Tag Archives: Horror

Turn The Other Way by Stuart James @StuartJames73 #MustReads #Horror #Thriller #Crime #MustReads

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for one of the best horror thriller crime books I’ve read in a long time Turn The Other Way by Stuart James. Before I share my review here’s the book description

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A derelict farmhouse in the Essex countryside. 

A deranged family. 

Innocent victims being picked at random.

If you’re chosen, Turn The Other Way.

Simon Bairstow is a top London Surgeon. He’s performed dozens of life-saving operations. But something goes horribly wrong. The machine Eve Johnson is attached to flatlines, and suddenly her parent’s world has collapsed.

They’re hell bent on revenge, someone to answer for the horrific error that’s been made.

Noah and Jess are driving on a busy dual carriageway and get stuck in traffic. They hear thumping coming from the back doors of the transit van in front of them. When Noah steps out onto the road, he hears muffled screams. He opens the back doors and what he sees shocks him to the core. 

The van pulls off, spilling Noah onto the road.

Ignoring his wife’s plea to leave it, he hits the accelerator in pursuit of the van.

Chloe’s parents are missing. She hasn’t seen them since they left the party in Hampstead on Friday night. She needs answers, deciding to take matters into her own hands. 

A serial killer is stalking the streets of Islington in North London late at night leaving his victims in a horrific way.

The press have dubbed him The Angel Attacker.

A terrifying tale of revenge with a twist that will hit you like a sledgehammer. 

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Back in the 1980’s I was a huge fan of horror books, Stephen King, Richard Laymen, Dean Koontz, I devoured them all, but it’s been a long time since I read a book I consider to fit the horror genre. For me horror is all about my emotional reaction, that feeling of fear and dread as you turn each page, the constant feeling you should be reading a book from behind a cushion (not practical but you get my drift), a book that makes the heart pound and every little noise makes you jump. This is exactly how Turn The Other Way by Stuart James made me feel, it’s a shocker of a horror thriller novel.  

Turn The Other Way follows numerous characters and events, a distinguished doctor whose life is changed beyond recognition by an accident. A husband and wife that stumble upon a crime being committed and a daughter looking for her missing parents, a series of macabre murders are central to the plot. How, are what appear to be separate story lines connected? Well, they certainly kept me wondering,  but as the story unfolds through past and present events, the author brings the three together in the most horrifying way.  Meanwhile, Stuart James had my undivided attention, as the plot became more twisted, evil radiated from the pages within this heart thumping novel. As antagonist go the author has created a character from your worse nightmare, a character who is the devil reincarnated, who shows not a glimmer of remorse for his hideous crimes, but their antics and very disturbing games are guaranteed to keep the reader turning those pages. 

Readers who prefer the more sedate crime horror thriller may be put off by all the blood and gore, but personally I feel the scenes are fitting to the storyline, and add a sense of fear and trepidation to the plot. I’m convinced at certain points in this book my blood pressure went through the roof, as the horrors of the plot unfolded. I read so many books that promise that “big twist” and I’m sorry to say but many of them fail to deliver, but not Stuart James, there’s twist upon twist, each one darker and more twisted than the last. It takes a lot to shock or surprise me but OMFG Turn The Other Way surpassed anything I was expecting. You know the saying “revenge is sweet”? This book is more a case of “revenge is dark, disturbing, and extremely painful”. Would I recommend this book? “It’s a hell yes” especially to those who love a horror thriller.

  • Print Length: 361 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US

My thanks to Stuart James for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

 

Changeling #SixStories by Matt Wesolowski #BookReview @OrendaBooks @ConcreteKraken #BookHangoverAward

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is………

Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.

If you’re looking for a series with an ingenious plot, a book that’s tense, deliciously dark, a classic mystery with a horror feel then look no further than Changeling by Matt Wesolowski it has all these elements and so much more. This is the third book in the six stories series, although it can easily be read as a stand-alone I would urge you to read the whole series, I loved Six Stories , scared myself silly reading Hydra, which I also happened to love, and Changeling? Definitely the best book in the series YET, I loved it. There aren’t many books that make my heart beat nine to the dozen, but boy this one did! It’s so damn creepy, but surprisingly this novel also made for an intense, thought provoking read.

Changeling is narrated in the form of episodes of a true-crime podcast, created by elusive online journalist, Scott King. Consisting of six episodes, each features the perspective of someone connected to the disappearance of little Alfie Marsden back in 1988. Wesolowski has a unique style of writing, each characters voice makes the story come to life, it feels like you are alongside Scott King as he records his pod cast, trying to decipher the clues hidden within the characters stories to find the answers to Alfie’s disappearance. As each pod cast ends the tension is palatable and although I wanted to race through Changeling, I also wanted to savour each pod cast, and soak up the disturbing atmosphere that radiated from the pages of this brilliantly told story.  

The setting of Alfie’s disappearance Wentshire Forest is as much a character as those who appear in the book. The author captures a setting that is shrouded in folklore with tales of mythical beings, legendary beasts, and the supernatural. The forest is one where those who dare enter see and hear strange things. Wesolowski descriptions are so vivid I swear I could smell the damp, cloying earth, hear the trees whispering, sense the malevolence hiding within the forest. Changeling’s first half is very much horror based, but then the author takes the reader down a dark path, one which is horrifying in its telling. The author provides a stark reminder that sometimes it’s the monsters who live alongside us that we should fear the most, and not the monsters depicted in folklore, or maybe we should fear them both. It’s this part that make the book a horrifying and an emotional read, one that causes the reader to feel and experience emotions you would not expect in a mystery/crime novel.

Matt Wesolowski has the unique ability to write a book that mixes genres but at the same time he creates a story that is credible yet memorising in its telling. With a powerful plot, which is intense to say the least, this book made for one of the most thought provoking reads I’ve read in a long time. Changeling, in fact the whole series of Six Stories has to be one of the most exciting and innovative reads EVER written, and that’s not something I normally write in ANY review.  I’ve loved every book in the series, but Changeling is definitely my favourite, I constantly found my thoughts returning to this book long after I finished it. Matt Wesolowski raises the bar with each book he writes, each one has been very different and I adore the horror element he weaves into his books (even though they have given me nightmares). Changeling made for an exceptional read that took my breath away, I will definitely be recommending this book/series to anyone and everyone. 

  •  Print Length: 320 pagesPublisher: ORENDA BOOKS (15 Nov. 2018)
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It will come as no surprise but I’m giving Changeling my first shiny new 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.

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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My #TopReads of 2018 by the book review café #MustReads

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I know some people think it’s too early to be sharing a top reads post before the end of 2018, but I’m taking some time off from my blog until the new year so it’s now or never.

I have been blogging for just over three years now and yet I’ve never done a top reads post and now I know why😂  I have read some fabulous books this year and trying to narrow it down is nigh on impossible. If you read my book of the months post you will know I can’t even manage to choose ONE book of the month! So I set myself an impossible challenge or so I thought, but then I had a brainwave “why not share all the books I gave a gold star too” simple eh?

So my top read list consists of all the books I gave this award to, 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 drew me in from the first page and kept me in its grips until I reached the very last page. So here are those books in no particular order.

Links to my reviews can be found under each set of books I’ve included

 

 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/02/02/unsub-by-meg-gardiner-bookreview-duttonbooks-meggardiner1-mustreads/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/01/06/blog-tour-hydra-by-matt-wesolowski-orendabooks-concretekraken/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/02/27/thehunger-by-alma-katsu-mustreads-almakatsu-poppystimpson-transworldbooks/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/04/09/blog-tour-keeper-by-johana-gustawsson-bookreview-

 

 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/04/23/the-key-to-deaths-door-by-mark-tilbury-bloodhoundbook-mtilburyauthor-mustreads/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/05/11/dying-truth-by-angela-marsons-bookreview-writeangie-bookouture-mustreads/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/05/25/dont-make-a-sound-by-david-jackson-bookreview-mustreads-author_dave-bonnierzaffre/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/05/30/thepuppetshow-by-m-w-craven-mwcravenuk-littlebrownuk-mustreads/

 

 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/05/15/cross-her-heart-by-sarah-pinborough-sarahpinborough-harpercollinsuk-mustreads-donttrustherbooks/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/06/07/blog-tour-th1rt3en-by-steve-cavanagh-sscav-orion_crime-lauren_bookspr-tr4cyf3nt0n-thatbookthathook/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/06/19/thislittlepiggy-by-rob-ashman-blogblitz-robashmanauthor-bloodhoundbook-mustreads/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/06/22/the-old-you-by-louise-voss-bookreview-mustreads-louisevoss1-     

 

 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/07/06/the-lion-tamer-who-lost-by-louise-beech-summermustreads-louisewriter-orendabooks/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/07/16/in-the-dark-by-cara-hunter-mustreads-carahunterbooks-penguinrandom-penguinukbooks/?preview=true&iframe=true

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/08/21/blog-tour-beforehereyes-by-jack-jordan-jackjordanbooks-corvusbooks-must-reads2018/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/09/10/blog-tour-the-hangmans-hold-by-michael-wood-michaelhwood-killerreads-harpercollinsuk-

 

 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/08/23/truthandlies-by-caroline-mitchell-caroline_writes-mustreads-newcrimeseries/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/10/04/blog-tour-the-murder-of-harriet-monckton-by-elizabeth-haynes-elizjhaynes-myriadeditions-harrietmonckton-

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2018/11/27/the-liars-wife-by-samantha-hayes-samhayes-bookouture-blogblitz-

And finally just when I thought I had completed my top reads  post I read Skin Deep by Liz Nugent which blew me away, and now it’s firmly one of my top reads of 2018. 

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#SkinDeep by Liz Nugent #BookReview #MustReads @lizzienugent #IrishBookAwards @PenguinBooks

And there you go my 19 top reads of 2018, are any of my choices included in your top reads of 2018? Do you want to share your top reads of 2018?  I would to love to know so please feel free to leave a comment in the post.

I’m ashamed to admit I only read 104 books in 2018 not as many as I hoped (Holds head in shame) but hey ho hopefully next year will be better, here are the books I read……..

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Some of the books I’m looking forward to reading in 2019….

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To all the fabulous publishers and authors who have sent me ARC’s, it’s an honour to get so many awesome books, but it’s not something I’ve come to expect or take for granted so a huge thank you to each and everyone of you x x 

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Finally I would like to wish my followers, those who constantly share my posts, book bloggers,  publishers, authors and readers a very merry Christmas and a very happy new year,  And thank you for all your support 😘

 

#Resin by Ane Riel @AuthorAneRiel @alisonbarrow @TransworldBooks #MustReads

Today I am sharing my review for Resin by Ane Riel what a book this turned out to be, read on for my thoughts but first the book description….

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Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (9 Aug. 2018)

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The first sentence of this book actually gives a glimpse into how dark and disturbing Resin actually is, it’s definitely not one for the faint hearted as it deals with some rather uncomfortable and horrifying subjects, but in the author’s defence there are only a few vivid scenes, the rest is left to the reader’s imagination. Translated from Danish, Ane Riel’s novel is traumatic, emotional and deeply disturbing but on the plus side it’s beautifully written, rich in atmosphere, haunting  and at times bone chilling creepy.  

Resin is told mostly through the eyes of Liv a six year old girl who lives with her parents Jens and Maria on a tiny peninsula. Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities thought. There was something hypnotically memorising about Liv’s story, her innocence and acceptance of events sent a deathly chill down my spine, as did her descriptions of her insular family, living in utter chaos.  As the reader the horror you feel for her increases ten fold as you realise the reality of her situation. 

Liv’s family are the definition of dysfunctional, but amid the chaos and their peculiar ways, are a family that are bound together. This is a story of a father who wants to preserve and keep things as they were, where extremes gradually become the norm, where being treasured and protected can become something far more damaging and harmful. Something I never expected was to feel compassion for everyone of Ane Riel’s  characters at some point however misplaced it felt at the time. 

The author has created a small cast of complex characters, but each one brings something different to the story, my feelings to each character ranged from anger, to pity, to a sadness that hung over me long after I reached the last page. Resin is a story that is very much character driven, at its heart are a family who are different, it’s shocking, haunting and emotive but at the same time Resin made for such a compelling read, Liv’s story is one which will haunt me for a long time to come. Highly recommended. 

 Link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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#TheLingering by SJI Holliday @OrendaBooks @SJIHolliday #MustReads #BookReview

 

Today I’m sharing my review for The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it’s a book that’s full of suprises and a book that’s certainly going to be on my top reads of 2018 list. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……  

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

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When I pick up a novel I’m always looking for a read that will captivate my imagination, a novel that leaves me breathless, one that will unnerve me and one where I reach the last page I immediately want to read it again, novels that make me feel like this are a rare breed indeed, well up until now that is. I’m not going to beat about the bush I loved The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it was the perfect read for me, I found it to be creepy, and very, very dark. Part ghost story, part domestic thriller, the author  tantalises the reader with the mystery surrounding Rosalind House and its occupants, when you add to the mix odd occurrences and strange sightings well let’s just say “this novel made for a disquieting, but oh so thrilling read”.

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardner are seeking a fresh start and decide to move to  Rosalind House a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, but what dark secrets are the couple hiding? Once they arrive it’s not long before the couple experience ghostly happenings, and that’s when this novel gets bone chillingly creepy.  Rosalind House, an abandoned asylum is the perfect setting for this novel, it hides a tragic past, where secrets and passed misdoings are hidden in the very fabric of the building. It’s a building steeped in myths and legends where bad things happened, and as the author slowly reveals its dark and deadly secrets I found myself becoming more fearful at each turn of the page.    

The characters in The Lingering are fabulously depicted, rich in personality, and complex. Jack and Ali Gardner what a couple, their relationship is one based on coercion and control, a relationship that’s shrouded in lies and deceit. You know from the beginning the couple are hiding something BIG, and that alone adds an over whelming sense of uneasiness that intensifies as the Gardner’s dark secrets are slowly revealed.

I guess the spooky supernatural element might not suit all crime fiction fans, but if like me you read The Lingering with an open mind I’m sure you will end up loving it as much as I did. The Lingering explores the nature of true evil, the psychological aspect of this novel is dark in tone as the author delves into the minds of a very disturbed couple. This novel is exceptionally well plotted, original, creepy and very disturbing and yet it is one of the most compelling novels I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time, and definitely a contender for my “book of the year”. Highly, highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Lingering  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 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 reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Sept. 2018)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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The Retreat by Mark Edwards #BookReview #MustReads @mredwards

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Today I’m sharing my review for The Retreat published by Thomas & Mercer on the 10th May 2018. Fans of Mark Edwards are in for a real treat, before you read my review here’s the book description…….

Book description 

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. 

But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

From the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies comes his most terrifying novel yet.

8ECAEFD2-0923-4546-A2E8-C5A2349B4D11When I think of a retreat it conjures up images of somewhere quiet , an oasis where you can rest and reflect or write, somewhere you feel safe, well that was until I picked up The Retreat by Mark Edwards, who turns an idyllic setting into something far more sinister. Steeped in atmosphere and disturbingly creepy The Retreat is a reminder of why I’m such a fan of Mark Edwards writing.  Lucas, a horror novelist, arrives at the retreat hoping to write his next book, but within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of strange events, are the events linked to Lily a missing child? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

It’s great that the author doesn’t conform to a specific genre, with elements of the supernatural, horror and psychological running through its veins you are never quite sure where the author is heading with an unpredictable plot. Mark Edwards maintain the overwhelming sense of suspense and unease throughout. The tale is shrouded in local folklore, and spooky ghost stories, the author does a fabulous job in evoking the horror, the fear and trepidation around such tales.  

Told in the present peppered with chapters told from the missing child Lily’s POV you get a feel for Lily, her fears that are grounded in the folklore tales, her worries about her family, it was these chapters that I found the most intriguing and also the most creepy. These chapters were the ones that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, made me jump at every noise, and kept me reading long into the night (with the lights on of course!)

Steeped in atmosphere with a backdrop of creepy settings, and an array of characters who as the reader you can’t help but mistrust,  Mark Edwards has written another outstanding book. I never thought the author could top The Magpies one of my favourite books ever, well until now but The Retreat is definitely his best book yet, it’s unpredictable, engaging with one of the most deliciously satisfying endings I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommend. 

Print Length: 335 pages

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (10 May 2018)

Pre-order links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retreat-Mark-Edwards-ebook/dp/B074W8K55L

https://www.amazon.com/Retreat-Mark-Edwards-ebook/dp/B074W8K55L

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The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste #BookReview @simonschusterUK @LucaVeste

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Growing up in a small village we had our own urban myth which involved a railway tunnel and the grey lady who haunted it, we dared each other to go through it, we scared each other with tales of a lady who wished harm on others. It was terrifying at the time being surrounded by darkness and waiting for the grey lady to appear, and even now just thinking about it sends shivers down my spine. The Bone Keeper brought back all those childhood memories and certainly made for a disconcerting read, so first the book description and then read on for my thoughts……

Book description

What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?

He’ll slice your flesh.
Your bones he’ll keep.

Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.

Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper.  Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood.  But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.

The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.

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Sometimes as an avid reader of crime thrillers I could kick myself, some authors are on my radar but I never find the time to get to their books due to an overwhelming TBR pile. Lucas Veste is one such author and the reason I’m kicking myself? I picked up The Bone Keeper expecting a run of the mill crime thriller, but boy was I wrong this book has all the ingredients I love in a crime thriller, but it also holds an element of surprise as this book actually gave me the heebie-jeebies with its creepy children’s rhyme and an urban myth that plays on people’s fears, think the bogey man crossed with the worse kind of killer and your half way there.

All you need to know about this seriously creepy book is in the book description, all I’m going to say is The Bone Keeper is a stand-alone which means no missing out on a back story or character development. Some books convince you from the opening chapter that you are in for a hell of a read, but I was hooked way before that the chilling rhyme at the start of this book captured my attention and then I just had to read on.

As this is the first book I have read by Lucas Vesta I can’t compare it to his previous books but I’m very impressed with his writing, it’s descriptive and my god he knows how to set the scene, from the off the reader is on tenterhooks, the sense of something dark lingering in the shadows adds more than an air of menace to the plot. Although a crime thriller I think The Bone Keeper also has elements of horror running through it, infusing the two together added to the overall tension.

The authors writing was so convincing I found myself constantly checking the doors were locked, I do love it when an author is able to make me paranoid and terrified about my own safety through their descriptive writing! This review may appear vague regarding the plot and characters but it’s a book I feel you will appreciate more for not knowing to much about it. The Bone Keeper is definitely a book I would recommend to crime thriller readers, especially if you like me you prefer the darker more gruesome variety.

Buying links:      Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (8 Mar. 2018)

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