The Secret Santa by Trish Harteniaux @TrishHarnetiaux @rachel90kennedy #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts today on The Secret Santa by Trish Harteniaux. My thanks to Rachel at Penguin Random House for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

THIS YEAR YOU’LL GET WHAT YOU DESERVE…

When an international pop starlet rolls into town looking to buy the most expensive house on the market, struggling real estate agents and husband and wife duo Claudine and Henry think their terrible luck has finally turned.

The mysterious mansion has hidden secrets, and Claudine and Henry’s survival depends on no one finding out the truth about what really happened there. In a desperate move to secure the sale, Claudine decides to bury the house’s dark past and show it at its best – by inviting the singer to a lavish holiday party hosted inside the majestic mountainside mansion.

But when a murder weapon turns up as part of the party’s game of Secret Santa, Claudine’s carefully curated lie and the lives of all the party goers is threatened as they race to find the killer before they can strike again.

How far will Claudine go to protect her secrets? Is she prepared to kill to make a killing, or will she fall prey herself?

The synopsis does a good job of letting you know a little bit about this murder mystery story. A of seeing a stunning property means a change of location for Henry and Claudine’s staff Christmas do. The party will be moved to the remote property so that it can be shown off at its best for a potential buyer. Part of the party is the Secret Santa, a game of exchanging presents has been something that has increased over the years and everyone tries to out-do each other, however this year one of the gifts has a catch!

This is a murder mystery read that is about revenge for something that was done in the past. The truth is not revealed until far later in the story and it is where all the answers are suddenly revealed.

The story is told in quick chapters from the perspective of different characters, Claudine, Henry and Zara as well as a mystery italicised chapters! I like this style as it gave me a chance to get inside the heads of various people, see their thoughts and some of what they really think.

The story is well paced and definitely kept me guessing, gradually introducing me to everyone involved and also drawing me further into the story. The setting is good though not overwhelming, there are several good mentions about it and it does sound idyllic, isolated, remote and scenic. The focus is more on the people.

This is a murder mystery that has drama and suspense rather than blood and guts. Its not a thriller or police procedural and would suit cosy mystery readers. It is one I would recommend.

The Secret Santa is Trish Harnetiaux’s debut novel. She is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose published works includeTin Cat Shoes, How To Get Into Buildings, and If You Can Get To Buffalo
Follow her on Twitter @TrishHarnetiaux #TheSecretSanta

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the tour…

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

Now You See Her by Heidi Perks @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing #NowYouSeeHer

Today I am delighted to be part of the Paperback Publication Day Celebrations for Now You See Her by Heidi Perks. My huge thanks to Rachel at Arrow Publishing for accepting my request to review this book and for sending me a paperback copy.

SHE WAS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. AND NOW SHE’S MISSING.

Unputdownable psychological suspense from an exciting new talent, perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door and I Let You Go.

NOW YOU SEE HER
She’s playing at the school fete with your children. You pull out your phone, scroll through Facebook, and look up again.
NOW YOU DON’T

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable, tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.

Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO PUT THINGS RIGHT?

Well, now that synopsis got my attention! It did a cracking job of hinting what I would discover on the ensuing pages. It comes across as intriguing, it has an element of suspense and tension and it hints that there is more to this than meets the eye. Well by the time I finished the book I was right, it did have those elements and a whole lot more.

It’s told in a very easy to follow way with a now and before timeline that alternates between Charlotte and Harriet. During the now sections it is mainly the questions being asked during the police investigations. This has been very cleverly done and in such an ambiguous way. It wasn’t until I had finished the story that I realised how the questioning never let on about how the story panned out. The before sections tell the lead up to the disappearance of CCharlottes daughter and how she was supposed to be the responsibility of Harriet. It delves into the relationship and lives of the two mothers.

I had no idea how this story would pan out until the Author was ready to let me in it. I was really interested in the dynamic and backlash that became part of Charlotte and Harriet’s lives. Imagine losing a child, then imagine losing someone else’s child. The build-up of icy stares, cold shoulders and snubbing were on the ball for me. It showed how a parent automatically gathers her children to her to protect them regardless of being in receipt of all the facts.

This is a clever story that I was immediately invested and drawn into. The author did a great job of dealing with various emotions, she kept the story flowing and my interest deeply rooted in the story. It gave me several Oh! moments as realisations where dropped.

A fabulous psychological thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. A story with quick chapters and a flow that fitted perfectly. It’s one I would definitely recommend.

Purchase a copy of Now You See Her – HERE

Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.
Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.
Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.
She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional. 
Heidi is now writing her second novel

Many thanks for reading my post,

a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx