6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten @nholten40 @RandomTTours @OneMoreChapter_ #crime #thriller #mystery #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for 6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten. This is her first stand-alone book and I adored it. I have read all of the books in the DC Maggie Jamieson series and they are all excellent reads.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Thing Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour. For arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher, One More Chapter via NetGalley.

ONE HOUSE
EIGHT KILLERS
NO WITNESSES

Jeanette is the manager of a probation hostel that houses high-risk offenders released on license.

At 3am one morning, she receives a call telling her a resident has been murdered.

Her whole team, along with the eight convicted murderers, are now all suspects in a crime no one saw committed…

MY REVIEW

As the short but snappy synopsis tells, Jeanette is the manager of a Probation Hostel when one of their residents is murdered. Given the reason for the residents being in the hostel, it becomes a mystery as to who could have murdered Danny Wells. Some would say he deserved what was coming, others that he deserved a second chance.

I really enjoyed the way this story was laid out. Done in quick chapters alternating between Jeanette, the killer and also a reporter called Sloane. The chopping and changing worked really well and the author, in my opinion, moves effortlessly between the characters and the pacing of the story is maintained.

There are a few characters in this story, not too many as to get confusing and they soon become memorable. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the characters and this is down to the way the author has portrayed them. Not fully knowing their backgrounds until later in the story meant I was wrong-footed a few times as my opinion of them changed. It also meant I never really had a clue as to who the culprit was and why he committed the murder.

This is a procedural story in some ways as the police are obviously involved, but for me, it was also a fabulous mystery as I was taken into the different aspects of the hostel, the staff, the residents and also the views of a neighbour. The hostel had been received by the local community with anger. It had appeared in the news and this is why Sloane is taking such an interest in it.

Sloane does her own digging and makes her own inquiries. This doesn’t sit altogether well with the Detective in charge of the case, it also means she isn’t entirely welcome at the hostel. But, having a reporter as one of the investigators of the story means you get a different side to the case.

This is a fabulous story and one that had me hooked within the first couple of chapters. As there are different agencies involved there are various anacronyms, they are something that at times annoy me as I have to try and remember what the initials refer to. The author does explain the meanings and where necessary she mentions refers to basic procedures.

I have to admit something here, I really, really adored this one and I preferred it more than the DC Jamieson series. I do think this change of direction to a standalone was a great move, and while I do still look forward to reading more about Maggie, I do hope the author continues to go off track and mix things up. A cracking read and one that I would definitely recommend, ideal for fans of crime, mystery and thriller readers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi-agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the book love via her blog.

Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here – Twitter – Facebook

CHECK OUT THE OTHER STOPS ON THE BLOG TOUR…

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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.

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Tick Tock by Simon Mayo #thriller #contemporaryfiction #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Tick Tock by Simon Mayo. I have not read any of his books before, but if his latest one is anything to go by I will be reading them.

It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.

Before you know it, it spreads. Elsewhere across the globe, it emerges, small outbreaks at first, contained groups of people, young and old, and suddenly it’s a plague – and ten days later it’s killing people. The hospitals are overflowing and there is no cure. There is a paranoid panic which sets friend against friend, neighbour against neighbour. Where does the world go from here?

In the north London school where it is first discovered, head of English, Kit Chaplin is struggling to understand what he is witnessing. Even eminent bacteriologist and his partner Lilly Slater can’t help him. But as the virus rips through the school and into the outside world, the world starts to take notice. Kit is more concerned about his students – and his young daughter, Rose – but little by little he gets sucked into where this mystery illness might have come from. And how it’s going to threaten his world.

Tick Tock is the compelling new novel from master storyteller and legendary DJ, Simon Mayo. It tells the story of a different kind of pandemic through the eyes of three people at the heart of the storm. Utterly exciting, urgently contemporary, piercingly insightful, it more than confirms the promise of his bestselling and acclaimed first thriller, Knife Edge.

MY REVIEW

I had seen this book getting some good reviews and decided it was one I really wanted to read. I mean the first paragraph in the synopsis – “It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.” that really was the hook for me!

This is a big story but one that has a small amount as far as the cast of characters goes. They are father and Daughter, Kit and Rose and Kit’s partner Lilly and her daughter Jess. The story focuses mainly on Kit, Rose and Lilly, as circumstances and events mean they come together for various reasons further in the story.

It has not been long since the Covid pandemic and this is referred to in this story as something that has happened and the world has moved on. The ticking can be heard not only by the person who emits it but also heard by those close to them. For me, this is a step forward from a cough or sneeze that we were all distancing ourselves from over a previous couple of years.

The author does use some of the reactions that we saw from Covid in this story and then elaborates on others. Pandemic and panic, social media and public opinion are something that goes hand-in-hand with this story. It adds to the tension and especially when the clicking then turns into deafness and then death.

I liked how the author brought things to a quiet presence, where people didn’t wear headphones and music playing loudly and while it sounds peaceful it came across as very ominous and quite a scary atmosphere. You need to be able to hear if people are clicking and therefore if they are infected. So this was a great move within the story.

The characters come across as trustworthy, Kit is a Head of English, Rose is a student and Lilly is a known virologist. This adds a credence to the feel of the story as such because we are talking about two adults who are educated and having the daughter involved means they have access to the modern generation’s use of technology and social media.

This was a gripping story and one that I really enjoyed. It was a tense read and one that I read easily over two sittings. I have not read any of this author’s previous books so I am looking forward to changing that.

This is one for those who like a story that is tense, well-paced and has a lot of theories that are discussed. I like how the characters are forced together to search for their own answers and this again is where the choice of characters and their roles come into play so well. This was one that had quite a few twists and I wasn’t entirely sure where the author was going to go or how it would end, definitely kept me hooked and I would definitely recommend it.

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The Family Game by Catherine Steadman @CatSteadman @RandomTTours @SimonSchusterUK #fiction #thriller #suspense #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for an absolute belter of a book. The Family Game by Catherine Steadman is addictive, a page-turner and I adored it.

I want to give huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this brilliant book from Simon & Schuster.

I also want to apologise for the lateness of my review. It should have been last week and it wasn’t until I check the poster I realised I had made a scheduling mistake. Better late than never! You should also expect to see this book on my end-of-year Top Reads list 🙂

Harriet Reed is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir to an extremely powerful American family.
When Edward’s father hands her a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen. But as
she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t a novel. It’s a confession to murder. Feeling isolated and
confused, Harriet must work out if this is all part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker.
Because this might be a game to the Holbeck family – but games can still be deadly.
READY OR NOT, HERE THEY COME…

MY REVIEW

Oh my goodness this is a story that took me completely by surprise. It is a mix of several genres so would appeal to readers who like mystery thrillers with a really tense and atmospheric vibe. There are elements of horror and a psychological feel and overall it is an addictive and totally captivating read.

Harry is an author who has has success with her debut book. She has moved in with her boyfriend, Edward, and has yet to meet the rest of his family. Harry doesn’t have any family, and Edwards is huge. Not only huge but rich and influential as Harry soon discovers.

The author has fabulously brought together two opposites with the two main characters. The focus is on Edward’s family and how they interfere in his life, which is why he hasn’t mentioned Harry to them. It is totally understandable, but when he proposes to Harry he informs his family. The initial contact is tentative as Harry meets a sister. The tense feeling is there but all in all, things go well.

As you get further and further into the story you begin to see little signs that this family is far from ordinary. They have an extremely organised and almost compulsive feel to them. This is a family that has traditions that go back generations and while the world has moved on the family is all important and encompassing.

This is one of those stories that I want to shout about, but can’t because it would give away the story, plot and whole thrill of reading the book. It is a deviously twisted and insanely addictive storyline. What I thought within the first few chapters was completely different by the end of the book. In some ways it is a complex story, that is if I were to try and explain it in more detail, but it is one that the author has nailed. It isn’t confusing as you and I adored the way it just flowed from one thing to the next. By the end I was gobsmacked.

I adored this book a lot and it is one that I would very definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Steadman is an actress and author based in
London. She has appeared in leading roles on British
and American television as well as on stage in the
West End where she has been nominated for a
Laurence Olivier Award. Catherine’s first novel,
Something in the Water, was a number one New York
Times bestseller with rights sold in over thirty
territories. It was also a Richard & Judy Book Club
Pick. Her second novel, Mr Nobody, was published in
2020 and her third novel, The Disappearing Act,
published in 2021.

Check out the other stops on the Tour

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The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue #mystery #literaryfcition #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue. This is a book that has divided opinions when you look at the reviews. So I bought a copy and gave it a go as it did sound interesting to me.

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

MY REVIEW

I have seen a few reviews for this book and it is one that seems to divide opinions. It is a slower-paced story and it does have a literary fiction lean to it, I think this is why it appealed to me.

A teacher and a student go missing from a boarding school run by nuns. The student, Louisa, doesn’t fit in. She has been accepted via a scholarship and is not afforded the same respect as those who have rich parents willing to pay the fees. The teacher is Mr Lavelle, a young teacher, who inspires and is open to his students, encouraging them to explore their minds further. Not a conventional teacher but one that is well-liked.

It is 25 years after the disappearances, and no one knows the whereabouts of Louisa or Lavelle. As the anniversary is coming up a local journalist picks the story back up and tries to look for those who may be able to shed new light on this old case.

The story is told from the perspectives of Louisa and the Journalist.

This is a very slow and yet very atmospheric novel that really hit the right notes for me. There is the mystery of the missing persons and this is told in a then and now timeline. Reading from Louisa’s perspective as she joins this new school you soon realise that there is a difference in how a student is perceived and therefore accepted. Louisa gained her place on merit, clever awarded a place because of her excellent exam results. And not, as some others are, students of rich parents. The hierarchy is evident, but not all the students think this way. Louisa is befriended and made to feel welcome by a fellow loner, Victoria.

The author gradually tells of the school, the students and the classes. All the time building on the relationships and friendships made. When the Journalist is introduced other details are brought to light, and her role in revisiting this story means she gets to seek out those who were part of it. Slowly and gently the author teases and weaves a tale that comes across with a slight gothic edge to it, some of the characters almost have an ethereal presence and this adds to the atmosphere. Some of the characters are very daydreamy and they seem to flutter through the story while others feel very real.

I really enjoyed this one and I found it very absorbing. I do like a slow burner of a story and this is definitely that. For me, the story had atmosphere, tragedy, and mystery and at times I did think it had a Du Maurier style to it.

I am aware that this book has split opinions, but for me, I adored it and thought it was beautifully written. It does fall into literary fiction, suspense, friendship and mystery and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Darkest Sin by D.V. Bishop @davidbishop #20booksofsummer #historicalfiction #crime #murder #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Darkest Sin by D.V. Bishop. This is the second book in the Cesare Aldo series and it is absolutely brilliant. My huge thanks must go to the wonderful Eva aka @noveldeelights who first introduced me to this series 🙂

This is book 19/20 in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge, and yes the final book has also been read!

The Darkest Sin is an atmospheric historical thriller by D. V. Bishop, set in Renaissance Florence and is the sequel to City of Vengeance.

Florence. Spring, 1537.

When Cesare Aldo investigates a report of intruders at a convent in the Renaissance city’s northern quarter, he enters a community divided by bitter rivalries and harbouring dark secrets.

His case becomes far more complicated when a naked man’s body is found deep inside the convent, stabbed more than two dozen times. Unthinkable as it seems, all the evidence suggests one of the nuns must be the killer.

Meanwhile, Constable Carlo Strocchi finds human remains pulled from the Arno that belong to an officer of the law missing since winter. The dead man had many enemies, but who would dare kill an official of the city’s most feared criminal court?

As Aldo and Strocchi close in on the truth, identifying the killers will prove more treacherous than either of them could ever have imagined . . . 

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book in the Cesare Aldo series and you really should read the first book City of Vengeance as part of this story has links to the previous. Also, the first book gives a brilliant introduction to Aldo as a person, as an investigator and also the people in the city of Florence in this time period.

Set in Florence in 1537, Aldo is asked to see about the reports of intruders but finds the body of a man in the convent of Mary Magdalen. It is inconceivable that a nun would be responsible, but how and why this has happened is something that Aldo may not even be asked to investigate in. Aldo works for the Otto, the administration of the criminal court at the time. The murder is on Church grounds and therefore not under the same jurisdiction.

Another Otto constable is looking into a missing man when he discovers a body. Constable Strocchi is a new recruit who was introduced in the first book, while he is still wet behind the ears, he does pick things up and is learning the art of dealing with the criminal and underworld elements. He is very principled, newly married and under pressure to get results.

This second book is fantastic, and while I loved the first one, this one is even better. I think this is due to the fact that I am already aware of the main characters, their roles, their personalities and traits. The does mention the cases and details of Strocchi and Aldo, but it is so much better to already know them before starting this one.

The two investigations are run separately, so the author does flit back and forth between the two. I love this as it means I am eager to return to each of the cases to see what has progressed. The cases are different in the way they are investigated, but the basics are the same. Trying to discover the leads, getting to the truth, recognise the lies and taking the time to think things over.

It was great to see Aldo and Strocchi working sep[erately as it meant I got more insight into each of the characters and also what they are thinking about. They obviously have different priorities in their lives and this is a great way of really getting under the skin of each character.

The cases are brilliantly worked out, morals and dilemmas I do love them. Putting a character in the firing line, yes I adore that as well. The author chose some interesting routes for his characters and this meant the story had a great pace, constantly evolving and throwing up different challenges.

This is a fabulous book and it definitely cements this series as one that I will definitely be keeping up with. This is one for those who like historical murder mysteries with a complex storyline that is also easy to follow when you are in the zone. I really didn’t want to put this one down and read it in two sittings.

Excellent storyline, and interesting characters, can’t wait for the next book and it is one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D. V. Bishop writes the Cesare Aldo mysteries set in Renaissance Florence. The first in the series, CITY OF VENGEANCE, won the New Zealand Booklovers Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. Long listings include the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award, the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel, and the CWA’s Historical Dagger Award. The second Cesare Aldo mystery, THE DARKEST SIN, was published in March 2022.

Bishop was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship while writing CITY OF VENGEANCE. The novel won the Pitch Perfect competition at the 2018 Bloody Scotland international crime fiction festival and was a Sunday Times Crime Club Pick of the Week. Global bestselling author David Baldacci called the novel ‘a first-class historical thriller … a tour-de-force.’

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The Dark by Sharon Bolton #20booksofsummer #crime #thriller #NetGalley #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Dark by Sharon Bolton. This is the 5th book in the Lacey Flint series and it works very well as a stand-alone.

This is one I have had on my TBR for a while now and is why it featured on my #20booksofsummer list. This is 18/20 on my challenge.

ONCE, SHE SAVED HIS LIFE…
NOW, HE’LL TAKE HERS.

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark websites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…

MY REVIEW

This is the 5th book in the Lacey Flint series and it works exceptionally well as a stand-alone. The synopsis for this book doesn’t really give much away but it does take a route that has an almost dystopian feel to it, it is an amazing psychological thriller that I absolutely adored.

Lacey Flint, a police officer for the Thames River Police. She lives, works, plays and essentially breathes on the Thames. It isn’t a shock when she happens to be on hand while off-duty with fellow work colleagues when a baby is snatched. The full repercussions of this crime are not known at this point and an elaborate search for the hidden and secretive members of a male-only group. The group is organised on the dark web, it takes experts within the department to try to uncover who they are, what their motives are and how they organise themselves. The limelight is on Lacey though as she is the one responsible for rescuing the baby.

As the investigation proceeds, it becomes more twisted and Lacey, DCI Mark Joesbury and the rest of the team are up to their eyeballs in trying to work out what is going to happen next. The threat is real, they have already proved their intentions. The online group are going viral, their message is heard and it is being acted upon by many. They are men that hate women, they are happy to threaten and scare women, and they are getting bolder. Women should be at home, they should support the men and be subservient, and they should not hold responsible jobs!

the author has taken a brilliant approach with this storyline, actually, it is more than one story and these have been brilliantly twisted and incorporated into each other to provide a thrilling and addictive story.

As I have not read any other books in this series I found this particular book to be a good one to start with as it does take the reader back in time to the main protagonist, Lacey. An event in her past provides something that the author has linked and connected to the present-day setting.

There is a large psychological aspect to this story as the theme of males hating females and then acting upon it and being led by online content becomes very believable. As the group gains momentum it becomes even more believable and the sad thing is that there are occurrences of this type of violence in the news on a regular basis along with many other forms of hate crime.

This is a thriller that is fast-paced, following Lacey’s story, the investigation, the increased threats and how things progress are brilliant. Everything is linked but how that eventually plays out took me by surprise. There are subtle hints along the way, but I didn’t realise this until I had been led to the fabulous conclusion.

Brilliant read, addictive, thought-provoking and with some great plot twists. I really enjoyed this one and I would definitely recommend it.

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

The Couple at Causeway Cottage by Diane Jeffrey @dianefjeffrey #publicationday #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my book review today for The Couple at Causeway Cottage by Diane Jeffrey. The author contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I wanted to read her latest book, it was an easy decision and an immediate Yes Please!

I would like to wish Diane a happy Publication Day for this book 🙂

Kat and Mark move to an island off the Northern Irish coast for a new beginning. Far away from their frantic life in London, it’s the perfect place to bring up the family they’re longing to start.

But as soon as they arrive, cracks begin to appear in their marriage. Mark is still texting his ex-wife. Kat is lying about a new friendship. And one of them is keeping an explosive secret about the past.

The couple in Causeway Cottage are hiding something – and the truth can be deadly…

MY REVIEW

I do like a story that has a good mystery behind it, The Couple at Causeway Cottage is a story that has a mystery and is atmospheric and completely addictive reading.

Kat and Mark have moved to a small island off Ireland, the cottage is ideal as it is close enough for Mark to be able to visit his ailing mother. For Kat, the location is the opportunity to take photos and build her website sales. The land is rugged and wild, windswept and alluring. But there is a feeling that lurks around the periphery of the story. A secret and a lie that is not fully known until much later in the story.

Unbeknown to her husband, Kat is aware of one of the residents of the island, it is around an event when Kat was in her teens. This is tentatively approached through the story for those involved, and it adds a wonderful vibe to the story.

While Kat does come across as trustworthy, this little secret of hers means she starts to be elusive about things. This distrust is added to when she starts to doubt her husband, this is an easy thing to accept given that he does work away quite often.

The island is isolated, Kat has left her friends behind and it seems that the friends she meets on the island have hidden messages or meanings behind their conversations. This does leave Kat feeling alone and it is a chance for her mind to work overtime.

The ending of this story shocked me, there were little things hinted at but it wasn’t until the final chapters that I suddenly got the whole thing. The secrets of the past are the foundation for the present and I do think they were very well woven together.

I do like this style of story, it has brooding darkness to it that mirrors the location, it works very well and it gives the overall mysterious atmosphere to it. A fabulous read and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Image and info from Author Website

I was born in 1973 and grew up in the UK: in North Devon and Northern Ireland. I spent a lot of my childhood in the water: either in the swimming pool or the Atlantic Ocean, as I swam competitively and also did surf life saving for several years. I was actually the first female lifeguard to work on the beaches in the UK. This is probably my main claim to fame!

After obtaining a BA joint honours degree in French and German from the University of Nottingham, I decided to become a teacher. As I felt that I wasn’t fluent enough in French or German to teach either subject, I moved to France, where I became an English teacher. I now live in Lyon with my husband and our three children, black Labrador and cat.

I’ve always wanted to be an author and I started writing poems and short stories at about five years of age. After lots of rejection letters and emails over the years from agents and editors, my debut novel was published when I was 43, which just goes to show: you should never give up!

I have written five psychological thrillers, all published by HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins, and all bestselling ebooks: Those Who Lie (2017), He Will Find You (2018), The Guilty Mother (2019), a USA Today bestseller, The Silent Friend (2020), A Karin Slaughter Killer Reads pick for ASDA, and The Couple at Causeway Cottage (2022). I am currently working on my sixth novel.

When I’m not teaching or writing, I run (a little) and swim (a lot). I devour chocolate, books and beer. I love holidays and travelling. Above all, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

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Crushed by Kate Hamer @kate_hamer #20booksofsummer #mystery #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Crushed by Kate Hamer. I won this book in a giveaway run by the author and it has taken me far too long to pick it up to read it. This is why it has featured on my #20booksofsummer reading challenge, it is 17/20.

‘Mesmerising, compulsive, deliciously dark – and so good on the complex and thorny bond between friends. Kate Hamer’s writing is incandescent.’ Lucy Foley, author of The Hunting Party


Phoebe stands on Pulteney Bridge, tights gashed from toe to thigh. The shock of mangled metal and blood-stained walls flashes through her mind as she tries to cover her face so she won’t be recognised. It wouldn’t do to be spotted looking like this. She’s missing a shoe. She feels sick.

Phoebe thought murder and murder happened. Thoughts are just thoughts, they said. Now she knows they were wrong.

At home, Phoebe arranges the scissors and knives so they point toward her mother’s room. She is exhausted, making sure there’s no trace of herself – not a single hair, not even her scent – left anywhere in the house. She must not let her thoughts unravel, because if they do, there’s no telling who might be caught in the crossfire, and Phoebe will have to live with the consequences. 

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I have to say I really enjoyed this one. I also think it is going to be quite a difficult one to review. It is a slow-based book that crosses genres, there is a mystery to it as well as a sense of dread giving it an almost psychological thriller style to it. It is also about families, teens and coming of age along with the feeling they are going through.

So, how to review this one… it is the story of three girls, each unique and each with their own set of problems. Growing up and going to school, it is about Pheobie but the other two, Grace and Orla share the story from their own perspectives.

Being teens the girls are at that crossroads in life between being children and adults. Trying to make sense of the world and people around them. They are still naive about certain things, but they are also trying to work out what life is and what they are going to do.

There are times when this story does show their adolescent side and also a more grown-up and devious side. It shows their fears and anxieties as well as gives a look into each other’s individual lives. Some of the scenes oozed fear as well as despair. I suppose this is quite a dark and gloomy story given what the girls go through, but I think this adds more realism. That being said though, the author definitely has a way with her words and writing style. The mystery about each girl becomes very addictive and makes this a difficult book to put down.

I have gone through various reviews from other readers with this book and it does seem to be one that divides readers. For me, though I really enjoyed it. It is dark, mysterious and at times riddled with fear. It has a good psychological aspect to it as the teens are in the limbo of becoming adults.

A very good and captivating read and I will be looking to read more by this author. It is a book I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Hamer’s third novel CRUSHED is published in May 2019 (Faber & Faber). She is the author of THE DOLL FUNERAL (Faber & Faber 2017) which was a Bookseller book of the month and an editor’s pick for Radio 4’s Open Book. Her first novel THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT has been translated into 18 different languages. It was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book Industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, The John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller. She grew up in the west country and rural Pembrokeshire and now lives with her husband in Cardiff. 

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The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig #20booksofsummer #crime #horror #fantasy #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. I came across this author when I took part in a Blog Tour for The Wanderers, it is an amazing book btw. So when I saw this one I knew I wanted to read more by him, and this one did not disappoint.

This is 15/20 of the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

A family returns to their hometown—and to the dark past that haunts them still—in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers

Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.

Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.

Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.

Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.

And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.

This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another. 

MY REVIEW

When I read Wanderers by Chuck Wendig in 2019 it became my Top Book of the year. Why then has it taken me so long to pick up The Book of Accidents!

This is a fabulous story and one that is a mix of horror, mystery, murder, supernatural and a whole lot of other stuff. The focus is on the Graves family, Father Carl, Mother Maddie and Son Oliver. They have just moved into Carl’s father’s house after his father had died. Carl didn’t have a good relationship with his father, there is bitterness and anger, and even a feeling of being glad that his father had passed away.

Starting a new life away from Philly and being a cop, Nate is hoping for a more relaxed life. One that will allow Maddie to create her art and for Oliver to find some piece from the trauma of being at school. Oliver is a sensitive child, he picks up on others’ feelings and finds it all overwhelming.

The feeling is something that runs deep in this novel, the feeling of something sinister lurking waiting for the author to unleash it. The feeling that there is more to this story than meets the eye. Then there is the feeling of unfinished business and events that are unfolding in the town.

There was a series of murders in the area, and the man was caught, imprisoned and electrocuted. Then the mystery of why the boulder-strewn park is so notorious and why the tunnel is officially a no-go area.

There is a lot going on in this book and the author lays it out in a way that allows you to get to grips with some of the characters before introducing more. There isn’t an over-abundance of characters, instead, there are a lot of subplots, and plots within sub-plots. Again brilliantly executed and allows the reader to keep up to speed even though not necessarily know where the author is planning on going.

This is a horror, and while there are some gory moments, I didn’t find it scary. I was more intrigued by the mysteries and wanted to know what the outcomes would be. The tense and intriguing nature of the story makes this such an addictive read. Mysteries deepen, more questions form and the story goes on a wonderful rollercoaster of a journey.

The synopsis is good to tempt but comes nowhere near to giving anything much away, which is why this is such a vague review. The family concerned is one that I was rooting for, nothing however is guaranteed and I was on tenterhooks for a large part of the story as to what eventualities they would find themselves in.

This is a brilliant story and at 500+ pages it is one that you can really get your teeth into, so to speak. I think this is one that would interest a good many readers as it does span several genres. I thought it was a cracking read and I would absolutely recommend it.

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