Tag Archives: Domestic Noir

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs #BookReview  @AmazonPub @Johnmarrs1 #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing my review for What Lies Between Us by John Marrs, this has been one of my most anticipated reads for 2020, did it live up to my expectations? Read on for my thoughts…..

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Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

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‘OMFG’  what have I just finished reading? Only one of the most twisted books I’ve had the pleasure to read. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs is an incredible, intense read, the plot, the twists, the characters, the writing, all blend to create the perfect read for psychological thriller lovers. If you don’t believe me, then perhaps knowing that THE Renee Zellweger’s Big Picture Co/MGM TV have purchased the television rights, will convince you that this book is a ‘MUST’ read.

What Lies Between Us is one of those that the less you know the more thrilling the read and please if you are thinking of checking out reviews for this book tread carefully as so many of them describe one of the big ‘reveals’. What Lies Between Us tells the story of two women, Maggie and Nina, who live together. Many would  consider that normal, but their relationship is anything but! Maggie is kept in chains, imprisoned in the attic, by Nina. What has Maggie done to Nina to deserve such treatment? What secrets is Maggie desperate to hide? What’s the connection between the two?

I found The complex relationship between Nina and Maggie fascinating, the bitterness and resentment between the pair is palatable throughout. I found I couldn’t flick the pages on my kindle fast enough as their story unfolded, there were so many emotions that spilled from the pages, anger, fear, guilt, and disgust. The author has created characters with their own unique voice; he discloses Maggie and Nina’s story in such away your sympathies constantly waiver between both characters, Amid the horror and the abuse, there are tender moments that offer glimmers of hope that their toxic relationship can be repaired. I must admit I had a love/hate relationship with both women, throughout What Lies Between Us depending on which part of the book I was reading.

The beauty of this book is the way John Marr’s tantalises the reader with details about both women’s life’s, never revealing too much, but just enough to tease you.  The author’s twisted imagination allows you to be privy to the two women’s disturbed minds, it’s bone chilling, and creepy, but it also makes for an exciting read. The tension never waivers, the horror of the story ebbs and flows, and the plot is perfectly executed. Up until now The One has always been my favourite book by John Marrs but I’m not sorry to say What Lies Between Us has just taken its place. Is it a book I would recommend? You bet! This has to be one of my favourite reads this year.

And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving What Lies Between Us my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  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.

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  • Paperback: 379 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (15 May 2020)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon USA 🇺🇸

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

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Apartment Six by Stuart James #BookReview @StuartJames73 @BOTBSPUBLICITY #BlogTour @BloodhoundBook

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Apartment Six by Stuart James, if you enjoy a crime thriller with a dash of horror thrown into the mix, then this could be the book for you. Read on for my thoughts…..

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Be careful what you wish for…

When Meagan was five years old her mother was viciously attacked and murdered.

Now an adult, she herself is the victim of an abusive relationship. Meagan is desperate to escape but doesn’t have the courage to leave.

So, when Meagan meets Oliver, a decent guy who is on the rebound after a failed relationship, the two strike up a connection. But when Meagan confesses that her husband is abusive, it leads Oliver down a dark and dangerous path.

Just how far would you go to protect someone?

Oliver is about to find out and be pushed to his very limits…

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Ever since I read Turn The Other Way  by Stuart James I’ve been eagerly anticipating his latest crime thriller Apartment Six and it’s finally here! Was it worth the wait? It’s a ‘hell yes’ with bells on! Fans of the author will be thrilled to know Apartment Six has his trademark stamped through it, horror! From the off the reader experiences a strong feeling of fear and dread that only intensifies as the story progresses.  Part domestic thriller, part crime thriller Apartment Six is a tale of  manipulation, and coercion, and the darker side of human behaviour.   

Poor Meagan hasn’t had the best of life’s,  at five-years-old her mother was murdered by her abusive father, fast forward to the present and life is far from perfect as Meagan appears to be repeating history, she’s married into an abusive relationship, her life is a living hell as she faces a barrage of verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis. Then like a ray of sunshine Oliver enters her life, he’s the complete opposite of her husband, and they strike up a relationship, that begins innocently, but ends in murder. I found most of the characters beyond ‘unlikable’ now normally that can spoil the read for me, but thankfully this wasn’t the case here.

The story is told in the present with flashbacks to Meagan’s past, this is done carefully enough to compel rather than confuse the reader. It’s these chapters that explain the events that have shaped Meagan’s character, these chapters make for an uncomfortable read, but at the same time it’s these chapters that add weight to the simmering tension that’s bubbling away. Stuart James doesn’t do things by half, as we are privy to Meagan’s life we are only to aware of the domestic abuse she suffers, it was disconcerting to watch these scenes unfold, but it also goes along way to explaining some of  her choices.

Apartment Six starts out as one of those ‘ok’ reads,  but then the authors twisted and devious imagination comes into play, which completely threw me, the plot took a seriously twisted turn that I definitely didn’t see coming!  I had so many niggling questions about Meagan’s story, but once I reached the ending everything became clear and I finished this book with a hugely satisfying sigh. Brilliantly written and so cleverly plotted,  I ended up loving Apartment Six, its sinister, dark and seriously twisted, just how I like my books! Highly recommended.

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (22 Jan. 2020)

Buying link:  Amazon Uk 🇬🇧

My thanks to the author, Sarah Hardy at Book On The Bright Side for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

About the author

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I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.

There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breathe away.

I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.

My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.

This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.

I started writing two years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane.

I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.

To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness.

That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.

My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way.

I have multiple stories running, past and present. A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death.

A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party.

A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them.

A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.

I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

I’m currently working on my new thriller, Apartment Six, which Will be released 29th of January.

I’m 45, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing.

I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come. That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

stuartjamesthrillers.com

@StuartJames73

https://www.facebook.com/stuartjamesauthor/

Follow the rest of the blog tour……

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This Little Dark Place by A. S. Hatch #BookReview #BlogTour #GripLit @andrewshatch @serpentstail #ThisLittleDarkPlace

Today I’m thrilled to be closing the blog tour for This Little Dark Place by A. S. Hatch. I’m a huge lover of psychological thrillers, but after reading so many it’s difficult to find a book in this genre that stands out, did this one hit the mark? Read on for my thoughts. 

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How well do you know your girlfriend?

How well do you know your lover?

How well do you know yourself?

Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.

But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.

And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.

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If you decide to read This Little Dark Place by A.S. go in blind, Don’t read any reviews (apart from mine and other book bloggers on the blog tour of course, as they contain no spoilers!). I knew nothing about this book and it made the reading experience far more enjoyable as I had no idea, where the author was leading the story. It’s a story that twist and turns, with its tale of obsessive love and betrayal. This Little Dark Place is narrated by a compelling voice, it’s original, and made for a dark read.

Daniels story is narrated through a series of letters which I felt worked really well, it gives an ominous feel to the book, a feeling that grows as Daniel reveals more about his life, we learn about his closest relationships, with his mother, wife Victoria and Ruby a prison pen pal.  The letters are written to Lucy, who is the mysterious Lucy? it’s a question that is central to the plot, and will put your head in a spin as you try to fathom out her connection to Daniel. This book held so many questions, but thankfully the author slowly and deftly reveals all the answers. 

At first Daniel appears to be your ‘average’ bloke living a fairly predictable life, that some would consider to be boring, he doesn’t appear to have any dreams, or inspirations to better himself. It’s only as A. S. Hatch peels away the layers of Daniels life that you realise that here’s a character whose not without flaws. Through the letters you can’t help but feel a degree of sympathy for Daniel, your privy to his every thought and emotion, as the reader you feel Daniel is writing the letters to you, pulling you into the tangled web that his life has become, but is Daniel a reliable narrator? That’s for you to read the book to find out! When we meet Ruby I found myself constantly questioning her motives wondering just how trustworthy she was, her introduction feels ominous, and gradually builds until I found myself holding my breath in anticipation. 

This Little Dark Place is a relatively short read at 283 pages, but sometimes the ‘best reads come in small packages’ and this book proves that. Like many psychological thrillers the story is very much character led, so at times the pace is much slower, not that it matters as the author slowly draws you into a well drawn, captivating read. I loved the fact that every time I thought I knew where the story was heading A. S. Hatch misled me at every turn. The author has written an exciting psychological thriller, it’s original in its writing, with an  unreliable narrator and more than enough surprises to keep the most avid psychological thriller lover entertained. Highly recommended by me of course! 

  • Print Length: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent’s Tail; Main edition (10 Sept. 2019)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to Serpent’s Tail and the author for my ARC in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. 

About the author

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A.S. Hatch grew up in Thornton-Cleveleys, a small town near Blackpool. After graduating in 2007 with a degree in journalism he moved to Taipei, Taiwan where he taught English as a foreign language for two years before moving to Melbourne, Australia. Andrew returned to the UK in 2013 and now lives in London where he works in political communications.

He began writing fiction at university. His novel Los Gigantes was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Prize in 2013 and his short story Flies was chosen by WyrdBooks Ltd as their short story of the month in October 2012.

Catch up with the blog tour…….

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**Making a dent in my book shelf** #MiniReviews #BookChallenge part 1

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One of my bookshelves

Like every book blogger in the country I have numerous books sat on my bookshelves I’ve been meaning to read for ages. So I decided to set myself a mini challenge and read as many books as I can from my own personal collection between now and the end of December (which December? I’m not sure yet😂🙈).

All the books mentioned were bought by myself in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

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Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it. 

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. 

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing. 

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wildfire (21 Feb. 2019)

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A disturbing story of toxic relationships, manipulation, desire and betrayal, I raced through Blood Orange by debut author Harriet Tyce. I genuinely enjoy a Psychological thriller that delves into the complexities of toxic relationships. I can genuinely say I loathed every character in this book. Alison appears to have it all, but it’s not enough, here’s a woman whose hell bent on pushing the ‘self destruct’ button. 

I’m afraid I lacked empathy for Alison, mostly because of her reckless behaviour, but such is the power of the author’s writing, I ended up hoping she would find a way to turn her life round and rid herself of the unhealthy relationship She had with her husband, and her lover. The men in Alison’s life are manipulative, bullies, and unpleasant,  any woman in control of her life would see the warning signs and run for the hills! And yet I really enjoyed this book, there’s an overwhelming sense of dread, as Alison’s life begins to unravel, and the all important tension increases all the way to the hugely satisfying finale. Highly recommended to those who enjoy unsettling, dark domestic noir. 

One Last Pray For The Rays by Wes Markin 

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School should be the safest place in the world. Not this winter.

Detective Michael Yorke faces his most harrowing case yet.

When 12-year-old Paul disappears from school, Yorke’s only clue is a pool of animal blood. Fearing the worst, he turns toward the most obvious suspect, recently released local murderer, Thomas Ray.

But as the snow in Salisbury worsens, Ray’s mutilated body is discovered, and Yorke is left with no choice but to journey into the sinister heart of a demented family that has plagued the community for generations. Can he save the boy? Or will the evil he discovers change him forever?

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As anyone who follows my blog will know I do love a crime thriller that veers towards the dark side, and One Last Prayer by Wes Markin fitted the bill perfectly, it’s brutal, gritty with more than a touch of the macabre. One Last Prayer For The Rays opens with a hell of a bang, and from that moment on the author holds you in his clutches with a gripping story, that’s shocking, gory, and so deliciously twisted

The story centres on 12-year-old Paul Ray who disappears from school, from a distance the Ray family could be seen as a generation of pig farmers, and nothing more, but delve into their murky and flawed family tree and you will find generation upon generation of depraved psychopaths, the kind that emit evil from every pore, where violence is the norm, and remorse is a word that doesn’t feature in their vocabulary! Dysfunctional doesn’t even come close to describing this family, but one things for sure their a family you won’t forget in a hurry.  One Last Prayer For The Rays is a strong police procedure,  fast paced read that gets darker and more tangled with each turn of the page. which made for a compulsive and thrilling read.  

If you are looking for a cosy Murder mystery then this definitely isn’t the book for you, but if you’re a crime thriller whose not adverse the the occasional gory scene then this one’s definitely for you. An incredibly strong debut and one to read with the lights on. This is the first book I read by Wes Markin, but it definitely won’t be my last. 

My thanks to Shell Baker at http://bakersnotsosecret.blog for recommending One Last Prayer For The Rays to me. 

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (29 Jan. 2019)

The Holiday by T.M. Logan 

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Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence. 

But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends. 

One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined. 

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

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If you were thinking of going on holiday with your closest friends, you may want to think again! The Holiday by T. M. Logan serves as a warning that it’s just possible that your best friends could also be your worse enemies! As three families, four friends,  find out when they spend a week together in Provence. This book is very much character driven, no fast paced plot here, but it certainly made for an intriguing read, shrouded in subterfuge each member of the family has something to hide. As the author reveals secret after secret each character comes under close scrutiny, all the characters have their flaws some have very unpleasant traits, to be honest they are a pretty unlikable bunch, but never the less this also made them more intriguing.

You never quite know who to trust as Kate tries to uncover which of her friends is having affair with her husband,  and the author doesn’t help by tantalising the reader with red herrings along the way. As the temperatures in Provence increase so does the tension between the four friends, what first starts out as a simmering niggle  develops into boiling rage of emotions that ends in tragedy. The plot is an interesting one which explores themes such as secrets, parenting, loyalty and betrayal. The Holiday is the perfect summer read for those who enjoy a slow burning psychological thriller. 

  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Zaffre (25 July 2019)

 

Here To Stay by Mark Edwards #HereToStay #BookReview @mredwards @AmazonPub #MustRead

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After spending two weeks in glorious Rhodes, I think I’ve had the holiday blues, and left my reading mojo on a beach somewhere in Greece. I’ve picked books up, read a chapter, and put them back down again! Not good when you run a book blog that mostly relies on reviews to keep it going! Thankfully as I scrolled through my kindle I spotted the recently published Psychological thriller Here To Stay by Mark Edwards. Did Here To Stay help me find my lost reading mojo?  Read on to find out, but first the book description……

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A beautiful home. A loving wife. And in-laws to die for.

Gemma Robinson comes into Elliot’s life like a whirlwind, and they marry and settle into his home. When she asks him if her parents can come to stay for a couple of weeks, he is keen to oblige – he just doesn’t quite know what he’s signing up for.

The Robinsons arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, a mysterious young woman who refuses to speak or leave her room. Elliot starts to suspect that the Robinsons are hiding a dark secret. And then there are the scars on his wife’s body that she won’t talk about . . .

As Elliot’s in-laws become more comfortable in his home, encroaching on all aspects of his life, it becomes clear that they have no intention of moving out. To protect Gemma, and their marriage, Elliot delves into the Robinsons’ past. But is he prepared for the truth?

From the two million copy bestselling author comes a tale about the chilling consequences of welcoming strangers into your home.

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Once again Mark Edwards has written a scarily believable book, for me the authors strength lies in his ability to take the must ordinarily situations and turns them into something extraordinary, something horrifying, something chilling, but they make for the most brilliant reads. Here To Stay is the perfect example, in-laws moving in with you for a couple of weeks, ‘where’s the harm in that’? You might think but however much you love your in-laws I guarantee you will think twice or ban them from overnight visits for ever after reading this book! 

Elliot appears to have the perfect life. He runs a successful business teaching science to underprivileged children, married to Gemma Robinson who he adores. But when life appears to be perfect, there’s always a chance that fate will throw a curve ball, and that once perfect life becomes a distance memory. Everything changes for Elliot when he agrees to let Gemma’s parents stay for a few of weeks, unfortunately for Elliot his in-laws are the curve ball that turn his perfect life into his worse nightmare! 

The Robinsons what a family! Perfectly depicted by the author. At first they appear slightly odd, crass, bordering on the annoying, but within a few of chapters of being introduced to them, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up! It turns out the Robinson’s are the in-laws from hell, their conniving, secretive, parasites, and despicable. There’s something strange about the family, their behaviour, their actions and reactions all hint at the fact the family are hiding some terrible secret.  

Mark Edwards teases the reader, just revealing enough to leave the reader feeling an overwhelming sense of trepidation that is palatable throughout Here To Stay, you know something dreadful will happen, but what? Well, let’s just say you will race through the pages to find out! As the animosity and tension between Elliot and his in-laws increases I found my intense dislike of the Robinson family growing by the second, at the same time I had a great deal of sympathy for poor Elliot, a man who’s pushed to the limits by his in-laws behaviour. 

By the time I got to the second half of Here To Stay my nerves were frazzled, as the plot progresses Elliot’s home becomes a smouldering pot of mistrust, resentment and paranoia. As Elliot tries to take back control of his life and his home, the story takes an ominous turn, at this point I was reluctant to put this book down even for a few minutes. Like any good psychological thriller Here To Stay has more than its fair share of twist and turns, some are more obvious than others, but there were still enough surprises to keep me captivated. As psychological thrillers go this has to be one of my all-time favourites this year, and thanks to Mark Edwards my reading mojo has been found, hallelujah

  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (1 Sept. 2019)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧  Amazon US 🇺🇸

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In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone @OrendaBooks #BookReview #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for In The Absence Of Miracles by M J Malone, a potential contender for my book of the year read on for my thoughts…

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A young man discovers a family secret that turns his world upside down in this dark, emotive, shocking psychological thriller by number-one bestselling author Michael J. Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again.

With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

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There are books that are shocking and twisted, and then there’s In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael Malone! Shocking, doesn’t even come close to describing this remarkable book. This isn’t a book I feel fits into one particular genre, it’s part domestic noir, suspense, and crime thriller all rolled into one to create one of the most compelling, powerful and emotive reads I’ve had the pleasure to come across in the last few years.  This book reminds me of one of the author’s earlier books A Suitable Lie   that still remains one of my favourite reads. In The Absence Of Miracles is the heartbreaking story of one dysfunctional family, it’s a story that pulls no punches and one that will rip your heart out.

John Docherty’s mother suffered a massive stroke and is now receiving around the clock care in a nursing home. It’s left to John to clear the family home, buried among boxes he finds evidence that he has a brother, John has no memory of the brother and what follows is the story of John’s journey to discovering the truth. The truth will cause John heartbreak, pain, bewilderment and shame, as repressed memories from his childhood begin to emerge, he finds the truth is far more shocking than anything he could ever had imagined. Each page of this book crackles with emotion, it’s intense, dark, gritty and yet hidden amongst the pages are the fragile threads of hope.  

The author has showed great sensitivity and understanding and in creating an all too believable character, John Docherty is one of those rare characters who consumed my every waking moment, he’s a man in turmoil, determined to self destruct, he’s  a man drowning in guilt, resentment and disgust. His story will grab at your heart and squeeze it so tight it might just explode. The author has created such an incredible character it’s impossible not to become consumed by his story, add to that the author’s extraordinary prose which describe John’s emotions perfectly I found my heart shattering into a million tiny pieces. I’m sure I felt every emotion John felt whilst reading this book. As John’s repressed memories began to surface and you see a man teetering on the brink, I wanted to tell him ‘everything would be alright’ but because of the nature of the book I wasn’t convinced there could be a ‘happy ending’.

I think the author has taken a brave decision, in writing a book that explores a taboo subject matter, that’s seldom discussed so fixed is the stigma attached to this subject. In some author’s hands this would have just made for a shocking read, but Malone strikes the right balance and has produced a masterpiece, it’s subtle, sensitivity written, wrought with emotion and has to be one of my most captivating, heartbreaking reads EVER! Michael Malone is one of those rare author who appears to be able to write in any genre and turn what could be an interesting read, into something extra special, definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time to come. In The Absence Of Miracles is certainly a contender for my book of the year and one I will be recommending to anybody and everybody

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (19 July 2019)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving In The Absence Of Miracles my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  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.

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My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read this fabulous book. I received this ARC in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.

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THE JULY GIRLS BY PHOEBE LOCKE @PHOEBE_LOCKE @WILDFIREBKS #REVIEW #TheJulyGirls #SummerMustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The July Girls by Phoebe Locke, I have a feeling this book is going to be one of this summers top reads. You can read on for my thoughts……….

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Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost. 

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives . . .

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I’m not going to beat about the bush here, I absolutely loved The July Girls by Phoebe Locke, this is the first book I’ve read by the author, although I have since bought her debut novel The Tall Man. If from the book description you thought this was a run of the mill ‘serial killer thriller’ you couldn’t be more wrong. This book has so much more to offer the crime thriller lover, it’s a book that’s superbly written, an extraordinary and highly original tale, told through the eyes of a brilliantly drawn character, ten-year-old Addie.

Set in London, The July Girls tells the story of two sisters, Jessie and Addie, whose lives become unintentionally entangled with a serial killer. Every year, on the 7th of July, a young girl is snatched from the streets of London by the killer, leaving behind no clues or forensic evidence. The story begins with The devastating event of 07/07 terrorist attacks, for many, lives will never be the same, and unfortunately for Jessica and Addie so begins their worse nightmare, as on the same night their dad comes home covered in blood and when they find items in their home belonging to a missing woman believed to one of the victims of the ‘Magpie’ killer. Addie’s sense of confusion, distress and loss are palatable throughout The July Girls, making for a disquieting read.

The reason I enjoyed this book is very much down to the innocent narrative of Addie, which compliments the sinister undertone that runs through the book’s pages.  The relationship between the two sisters is superbly depicted, by the author it’s impossible not to become involved in the lives of her characters. Jessica is thrown into the position of surrogate mother, she adores Addie and will do anything to protect her, even if that means lying to hide the shocking truths hidden beneath the surface of their dysfunctional family. You can’t help but admire Addie from a young age through to her teens she retains Addies her integrity, her sense of ‘right from wrong’ even though this will cause her stress and upset. Addie is a troubled ten-year-old, there are things she has seen that she can’t forget, they keep her awake at night, they are things that niggle at her conscious and force her to question the very person who she should be able to trust, her own father. Is everything at it seems? or does Addie have a over active imagination like many a ten-year-old? I’m not saying as you really need to read the book to find out! 

Phoebe Locke shows that you don’t need to write graphic crime scenes to capture the reader’s imagination, it’s a disturbing story but subtle, leaving the reader to summon up their own vivid scenarios! Although I wouldn’t consider this to be a fast paced read, the beauty of The July Girls is the author’s incredible ability to build on the tension and suspense, whilst giving the reader an incredible insight into the life of her characters. The author takes familiar subjects such as family dynamics, relationships and turns them into a compelling, extraordinary read, and one that’s impossible to put down even for a few minutes. I’m still not sure I have conveyed just how good this book is, but it’s definitely one of my top read this summer. So on that note if you only buy one book this summer, you should definitely consider The July Girls,  it’s a book I will be happily  recommending to anyone and everyone.

And yes I’m giving The July Girls my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  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.

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  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wildfire (27 Jun. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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