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.

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The Cruise by Catherine Cooper @catherinecooper @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam #mystery #suspense #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Cruise by Catherine Cooper. I have read one of her other books, The Chalet and her latest one is fabulous as well.

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

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, each passenger becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished? Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Find out in the twisty new thriller from the queen of glamorous crime, Catherine Cooper.

MY REVIEW

The synopsis gives the basics for part of this novel, there is however another side to it that isn’t mentioned. So, I am going to focus on the part of the story that is mentioned in the synopsis.

The story has a brief intro with the death of a man, then there is a prologue then the story starts. The death of Lola a dancer on a large cruise ship is a shock. When she was last seen she was visibly upset, when she was last heard she was arguing. Why was she upset and who did she argue with?

The author has given a story that had me addicted as I discovered this was one that had a split timeline. The now part deals with Lola, the past is something else entirely. I didn’t work out the connections, yes not A connection, but several connections, until the author dropped the literal bombshells.

The idea of working on a cruise ship is one that has never appealed to me. Being close to people you work with and never having a moment to yourself, always being on call just never appeals to me. The author does give some great info about living aboard a cruise ship and also drops in some really interesting facts that I hadn’t even considered.

The story is one that flits between the timelines and it gradually builds up a picture but one that is not complete until much later in the book. There is a sense of distrust and when a certain few seem to be suspect in the death of Lola the suspicion and suspense of the story build.

There was a lot I didn’t see coming in this story, it is one that took me by surprise and had me eagerly turning the pages to discover the full truth. It soon became obvious to me that this would be a one-sitting read as I needed to know the answers to all the questions.

This is a fabulous story that I adored, full of mystery and intrigue, tension and suspense. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines,
specialising in travel. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives
in France with her husband and two teenage children.
Her debut thriller THE CHALET was a top five Sunday Times bestseller and spent three weeks in the
Kindle top 100. THE CRUISE is her third novel

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They Lie Here by NS Ford @nsfordwriter #mystery #thriller#suspense #fiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for They Lie Here by NS Ford. This Author is also a fabulous Book Blogger who I follow and I am always intrigued and interested by her book selections and reviews. It was an easy thing for me to agree to read her 2nd book when she kindly got in touch. When I read it, I had not even seen a synopsis. It is as I wrote my review that I realised how clever this title was!

This book is due for Publication tomorrow, so I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a wonderful Publication Day 🙂 xx

TWO MYSTERIES. ONE CITY. MANY LIES.

Kat Green has made a career out of tracking down reclusive former celebrities. When she moves to the quaint English city of Waelminster, she’s on the trail of enigmatic pop star Roskoe Darke, of the band Scorpio Hearts. He hasn’t been heard of since 1985, but she’s confident she’ll find him. However, as the clues become more bizarre and sinister, Kat has to confront the darkness of her own past. Who can she trust when everyone is hiding the truth?

MY REVIEW

After reading this author’s first book I was definitely looking forward to this second one. They Lie Here is such an addictive read and I did read this without looking at the synopsis, I only read that as I think about writing this review.

The synopsis is short and snappy and now I look at it I realise how it gives very little away. It does however have enough to suggest a mystery and secrets from the past.

The story is about Kat, and she has a very isolated life, she constantly moves as she goes from story to story. She researches each of her stories and her latest one is the whereabouts of Roskoe Darke, a member of an 80s band. He mysteriously disappeared and has not been seen, there have been several suggestions as to what happened and some of these do sound plausible. Kat, however, decides to dig deeper.

I adored how this started as a very interesting mystery about a disappearance, but after several chapters, this morphs into something more than I originally expected. Kat is a character who I really liked, a loner who fixates on one project at a time. But what is it about her past that will have relevance to the current timeline of her story? Well, I could tell you but then I would spoil the story so you are going to have to read it for yourself. I didn’t see this twist coming in the story, so it was a huge revelation.

As for what happened to the missing Roskoe, well again I never saw that one either. This was a little different to what I expected but it worked really well. The author injected a clever little side step and it was one that turned this into a much darker and more sinister story.

There are a few characters in this book, enough for the story but not any bystanders. Each of the characters has a purpose and I was never aware of just how or what the purpose was.

The story flits between the 1980s and present-day and this means you keep up to date with the present story while being given details and things from the past to give a larger overall picture. How the two timelines come together was something that I never saw, a lot of the plots and twists, I never saw until the author was ready to let me in on her secrets.

Secrets are quite a large part of this story and as they emerge I started to realise how cleverly the author has played out her storyline. Not all is as it seems with any part of the story, especially with the characters and this adds to the sense of suspicion.

This was a brilliant thriller that has a great mystery and suspense element to it, a great storyline and a wonderful set of interesting and different characters. I adored this book a huge amount, a one-sitting read for me and it is one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

N S Ford is a book fanatic, blogger and cat lover who lives in the UK with her family. She has a First Class degree in English. When not reading or blogging, she juggles her writing time with parenting, working in heritage and playing the piano. She is the author of two cross-genre psychological thrillers, ‘We Watch You’ and ‘They Lie Here’.

Find her on Twitter or her Website

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The Game by Scott Kershaw @HQstories #NetGalley #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Game by Scott Kershaw. The cover and the snappy synopsis definitely caught my eye when I requested it.

My huge thanks to HQ for granting my request to review this book via NetGalley.

The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

[text message]

DEAR PLAYER,

THE PERSON YOU LOVE MOST IS IN DANGER.

TO SAVE THEM, YOU MUST PLAY THE GAME.

THE RULES ARE: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER.

IF YOU LOSE, YOUR LOVED ONE WILL DIE.

ALL PLAYERS ENTER ALONE.

DO NOT SHARE THIS MESSAGE. DO NOT SEEK HELP.

WELCOME TO THE GAME.

YOU’VE JUST STARTED PLAYING.

[end of message]

MY REVIEW

I have to admit it was the cover that first caught my eye with this book. Snappy title, simple graphic and the line – The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

This is a mystery thriller, that does have a crime element to it, but it is more about the mystery of The Game. What is The Game, who runs it, why is this being done and what would you do to keep those you love safe and alive!

There are 5 players in this game, they are unconnected, they are oblivious to each other and they have travelled from the US, France and Uk to meet up so they can learn more about The Game. The consequences are not as clear cut as I originally thought they might be. There was a curiosity to both stories but I was never fully aware of what was occurring until further into the story. The author does pace this story so well, it is one where some players are on a time limit, and this increases the tension of the story.

There is a lot more to this story than the synopsis gives away. The suspense of wondering if any of the players will do something stupid or brave is an ever[present one.

The players are normal people, with normal lives. Because they have been drawn from different countries it makes any connection unlikely. I liked how the author introduced each player and then kept referring back to things in the past. I soon found that I got to know who was who especially when they do meet up to actually continue The Game.

This is intriguing, I liked the time element and the mystery that was underlying all the way through. It is a thriller and I really enjoyed the story. The characters are not all likeable, but this is down to how the author portrays them. I look forward to reading more by this author and I would happily recommend this book.

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Codename Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smiley #JustinKerrSmiley @RandomTTours @UnicornPubGroup #action #histfic #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Codename Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smiley. This is a brilliant book and is one for those who like a cracking action, adventure and mystery thriller story.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my PB copy of the book via the Publisher – Unicorn Publishing Group

In 1976, Argentina is governed by a military junta bankrolled by former Nazis. It is the anniversary of a mysterious village fire in the jungle. The lone survivor, a Guaraní boy, is now a Jesuit priest. A Jewish journalist, Ariel Guzman, interviews him at his mission. The man claims Adolf Hitler escaped from Berlin with Eva Braun and made a secret camp near the Iguaçu Falls. The Führer ordered the village’s destruction, but the priest refuses to say why. He mentions the codename Edelweiss and will only reveal the person’s identity if he dies.
Argentina’s most powerful man is billionaire and Waffen-SS veteran Tiago Hecht. He is searching for Edelweiss so that he can establish a Fourth Reich. Hecht now has confirmation Hitler’s son is alive. But so does the Mossad and they have sent an agent to eliminate him. The only sanctuary for ‘Edelweiss’ is at the Vatican, but time is running out.
The hunt is on… 

MY REVIEW

When I first saw this book I knew it was one I wanted to read, there have been many conspiracies and theories following the death of Hitler. Did he really die? Did he get out of Germany? I do love a good conspiracy book and this one sounded right up my street.

The author has taken the concept that Hitler and Eva Braun did indeed survive and made a voyage to start a new life in South America. Many made this journey some for survival and some to escape any repercussions. Many stories have circulated over the years and there is something about a conspiracy that intrigues me.

The story is one that sounds plausible and one that I found extremely addictive. From a journalist taking a statement from a priest to discovering the whereabouts of a secret camp, the political, religious and moral aspects are covered. Set over several years from WWII to the 1970s the story fills in an action-packed adventure style read.

As the synopsis suggests. this book takes in various organisations, including Mossad, the Vatican and a newspaper. Politics are also woven into this as you would expect as well. The author has created a story that flows so well between the many characters and locations. It is one that is taken through scenarios that have implications for the world and for those immediately involved. While the story is about the search for Hitler’s son, the author also includes life in Argentina in the 70s, the political stage.

I found this book to be very well-paced and the tension was amazing not everything turned out as I thought it might. I did like the way the author finished this story, it answered questions raised and felt right in some ways.

This is one for those who enjoy a proper action and adventure style read with conspiracies, secrets, and mysteries that need to be revealed. A fabulous book to read and one that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin Kerr-Smiley was born in 1965 and educated at Newcastle University.
As a journalist, he has reported from the Balkans, Northern Ireland, the West
Bank and South America. He has also written for the Guardian, The Times
and The Spectator. He is the author of two previous novels, including Under
The Sun. He lives in London

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The Island by Adrian McKinty #NetGalley #PublicationDay #thriller #action @orionbooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Island by Adrian McKinty. This is one of those books that crosses many genres so I do think it will appeal to a great many readers.

My huge thanks to Orion Books who accepted my request to read and review this book via NetGalley.

IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A FAMILY VACATION.

A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT CHANGED EVERYTHING.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF UNTIL THEY COME FOR YOUR FAMILY.

After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.

Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.

SOON TO BE A HULU ORIGINAL SERIES 

MY REVIEW

It was the cover of this book that caught my eye, I am not going to point out exactly what it was. This is one for those of you who like an intense thriller story and it is one I really enjoyed.

Tom Baxter, his wife Heather and his two children from a previous marriage are hoping to spend some time together. Tom is a Doctor and is in Australia as a keynote speaker. Having the rest of the family join him means they can get some time together as a family.

This family is disjointed, Tom is a busy man and while he does spend time with his children it isn’t enough. Heather isn’t really accepted by the children and there are reasons for that. The children are not a barrel of laughs either, but again there are reasons.

To stop any squabbling Tom and Heather take the children out for a drive in the hope that they will see some of the country’s animals. Taking a trip to an island should be a chance for the children to get photos and also get some good tales, a chance for some family bonding maybe! They didn’t bargain for what they encountered on the island though.

This is a fabulous read and one that I really found myself drawn into. The setting of the Australian Outback is brilliant and having an island makes this an even better scene.

The characters are a mixed bag, they whine, they argue, they try their best and then they have their world turned upside down, and for some of them, this isn’t the first time that they will have to deal with some tough stuff.

I really like the way the author has used the character’s personalities, traits and nuances. This is a great way of keeping the reader on the hoof and I was never quite sure who was really what they appeared. They all have something to hide and some do it better than others, but eventually, things do become clear.

The story is one that I enjoyed, the basic bones of it are about a family that is getting through life but not really doing together. It is a snapshot of an American family that has found themselves in a situation that they never would have imagined themselves in. This is one of those stories that you can imagine a film being made of, and I am not sure that I would actually want to watch it (I don’t do creepy, horror style movies) but I have to say the book was brilliantly done.

From a slower start and getting to know the characters this book gradually built up the pace, it became more intense and it was one of those that had me frantically flipping pages. I thought this was brilliant and it is one I would definitely recommend. 

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The Birdcage by Eve Chase #PublicationDay #NeyGalley @PenguinUKBooks #mystery #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Birdcage by Eve Chase. This is a wonderful suspense and mystery read set in Cornwall.

My huge thanks to Penguin Random House & Michael Joseph Books for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

Kat, Flossie and Lauren are half-sisters who share a famous artist father – and a terrible secret.

Each has found their way of burying it. Over the years they’ve grown apart, and into wildly different lives. But an invitation to Rock Point, the Cornish cliff house where they once sat for their father’s most celebrated painting, Girls with Birdcage, reunites them.

Rock Point is a beautiful, windswept place, thick with secrets, electrically charged with the one subject the family daren’t discuss. And there is someone in the shadows watching the house, their every move. Someone who remembers the girls in the painting. What they did.

The sisters must unlock the truth to set themselves free – and find each other again.

MY REVIEW

Covers are a great way of noticing books and this cover is gorgeous. The cover shows a lovely white house in a cage and as I have now read this book, it is very relevant. The Birdcage is a novel that skips back and forth in time. It has mysterious undertones that are not always obvious.

Three sisters, well half-sisters as they share the same father, but have different mothers. The sisters have been summoned back to the house which has caused painful memories. They have been summoned by their father and it is the first time they have been back for 20 years. The last time was in 1999 for the solar eclipse.

Each sister is nervous as they make their way back to Rock House, each one has something that is easting away at them and each one just wants to get through this reunion and go back to their lives. While they may have tried to put events of 20 years ago behind them, things are certainly going to resurface.

This is a wonderful book that really draws on the wilder side of Cornwall, a country steeped in mystery and one that lends itself to stories like this one so well. The author brings the windswept moors and the crashing seas into the story. In some ways, the unpredictability of the weather also matches the feelings of those in the house.

Each of the sisters has memories from 1999, but some are more deeply hidden than others. The author gives the sisters very distinct characters and personalities, but the one thing they have in common is that they have all drifted. They are not the same people they were and so this becomes a very tentative, stepping on the egg-shells reunion.

I really enjoyed how the author gradually brought in the mystery via each of the main characters, there is a sense of something quite serious happening. When this is finally revealed I sort of didn’t see it coming as such, but it also wasn’t a huge shock as I had realised the author had been very subtly leaving breadcrumbs.

This has a haunting atmospheric feel to it, with the secrets and unsaid things that have lurked in the past. It is one that I think is ideal for those who like family mysteries and secrets as well as contemporary time-slip novels. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Castaways by Lucy Clarke @HarperCollinsUK #contemporaryfiction #thriller #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Castaways by Lucy Clarke. This was a title I was sent an invite to read from Harper Collins UK via NetGalley. I was so glad I did because it was a fabulously twisted and mysterious read.

A SECRET BEACH. A HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME.
WISH YOU WERE HERE?
THINK AGAIN…

It should be like any other holiday.

Beautiful beaches.
Golden sunsets.
Nothing for miles.

You’ll never want to leave.
Until you can’t…

MY REVIEW

What a brilliantly short synopsis for a very addictive book. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I do adore it when a synopsis is short and to the point, You’ll never want to leave. Until you can’t…

Sisters Erin and Lori have always been close, more so since their parents have died. When one of them decides to book an exotic holiday the other will also go, after this is what they do.

The author has created such an addictive story and I am going to be very vague and not give much away about the story itself. It is about the sisters and is told in a duel timeline way, flitting back and forth between the sisters and what is happening to each of them.

The author very cleverly lets nothing slip, no real hints or teasers that helped me maybe have a guess at how things would end. Sometimes I can figure things out, oftentimes not though. It isn’t about being right or wrong its always about the reader’s journey to the truth of the novel. This author seriously gave nothing away!

What the author did give was a very interesting and gripping story. One seeded with doubt and mystery with a constant sense of something going on behind the scenes somewhere. The two timelines running in this story keep you focused on both the sisters and because they alternate often you don’t forget what one is doing while reading about the other.

This is a clever story, it has its twists, it has its emotions and it definitely has its surprises. If you like mystery thrillers then you should have a look at this one. It was fabulous reading and one I would recommend. 

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You Never Said Goodbye by Luca Veste @HodderBooks #NetGalley #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for You Never Said Goodbye by Luca Vesta. I have seen many good reviews about this author but never read any of his books. I saw this title available for request on NetGalley and was delighted to be approved to read it.

A DEVOTED MOTHER
Sam Cooper has a happy life: a good job, a blossoming relationship. Yet, there’s something he can never forget – the image seared into his mind of his mother, Laurie, dying when he was a child. His father allowed his grief to tear them apart and Sam hasn’t seen him in years.

A LOVING WIFE
Until an unexpected call from Firwood hospital, asking Sam to come home, puts in motion a chain of devastating events. On his deathbed, Sam’s father makes a shocking confession.

A LIAR?
Who was Laurie Cooper? It’s clear that everything Sam thought he knew about his mother was wrong. And now he’s determined to find out exactly what she did and why – whatever the cost.

What happens if you discover you’ve been lied to by your own family for twenty-five years?

Sam Cooper is about to find out. 

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read a book by this author, I have seen many reviews about his books and decided to give his latest one a go.

This is a crime, thriller mystery read that is full of tension and suspense from the very beginning right through till the end. A page-turner for definite and one full of intrigue. As the synopsis suggests it is Sam Cooper who is the main focus of this story. He has not had the best relationship with his father. After an accident in which Sam’s mum and little brother died, all Sam has known is his dad. So when his dad mentions Sam’s mum Laurie still being alive he doesn’t know what to think.

This is a book that starts with Sam, unhappy but getting on with life. After hearing that his mum may be alive he goes through various emotions. Guilt is something he has lived with since the accident, and there is a certain amount of resentment towards his dad.

Sam leaves the UK to travel back to the US, his arrival is something that shouldn’t be fraught with danger. What Sam doesn’t know is the full facts of what went on 25 years ago, and more importantly what preceded the events that led to the accident.

This is a book that I needed to keep my full attention with as I got used to the differing timelines and the characters. Having a timeline that flits back and forth is great for adding detail, and the author does a wonderful job of trickling the information through. It fills in gaps and also leaves questions. This is ideal to keep the story flowing and it definitely kept me engaged.

The pace of this story felt quite quick and it suited the theme as Sam suddenly finds himself in the midst of something he was totally unaware of and definitely unprepared for. The title is so good for this story, it definitely takes on a more sinister message than I originally thought.

This is a tense storyline that explodes onto the page, has the main characters racing and running for answers and their lives. A really good action read with plenty of suspense and one for readers who like a good twisted crime thriller book.

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Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt @HodderBooks #NetGalley #suspense #horror #psychological #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. This is a slow burner but gradually increases in speed. Mesmerising, dangerous and tense. I enjoyed it so much I ordered a copy of his previous book, Hex 🙂

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. I love the cover of this book. That mountain… 🥶😨

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It’s One Thing to Lose Your Life
It’s Another to Lose Your Soul

When climber Nick Grevers is brought down from the mountains after a terrible accident he has lost his looks, his hopes and his climbing companion. His account of what happened on the forbidden peak of the Maudit is garbled, almost hallucinogenic. Soon it becomes apparent more than his shattered body has returned: those that treat his disfigured face begin experiencing extraordinary and disturbing psychic events that suggest that Nick has unleashed some ancient and primal menace on his ill-fated expedition.

Nick’s partner Sam Avery has a terrible choice to make. He fell in love with Nick’s youth, vitality and beauty. Now these are gone and all that is left is a haunted mummy-worse, a glimpse beneath the bandages can literally send a person insane.

Sam must decide: either to flee to America, or to take Nick on a journey back to the mountains, the very source of the curse, the little Alpine Village of Grimnetz, its soul-possesed Birds of Death and it legends of human sacrifice and, ultimately, its haunted mountain, the Maudit. 

MY REVIEW

When I read the synopsis for this book ages ago I thought it sounded great. When I started to read it though I didn’t feel it until about a quarter of the way through. Then I think I started to grasp the characters, the basics of the storyline, and the style. By the end of the book, I was so glad I had persevered as it became more and more addictive.

Nick is the adventurous one, he likes the mountains. His other half Sam, not so much, he prefers shopping and the little luxuries. Together they make a great couple. Nick and friend Augustine take on the challenging Maudit Peak in the Mont Blanc region of Switzerland. It was once known as the “cursed mountain” as I discovered after an internet search. This makes the story so appropriate as it gives the sinister vibe that makes up a large part of the story. Nick and Augustine went up Maudit, only Nick returned. He was not the same, he suffered severe facial injuries and he came back with something else. Is it survivors guilt or worse?

Guilt is something that Sam knows all about. He has a secret that he has lived with since he was a young boy. Something he has never told anyone.

The story of Nick’s recovery and the feelings he has after coming back from the mountains are something that he feels haunts him. Sam is aware of this change, but it is darker than he could ever imagine. A series of events leave catastrophic and fatal consequences for those around Nick. It is only when Nick, joined by Sam return to the Maudit, that things become more real, some answers are found and the real horror of the mountain comes to light.

From the slower and for me slightly confusing start, this book then turned into something very addictive. The beginning flitted around a little too much and at times left me feeling a bit confused. As I mentioned earlier, I did persevere and for that, I was definitely rewarded with a story that suddenly started to make sense. Some of the things mentioned at the very beginning started to fit into place, some not until near the end.

The story of the relationship between Nick and what happened on the mountain is so atmospheric, it is haunting and gives some nice horror vibes. It does also have a really good psychological edge to it. Another relationship is that between Nick and Sam, this is one that is sort of like the heart of the story, their love for each other comes through so well amidst the chaos and misery that overshadows them from the mountain.

There is a nice local, village presence to this story, one that is easy to imagine from films, you know the ones where the pub suddenly goes quiet when a stranger walks in. Or where the villagers don’t speak to you, or if they do it is only in menacingly doom and gloom tones. Talking of films, I could see this as being a good idea for a film. I will say that I am not a fan of horror films, so it is a good job it’s in a book format!

This was a really good read, it has a threatening menace that gave a feel of foreboding and danger. It did have the chills for a horror or suspense novel and there is a smidgen of superstition from the local village. An unexpected but satisfying ending and a story that I would happily recommend.

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