this through his characters so well. He shows their frustrations and occasionally odd outburst. Even in the midst of this tense and highly charged investigation, there are some amazing one-liners, these are perfect for defusing stress and tension, and are usually courtesy of Tilly.

If you have not read any of the books in this series then you really are missing out on some wonderful top-rate crime thrillers. The series just gets better and better with so many twists and unexpected events. I never read the synopsis for a Washington Poe book I just buy it.

Ideal for those who love twisted, complex and totally addictive thrillers and one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

You can find out more on his Goodreads Author Page.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Hike by Susi Holliday @SJIHolliday @AmazonPub @RandomTTours #mystery #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Hike by Susi Holliday. This is a fab mystery thriller that had me hooked from the first few pages.

My huge thanks to Tracey and Anne for arranging my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of this book.

Four hikers enter the mountains. Only two return. But is it tragedy? Or treachery?

When sisters Cat and Ginny travel with their husbands to the idyllic Swiss Alps for a hiking holiday, it’s not just a chance to take in the stunning scenery. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with each other after years of drifting apart—and patch up marriages that are straining at the seams.

As they head into the mountains, morale is high, but as the terrain turns treacherous, cracks in the relationships start to show. With worrying signs that someone might be following them, the sun begins to set and exhaustion kicks in. Suddenly, lost high on a terrifying ridge, tensions spill over—with disastrous consequences.

When only two of the four hikers make it down from the mountain, the police press them for their story—but soon become suspicious when their accounts just don’t add up.

What really happened up on that ridge? Who are the survivors? And what secrets are they trying to hide?

MY REVIEW

What a wonderful setting for a story about two couples trying to sort out their problems while on a hiking holiday in the Swiss Alps. Cat and Ginny are sisters and not so close and their respective husbands Tristan and Ollie are not known to get on that well either.

This story is set more from the viewpoint of Cat, organising is what she does best and her job as an events organiser helps. Ginny is a social media influencer so a lot of time is taken up with the setting and taking the “perfect” photo. Tristan had to work from home during lockdown rather than in the city and Paul has been dealing with stress.

Rather than just dealing with this story as a couples holiday, the author has focused on them as individuals as well. This is great for building up the bigger picture of their characteristics and their traits. But when you have been concealing your true thoughts and opinions for so long, it is difficult to allow anyone else to see the real you!

This is a story that starts with a prologue, and it is fabulous when you then start the story. It gives some really tantalising glimpses into the story that then follows. This story is one that had me hooked, it twisted and weaved around and the author just dropped a few crumbs along the way to steer the path. She has very cleverly allowed information to drip into the story with a glance or barbed comment from a character, it makes the reader’s mind work over time. Well, it did mine as I tried to work out how this was going to resolve itself and who did what and why.

This is a tense mystery thriller that had me on the edge, just as the characters had to occasionally edge along the mountain path. Taut and dramatic with an addictive tale. Full of suspense and a whole lotta guesswork from me. I didn’t work it out until the author allowed me to see the wider scenario.

Fabulous and intriguing. A one-sitting read for me and it is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Also writes under the name S.J.I. Holliday.

Susi (S.J.I.) Holliday grew up near Edinburgh and spent many years working in her family’s newsagent and pub before studying microbiology and statistics at university. She has worked as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry for 20 years, but it was on a 6-month round-the-world-trip that she took with her husband several years ago that she rediscovered her passion for writing.

You can find out more at www.sjiholliday.com, or on Twitter and Facebook @SJIHolliday.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly @HodderBooks #NetGalley #mythery #thriller #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it will not be the last. I am aware that this book is one that is dividing readers!

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton Publisher for my eARC of this book via NetGalley.

THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART…

Summer, 2021.
 Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

MY REVIEW

I adored this book and the twisted mystery that the author had woven into it. The basic premise of the story is one that the author explains at the beginning. She refers to the Kit Williams book, Masquerade. The idea of this book was that the reader had to solve clues to discover the location of a golden hare. The book was published in 1979 and I do have a copy of it, I never worked out locations but I adore the artwork.

Frank and Lal have known each other for years. The Golden Bones is a book that Frank is credited with coming up with, but there is more to it than that. The idea is that there are 7 jewels that when found will form a miniature skeleton of Elinore. The book is made up of clues, puzzles, equations and various other brain teasers that lead the treasure hunters to the locations of each of the bones. It has been 50 years since the publication of the book and as interest has dwindled, what better time to spark a resurgence? The final bone is still missing.

The story focuses not so much on the treasure hunt but on how the book has affected the families of Frank and Lal. Both men have had their highs and lows and the author does show these within this timeslip story. She also looks in detail at Nell’s story, she is the daughter of Frank and someone that has been on the negative side of the publicity that the book has had.

The families live side by side, and their children have grown up together and known each other all their lives. But Nell is one that has become more of an outsider, she moves constantly and is always looking over her shoulder. The reasons for this are made apparent in the story.

The author has woven a very twisted and mysterious tale around the book and the families. Things really come to a head when a grand unveiling does not go to plan and old secrets finally start to come out. This is when you finally realise how twisted the older generations in the families are willing to go, and little others are thought about.

This is a glimpse into two very dysfunctional families, based on secrets, fear and control. I really found this to be an addictive read and it was great to be able to see differences of opinion, and how things changed over the years as the author flits back and forth over timelines.

This was a fabulous read and one that I soon found myself very much wrapped up in. It is devious, sneaky and riveting. The pages just disappeared and I didn’t realise how long this book was until I came to write my review, it is 500+ pages and it took me two sittings. Brilliant book and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Kelly was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. She read English at Warwick University and has been working as a journalist since 1998.

She has written for newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Express and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx