Tag Archives: #MustReads

In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

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Today I’m sharing my review for In The Dark by Cara Hunter and what a gripping crime thriller it turned out to be, read on for my thoughts, but first the book description

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of the massive bestseller CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

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Last year I read Close To Home the debut novel from Cara Hunter which I thought was a pretty amazing crime thriller.  In The Dark the second book in the DI Fawley series has made this an unmissable series. Yes it can easily be read as a standalone but because this is shaping up to be a such a gripping series it’s definitely worth starting at the beginning.  In The Dark opens with a belter of chapter, A young woman and a child are found locked in a cellar, William Harper the owner is an elderly man who  appears to be confused, and is unable to remember how they got there. Neither of the victims can speak due to trauma they suffered. Which means DI Fawley and his team start an investigation where they find themselves literally working “In The Dark” who is the woman?  how did she end up in the cellar of a quiet Oxford street? These are just some of the questions that are at the forefront of this gripping and compelling crime procedure thriller. 

Cara Hunter has a gift for writing crime books centred around police procedures, she not only tells a story in the conventional way, but adds police interviews, forensic reports, social media post and newspaper articles to make the reader feel they are right there amid the investigation sifting through the clues. This way of sharing the information gives the plot a present day feel but it also makes the whole investigation feel very credible. It’s very cleverly done in my opinion as it adds a sense of urgency to the plot, the need for answers to the why and how,  keep the reader fixated.

Creating a character whose confused to say the least, who also happens to be the main suspect was sheer genius on the author’s part. Although there is some character development of Fawley and his team, the investigation is definitely at the forefront of this book, so no time is wasted on unnecessary chapter filling, which made this book even more enjoyable to read. There is nothing more satisfying than being surprised by a book, and boy did Cara Hunter surprise me! At one point I thought the author was rehashing a well used plot in crime thrillers but when I least expected it she threw in the mother of all curve balls, it truly was a “OMFG I never seen that coming” type of moment.  Definitely one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year, with a compelling narrative, twists galore and oodles of deceit, I have a feeling In The Dark is going to be a HUGE success and one of this summers MUST reads. Highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  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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  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (12 July 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧           Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Our House by Louise Candlish #BookReview @louise_candlish @simonschusterUK #MustReads

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Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Our House by Louise Candlish, and what a fabulous book this one turned out to be, before I share my review here’s the book description to whet your appetite……

On a bright morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought on Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that. Except it’s your house. And you didn’t sell it.

FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.

When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.

Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

TILL DEATH US DO PART.

IMG_3605This is the first book I have read by Louise Candlish and although it had a jaw dropping opening, I did have reservations as I found the constant change of narrative in the beginning some what confusing to say the least, but I’m so glad I persevered, what a compelling and twisted tale this turned out to be. We live in a world where our home is often a status symbol, we invest in it both financially and emotionally, we would do anything to protect our “nest egg” but Imagine coming home from work to find your house has been sold and your husband has disappeared? It would be your worse nightmare right? this is pretty much the premise of Our House. You may have misgivings about reading a novel based on a property, but believe me when I say “this book takes domestic noir to a new and exciting level”  

Told from the POV of Fi and Bram their narrative makes for an compelling read, as it explains the six months leading up to the house being sold, it’s a marriage shrouded in lies and deception, and turmoil. The old adage “Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we start to deceive.” sums this book up perfectly. Once I got used to the narrative I thought the author made a fantastic job in conveying her characters story, Fi’s story is told via a podcast called The Victim, and Bram’s side is told through word documents, as the reader you are privy to both sides of the story, which is more than can be said for poor Fi who is totally in the dark regarding events that led to her husband’s disappearance and her home being sold.

As the plot unfolds Fi and Bram’s story becomes darker and more uncomfortable to read, as a spectator on the side lines you see the characters mental health unravel before your very eyes. You sense Fi’s fear and confusion, Bram’s panic as the lies mount up. Both characters had traits that I found very unlikable, and I certainly wanted to give Bram a good shake every time he made a wrong decision. Fi and Bram make for unreliable narrators and believe me when I say they “bring a whole new meaning to the word dysfunctional” but never the less they are brilliantly depicted and fit the story perfectly.  

When I began reading Our House I did have a couple of moments where I thought “hmmm really?” It did seem a bit far fetched, but the more I read I thought it actually made for a very credible tale, which made this book all the more  disturbing. As each chapter ends the sense of foreboding intensifies, you know something terrible is looming for the couple, but as to the who? why? what? The author manages to keep the reader in suspense to the last few pages. Louise Candlish manages to trick the reader at every deviously plotted turn. Despite guessing a couple of the twists there was one that gave me a “jaw dropping, did I really just read that?” moment which was superbly executed. I’m sure Our House will be one of the most talked about books of the year, and I can see why, it’s highly original, topical, and one that will cause debate,  would I recommend it? Most definitely. 

Print Length: 449 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (5 April 2018)

Buying links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072M5S9XH/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

https://www.amazon.com/Our-House-Louise-Candlish/dp/045148911X

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A day with author Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads

Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Michael Wood to the book review café. The author writes the DCI Matilda Darke Crime series. If you follow my blog you will know I read a large amount of crime books and hand on heart Michael Wood’s books are on my top five list of crime series. If you haven’t read them Yet I’ve included a link to the authors books further down this post, they are a MUST read if you love a well written crime thriller.

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I’m a boringly organised person and like to have everything set out before I begin my writing day. Looking at a blank notebook or a blank laptop screen with nothing to do is my idea of hell.

I’m always writing. I’m either working on my current novel or making notes or planning future novels, characters and stories.

When I’m at the early stages of a novel, I like to plan out my characters and plots in pad and pen form. The best place to do that, for me, is in a coffee shop. I have my iPod on to block out background noise and scribble away.

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Once I’m at the laptop stage, I work from home. I’m very structured and like to be at my desk early. I don’t give myself a set number of hours or a word count to write. I treat writing like any other job I’ve had so I write, edit, revise, research throughout the day. Anything above 3,000 words per day is a good day for me.

I break for lunch and I always have a pot of strong black coffee on standby when I feel the need to leave my desk and stretch my legs.

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I write Monday to Friday. Weekends are for seeing friends, relaxing, catching up with DVD boxsets. Strangely, I write best during the hours of darkness. From midnight to six o’clock I’m very productive. Unfortunately, this isn’t ideal as it hampers the social life. So those kinds of days are very rare.

When I’m not writing I enjoy walking (it’s great for clearing the head, especially in winter), reading (as well as writing crime fiction I love reading it), seeing friends, eating out, and, most importantly, shopping for books. My reading pile is slightly getting out of hand as I currently have 306 books in my spare bedroom to read.

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Writing is a special kind of job and I find that everyone approaches it in their own unique way. I’d never give anyone advice, but I’m happy to share my own ways of doing things if asked. Writing is not something you just do with your fingers, it comes from within. You don’t only need to be creative, you need to put your heart and soul into your work. And that is why I love writing so much.

Now, on with my next novel.

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Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield. The third, A ROOM FULL OF KILLERS, was released in February 2017. A short story prequel, THE FALLEN, was published as an ebook in December 2016 by Killer Reads at HarperCollins.

Click on this link to check out Michael Wood books

 

My thanks to Michael Wood for taking time out of his busy schedule to write this post, it’s much appreciated.

The Collector by Fiona Cummins #mustreads @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillian

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Book description

A taut and terrifying psychological thriller from a the author of Rattle
The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.
Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town.

His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…
Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.
The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose

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**Warning if you haven’t read Rattle then this review may unintentionally give away spoilers**

Ever since I read RATTLE  The Collector has been one, if not my most anticipated read of 2017. Now sometimes I find when when I finally get to read a sequel I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever it can go one of two ways, I will either love it or I’m left feeling cheated that the book just didn’t make the cut, but OMG I’m thrilled to report The Collector exceeded my expectations and then some, I loved it so much it’s gone straight on my “top reads of 2017” list. Utterly gripping I absolutely loved everything about this book, its dark, packed to the brim with tension and very creepy.

I would urge you to read Rattle first if you haven’t already, as you will gather from the book description it picks up from where Rattle ends. I found from the very first chapter I had an overwhelming sense of foreboding, perhaps because I already knew how incredibly evil The Collector was from the previous book I was immediately on tenterhooks. This novel focuses on the after mass of Rattle, the family who are looking for answers to their daughter Clara’s disappearance, Jakey the victim who escaped, but is convinced The Collector will come for him and Detective Etta Fitzroy’s who lives and breathes the case that haunts her.

Fiona Cummins has a style of writing that’s both atmospheric and compelling, as I was reading The Collector I felt a constant chill deep in my bones that never quite? left me. The chapters are titled with a time frame which the author uses to good effect, there’s a constant sense of urgency as it feels like time is running out for some of the main players in this novel. I do have to mention the characters Fiona Cummins has done a brilliant job yet again of depicting characters that you can’t help feeling a connection to, you feel their pain, the trauma and above all their resilience to survive when The Collector comes calling. As for The Collector what a character, and so well depicted his thoughts and actions will send shivers down your spine and keep you awake at night.

What makes this book stand out from most crime thrillers is the author’s ability to write a book that’s almost poetic in its writing, with more than a touch of the macabre you would expect lots of gruesome or gory scenes, but that isn’t the case. Fiona Cummins describes the setting, atmosphere and characters so vividly I found my own imagination went into overdrive making me feel very “jumpy” I read so many crime thrillers it’s not often an author manages to stir such emotion in me. The Collector never loses momentum, it’s fast paced with a few deviously plotted twists that shocked me to the core, this is definitely one of the most gripping and original crime thrillers I’ve read this year. A MUST READ AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 432 pages

Publisher: Macmillan; (18 Dec. 2017)