The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins #BookReview @lucyatkins @quercusbooks

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Book description

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?

img_1258The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins is one of those books, where you come to the end and feel a sense of loss, I loved every page, every chapter of this intricately plotted novel. Taut with tension from the off this is definitely one book that’s begs to be read in one sitting. The story centres around Olivia a high-flying TV presenter and historian, and the rather creepy Vivian Tester a socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper who becomes Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. what follows is a tale of deception, ambition and manipulation.

This book captivated me from the very first chapter and I found myself immersed in the complex tale of two very different women. Olivia and Vivian are far from likeable, they are as different as chalk and cheese, but scratch the surface and there are similarities between the pair, it’s these similarities which make them such unlikeable characters. Vivian is definitely the most despicable out of the two, she literally made my skin crawl, her obsessive, deluded and manipulative traits make her very difficult to like, but still what an intriguing character she made. 

The authors writing is beautifully descriptive and almost from the start of The Night Visitor you get a sense of foreboding, as she describes settings and the characters so convincingly. The attention to detail is impeccable whether it be the characters, setting or the description of beetles, which for me made this a hugely compelling read. As animosity between the two women bubbles away the plot began to feel very sinister, malice radiated from every page, and yet I found myself desperate to find out more about the toxic relationship between Olivia and Vivian.

The Night Visitor is very much a character led psychological thriller, it isn’t an edge-of-your-seat hardcore thriller. If you read it with that expectation, you just might be slightly disappointed. For me personally The Night Visitor made a refreshing change from the usual crime read, I found it to be a riveting and unnerving read, beautifully written with characters you won’t forget about in a hurry. I would highly recommend The Night Visitor if you are looking for a book that offers something different from the norm.

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Print Length: 368 pages

Publisher: Quercus (4 May 2017)

My thanks to Linda Hill over at http://www.lindasbookbag.com for sending me her spare copy of The Night Visitor

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly #BookReview

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Book description

Who do you believe?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something – and someone – is always in the dark

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When I first started reading He Said She Said by Erin Kelly I was surprised that this book had so many five stars and rave reviews , I found it to be a slow starter and the constant changing between narrator and time lines took a while to get used to, but around the 120 page mark everything clicked into place and this turned from a mediocre read into a book that actually made for an intriguing read.

At the centre of the plot are four characters whose live’s become entangled after a chance meeting during an eclipse, the story is told from two perspectives, Kit and Laura’s. After witnessing a brutal attack during an eclipse, the couple do what anyone would do if they found themselves in a similar predicament and call the police, but little do they realise life will never quite be quite the same for them again. As events unfold it soon becomes apparent that nothing is quite as it seems, the characters credibility plays a major factor in this tale, and the reader is led a merry dance to get to the truth.

I’m sure at this point I’m going to get some shocked gasps but here we go, although I enjoyed He Said She Said I did have some issues with this book. At times the plot felt drawn out and there were chapters that didn’t necessarily add anything to the read, but actually distracted from the story, if I’m honest I actually found the whole eclipse thing a bit tedious after a while, although in the authors defence I can see why it was included in relation to the plot, it just didn’t work for me.

On the positive side come the last half of He Said She Said I was pleasantly surprised at how crafty Erin Kelly had been, I don’t want to give anything away that might spoil the read for others, but suffice to say the conclusion to this book absolutely threw me, as did the surprises along the way. If I were to sum this book up I would say it’s got a great premise, a brilliant second half, but I’m afraid this one struggled to keep my attention. I definitely think I’m in the minority with my thoughts on this book as it’s received so many fabulous reviews and in this case it maybe one you need to read for yourself.

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Hardcover: 416 pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton  (20 April 2017)

 

The Caller by Chris Carter #Book Review

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Book description

The terrifying new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of I AM DEATH.

After a tough week, Tanya Kaitlin is looking forward to a relaxing night in, but as she steps out of her shower, she hears her phone ring. The video call request comes from her best friend, Karen Ward. Tanya takes the call and the nightmare begins.

Karen is gagged and bound to a chair in her own living room. If Tanya disconnects from the call, if she looks away from the camera, he will come after her next, the deep, raspy, demonic voice at the other end of the line promises her.

As Hunter and Garcia investigate the threats, they are thrown into a rollercoaster of evil, chasing a predator who scouts the streets and social media networks for victims, taunting them with secret messages and feeding on their fear.

img_1258The Caller by Chris Carter is the eighth book in the Robert Hunter series, I must admit I was concerned that as there has been a two year gap between I Am Death and The Caller that the series might have lost its momentum, but I’m pleased to say that this is a very worthy and thrilling edition to the series. What I like about this author is that he writes stories that challenge and shock, he isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what we expect. The authors imagination knows no bounds, the killings are gruesome and pretty gory in detail, so be warned if you are squeamish you may want to give this one a miss!

This book is very relevant today’s society a serial killer who stalks social media looking for his next victim, it never fails to amaze me how much we share on social media without even realising it, but after reading this novel you might think twice about what your putting on social media sites. As you would expect the author has created a very twisted killer, but I would expect nothing else from Chris Carter as he skilfully takes the worse parts of human behaviour and creates a character who is chilling to say the least. I’m not going to go into plot details as the less you know about the plot line the better the read.
The killing scenes in this book are graphic to say the least, and at times make for a grisly read, but this is what makes Chris Carter such a fantastic crime writer, his details of police procedures and psychological profiling are second to none, and you are able to get a real understanding of the criminal mind and the way it works, something which fascinates me. As the investigation intensifies and the body count rises The Caller made for a gripping and heart pounding read.

There are a couple of other strands running through this novel which also added to the suspense. I do have one small criticism when I read a crime thriller I like to feel I’m taking part in the investigation, working my way through the suspects, picking up clues but this wasn’t the case with The Caller as there are very few suspects, and then wham bam the killer is revealed with no big lead up or clues to the identity of the killer, in my opinion this made the ending feel very rushed and I couldn’t help feeling slightly disappointed.

The Caller is a worthy edition to the series, the writing is exceptional, the plot intriguing but it’s not my favourite Chris Carter book due to the abrupt ending, but I’m sure many of his fans will disagree with me. This can be read as a standalone but as it’s such a brilliant series I would recommend you read the books in order as they really are an exceptional series.

Print Length: 480 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (23 Feb. 2017)

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Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner #BookReview #BookShelfReads

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Book description

Thirteen-year-old Sharlah Nash knows that the first time her brother killed eight years ago, he did it to save their lives.

Now retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his wife Rainie Conner have offered Sharlah a new life of safety. She desperately wants to believe this is her shot at happily ever after.

Then two people are murdered in their local convenience store and Sharlah’s brother is identified as the killer.

Telly Ray Nash is on the hunt for Sharlah and as the death count rises it becomes clear that nothing and no-one, including Pierce and Rainie, will stop him getting to her.

Now, Sharlah has one chance to take control.

She can run for her life… or turn and face the danger right behind her.

 

img_1258I’ve always been a huge fan of Lisa Gardner, especially the Quincy and Rainie series, so you can imagine my excitement when I picked up Right Behind You the seventh book in the series, it’s been a long time coming. Interestingly the book came about after the author conducted an online poll asking readers which characters they wanted to read about in 2017 and Quincy and Rainie won hands down. I should mention Right Behind You can easily be read as a standalone.

Quincy and Rainie are called in to help when a spree killer goes on the loose. It soon becomes apparent that the suspect is their soon to be adoptive daughter, Sharlah’s long lost brother, Telly. What follows is a taut and highly entertaining read, as Quincy and Rainie try to find Telly and bring him to justice before any harm comes to their daughter. What really surprised me about this book is the fact Sharlah and Telly take centre stage overshadowing the usual protagonists. The chapters told from the children’s point of view are heartbreakingly sad and I wasn’t expecting to feel an emotional pull to both characters. The author manages to depict two broken vulnerable souls with both empathy and understanding, which made them likeable characters despite the violent events surrounding them both.

There’s nothing straight forward about the investigation, with the author throwing in red herrings galore Right Behind You makes for a taut read. Lisa Gardner’s writing flows fluidly and she is able to move effortlessly between the various characters POV, whilst maintaining the pace. As I would expect Lisa Gardner’s attention to detail was spot on profiling, syndromes bought on by childhood trauma all made for an intriguing read.

As the body count rises I found myself caught up in the plot, it’s fast it’s furious come the last half of the book. Although I confess I did have suspicions about where the plot was leading, and although I wasn’t able to guess precisely I did guess some elements of the plot, but never the less I did really enjoy Right Behind You, it’s got plenty to keep the reader captivated to the last dramatic page. If I had one small disappointment with this book I found it to be light on the police procedural aspect which I do like to read about, for me personally it’s very much part of the reason I love this authors books. Although I would recommend this book to crime thriller lovers, I don’t think it’s the best book in the series but that’s only my humble opinion, so you may prefer to check this one out for yourself.

Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: Headline (31 Jan. 2017)

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