Tag Archives: Mystery

#TheSilentPatient by Alex Michaelides (@AlexMichaelides @OrionBooks) #2019MustReads @BenWillisUK #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description……… 

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Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…. 

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Now and then a book comes a long that causes a huge stir and unless you’ve been living on a desert island for the last few months, then you will know The Silent Patient, the debut novel from Alex Michaelides is the book everyone is talking about. I must admit I can see why, it’s a unique and a very disturbing character based psychological thriller, but how I loved it. The author sure knows how to weave a tangled web, and then keep the reader in his clutches with a well- plotted story. It’s one that pulls you in from the shocking opening chapter and keeps you captivated all the way to it’s explosive conclusion. I literally read this book in a day, the tension mounted as each chapter ended making this an impossible book to put down. Mark my words this book is going to be a HUGE hit.

Alicia is a Patient in The Grove a secure forensic unit for the murder of her husband, she has not spoken a word since his death and Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who believes he is the one to make her speak of what happened on that fateful night.  The author uses an intriguing concept As Alice refuses to talk after her husband’s murder, the reader is reliant on Theo’s interpretations of her thoughts and emotions, although the reader is privy to Alice’s journal which explores her life before Theo’s Murder. Even without a voice Alice is a strong protagonist, rather like Theo, you the reader are desperate to hear her voice and hear her side of the story. Theo is a man with his own secrets and troubled past, which make him an compelling character. The scenes between Theo and Alice crackle with tension, at times it felt like a battle of wits, as Alice battled to stay silent and Theo’s dogged determination to make her speak, these scenes give a sense of unease which grow as the story unfolds.

Anyone who reads psychological thrillers will expect there to be “twist” or two, after all isn’t that part of the reason we read these type of books? It’s the element of “surprise” that I always look forward to, it can turn an “enjoyable” read into a “OMFG I loved this book” type of read, so take a bow Alex Michaelides The Silent Patient definitely took me by surprise in fact I’m sure my jaw hit the floor at some point! I had an inkling where the plot was heading, but I guess I do not have the same twisted imagination as the author, he well and truly hood winked me, but so brilliantly executed. The Silent Patient is an assured debut from Alex Michaelides, he’s definitely an author to watch out for. Highly recommend if you enjoy a dark, shocking psychological thriller that will leave you speechless (excuse the pun!) 

  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Feb. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving The Silent Patient 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.

 

You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury **BlogBlitz** #BookReview @#MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury. If you are one of those readers who enjoy a hard-hitting  crime thriller, that’s dark and disturbing, then I may just have the book for you. Read on for my review, but first the book description……   

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Can two wrongs ever make a right?

The police never found fifteen-year-old Ellie Hutton. She vanished ten years ago after walking home from school along a disused railway track. But Danny Sheppard knows exactly what happened to her. She is dead and buried in a field near Lassiter’s Brook. 

Now Cassie Rafferty has gone missing. Same age. Similar circumstances. And Danny also knows what has happened to her. Can Danny fight his demons and tell the truth this time? Or will history repeat itself and leave another innocent girl dead?    

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There are authors whose books I read I consider to have a vivid imagination, and then there’s Mark Tilbury! An author who I consider to have a very twisted imagination, and I mean that as a compliment. The author has a knack of creating characters and plots that highlight the worse traits of human nature, that push the boundaries, but hell they make for a spine chilling read and You Belong To Me was no exception. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the supernatural element normally found in his books, but it has another of his trademarks an antagonist whose a vicious bully and a cruel excuse for a human being. The author explores the dark recesses of his character’s mind, and this is where the author comes into his own. This is an antagonist with the most twisted mind, it’s the characters the author creates which makes his books all the more creepy and disconcerting to read.

You Belong To Me opens with the disappearance of fifteen-year-Of Cassie Rafferty, her disappearance is similar to that of Ellie Hutton who vanished ten years earlier, and who was never found. At the same time of Cassie’s disappearance Danny Sheppard, gets in touch with three of his childhood school friends. Four very troubled men are forced to unite, it soon becomes clear that each of the men has endured difficult times in their childhood, trying to escape the past through a fog of drugs, alcohol and medication, but why the reunion? What secrets are the four men hiding? These were the questions I kept asking myself.

I thought the author did a fabulous job in creating four characters who were very troubled, the boys now grown men have very carried their guilt from the past with them into adulthood, leading to some very destructive behaviour, drugs and alcohol, and difficulties forming relationships. The author doesn’t shy away from describing their destructive behaviour, but in doing so you couldnt help feeling some sympathy for these four flawed men. Although some readers may question the credibility of their decisions, I’m very much of the thinking “it’s a fictional book” so  I’m happy to stretch the realms of my own imagination.

As the author deftly reveals the disturbing secrets that changed the life’s of four school boys forever I felt many a chill run down by spine, as the tale grew more alarming and far more ominous.  Despite this being a disturbing read which touches on addiction, bullying and depression Tilbury manages to inject some dark humour into the story which balances the plot perfectly. Not only did the ending seem very fitting, but it took me by surprise which always heightens my enjoyment of a read.  Highly recommended to those who enjoy an addictive, violent, and intense as hell read.

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (4 Feb. 2019)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

About the Author:

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Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had six novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, You Belong To Me.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Social Media Links:

Author website: http://www.marktilbury.com

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Tilbury/e/B00X7R10I4/

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/marktilburyauthor/

Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/MTilburyAuthor @MTilburyAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marktilburyauthor/ @marktilburyauthor

Don’t forget to check out my fellow bloggers reviews

My thanks to the author, Emma Welton and bloghound books for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased review. 

The book review café book of the month **January 2019**

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Hallelujah January 2019 is finally over, is it just me or did January seem to go on forever? It’s the 1st of February which can only mean one thing, it’s time for me to choose my book of the month.

As only one who follows my blog will know I’m rubbish at narrowing it down to one book and more often than not I’ve chosen two or in some months three! I have had a srtrict word with myself, and this year I’m going to try and keep to just the one book of the month as the title suggests, let’s see how that goes 😂

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To be honest I read some fabulous books in January, but there is one book that really stood out. It’s a book that 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. So without further ado here is my ONE book of the month…….

The Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

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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. You can read my full review here….Changeling #SixStories by Matt Wesolowski #BookReview @OrendaBooks @ConcreteKraken #BookHangoverAward

Highly Recommended

Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier #BookReview #BookShelfReads @JenniferHillier @CorvusBooks

#SpareRoom by Dreda Say Mitchell #BlogBlitz @DredaMitchell @BloodhoundBook #MustReads

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Books I’m hoping to read in February

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A little ambitious you maybe thinking 😂🙈, but you never know. I do really need to make a dent in my NetGalley shelf as some how or other it’s got into double figures something I never let happen! But there are so many fabulous books due to be released this year that I just can’t resist. So I’m on a self induced Netgalley ban until I’m down to single figures (watch this space, as I have zilch will power concerning adding new books to my TBR pile!)

 

 

#SpareRoom by Dreda Say Mitchell #BlogBlitz @DredaMitchell @BloodhoundBook #MustReads

Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell. I’m a huge fan of the author’s crime thrillers, and now the author has branched out and written a psychological thriller, it’s definitely one readers of this genre are going to love, read on for my thoughts………

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Beautiful double room to let to single person

Lisa, a troubled young woman with a past, can’t believe her luck when she finds a beautiful room to rent in a large house. The live-in owners are a kind and welcoming couple. Everything is fine until she finds a suicide note hidden in her room. But when the couple insist this man didn’t exist and that Lisa is their first tenant, Lisa begins to doubt herself.

Compelled to undercover the secrets of the man who lived in the room before her, Lisa is alarmed when increasingly disturbing incidents start to happen. Someone doesn’t want Lisa to find out the truth.

As the four walls of this house and its secrets begin to close in on Lisa, she descends into a hellish hall of mirrors where she’s not sure what’s real and what’s not as she claws her way towards the truth… Did this room already claim one victim? Is it about to take another?

 

My review

Dreda Say Mitchell is one of my favourite gritty crime thriller authors, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of her latest book Spare Room. I must admit I picked up this book with some trepidation as the author has moved away from her normal genre and written a psychological thriller. I’m thrilled to report that not only has the author written a corker of a psychological thriller, it’s one that makes you question everything you read.  Mitchell has incorporated all the elements that make for a fabulous read, unreliable narrators, a complex plot that makes you question every characters part in this deliciously, dark creepy tale, that becomes more disturbing with each turn of the page. 

“Beautiful single room to let to a single person” an innocent ad, or so you would think, but as any psychological thriller lover will know this doesn’t bode well for a prospective lodger, in this case Lisa who has so many issues a psychologist would rub their hands with glee. I wondered if this book would be similar to Single White Female, but it soon becomes clear that this book is very different in every way. When Lisa takes a room with live-in owners Martha and Jack, life appears to be good, but when Lisa finds a suicide note hidden in her room from a previous tenant, things take a very disturbing turn, one where appearances can be deceptive, and the adage “trust no one” comes into play.

I love an unreliable narrator and they don’t come more unreliable than Lisa, her story is not one than can be taken at face value, she appears unstable and deluded at times, but it’s this untrustworthiness that makes Spare Room such a twisted read. I really felt for Lisa there’s a sense of malevolence and manipulation from those around her, or is this what she wants us to believe? Only by reading the book will you know. There were other characters in this book I detested for reasons I will not go into here (no spoilers) but they added tension to the overall plot.  

Mitchell manipulates the reader at every turn, as I finished each chapter the tone of the book grew darker and yet I needed to read on, to sort the truth from the lies, the good from the bad. Spare Room is full of twists I did not see coming, which always add to my overall enjoyment of a read, there’s nothing worse than guessing correctly the direction a read is taking. Mitchell takes familiar subjects such as deception, manipulation and buried secrets and incorporates them into an assured psychological thriller that’s both compelling and original in its telling.  Highly recommended

About the author

Dreda Say Mitchell is an award-winning, bestselling crime writer, broadcaster, campaigner, and journalist. Since her sixth book she has been co-writing with Tony Mason. She is the author of eleven novels, with her debut awarded The CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. She has been a frequent guest on television and radio including Question Time, BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, The Stephen Nolan Show, Front Row and Woman’s Hour and numerous others. She has presented Radio 4’s Open Book. Dreda was named one of Britain’s 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia. She was the 2011 chair of the Harrogate Crime Fiction Festival. Dreda and Tony’s work is currently in development for TV. She was born and raised in the East End of London where she continues to live.  

Social Media Links:

Website: www.dredasaymitchell.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DredaMitchell

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DredaSayMitchell

Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour………..

The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis #BookReview @EmilyGunnis @Phoebe_Swinburn @headlinepg

Today I’m sharing my review for The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis. I  took a step away from Serial Killers, Murder and Crime before Christmas! As I wanted to read something slightly different. I read so many lovely reviews of this book I just knew it was one I had to read for myself. **Warning** this book should come with a box of tissues.

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A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late. 

Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…

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After I finished reading The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis I was left with a heavy heart, not because I didn’t enjoy the book, in fact it was quite the opposite, it made for a highly emotional read, it’s a book that is based on disturbing historical facts and for me personally this made the read far more poignant, knowing that the terrible things that happened to unmarried mothers in the book actually occurred. It’s hard to imagine an unmarried mother being sent away by her family to give birth to her baby, a family more concerned about the stigma surrounding illegitimacy, than their own child’s well being.  A woman forced to live in the most awful conditions, abused, and then forced to hand their babies over for adoption. The Girl In The Letter certainly makes for a hard hitting and emotional  read.

Single mother journalist Sam Harper discovers  some heartbreaking letters from a girl called Ivy which are linked to a now derelict mother and baby home, St Margaret’s which was run by nuns. Sam like any good journalist realises there’s a story to be told, as she begins to investigate she doesn’t just see it as a job, she becomes emotionally involved and is determined to share Ivy’s story not only for Ivy and all the other mother condemned to St Margaret’s, but for the baby’s snatched from their mothers.

It’s the letters that make this book such an emotionally charged read,  you get a sense of the stigma surrounding unmarried mothers, you feel Ivy’s pain, fear and her love for a baby she will never be allowed to keep. It’s difficult to believe that the very nuns who were there to support unmarried mothers were beyond cruel,  punishing them for their “sins”, both physically and mentally, but as historical documents show this was very much the case, and makes Ivy’s story all the more credible and one which is unbearably sad.  

Emily Gunnis writes with such conviction and emotion that it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction, the two blend  perfectly together resulting in an emotionally charged read. The letters, the harrowing and heart breaking scenes, and the overwhelming need to find out what happened to Ivy will keep you captivated until the last page. This is Emily Gunnis debut novel which really surprised me, as it’s a very accomplished debut, not only is it beautifully written, but it’s a book that sensitively looks at a subject that’s been buried for far to long. Highly recommended.

  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Review (1 Aug. 2018)

 Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier #BookReview #BookShelfReads @JenniferHillier @CorvusBooks

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “never judge a book by its cover”, but I did and for some reason I  thought Jar Of Hearts was a “romantic” read! So I never paid much attention to the book (my bad) until for some unknown reason I happened to read the book description and spotted the words “serial killer”, from then on in I decided I HAD to read this book, who wouldn’t after reading the book description? Unless you hate crime thrillers of course! Read on for my thoughts……..

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This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years….

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

My review

Jar Of Hearts is the first book I’ve read by Jennifer Hillier and I’m impressed, I enjoyed this book in fact scrap that I loved this book. I enjoy a crime thriller that’s chilling, dark and twisted, and this one is definitely twisted but in the most delightful way. I should mention that there are some violent and stomach churning scenes in this book which won’t be to every readers taste, but the scenes never felt unnecessarily graphic. There are also quite a few mentions of domestic violence throughout the story, and they’re credible and therefore disturbing, but they also add a genuine sense of horror and trepidation to the story.

At sixteen Georgina “Geo” Shaw’s best friend, Angela Wong, disappeared without a trace. Angela was a victim of Calvin James, a Serial killer. The same Calvin who was Geo’s first her love, their relationship was turbulent and often volatile, and one that lasted until the night Angela died. Geo is the only one who knew what happened that fateful night, but it’s a secret she isn’t prepared to share.  Even Geo’s best friend, Kaiser Brody a detective with the Seattle PD has no idea what happened. When Geo is arrested and convicted for her part in Angela’s disappearance it seems a fitting end, but then more murders take place, Is there a new killer at large? and has Geo “told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”? 

I love a character who evokes strong emotions in myself, and the author did that with Geo, on one hand I felt sorry for her, her relationship with Calvin was toxic and damaging, and yet as he was her first love it was easy to see how she was sucked in by Calvin. On the other hand there was the secretive Geo who during some scenes appeared cold and calculated and then I found my dislike of her growing. Each of the characters in Jar Of Hearts was well depicted, some more likeable than others, the dynamics between the three friends felt very credible, as to the relationship between Angela and Geo it’s a complex one, but it’s also a fascinating one. The relationship between Geo and Calvin made for an uncomfortable read, as the author reveals more about the couples turbulent relationship you can see the warning signs, you know something awful is going to happen, but as to the “what” you just have to read on to find out.

Jar Of Hearts alternates between Geo and Kaiser, told in the present Jennifer Hillier captures the past in flashbacks which slowly but deftly reveal a complex story of buried secrets shrouded in toxic relationships, abuse, and jealousy. There were so many aspects of this book I enjoyed, the pace is perfect, the writing concise, each chapter turns into just “one more”. Even though I worked out part of the story, (although it took me a while to get there I must admit!)  It didn’t matter one iota as I was so immersed in the story, and the author still surprised me a couple of  times which is always a bonus. Definitely one I would recommend to those who love a crime thriller with a dark heart and those who aren’t averse to some violent and disquieting scenes. 

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (2 Aug. 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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#ThePuppetShow by M.W.Craven @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK #MustReads #Paperback

To celebrate the paperback publication of The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven I’m re-sharing my review. If you haven’t read this crime thriller you definitely need to get yourself a copy ASAP it has all the makings of a fabulous series. Before I share my review here’s the book description……

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A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

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There is nothing more satisfying than coming across a new crime series that sets the pulse racing. I read so many crime thrillers that I find it’s getting more difficult to find one that really excites me, but hells bells The Puppet Show by the very talented M.W. Craven blew my socks off! What a fabulous start to a “must read series”.I knew from the shocker of an opening chapter The Puppet Show was going to be an exhilarating and thrilling read, I loved this novel for so many reasons, with a gripping storyline and fabulous characters The Puppet Show has “best seller” written all over it.  

Dark and gruesome are my favourite kind of crime thrillers, (make of that what you will!) and The Puppet Show fits the bill perfectly. As serial killers go this ones pretty terrifying, burning people alive, carving into theit charred remains, the author certainly has a vivid imagination, and his descriptive writing help you to visualise the gruesome scenes. With no clues the police are helpless, and enlist the most unlikely pairing I’ve come across in crime fiction,  Washington Poe (love this name for a detective, not one you will forget in a hurry) and socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw.

The stars of this book are definitely the characters, oh how I loved them, Tilly was like a breath of fresh air, her naivety and innocence contrast beautifully with Poe’s cynical views, their budding relationship was endearing, and the dialogue between the two offered lots of humour in what could have become a dark and depressing read (due to the difficult subject matter). M.W. Craven has created  characters who are unique and engaging, and I would go as far to say they are probably two of the most exciting characters I’ve come across in a crime thriller for a long time.

Rather like the investigation team the reader has no idea who the serial killer is, when the killer was revealed I’m sure my jaw hit the floor, I can honestly say “I didn’t even come close” to working out the killers identify. The author taunts the reader by throwing in titbits of Poe’s past, which I’m desperately hoping will be the focus of one of the books in the series, very intriguing to say the least. You may have noticed my review is vague but I’m hoping it’s piqued your interest, my advice? Just buy it,  if you are a fan of crime thrillers then this is definitely one book you don’t want to miss. I’m already desperate to read the next book in the series, and have everything crossed that I don’t have to wait long.  Highly recommended 

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to see I’m giving The Puppet Show 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 reach the very last page.

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Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Constable (7 Jun. 2018)

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