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.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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

**Blog tour** Reconciliation For The Dead Paul E. Hardisty @orendabooks @Hardisty_Paul

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Today I’m delighted to be the next stop on the Paul E Hardisty author of Reconciliation For The Dead blog tour. 

Reconciliation For The Dead is published by one of my favourite publishers on the planet Orenda Books, Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction. This book is available in both kindle and paperback  and you don’t even have to wait to get a copy as it’s already been published

To celebrate the occasion author Paul E. Hardisty has written a fascinating guest post, so without further ado…….

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Engineering a Novel By Paul E. Hardisty

I was trained as a scientist and an engineer. In these disciplines, we are taught to apply scientific principles and mathematics to understand the forces, flows and stresses that govern a problem, and optimise a design to deliver the desired outcome. Over years of training and practice, this structured way of thinking becomes almost second nature, a part of you.

So, when I approach the writing of a novel, it won’t be much of a surprise when I say that I use the same approach. Even though it is a work of art, I engineer the novel.

First, I need to understand the problem. What is it that I am trying to accomplish with the book? Where do I want to take the reader, and why? What do I want to have the reader see, feel, think, experience, and what images do I want to leave them with? In other words, I need to have a firm idea, in my own mind, of the purpose of the book. For me, entertaining the reader is important, but it is not enough. I also want to inform, or evoke certain emotions, and to challenge the reader to consider other viewpoints than perhaps they might have had going in. In my new novel, Reconciliation for the Dead (third book in the Claymore Straker series), set in apartheid-era South Africa, the goals were to show readers how Clay became the man we meet first in Yemen during the 1994 civil war in The Abrupt Physics of Dying, and then in its sequel The Evolution of Fear. I also wanted to expose the reader to a little-known conflict, and illustrate why apartheid, and the ridding of that scourge from the earth, is still relevant today.

When I know where I want the book to go, I need to determine how to get there. For me, this means developing, or designing, the full narrative arc of the book, before I start writing. This arc is made of up a series of inter-connected and inter-dependent scenes. And if these pieces are not joined together well, the thing will fail when put under stress. Sometimes, I think of it a bit like a bridge, with each span and beam holding up the others. Sometimes, these designs can be quite complex, and in their own way, I hope, beautiful. In the first two books of the series, I used a simple time-forward structure, with events largely unfolding in un-creased chronological order. In Reconciliation for the Dead, I needed a more complicated structure. The core of the novel is a flashback to Clay’s time in the war as a young paratrooper in the early 1980’s. Interspersed within this are snippets of transcript (recreated) from the 1996 Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where Clay gives testimony, having returned to South Africa fifteen years after the war. This is buttressed on either end (by prologue and epilogue) with short scenes that take place after Clay has finished testifying, and is in Mozambique contemplating his future. You can call it a prequel set within the envelope of a sequel.

Once the structure is designed, I can start writing (building). I find that knowing where I want to go, what I am trying to say, and how I am going to get there, gives me a sense of certainty every morning when I sit down to write. Each day I plan to work on a specific span or section. Because I know where it fits in the whole structure, its unique role, and how it fits with the others, I can focus on the prose itself, and try to create the most beautiful and powerful imagery I can. Bit by bit, day by day, the whole structure rises, until one day, I have a first draft.

Then comes what I call the testing and infilling stage. The main structure is there, and (hopefully!) has achieved its overall objectives. Now, I weave in any additional detail and context that is required, not only to strengthen the whole, but to make the parts stand strongly together. This is where expert editorial support and review from others can be so helpful.
I have always felt that in science and engineering, there can be beauty. As I write a novel, I always get a strong sense that art and science are really not so far apart.

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Canadian by birth, Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels.

In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia with his family.

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Book description

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier.

It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make.

Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

‘A solid, meaty thriller – Hardisty is a fine writer and Straker is a great lead character’ Lee Child

‘A trenchant and engaging thriller that unravels this mysterious land in cool, precise sentences’ Stav Sherez, Catholic Herald

‘Just occasionally, a book comes along to restore your faith in a genre – and Paul Hardisty does this in spades’ Sharon Wheeler, Crime Review

This is a remarkably well-written, sophisticated novel in which the people and places, as well as frequent scenes of violent action, all come alive on the page…’ Literary Review

‘Hardisty doesn’t put a foot wrong in this forceful, evocative thriller … the author’s deep knowledge of the settings never slows down the non-stop action, with distant echoes of a more-moral minded Jack Reacher or Jason Bourne’ Maxim Jakubowski

My thanks to Karen over at Orenda books who publishes the most amazing books, Anne cater who organises such brilliant blog tours for Orenda books, and Paul Hardisty for his guest post.

As my post doesn’t include a review you may want to check out some of my fellow bloggers reviews who are on the blog tour.

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**Weekly Wrap Up**

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Well another week over and done with,  and I’m thrilled to report I’ve read two books this week (yes you’ve read that right!) and I’ve actually started on my third. I would like to thank fellow blogger Dee over at http://www.noveldeelights.com who has shown great sympathy for my plight, NOT! For some reason my reading slump has caused her a great deal of merriment, I wonder if that’s because I was about to rename my blog “the one book review café” 😂😂

Just in case anyone thinks I’m worried about the amount of books I’m reading I’m not. It doesn’t matter if I read one book or ten in a week, it’s still a book read. I must admit cutting back on blog tours has given me a sense of freedom, it’s liberating to pick up a book I want to read rather than having to read. I’ve actually turned down 15 blog tours this week for May,  June and July but I’m determined to give myself a break from them.

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I’ve also lost my fellow guest reviewer Jo who has finally decided to set up her own blog over at http://overtherainbowbookblog.wordpress.com, please check out her blog and give her a follow. I wish Jo all the best with her blog and would like to take this opportunity to thank her for the reviews she’s allowed me to share, the lovely Dee has offered to help out on the weeks I can only manage to read one book a week 😂😂

Books I’ve read this week

I just started reading Exquisite by Sarah Stovell and I’m already hooked. I also read He Said She Said and The Night Visitor, I loved one of these two books,  and the other one I struggled with on so many levels. To find out which one it was you can check out my reviews for both books next week.

ARC’s I received this week

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Book description

A happy child.

Every parent knows the world can be scary. Lawyer Jen Sutton knows it better than most. And she’ll go to any length to protect her son from what – and who – lies outside their front door.

A loving mother.

Some might say she’s being over-protective. But isn’t it a mother’s duty to protect her child from harm?

A family built on a lie.

Jen has kept her secrets safe. Until the postcard arrives, signed by the one person she hoped would never catch up with her… and her new case begins to feel a little too close to home.

One thing is clear: Jen has been found.

Now, she faces a choice. Run, and lose everything? Or fight – and risk her son discovering the truth.

Don’t Say a Word is the electrifying new psychological thriller from AL Bird – perfect for fans of CL Taylor and Sue Fortin.

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Book description

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

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Book description

Seven year old Tony has two choices: to live or to die.

Tony Bruno just wants to fit in, but the bullies at his school are cruel and relentless. At home, he leans on his mother Teresa for strength and comfort, but she’s no match for his father, Carmen. His father, a fighter and bully himself, hates Tony. He is embarrassed by the child for not fighting back and wishes that Tony was never born.

Then as a teen, in one act of blind courage, Tony fights back shifting the balance of power with his peers. Even after Tony sets things straight with the neighborhood boys, his father continues to terrorize him.

At school, Tony is now respected by his classmates. One day he stands up for a bullied kid named, Salvatore, and the boys become friends. One night, Salvatore commits a horrific crime and Tony suffers the consequences of his friends’ actions. Tony’s punishment changes the course of his life.

All alone and nowhere to call home, Tony sets out to find the life he longs for, one filled with love and acceptance. But nothing comes easily for him, and he is forced to draw upon strength from deep within to survive.

From the dark world he lives in, Tony does unimaginable things to leave his unwanted life behind.

Mean Little People is a haunting story of one bullied child deprived of love and taunted by corrupt individuals along his journey. Tony’s story will make you question the balance between good and evil.

Book Post I received this week

Twist Of The Knife by Becky Masterman

The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

The Killing Grounds by Jack Ford

Last week on the book review café

**Blog tour** Not Your Average Nurse by Maggie Groff #Bookreview #Guestpost
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/19/blog-tour-not-your-average-nurse-by-maggie-groff-bookreview-guestpost-transworldbooks-rosiemargesson/

#TopFiveThursday with #BookBlogger Jen Lucas aka jenmedsbookreviews
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/18/topfivethursday-with-bookblogger-jen-lucas-aka-jenmedsbookreviews/

Sweet Pea by C J Skuse #Bookreview #Guestreview by @JoannaLouisePar
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/15/sweet-pea-by-c-j-skuse-bookreview-guestreview-by-joannalouisepar-hqstories/

Next week on the book review café

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly #Review

The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins #Review

#TopFiveThursday with another awesome book blogger

**Blog tour**  Reconciliation For The Dead by Paul E. Hardisty #GuestPost

Other news from the book review café

IMG_1980I’m thrilled to have been nominated for the Best Book Blogger Award in the 2017 ANNUAL BLOGGERS BASH AWARDS, and if you happen to be reading this and nominated me “thank you”😘😘. I can honestly say “hand on heart” I really don’t expect to win, have you seen who I’m up against? Some truly awesome bloggers/blogs, but it’s given me such a huge boost to be nominated.

I also think there are some hugely awesome book bloggers out there who aren’t up for the awards but should be, they put their heart and souls into their blog and probably lots of tears too (if there anything like me), although these awards are great I do feel they can have a negative effect on bloggers who don’t get the recognisation they so deserve and make them question why that are blogging. A word from the wise (it happens once in a blue moon😂)to these bloggers, keep doing what you are doing, share your love of the books you love and most of all carry on with your awesome blogs, awards aren’t everything, when I first started blogging I never got nominated for anything.

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If you would like to vote for your favourite blogger I’ve included the links, there are numerous different categories to choose from and if I could I would vote for everyone of them.

http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/05/18/2017-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-voting-open-bloggersbash-bloggersbash/

**Weekly Wrap Up**

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Well here we are again another Sunday Weekly Wrap Up Post, and here’s where I share how many books I’ve read this week, yet again it’s been a dismal week, so let’s get it over with……once again I have only managed to read one book. I can’t even blame social media this week, if I’m honest after spending 8.5 hours staring at a computer screen by the time I get home my eyes are to tired to read (oh woe is me🙈).

I’m really not sure what the answer is, but it’s going to be a pretty darn boring week on my blog as all the reviews I have are for blog tours. Hopefully I will get back on track once I’m reading some of the books on my TBR pile, and if not I might have to change this blog to something completely different, perhaps a blog about books,  but without the reviews 😂😂

I must say a huge thank you to guest reviewer Jo for sending me her fabulous review of Sweetpea, which I will be posting this week. It actually means with Jo’s post and a blog tour review I may just manage to keep my blog ticking over!

The one Book I read this week!

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This is the first book I’ve read by Conrad Jones, but it certainly won’t be my last. I absolutely loved this gritty read, but  unfortunately I can’t share my review until the blog tour on Monday 29th May 

What I’m reading now

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly

The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

ARC’s I received this week

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Book description

How far would you go to protect your family?

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children alone, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. Life isn’t easy, but Judi’s family means everything to her and together, they manage.

Then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t sure … there’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up.

Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children.

The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.

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Book description

PI Varg Veum fights for his reputation, his freedom and his life, when child pornography is found on his computer and he is arrested and jailed. Worse still, his memory is a blank…

Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts.

When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material… and who is seeking the ultimate revenge.

When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest – and most personal – case yet

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Book description

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles … but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman?

As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

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Book description

DI Duncan Waddell has big problems. He’s borderline diabetic. The paperwork is piling up faster than the underwear at a porn shoot.

Now his best pal DC Stevie Campbell, who’s in a coma after being attacked by a suspect, has started to talk to him. Trouble is, only Waddell can hear him.

The last thing he needs is the country’s biggest case to land on his lap.

Three women have gone missing in the city he used to love, but is fast coming to despise, victims of the GLASGOW GRABBER, as their assailant has been dubbed by local hack and all round thorn in Waddell’s backside, Catriona Hastie.

Shelley Craig is the latest victim, snatched as she and her boyfriend took a shortcut through Glasgow city centre.

And she’ll do anything to make it home.

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Book description

Lesley Welsh sadly passed away in April but Bookouture are extremely honoured to be publishing The Serial Killer’s Daughter on 14th June.

Charmer, liar, father… Killer.

Suzanne’s life changes forever the day she receives a visit from Rose Anderson, the woman who has been living with her estranged father, Don.

Don is dead, but Rose wants Suzanne to have his possessions – including a series of intimate diaries and a mysterious collection of photographs of women.

To Suzanne’s shock, one of the photos is of her friend Sophie, who died ten years ago in an unexplained and devastating fire.

But Don only met Sophie once, on an unsettling visit he paid Suzanne just days before Sophie’s death… So why did he have a picture of her?

Unable to let Sophie’s memory alone, Suzanne begins to dig into her father’s life. What horrors is she about to unearth in his journals? And who is it that’s out there, watching her every move?

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Book description

Ben Whittle’s father, a private investigator, has been taken captive by a cult whilst investigating the case of a missing girl. When Ben receives a desperate call from his father asking for help he is drawn into a dark underground world.

As Ben retraces the last known steps of the missing girl he discovers his only option left is to join the cult and rescue his father from the inside.

The leader of the cult, Edward Ebb, is a psychopathic egocentric who uses his position to control his small group of followers in The Sons and Daughters of Salvation. When he initiates Ben into the group it soon becomes apparent how sick and twisted Ebb is.

Ben must find his father and the missing girl, but the odds are stacked against him and time is running out.

Can Ben rescue his father and the girl and escape with his life?
And what is the gruesome secret concealed in the Revelation Room?

The Revelation Room is the first in a new series of psychological mystery thrillers.

As everyone who follows my blog by now will know I’m a huge fan of author Robert Bryndza, so you can imagine how excited I was to receive a signed copy of Last Breath and chocolate, and I’m sorry but I just have to share the photos

 Last week on the book review café

#TopFiveThursday with #BookBlogger Danielle @BooksVertigoTea | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/11/topfivethursday-with-bookblogger-danielle-booksvertigotea/

**Blog tour** Child Taken by Darren Young #BookReview @DARRENYOUNGBOOK @REDDOORBOOKS | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/12/blog-tour-child-taken-by-darren-young-bookreview-darrenyoungbook-reddoorbooks/

**Mystery Blogger Award** | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/08/mystery-blogger-award/

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens #BookReview | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/10/never-let-you-go-by-chevy-stevens-bookreview/

Next week on the book review café

Sweet Pea by C J Skuse #Guest review from Jo

#TopFiveThursday with a super duper awesome blogger

*Blog tour* Not Your Average Nurse by Maggie Groff #Review

and for the rest of the week I will be trying to catch up on some reading, so if you hear so much as a squeak from me on social media please feel free to give me a telling off 😂

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**Blog tour** Child Taken by Darren Young #BookReview @DARRENYOUNGBOOK @REDDOORBOOKS

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Book description

How could such a thing happen?

But it did happen.

I wasn’t one of the others, observing.

It happened to me.

One hot summer’s day, two-year-old Jessica Preston disappears from the beach. The police are convinced she drowned, but Sandra Preston won’t give up hope that her daughter is still alive.

How can she?

Twenty years later, another child goes missing, and Sandra is approached by a young journalist who raises questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston all those years ago. But when the journalist discovers someone with an explosive secret, it threatens not only to reveal what’s been covered up for so long, but puts both their lives in danger.

img_1258Child Taken is the debut novel from Darren Young, and I’m pleased to report it’s a hell of a debut, it’s twisted and definitely makes for an intriguing read. As the book suggests two year old Jessica Preston disappears on a day out with her family. Twenty years later another missing child gets the attention of trainee journalist Laura Grainger, which leads to questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston? What follows is an intricate tale shrouded in mystery and deception.

There are have been numerous books that deal with this theme, but what sets this book apart was the authors decision not to concentrate on one particular character, he deftly explores the long term impact on everyone involved, after all each character involved lost something when Jessica was taken. At first I found the style of narrative confusing to follow as the story is told from four POV, but once I got into the swing things I realised just how cleverly woven the narrative is as it follows the journey past and present of the abductors and the family whose child was taken.

The author presents the reader with a tangled and intriguing tale which draws the reader in from the very first chapter. As a parent myself I found my sympathies lay very much with Jessica’s mother, as the author describes her thoughts and feelings at loosing a child with conviction and empathy. As for the abductors I couldn’t raise an iota of sympathy for their predicament, but to see why I felt like this you will just have to read the book for yourself, as in explaining my reasons I may give away major spoilers which is never my attention. I had one small niggle with Child Taken I did feel this book could have been shorter, as at times it felt the author was padding out the story and wasn’t really relevant to the plot.

I really thought I had Child Taken figured out around the halfway mark, but OMG Darren Young deviously leads the reader a merry dance, and I can honestly say I never thought for one minute the novel would end the way it did. This is a dark, twisting thriller that shows all too well how you can never escape the sins of your past. Child Taken is a terrific, gripping, page-turning debut by a talented new voice in suspense. A great read that I would highly recommend.

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: RedDoor Publishing (18 May 2017)     Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Darren Young lives in Nottingham with his wife, Luisa and their two children, Alessio and Emilia.

Away from writing, he has a background in financial services and an MBA from the University of Wolverhampton and helps organisations to improve their customer service, whilst also being involved in producing papers and a weekly blog on the subject. He wanted to write something different; a story he’d like to read, one about ordinary people thrown into extraordinary positions and had the ideas but wasn’t sure that there was enough time, or coffee, to fit it into his already busy life. However, he started working on Child Taken in 2014 and found that there was. He’s currently working on a new version of the book he wrote for ‘practice’ before embarking on Child Taken and after two years writing about child abduction, he wanted to explore something a little lighter; heart transplants.

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Follow Darren on Twitter @darrenyoungbook

you can follow the rest of the blog tour here….

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**Blog Tour** Block 46 by Johana Gustawasson #BookReview @OrendaBooks @JoGustawasson  

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Book description

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

img_1258Nothing, and I mean nothing could have prepared me for Block 46 by Johana Gustawasson, if you are looking for a unique, nail biting and gripping tale look no further than this book, it’s going to sound cliched but it literally left me speechless (not an easy task let me tell you!). Block 46 has been translated seamlessly from the original French by Maxim Jakubowski, and it’s so well translated you don’t think for one minute it’s been written in anything but English. 
Block 46 begins with the death of a young jewellery designer. When a young boy’s body is discovered with similar wounds, it seems that there is a deviant serial killer on the loose, but how do the murders link to the 1940s Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany? From the outset Block 46 is a dark and disconcerting tale that begs to be read in one sitting. The narrative moves effortlessly between the present day investigation and 1944. The chapters told from Buchenwald Concentration Camp bring the sheer barbarity of what happened there to life, heartbreakingly realistic the author describes the scenes vividly but with great empathy. It was impossible to work out how the author could possibly bring the two timelines together, but she does in the most spectacular of fashions.

The author has created one hell of an antagonist, their the worse kind of monster, and one that will send shivers down your spine, and yet I couldn’t help wanting to learn more about this twisted and depraved soul. Every location is expertly depicted, steeped in atmosphere, horror and suspense, which made for a thrilling read. Despite this book being a dark and disturbing read I was surprised that the writing is both descriptive and beautiful, you really don’t expect that with a crime thriller, but it works, in fact I think it made the book all the more chilling.

Without hesitation this book has already made it to my top reads of 2017. Why? Because it’s a rich and harrowing story of the psychology of evil, good versus bad, death versus life, it’s complex, fast paced, and disturbing, all the elements that make a crime read stand out from the norm. Gripping from the first page, Block 46 will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way to its shocking conclusion, that I can guarantee.

I’m sure it won’t come as much of a shock but I will be giving Block 46 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 good 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. Personally I will be waiting for Johana Gustawasson’s next book with baited breath, I’m just hoping we don’t have to wait to long. 
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My thanks to Karen over at Orenda books for giving me the opportunity to read this superb book.

Print Length: 300 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (5 Feb. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

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http://johanagustawsson.com/category/johana-gustawsson-en/

you can follow the rest of the tour for reviews, giveaways and guest posts

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The Book Review Café #BookOfTheMonth April 2017

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Now we’re in May it’s time for me to look back at the books I  read and reviewed  in April and choose my Book Of The Month.

The Book Of The Month is chosen by myself at the beginning of every month, for the previous month. It goes to the author/book that I found outstanding for that month, and I may have given a higher rating than a 5 star review.

I read some outstanding books in April, but there were two books that really stood out for me this month. As I wasn’t able to choose between these two books I’ve decided to share the award.  These books had all the elements I look for when reading, well developed characters, a strong plot and bucketfuls of suspense. So without further ado here are my books of the month and there absolute crackers……………

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The Abattoir Of Dreams by Mark Tilbury

Abattoir Of Dreams by Mark Tilbury Is definitely going to be one of my top reads of 2017, it’s dark and very disturbing due to the difficult subject it covers.  This is certainly a book that packs a punch, its gut wrenching and makes for an uncomfortable read at times but it’s also offers so much more, it’s a bitter sweet story of murder, innocence and abuse. You can read my full review here……..

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/17/the-abattoir-of-dreams-by-mark-tilbury-bookreview-bloodhoundbook-mtilburyauthor/

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Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath is a truly dark, disturbing and most definitely a gripping read, one that will make your heart pound and the paranoia kick in, but my god it’s definitely worth the ride. What I particularly like about this series is how original each book has been from the last and how each story offers something unique, which is why Robert Bryndza continues to be one of my very favourite authors on the planet.

You can read my full review here……
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/16/blog-tour-last-breath-by-robert-bryndza-bookreview-bookouture-robertbryndza/

As I mentioned earlier I really did read some fantastic books in April, so I’m also including the books I would highly recommend if you are looking for a gripping read………..

 

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Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton 

The Quiet Man by James Carol

You can read my reviews for the above books here………

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/21/blog-tour-sleep-tight-by-caroline-mitchell-review-bookouture-caroline_writes/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/19/dead-souls-by-angela-marsons-bookreview-bookouture-writeangie/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/18/dead-woman-walking-by-sharon-bolton-bookreview-authorsjbolton/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/28/the-quiet-man-by-james-carol-bookreview-jamescarolbooks-faberbooks/