Tag Archives: Book review

Tell Me I’m Wrong by Adam Croft #BookReview @adamcroft

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Book description

What if you discovered your husband was a serial killer?

Megan Miller is an ordinary woman with a young family — until a shocking discovery shatters her perfect world.

When two young boys are brutally murdered in their tight-knit village community, Megan slowly begins to realise the signs all point to the lovable local primary school teacher — her husband.

But when she begins to delve deeper into her husband’s secret life, she makes discoveries that will make her question everything she knows — and make her fear for her young daughter’s life.

Facing an impossible decision, she is desperate to uncover the truth. But once you know something, it can’t be unknown. And the more she learns, the more she wishes she never knew anything at all…

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There is nothing more satisfying than picking up a book that misleads the reader, one that constantly has you questioning each characters narrative, and Tell Me I’m Wrong by Adam Croft does exactly that! With an array of psychological thrillers on the market and one of my most read genres I find it difficult to find a book that stands out from the crowd. For me a psychological thriller has to mess with my head, keep me gripped and most importantly hit me with that “OMG I never saw that coming” moment and yes this book managed to do just that!

Like most psychological thriller Tell Me I’m wrong could not be considered to be fast paced, but like any really good psychological thriller the author builds on the suspense and mystery the whole time leading the “reader down the rabbit hole” into the world of Megan and Chris, where nothing is as it seems. On the surface Megan and Chris seem to be a “perfectly normal couple”, when two young boys are brutally murdered in their tight-knit village community, Megan slowly begins to realise the signs all point to the lovable local primary school teacher, her husband, Chris.

Fuelled by lies and mistrust the story is told in alternating chapters from the POV of Megan and Chris. As I got to the 60% I can honestly say I had no idea where this book was heading, yes I had numerous theories but I found myself so caught up in where the author was leading me I really couldn’t turn the pages of my kindle fast enough. The sense of foreboding radiates from the pages of this well told tale, at times I find myself holding my breath as the tension and mistrust between Megan and Chris grew.

Adam Croft certainly surprised me with a couple of those “OMG I never saw that coming” moments, so I applaud the author for being so devious. Well written, this is a book that I will definitely be recommending to anyone who loves a gripping psychological thriller with some very devious plot twists. Tell Me I’m Wrong is the first book I’ve read by Adam Croft but it certainly won’t be my last!

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 274 pages

Publisher: Circlehouse (18 Jan. 2018)

My thanks to author Adam Croft for my ARC in exchanged for an unbiased review.

About the author

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With more than one million books sold to date, Adam Croft is one of the best-selling crime and thriller authors in the world.

His 2015 worldwide bestselling psychological thriller HER LAST TOMORROW became one of the biggest selling books of the year with over 150,000 copies sold in the first five months, and has since been in development for television.

In 2016 he was featured by The Guardian as one of the biggest selling authors of the year, and regularly takes part in discussions and panels on publishing and the future of books.

In February 2017, ONLY THE TRUTH became a worldwide bestseller, reaching storewide number 1 at both Amazon US and Amazon UK, making it the bestselling book in the world at that moment in time. The same day, Amazon’s overall Author Rankings placed Adam as the mostly widely read author in the world, with J.K. Rowling in second place.

Adam has been featured on BBC television, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Bookseller and a number of other news and media outlets.

Author Links:

Twitter: @adamcroft       Facebook      Website

**Blog tour**Little Liar by Clare Boyd #BookReview @Bookouture @ClaireBoydClark

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of two stops on the Little Liar by Clare Boyd blog tour, you can catch my partner in crime (pun intended😂) Neats review over at The Haphazardous Hippo

Little Liar was published on the 1st February by one of my very favourite publishers Bookouture, so you don’t even have to wait to get a copy, pop over to Amazon and “click”. Before I share my review, what’s the book about? Read it on…….

Book description

The perfect family… or the perfect lie?

To the outside world, Gemma Bradley has it all – a doting husband, high-flying career and two delightful kids – but inside the four walls of her tastefully renovated home, she is a mother at her wits end who has given too many last warnings and counted to ten too many times.

When a child’s scream pierces the night, Gemma’s neighbour does what anyone would do: she calls the police. She wants to make sure that Rosie, the little girl next door, is safe.

Gemma knows she hasn’t done anything wrong, but the more she fights to defend the family she loves, the more her flawless life begins to crumble around her. Is the carefully guarded secret she’s been keeping suddenly in danger of breaking free?

When Rosie disappears, Gemma thinks she only has herself to blame. That is, until she discovers that Rosie has been keeping dark secrets of her own in a pink plastic diary.

Distraught and terrified, Gemma doesn’t know where to turn. The only thing she knows is that her daughter’s life is in danger…

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If you are thinking about becoming a parent anytime soon a word of warning you may want to give Little Liar a wide berth! Motherhood is often portrayed unrealistically in fiction, full time working mum, always manages to balance work V  home life perfectly, the children are the perfect “little cherubs”, but not in this book! Clare Boyd writes a very different and troubling tale of the challenges and the stormy side of being a mother.

Little Liar could be based on homes up and down the country, a child has a tantrum, (I’m sure every parent can relate to this at some point) screams the place down and a “kindly” neighbour reports the incident to the police, convinced the child is in danger. Unfortunately for Gemma, Mira a “helpful” neighbour hears Gemma’s daughter Rosie screaming and reports her concerns to the police, and so begins a train of events that will have far reaching and life changing consequences for both Gemma and Mira.

Essentially Little Liar is more Domestic Noir than a psychological thriller but don’t let that put you off, I personally enjoy this type of novel when it’s done well and considering this is the author’s debut novel I think she has done a remarkable job. The tension radiating from her characters is constant, rather like a cauldron you can feel the emotions bubbling away and at some point as the reader you know all these emotions are going to boil over, to the how and the why that’s for you as the reader to find out. At times I felt like like a voyeur watching Gemma’s family in crisis, some of Gemma’s actions towards her daughter made me feel uncomfortable,  but that said it certainly helped to create a disquieting read. Little Liar is one of those books that couldn’t be considered fast paced, it’s more subtle, slowly building on the suspense and tension and drawing the reader in.

As the title suggests most of the characters have something to lie about, and it’s these lies that make the basis of a very intriguing plot. If I’m honest it was difficult to find any empathy for any of the characters including Rosie, but this did not distract from the read. At times I could sense Gemma’s frustration and Rosie like many ten year olds knew exactly how to push her mothers buttons to provoke a reaction. Little Liar explores the sometimes difficult relationship between mother and child, the emotions, the guilt and the constant pressure to be the “best mother”. Well written with drama aplenty Little Liar is a thought provoking read that encompasses moral dilemmas that are relevant to today’s society. I think Little Liar is one of those books that will divide readers, I think some will love it and others not so, but then that’s the beauty of books, no two opinions are the same, personally I enjoyed Little Liar and look forward to seeing what Clare Boyd comes up with next.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 410 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (1 Feb. 2018)

About the author

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Clare lives with her husband and their two daughters in Surrey, where her little green shed at the bottom of the garden provides a haven for her writing life. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold.
https://twitter.com/ClareBoydClark

My thanks to Kim Nash and Bookouture for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

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**Blog tour** Force Of Nature by Jane Harper #BookReview @Janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK

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Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the Force Of Nature by Jane Harper. I was a huge fan of the first book in the series THE DRY and it’s a book I would highly recommend. If you are looking for a different type of crime thriller that doesn’t involve a serial killer or gruesome scenes that you are going to love The Force Of Nature, so what’s it about? Read on to find out

Book description

FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK…

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.
Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

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Force Of Nature by Jane Harper is the second book in a series featuring Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk, yes it can be read as a standalone but if like me you prefer to start a series at the beginning I would highly recommend you read The Dry first. From the start this book has such a different feel to it, we leave the blistering heat and claustrophobic setting of a small town in the outback and move to the cold, wet and hostile environment of the remote Giralang Range. The author has a flair for describing her settings in great detail, so much so that you feel you are there amid the harsh terrain, the howling winds and the torrential rain, the sense of isolation the author evokes is palatable from the start.

Can you imagine trekking through the wilderness with your work colleagues? Putting your trust in them? Reliant on each other to survive? All in the name of “team building” no? well that’s pretty much the premise for this book. Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen are called to the Giralang Range, when Alice one of the team members goes missing. Force Of Nature is told in alternating timelines, you have chapters that take the reader back in time to follow the women on their hike, and then you have chapters featuring Aaron and Carmen in the present assisting the search and slowly revealing the details of Alice’s disappearance.

Force Of Nature reminds me very much of the traditional “whodunnit”, where the focus is more on the characters and guessing whose behind the skullduggery and the why, rather than the fast paced, gruesome crime thrillers many of us are use to reading. Jane Harper focuses her time on building on the tension and suspense, which some readers may find off putting, but personally I enjoyed the more sedate pace.

As Jane Harper reveals more details of the five women life’s I found myself scrutinising everyone of them with suspicion. The author very realistically portrays the woman’s behaviour and emotions set against the backdrop of an isolated environment where their instinct to survive far outweighs their allegiance to their work colleagues. Force Of Nature is a complex tale that explores themes such as grudges, bullying and family ties, shrouded in mystery and secrets, that draw the reader in making for an engrossing read. Force Of Nature is a book I would recommend to those who enjoy a crime thriller with a heart and aren’t a fan of the more gruesome crime thrillers that are on the market.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (26 Sept. 2017)

My thanks to the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

About the author

Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year, the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 2017.

Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.

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UNSUB by Meg Gardiner #BookReview @DuttonBooks @MegGardiner1 #MustReads

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Book description

A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

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First of a huge thank you to Janel over at Keeperofpages, whose fabulous review convinced me I needed to read UNSUB ASAP!

Hells bells if you consider yourself to be a crime thriller lover then you MUST read Unsub by Meg Gardiner, it’s not just good it’s a flipping fantastic book and I would go as far to say it’s probably one of the best crime books I’ve read EVER. I read so many crime thrillers it takes a lot to scare me but this book unnerved me to the extent I had to keep checking that the doors were locked and the lights were on. Unsub caused my heart to thump and my pulse to race pretty much throughout. Drawing inspiration from the Zodiac Killer, and likened to Se7en, and Silence of the Lambs this is one book you don’t want to miss if you like your crime thrillers graphic and disturbing.

As you can see this book comes with a pretty lengthy book description, so I don’t feel the need to rehash the plot in my review. I do enjoy a crime thriller with an intriguing serial killer at the heart of the plot, and Meg Gardiner has created a fascinating one, the Unsub aka The Prophet taunts law enforcement with his gruesome murders and his cryptic messages, he thrives on mind games and generating fear in a city where people are advised to be vigilant, no one knows who his next victim will be or why. I think The Prophet makes a very credible character I feel this is because as the reader you are aware the author drew inspiration from the very real Zodiac Killer, making him that much more terrifying and convincing.

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Meg Gardiner has done a superb job with character development, building her grisly psychological thriller around detective Caitlin Hendrix, whose father failed to catch the killer decades earlier. Caitlin Hendrix is probably one of the most exciting protagonists I’ve come across in a long time the author has breathed life into her, you feel her frustration, her empathy for the victims and her complex relationship with her father make her someone that I WANT to know so much more about. Unsub is an unforgettable book, fast paced, chilling and downright frightening but I loved every page of this gripping crime thriller. Every scene, every word written is pivotal to the plot and the tension that radiates throughout definitely make this one of my top reads of 2018. Now I really can’t wait to read the sequel Into The Black Nowhere. In case you haven’t already guessed I would highly, highly recommended Unsub.

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 420 pages

Publisher: Dutton Books; Reprint edition (2 Jan. 2018)

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving UNSUB the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a fabulous read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page and plus this one gave me a #Major #BookHangover something I don’t suffer with very often!

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#FinalGirls by Riley Sager #BookReview & #Giveaway @Riley_Sager @EburyPublishing

 

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Today I’m thrilled to be able to offer followers of my blog the chance to win a paperback copy of Final Girls By Riley Sager to celebrate its release in paperback today. My thanks to the publishers Edbury Publishing for this fabulous prize.

If you haven’t read Final Girls yet it’s a book I would highly recommend and you can read my thoughts on this gripping book further down this post, you can also find details on how to enter the Giveaway, but first the book details…….

Book description

Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…

They were the victims of separate massacres. Grouped together by the press, and dubbed the Final Girls, they are treated like something fresh out of a slasher movie.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

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If your looking for an “edge of your seat” thriller then look no further, Final Girls by Riley Sager will have you gripped from the first page, all the way to its nail biting conclusion. Final Girls tells the story of Three victims of separate massacres, they all have suffered similar experiences to those slasher movies most of us have watched, you know the ones I mean where one “Final Girl” is left in the closing scenes and manages to come out alive.  Final Girls is a compulsive read, with characters who are at once unreliable and sympathetic.

What follows is the story of two of the survivors Quincy and Sam, and that’s all I’m going to say about the plot as I would hate to give away spoilers. What drew me to this book in the first place was the author took the unusual step to focus on the survivors of the most awful crimes after the event, so this novel certainly makes for an original and compulsive read.

As you would expect both Quincy and Sam may have survived shocking and traumatic events but neither of them have come out unscathed, at the start they both seem pretty average until the author weaves his magic and you realise both characters are not only complex but also very damaged by their traumatic experiences and I found them both untrustworthy and for me that’s what made this novel such a compelling read.

With twist and turns galore it’s pretty much impossible to “second guess” where the author is leading the reader, but I certainly enjoyed every minute of this dark crime thriller. Full of mystery and suspense this novel certainly fray’s the nerves, as the tension and suspense reaches fever pitch before the final shocking scenes. Riley Sager without doubt has written a novel that makes for a tense and exhilarating read and if you are a fan of a well written crime thriller then this is one book you don’t want to miss.

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (13 July 2017

About the author

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Riley Sager is the pseudonym for an author who has previously published under another name. Riley is a native of Pennsylvania, a writer, editor, and graphic designer who lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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One paperback copy of Final Girls by Riley Sager and I will also throw in a bookmark as seen in the photo at the top of this post, coffee not included! 

First for the boring bits…….I’m sorry but this competition is open to UK residents only. Winner will be notified via DM within 24 hours of competition ending. To be included in the draw you must be following my Facebook page the book review café . 

To enter visit my Facebook page and leave a comment in the Final Girls post and entrants will go into a hat, a winner will be randomly picked by Mr book review café on Monday 29th January 2017 at 6.00pm UK time. 

You can enter giveaway here…….https://www.facebook.com/thebookreviewcafe/

 

 

 

Look For Me by Lisa Gardner @LisaGardnerBks #BookReview

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Book description

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

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I can’t believe Look For Me is book nine in the DD Warren series from Lisa Gardner, I’m a huge fan of this series, and have followed It from the very beginning. When I get to this point in a long running series I can’t help but wonder if the authors going to run out of steam, it must be difficult to come up with new ideas for plots and characters after writing so many books, but any worries I may have had were unfounded, if anything Look For Me is a reminder why Lisa Gardiner is a bestselling crime novelist.

I should mention Look For Me can be read as a standalone, despite it featuring young victim turned vigilante Flora Dane who we met in Find Her As I’ve come to expect from this author Look For Me opens with a grim and disturbing prologue that grabs your attention and leaves you desperate to read on. Detective DD Warren is called in to find the predator who massacred Roxy’s family. Curiously, Roxy and the two family dogs have gone missing. Is Roxy running because she’s guilty of murdering her family? Or is she terrified she’ll be the final victim? Detective D. D. Warren leads the investigation alongside Flora Dane survivor-turned-avenger.

I’ve said this before I do love American crime thrillers they always feel that little bit darker and a lot more gritty, that said there are some scenes in Look For Me which some readers may find distressing due to the subject matter. As you can imagine nine books there aren’t any real surprises regarding DD Warren’s character, but it was interesting concept to add Flora into the investigation, a vigilante with a band of “survivor” helpers, could this possibly the start of a new series? I’m hoping so. Surprisingly Look For Me is more than just a crime thriller, it’s also a dark heart wrenching novel about the foster care system, and a family torn apart. Sometimes grim but unfortunately very credible Lisa Gardner has written another gripping and worthy addition to the The DD Warren series.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Publisher: Century (8 Feb. 2018)

Language: English

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan #BookReview @Lisalregan @Bookouture

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Book description

The little girl curled into a tiny ball as the chamber grew colder around her. “Please,” she whispered, rocking back and forth. “I want to go home.”

When Isabelle Coleman, a blonde, beautiful young girl goes missing, everyone from the small town of Denton joins the search. They can find no trace of the town’s darling, but Detective Josie Quinn finds another girl they didn’t even know was missing.

Mute and unresponsive, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Josie can get from her is the name of a third girl and a flash of a neon tongue piercing that matches Isabelle’s.

The race is on to find Isabelle alive, and Josie fears there may be other girls in terrible danger. When the trail leads her to a cold case labelled a hoax by authorities, Josie begins to wonder is there anyone left she can trust?

 

IMG_3605I’m not one of those people who takes much notice of a book cover, I’m more of a “read the book description” and decide kind of reader, but when I seen the cover for the Vanishing Girls I loved it, and the cover just shouted at me “read me now”. So that’s the reason I choose to read this book and I’m so glad I did. I always get excited when I find a new crime series to read, despite being a huge fan of this genre I’m always looking for a series that’s different from the norm, but at the same time highly entertaining . I’m thrilled to write that Vanishing Girls is one of the best debut books in a crime series I have read in a long time.

Vanishing Girls opens with a chilling prologue and from then on in Lisa Regan doesn’t let up on the pace or the drama. Josie Quinn is a detective with the Denton, police department, currently on suspension. Josie like any good fictional Detective is not the kind of person to sit around waiting for her suspension to end, and when a local girl goes missing she can’t help but become involved in the investigation. Josie Quinn is a no-nonsense cop with a strong sense of justice, she’s capable and fearless, although there is a hint of vulnerability about her, as the author reveals snippets of a troubled childhood.

There is plenty of drama and  enough twists to keep the most hardened crime thriller reader engrossed. At times the plot felt very intense due to the dark and emotive subject covered, but on that note the plot never felt too grim and the author concentrates on the investigation rather than going into great detail about what the Vanishing Girls had to endure. Full of suspense with a gritty plot and a strong female lead whom you can’t help but warm to, I think the author has created a crime series that has all the hallmarks of a long running series. Would I recommend this book? It’s a most “definitely” from me.

Buying links: Amazon US 🇺🇸      Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Print Length: 345 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (17 Jan. 2018)