Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell #policeprocedural #crime #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell. This is the first book in the Detective Jennifer Knight series and it was an excellent crime thriller with a twist!

You don’t know him. But he knows you.

Soon he would be able to touch her, to feel the warmth of her blood. And when the time came, nothing would stop him.

As D.C. Jennifer Knight investigates a routine stabbing in the quiet town of Haven, she is shocked at what seems like a personal message from beyond the grave.
When more bodies are found, Jennifer is convinced the killings are somehow linked. What she discovers is more chilling than she could possibly imagine. The murders mirror those of the notorious Grim Reaper – from over twenty years ago. A killer her mother helped convict.

Jennifer can no longer ignore the personal connection. Is there a copycat killer at work? Was the wrong man convicted? Or is there something more sinister at play …

With her mother’s terrifying legacy spiralling out of control, Jennifer must look into her own dark past in a fight not only to stop a killer – but to save herself and those she loves. 

MY REVIEW

I have recently read a book by this author and really enjoyed it. I often see her books being reviewed and they always intrigue me, I do have several books that I have bought based on those reviews, but I still need to read them!

It was good to start this series from the beginning, it’s not something I do often. Meeting Detective Jennifer Knight was an interesting experience. She works in Haven with fellow officer Will. They have a good working relationship and the banter between them attests to this. There is however something about Knight that means she is not really seen as a ‘proper detective’ as such, I mean she is but she is one that has been shunted down the pecking order and not given important cases, her partner Will is given the same sort of treatment.

Knight has a unique gift and this is something that gives her trouble but also makes her stand out as being different, not in a good way either. Others are suspicious of her for various reasons and I think they don’t see her as being stable enough to have their backs.

As the synopsis suggests, the duo have been given a case, it is one that could have links to other cases and maybe the past. The thing is with the past, you are never sure if it’s the right route to go down or if you are just trying to make things fit. Then, of course, there is that question… who is the past linked to?

This is a really good story and it is one that takes on some interesting turns, there is a paranormal or supernatural element to it, and I do know that this can put some people off but it is done in a very good way. Not corny or tongue-in-cheek and it does work well.

I enjoyed this a lot and it is definitely a series that I will be continuing. Great for those who like police procedurals, crime and thriller stories and also ones with a twist. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and International #1 Bestselling Author. Shortlisted by the International Thriller Awards for best ebook 2017 and the Killer Nashville Best Police Procedural 2018. Over 1.5 million books sold.

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

The Other Guest by Heidi Perks #NetGalley @centurybooksuk #mystery #thriller #murder #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Other Guest by Heidi Perks. I do enjoy this author’s books and I have read several of them. I would also like to wish the author a Happy Publication Day 🙂

My huge thanks to Century Books UK for accepting my request to review this title via NetGalley.

She thinks she knows the truth. But what if she’s wrong?

Laila and her husband arrive for a week’s holiday in Greece in desperate need of a reset.

As Laila sits by the pool she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the other family staying in their resort.

Em has no idea who Laila is, or that she has been watching her and her teenage sons and husband so intently.

Five days later their worlds will be blown apart by a horrifying event.

Laila thinks she knows the truth of what happened. But in telling Em what she’s seen, she stands to lose everything she holds dear.

And what if she’s got it wrong?

MY REVIEW

I do enjoy this author’s books and this one, The Other Guest has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.

Laila and her husband are having a getaway on a Greek island it is a chance for them to reconnect and try to get their marriage back on track. Things have been tough for them after several rounds of failed IVF, and Laila is distraught when she realises that there may be no more rounds to come.

At this luxury resort, they meet various couples and families, some they had seen on the journey to the hotel and they will inevitably bump into them at various points of their stay. What none of them expect is the death of one of the guests.

An inspector comes to ask and make inquiries about all those at the hotel, the author keeps her cast to a minimum. She does this by sticking to those that Laila has met or seen, this makes it easy to keep track of who is who.

While Laila has been dealing with her own inner turmoil she is aware of other things going on, she loves people-watching and while her husband thinks she can get obsessed, she has her own thoughts about things.

This is a great read and one that I found myself easily falling into and getting on with. There are plenty of twists and some red herrings and then there are some other much deeper and darker things that emerge.

While this is an engrossing book and one that I enjoyed, I did feel that the ending was dragged out a little too much, while there were still things that needed answering I just thought it could have been done sooner. It didn’t ruin the story for me but did take the edge off it a little.

An enjoyable read and one for fans of contemporary fiction and holiday crime and mystery readers. It is one I would happily recommend.

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

Out For Revenge by Tony Bassett @tonybassett1 @rararesources #policeprocedural #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Out For Revenge by Tony Bassett. This is the 4th book in the series and as is usual, it is the first one I have read. This a very good intro to this author and series and one I am looking forward to catching up on.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book.

Out For Revenge
When notorious gangland boss Tadeusz Filipowski is released from prison, several people start looking over their shoulder.

A volatile character, not shy of picking fights, Filipowski plans to expand his drugs empire and put his competitors on a backfoot. That’s until he turns up dead. Very dead.

DS Sunita Roy of the Heart of England police is handed the case but it’s a challenge to find the killer of a man with so many enemies.

DCI Gavin Roscoe would lend more support but he is busy nailing down suspicions of corruption plaguing the force.

Soon, however, the investigations will bump into one another. And unless Roy and Roscoe can get to the bottom of the mystery, they could well become the next victims.

OUT FOR REVENGE is the fourth gripping standalone mystery in the Detectives Roy and Roscoe crime fiction series by Tony Bassett.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or US

MY REVIEW

This is the 4th book in this series and the first one I have read. These books can be read as stand-alone, and the author does provide any background that is relevant.

This is a police procedural and one that I really enjoyed. Based around Birmingham and Midlands area, the Detectives are DS Sunita Roy and DCI Gavin Roscoe, they are looking at different cases that actually share similarities. Having two cases brought together and figuring out the answers makes for an intriguing story. This is added to when there is another murder and more danger for those who are involved in the investigations.

I really enjoyed this book, I did find it a little bit of a challenge initially to get up to speed with the characters, but the author does give details to help make them memorable, such as an officer being shot in a previous book, or a character helping in an investigation. These little details are the things that help when you come into a series midway. This does, however, work very well as a stand-alone and I liked how the author brings things very close to home and makes things personal. I am not going to say too much as I don’t want to give anything away.

Having a mix of murder, gangs and drugs is a great way of keeping a story going, but then this story has an extra scrummy plot in it! It is one that kept me on my toes and wanting to discover how this was going to pan out.

I do like police procedurals that have complex storylines and this one had, several things happening and woven in together to create a wonderful read. Plenty of tension and drama and also a glimpse into the home lives of the main characters.

If you are a fan of police procedurals and crime thrillers then I do think this is a book that you would enjoy. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am a semi-retired journalist who was born in West Kent. While growing up, I spent hours reading and writing, and, from an early age, nursed an ambition to become first a journalist and then a novelist. My theory was that, in order to write novels, one had to have life experiences to colour one’s writing and one could obtain those experiences through journalism.

I was fortunate enough to be named Time-Life Magazine Student Journalist of the Year in 1971 in a competition organised by the National Union of Students. At the time, I was editing the student newspaper at Hull University, where I gained a BA Honours degree in History and Political Studies.

After six years working on provincial newspapers in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff, I became a freelance journalist in London. For 24 years, I was a reporter on the staff of the Sunday People (now part of Reach plc, formerly Trinity Mirror). Over the years, I sold tens of thousands of stories to national newspapers, including the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Star, Daily Telegraph and London Evening Standard. I helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial at the Old Bailey for the Evening Standard. I broke the news in a Sun newspaper exclusive in April 1989 that Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stones guitarist aged 52, was to marry 18-year-old Mandy Smith. I bought 200 blank MOT forms to expose a trade in fake certificates.

My speciality was tracking people down. For instance, I found evidence about Rod Stewart’s secret love child Sarah Streeter by tracing a retired adoption agent through a library ticket. On one occasion, I took an escaped gangster back to prison. Some of my stories can be read on my website (see below); others are generally available online. For thirty years, I was also employed as a birth and marriage researcher mainly for the Mail on Sunday, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People and The Sun.

I have a grown-up son and four grown-up daughters who all live in South Wales.
Social Media Links – Website Twitter Facebook Instagram

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

Our Man in Kuwait by Louise Burfitt-Dons @LouiseBurfDons @RandomTTours #suspense #historicalfiction #spythriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Our Man in Kuwait by Louise Burfitt-Dons. This is a historical fiction story set in the 1960s and is one I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my copy of the book for the Blog Tour.

A colonial-era thriller set against the background of big power conflict. The ultimate timepiece tinderbox of sun, sex and spies.

Kuwait 1960. With Soviet backing Iraq plans to invade.

Gordon Carlisle lives in the expat community of Ahmadi with little to worry about other than when to next don his dinner jacket.

Following contact by an MI6 agent everything changes.

Even marriage to his beautiful new wife Anita breaks down as he becomes a suspect in a chain of deaths in the Protectorate.

Ian Fleming’s time in Kuwait is recorded at first hand as Britain prepares to meet the Iraqi forces head on with Operation Vantage.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that is a little bit of a slow burner but one that slowly crept up on me. I did struggle a little in the beginning but once I got to know the characters I began to feel more effortless with the book. While it started as a slow burner it definitely picked up pace as the story unfolded, and, what an intriguing story it was!

This is set in 1960 in Kuwait, I am mostly aware of the recent history of this area, but I didn’t know much about it from the 60s, just a little before my time. The author has woven an interesting mix of fact with fiction to give a convincing and extremely twisted account of the roles of spies, governments, double agents and foreign powers in the region. It is focused on Gordon Carlisle.

Gordon is a bit of a non-descript man as such, goes to work, has friends, is married to Anita and carries on with his life in the Ahmadi ex-pat community. Talk between friends about potential problems in Kuwait, if the British government will send in troops and if those living there will have to flee.

With rumour running rife it doesn’t take much for suspicions to escalate. This means that one act can be seen as something more sinister. When the finger points in the direction of Gordon, he above all is surprised. In a world of espionage nothing and no one is completely innocent… are they?

I really enjoyed the weaving and intrigue the author built up around her characters. I did kind of like Gordon and I did feel for him as he did seem to be the innocent party. It is however that old saying of “there’s no smoke without fire” or that he surely must have known something. This constant state of suspicion makes everyone look guilty.

While the author told of Gordon, his friends, work and the politics of the area there is something else working in the background. This makes the story addictive and it did keep my interest. With mentions of anthrax, bombs, kidnapping and questioning by the police, there is enough of a tense atmosphere to create a dangerous scenario.

I liked this one and I did like the slower pace in the beginning as there are quite a few characters to get to know and also some history of the region and its main players. An enjoyable story and one that I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This book is a work of fiction but inspired by real events. Louise Burfitt-Dons was born and brought up in Kuwait during the threat of invasion by Iraq in 1960 and 1961. Her father Ian Byres was the Preventative Health Officer for the Kuwait Oil Company based in Ahmadi. At the end of 1960 Ian Fleming visited Kuwait to write a book. Louise is the author of the bestselling Karen Andersen Thriller series. Our Man in Kuwait is a stand alone novel.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share woudl be amaizng 🙂 xx

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley #classicfiction #dystopian #scifi #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for an old classic. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was written in 1931 and published in 1932. A book that I have wanted to read for years but actually managed to pick up and read at the beginning of December last Year.

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that I have been wanting to read for years but never got to it. I finally decided to give it a go. I was only aware of the basics of this book and I hadn’t read any other reviews about it.

What I discovered is quite a bizarre story that became quite addictive. It does have a strong literary fiction feel to it. At times the writing is poetic, at others disjointed and overall a story that gradually got under my skin.

The world that Huxley has created is one where people are expected to be happy, they are brainwashed into feeling this. There is no mother, father or in fact any type of family connection. Each person has been produced in a test tube and altered at a genetic level to become what is required for Huxley’s world to function. There is a layered social system where people are born to be what they are engineered to be, so someone with a lowly job will be content with that job. They don’t aspire to be anything more than what they are supposed to be.

Creating this world, the author then throws an anomaly in the system, this is something that shows that even with the use of technology there will be a time when nature intervenes, or it may be a simple human mistake. Either way, this is where the characters that start to question the system have a more important role.

In the second half of the book, there is a move from the system to that of the outside world, this is more what we know today. Parents, relationships and unique traits and characteristics. This for me is where the story then takes an even more addictive turn. The comparisons built up between those in the system and those out of it are great. By the end of the book, I found I was very interested in some of the characters. The ending, well that was a shock!

This is a fabulous book to read, and I did struggle to find the flow at the beginning. I did read it in two sittings. The first sitting was a bit wobbly and at 33% I decided to have a break, this turned out to be a great time to pause and then come back to it the following night. I then found myself unable to put this book down and finished it.

This is a book that has loads of reviews, has loads of opinions and there are probably theories and it will have been analysed in every aspect. I read for the pleasure of it, so for me, this book was one that intrigued me. It did feel disjointed, to begin with, but it grew on me. I enjoyed this and I am very glad that I have read this book.

For a book that was written in 1931 and published in 1932, it has some brilliant imagination and foresight into a possible future. A world where people are engineered to fit into a hierarchical society. It is a very good book and it is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This most prominent member of the famous Huxley family of England spent part of his life from 1937 in Los Angeles in the United States until his death. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through novels and essays, Huxley functioned as an examiner and sometimes critic of social mores, norms and ideals. Spiritual subjects, such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism, interested Huxley, a humanist, towards the end of his life. People widely acknowledged him as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time before the end of his life.

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

Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes #ancientgreece #myths #legend #nonfiction #audiobook #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Pandora’s Jar: Women in Greek the myths by Natalie Haynes. I saw this title on Audible and as I do love hearing about myths from all around the world I decided to give this one a go.

60713417. sx318

The Greek myths are one of the most important cultural foundation-stones of the modern world.

Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Virgil to from Aeschylus to Sophocles and Euripides. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories.

Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Greek creation myths as her starting point and then retelling the four great mythic sagas: the Trojan War, the Royal House of Thebes, Jason and the Argonauts, Heracles, she puts the female characters on equal footing with their menfolk. The result is a vivid and powerful account of the deeds – and misdeeds – of Hera, Aphrodite, Athene and Circe. And away from the goddesses of Mount Olympus it is Helen, Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Antigone and Medea who sing from these pages, not Paris, Agamemnon, Orestes or Jason. 

MY REVIEW

I do like stories and tales from the times of Ancient Greece. I think it was watching films such as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, then as I got older reading stories and watching documentaries and now listening to audiobooks.

The author brings together her knowledge of this topic and she definitely knows her stuff. She narrates her own book and she has a nice voice to listen to.

She tells of the women that have appeared over time that many of us will already know about, and there are some that I hadn’t heard of. These are ones that have been forgotten about or didn’t have such an important role in history according to more male-dominated figures. As I listened to this book I realised I knew far more male figures from mythology than I did female. The author does suggest that historians such as Aristotle and Socrates and writers such as Ovid are men, so focused more on the strengths, adventures, toils, and victories of their male heroes. Women tended to be scorned rather than revered, and Medusa is a prime example of this, and when I listened further the author went on to tell of how women had been used, abducted and blamed. The author does give a more balanced view of women in history, rather than being the victims they are shown their own rights and show their own strength. The author does use modern references to give a present-day example using songs from pop culture, literature and art.

This is a really interesting book to listen to, there are loads of historical fact and obviously a lot about myths and legends from the days of the Greek heroes. This is a book that provides a good discussion and isn’t one that tries to rewrite history, it does give opinions and thoughts to help bring women into the forefront and away from the patriarchal stereotype. It is one I really enjoyed listening to and one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Natalie Haynes, author of THE FURIES (THE AMBER FURY in the UK), is a graduate of Cambridge University and an award-winning comedian, journalist, and broadcaster. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and was a judge for the final Orange Prize in 2012. Natalie was a regular panelist on BBC2’s Newsnight Review, Radio 4’s Saturday Review, and the long-running arts show, Front Row. She is a guest columnist for the The Independent and The Guardian. Her radio series, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics, was first broadcast in March 2014.

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

On The First Day Of Christmas by Faith Hogan #NetGalley #festivefiction #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for On The First Day Of Christmas by Faith Hogan. This is a lovely Christmas-themed story and one I really enjoyed. My thanks to the publishers for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

On The First Day Of Christmas

This Christmas, everything will change…

When Liv Latimer says goodbye to her fellow nurses and finishes work for the holidays, she’s looking forward to a Christmas to remember with her boyfriend Eddie.

But as she leaves the hospital, tragedy strikes and Liv is faced with a choice. Will she ignore her instincts and go home as planned? Or will she stay, and potentially change the course of her life as she knows it?

Whatever choice she makes, Liv is about to discover that fate finds a way…

From the bestselling Irish author of The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club comes an emotional and uplifting festive story about love, family and how a split-second decision can change your life. 

MY REVIEW

I have read a few books by this author and she always manages to create a story that is addictive and has some wonderful moments. This one is a slightly different style, not a straightforward read as such but a duel story that runs parallel. The main focus is Liv, a nurse who works in Dublin. She has lost her sister and lives with her boyfriend Eddie. She finishes her shift at the hospital and is making her way home when there is an accident. This is where the story splits.

I am not going to go into too much detail about the storylines, but they do have similarities in certain aspects of Liv’s life. Both of the stories flit back and forth between each other, and there is a difference in the printing style in the copy that I received, so it did make it easier for me to be aware of the changeover.

The author took me on a journey through the life of Liv and her potential future. her story is one of sadness and family and with the support of her best friend she manages to continue on and keeps a busy work life. The decision to work more shifts rather than deal with her feelings and the truth makes this an addictive story. This is a story that feels closer to real life in the respect that not everyone is always able to live happily ever after.

The author uses the two storylines to great effect, which makes this a very thought-provoking read. While it is about family and friendship it s also about the future and accepting what has happened.

The format of this story did initially throw me but once I realised what was happening I was able to settle into this a lot more. I would like to mention more about the stories but this would just ruin it and if I was to try t explain more I would confuse you more than you probably are now!

This is a cleverly laid out story, it does flow really well and the author gave a very thought-provoking and poignant story. It is one for those who like contemporary fiction and romance novel with something a little different about it. I really enjoyed it and I would happily recommend it.

On The First Day Of Christmas

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

The Carnelian Tree by Anne Pettigrew @pettigrew_anne @RandomTTours @ringwoodpublishing #murder #cosycrime #mystery #whodunnit #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Carnelian Tree by Anne Pettigrew. This 2was a wonderful murder mystery story that had a great whodunnit vibe to it.

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 Ringwood Publishing.

A dead body, a disappearance, and an epic lost in time. Unrelated incidents on the surface. Judith Fraser’s Oxford sabbatical quickly takes a sharp turn when she gets tangled in the mysterious murder of a colleague. With threads leading nowhere, conflicting impressions about people around her, and concern for increasing risk to her loved ones, whom can she trust? Her eccentric housemates? The CIA? Or, herself? Too many questions and insufficient answers.

A uniquely amusing and page-turning mystery novel set in 2003 on the eve of the Iraqi War, The Carnelian Tree follows the journey of Judith Fraser as she unravels mysteries of locked doors, missing computers, cat’s collars, and Reuter’s reports, with the help of DCI Keith Steadman, her potential love interest. Judith probes into people, power, politics, and sex, only to discover that some things remain unchanged. With a shady glimpse of the Oxford underbelly, this cross-genre novel will appeal to the full range of crime and mystery readers including Cosy Crime fans.

MY REVIEW

This is a murder mystery that is one that would have a certain Belgian Detective scratching his head I am sure. The story starts off as a professor is murdered, then a computer goes missing, along with a diary and the whereabouts of a manuscript and ancient relics are brought into the mix.

The main protagonist is Judith, she is already a teacher but is returning to Oxford to continue her studies. Judith lodges in one of the houses that is shared by various other people, one of which is the murdered professor. It is she who discovered his body and then finds that she is more interested in discovering what happened as there are a series of suspicious happenings, nothing she can particularly discover definitely evidence for but enough for her to voice her concerns to the Detective in charge, Keith Steadman.

In between drinks, studies, coursework, chats and getting together Judith along with some of the other house members and her friends, they start to piece together events themselves. This is a wonderful who-dun-it mystery and one that kept me on my toes as the author led me from one piece of information to another but kept the finishing line beyond my reach until she was ready.

At times this story felt almost like a comedy as some of the things did make me chuckle, it is a wonderful cosy crime and there is a good amount of tension but in a more friendly way. As I mostly read crime thrillers with more of a bloody or brutal aspect to them, it was really great to get rid of the macabre for something a bit lighter but still with a wonderful amount of suspense and tension.

I really enjoyed this one and if you like a more mysterious rather than bloody murder then this is definitely one for you. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Anne Pettigrew was a family doctor for 31 years and also has a degree in Medical Anthropology from Oxford. She wrote extensively in the national medical and lay press until retirement when she turned to penning novels about women doctors, discrimination, and crime. She was a Bloody Scotland Crime Fiction Festival 2019 Spotlight Author – ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and multiple short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.

Past novels: Apart from containing crime, Not The Life Imagined and Not The Deaths Imagined follow Dr Beth Slater’s career and challenges from the 1960s to the ‘80s. This latest stand-alone novel, The Carnelian Tree, charts the tribulations of Scots teacher Judith Fraser on sabbatical in Oxford at the time of the Iraq War.

Social Media – Twitter WebsiteAmazon UK

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour

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

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.

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

Walk by James Rice #netgalley @HodderBooks #fiction #friendship #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Walk by James Rice. This is a title I saw on NetGalley and the synopsis looked interesting. It did take a while for me to get into but I soon found myself wanting to know how it was going to end. My thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for accepting my request to read this title.

Benny thought that it would be him and his dad doing the walk. Just him and his father, hiking through the Welsh countryside like they used to.

Only, when his dad got ill, it became obvious that this would never happen. So Benny was forced to consider other options.

If Benny is honest, he and Stephen haven’t been close since school, but once Benny had drunkenly blurted out the invitation, he couldn’t take it back.

Now Benny and Stephen are on the walk. A walk Benny has vowed to finish, no matter how hard it is. But as food runs low and money runs out, Stephen and Benny find themselves stranded on the edge of the world, far from home, where the possibility of return is becoming increasingly distant…

MY REVIEW

The synopsis for this book intrigued me it was a book that sounded quiet, I do like a quiet book it can be one that makes you think.

The book is essentially two guys walking along Offas Dyke, a route through the Welsh countryside that takes the walkers through the forest, mountain, marshy, and at times very stormy. On the whole, it is told by one of the men, with the other putting in his opinions when needed. One is an artist and the other works as a call centre worker for the benefits agency.

The two men are very different and as the story meanders through the countryside so the story of the men meanders with it. I discovered that they used to be friends, they used to be close but have drifted. With them, their sense of what they feel is important in life has also moved in different directions.

They both have demons and they still need to deal with them. Hopefully talking and walking will help them clear the air and their pasts.

This is a slower-paced story and one that I wasn’t sure about initially, it felt a little disjointed and I didn’t really feel I could gel with the two men. Gradually, however, they grew on me and I got to see how they thought, what they thought, and their opinions and views on many things in life. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this is a quiet story, but that doesn’t mean it is without its louder moments.

This went from a book I wasn’t sure about to one that I really knew I had to finish to understand the whole story and of course to see how things ended. This is one for those who like a story about life and discovering what is important. It is one that I really enjoyed after a shaky start and I would happily recommend it.

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