Tag Archives: Must reads 2019

Nine Elms by @robertbryndza @LittleBrownUK @BooksSphere #NineElms #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m over the moon to be sharing my review for one of my most anticipated reads of 2019 Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza. Nine Elms is the first in a brand new crime series and I have a feeling this book is going to be a huge hit with crime thriller lovers. Before I share my review here’s the book description……..

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A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING

Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

NOW, HE’S BACK FOR MORE

Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

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**This review does includes a health warning**

Robert Bryndza is a danger to my health, that’s a fact! I read Nine Elms the first instalment in a brand spanking new crime series, whilst on holiday in Greece. I became so engrossed whilst reading it I forgot to reapply my sun tan lotion and ended up with slightly sunburnt legs! Very painful let me tell you! Was Dark Elms worth a restless and uncomfortable nights sleep because of my burnt legs? You bet it was! I loved the Erika Forster series but Dark Elms takes the authors writing to a whole new level of amazing. Dark Elms ticks all the boxes for me it’s dark, gory (I grimaced at more than a couple of the authors descriptive crime scenes) and features a serial killer who will send shivers down your spine, if Hannibal Lecter gave you nightmares, be prepared for a few disturbed nights! 

I’m sure lovers of the Erika Forster series will be wondering how the author could top this series, rest assured if Nine Elms is anything to go by, this will be a hell of a series. I instantly connected with Kate, the complexity of her characters lies deeply seated in her dreadful past, there’s an air of fragility about her, but at the same time she is determined not to let her past define her, which is easier said than done especially when her past comes back to haunt her in the most horrifying way.

Luckily for Kate she has a cast of supportive and very likeable characters to help her on her journey. As for the serial killer, there perfectly depicted, chilling, cunning and yet you can’t help but become drawn into their backstory story, its one that’s original and disturbing to say the least. As to their killing techniques Robert Bryndaza, has come up with something stomach churning (best read on an empty stomach) Without giving too much away the killer in question is surrounded by evil forces, who tap into their disturbed psyche, urging them on to commit even more horrific crimes. These evil people are in need of serious therapy,  but such a brilliant combination. I won’t deny I found them fascinating, but at the same time I felt sickened by their behaviour. 

I really liked the fact that Nine Elms isn’t a regular police procedural novel, Kate has the skill set of a police detective but isn’t hindered by procedures or led by rules and regulations, so she’s more likely to bend the rules making her unpredictable. At every turn of the page Nine Elms crackles with apprehension and a growing sense of dread, it’s a fast-paced, exhilarating read that I found impossible to put down even for a few minutes. Robert Bryndza can transport the reader to the crime scenes with vivid descriptions, that make you realise just how depraved the killer is, although some scenes are stomach churning, they never felt superfluous. Once again Robert Bryndza has confirmed why he is one of my favourite crime thriller authors EVER, Nine Elms is a cracking book and an exciting start to a compelling new series, I’m definitely looking forward to the next book and the one after that….. Highly recommend to all crime thriller lovers.

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And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving Nine Elms 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.

 

  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Nov. 2019)

Buying links:

The hardback will be released Tuesday 5th November 2019 in the US and on Thursday 16th January in the UK. 

Amazon UK Kindle Edition

UK Hardback Edition

Amazon USA Kindle Edition

USA Paperback Edition

USA Hardback Edition

Kobo Ebook

iBooks Ebook

Google Play Ebook

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The Lost Ones by Anita Frank #BookReview @Ajes74 @HQstories #HalloweenRead

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Happy Halloween to all my followers 👻🎃🧙‍♀️ Today I’m reviewing the perfect read for Halloween The Lost Ones by Anita Frank. I was looking for a book to read that was a little bit different from my normal crime thriller read, and thankfully I spotted The Lost Ones by Anita Frank, part historical fiction and part ghost story, this book sounded the perfect read  with Halloween approaching. It’s published today so you don’t even have to wait to get your hands on a copy. First the book description….

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Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917

Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.

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The Lost Ones is the exquisite debut novel from Anita Frank, it’s a historical, gothic novel, that’s haunting and steeped in atmosphere. Set in the latter days of the First World War Stella Marcham returns from the battlefields of France a broken woman following the recent death of her fiancé. Whilst recovering Her brother-in-law asks her to travel to Greyswick Hall, (along with her maid Annie Burrows), to keep her pregnant sister Madeleine company. On arriving at the imposing Greyswick, Stella realises all is not as it should be. Madeleine is far from ‘blooming’, she appears apprehensive and terrified, she believes she can hear a child crying at night, but how can that be? When no child lives there. Stella experiences what can only described as supernatural incidents and she finds herself convinced the house is haunted. 

Greyswick is a house that bears many secrets, they are as much the fabric of the house as the bricks and mortar.  As we step into Greyswick alongside Stella, the house immediately feels claustrophobic, a growing sense of creepiness wraps itself around you, and the tale grows darker in tone. This isn’t a “jump out your skin” ghost story, it’s much more subtle, it’s more like a classical ghost story, never-less it’s creepy, intense with a very dark, horrifying tale at its core. 

The author has created well-drawn characters, especially  ‘plucky’ Stella and her ‘creepy’ maid Annie, despite their different upbringings and class, there’s a tie that binds the two. Stella with the aid of Annie investigate the strange events, are the ghostly occurrences caused by malevolent spirts looking for justice or retribution? Or is there something more sinister behind the occurrences? The second part of the book was the part I enjoyed the most, it’s here the story takes a menacing turn, shocking revelations come to light, and Anita Frank deftly weaves the threads of The Lost Ones together. The Lost Ones is an emotional, haunting mystery that I found tragic, yet compelling. I really enjoyed this book in case you haven’t already guessed, it’s definitely one I would  recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction and traditional ghost stories. 

  • Print Length: 462 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (31 Oct. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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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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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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Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson #BookReview @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks #Mustreads

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson, a must read for crime thriller lovers. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……

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Spain, 1938: The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

Terrifying, vivid and recounted at breakneck speed, Blood Song is not only a riveting thriller and an examination of corruption in the fertility industry, but a shocking reminder of the atrocities of Spain’s dictatorship, in the latest, stunning installment in the award-winning Roy & Castells series.

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Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson is the third novel in the Roy and Castells series, I know what you’re thinking ‘not another crime series’ but Blood Song is like no other crime series you’ve ever read. Johana Gustawsson the author weaves historical fact with fiction blurring the edges so the two stories fit perfectly together creating a dark and emotive read. The thing I admire about this author’s novels is the fact she can take a period in history, in this case Spain 1938 and the brutalities of Spain’s dictatorship, and incorporate them with crimes set in 2016, how can someone combine such distant periods into a credible story and intertwine them? and yet Gustawsson accomplishes both producing a story that’s harrowing, disturbing, but such a compelling and intensely heart wrenching read.    

The author transports the reader between the two timelines effortlessly creating a story which is fluid in its telling. Blood Song doesn’t make for an easy read, especially the scenes set during Spain’s dictatorship. Gustawsson vividly portrays the harsh conditions and the brutality of woman’s prisons and the children’s orphanages with such conviction these scenes are vividly brought to life, evoking so many emotions you wouldn’t expect to feel whilst reading a crime novel.  At the same time I feel it’s only fair to mention the scenes are relevant to the story rather than gratuitous.  

The crimes committed in present day including the murders of Aliénor Lindbergh’s family are just as horrifying, as those scenes set in wore torn Spain. Coupled with a plot that involves Swedish fertility clinics and Johana Gustwsson has written a book that takes the reader headlong into a story that’s dark and shocking.  Blood Song sees the return of French true crime writer Alexis Castells and profiler Emily Roy, I do like the author’s career choices for her two main protagonists, as it means the plot doesn’t feature heavily on police procedures, which I find can sometimes overwhelm a plot. Although we get an insight into their personal life’s the plot is the main focus of the book, rather than the characters.   

The tension that reverberates through Blood Song never looses momentum, each short chapter leaves you craving more, urging you on to its conclusion. This book has so much to offer the reader, with a gripping plot, moments of heartbreak, vivid scenes, and characters that will remain with you long after you’ve reached the final pages. With themes of fertility, child abductions, and child abuse the author has created a dark and disquieting story, and one that spans years of violence and abuse.  Blood Song is a ‘must read’ for any crime thriller love, and although it could easily be read as a stand-alone I would suggest you read the series in order you won’t be disappointed I promise. Highly recommended. 

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving Blood Song my Book hangover award.

How do I choose a book for this 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: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (19 July 2019)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my ARC in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.

Other books in the series

 

 

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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