Tag Archives: New Author To Me

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.

 

#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.

 

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

 

I thought I had my top reads of 2018 post finally sorted, but then along came Skin Deep by Liz Nugent who has well and truly put a spanner in the works. Read on for my thoughts but as always here’s the book description first…..

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It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else. I could probably have been an actress. Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for most of my life?’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out.

The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . . .

                                                 My review 

Liz Nugent has been on my “must read authors” list for a while now, and after reading the book description for Skin Deep I knew I had to read it “sooner rather than later” and I’m so glad I did, what an utterly compelling and thrilling read it turned out to be. This has to be one of the darkest and most chilling psychological thrillers I’ve read this year, and I mean it. There’s so much to love about this book, with themes of dishonesty and abandonment at its core, it’s a story that shocks and yet compels the reader onwards.  

beauty is only skindeep”, while someone may be beautiful on the outside, when you scratch below the surface, there lies an ugliness that far outshines a beautiful face, and this sums up Cordelia’s character perfectly. Cordelia has to be one of the most damaged, chilling and unlikable characters I have ever come across in the pages of a book, and yet I was mesmerised  by her story. The author has done a magnificent job in creating such a character, she’s memorable (for all the wrong reasons), intriguing and yet there’s something so chilling about her whilst reading this book I had a constant feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. 

Skin deep is set between the desolate Irish Island of Iniscran surrounded in myths and legends and the French Riviera with all its glamour and wealth. From Cordelia’s childhood on the island to adulthood  there is one constant in her life, her ability to leave a trail of destruction, heartbreak and misery in her wake. As the reader you learn more about Cordelia’s childhood and her dysfunctional family,  her father particularly is a very troubled soul to say the least. Cordelia has so many layers, her character is complex beyond belief, the lengths she will go to for her own gain make her a character I won’t forget anytime soon.

The chapters told from her “victims” POV were the ones I found the most intriguing, Cordelia is able to move forward without a second thought, but her victims are left devastated, some unable to put their fractured life’s back together, It’s these chapters that make any sympathy for Cordelia disappear in a flash. Liz Nugent has written a superb psychological thriller, the settings, the characters, the pace and the style of writing are perfectly balanced,  and Skin Deep sits firmly one of my top reads of 2018. Highly recommended 

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving Skin Deep 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 kept me in its grips until I reached the very last page.

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Ireland (5 April 2018)

Buying links :   Amazon 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

#CoverReveal #DeadInside by Noelle Holten @nholten40 @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #TeamHolten

Today I’m so excited to be one of the many book bloggers taking part in the cover reveal for fellow book blogger (aka Crime Book Junkie) debut novel Dead Inside.  I was lucky enough to read a copy when it was in its infancy and readers let me tell you “you’re in for a real treat” this is a lady who certainly knows how to write a gritty crime thriller. Before I share the cover here’s the book description…….

An excellent read’ Martina Cole

A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent.

‘Kept me hooked … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons

When three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?

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I love this cover and look at the endorsements from a couple of the best authors a round, high praise indeed.  You can pre-order a copy Of Dead Inside (publication date: 31st May 2019) here ⬇️

*none of the buy links are affiliate links*
Universal Buy Link:  mybook.to/DeadInside

 

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk/ She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering cases of domestic violence and abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the #booklove via her blog. Dying in the Dark is her debut novel and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:
Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noelleholtenauthor/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Noelle-Holten/e/B07HZ685TL 

Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/
Instagram: @crimebookjunkie

#TheRumour by Lesley Kara #BookReview @LesleyKara @TransworldBooks #MustReads2018

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Rumour, the debut novel from Lesley Kara. This is definitely one of those books that’s going to be a huge hit with readers. You can read on for my thoughts but first the book description…………

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When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realises what it is she’s unleashed?

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OMG what a twisted and devious read The Rumour by Lesley Kara turned out to be, this maybe the author’s debut novel but it’s written like a pro.  There are so many novels that are written in the psychological thriller genre that I sometimes find they lack that element of surprise. If I read a psychological thriller I need to read one that stands out, a novel that leaves me thinking “what the frigging hell did I just read?” One I want everyone to read so I can discuss the devious plot, the characters, and the writing and The Rumour is one of those books! It’s a tale shrouded in suspicion, paranoia and accusations. 

The Rumour has an intriguing premise rumour has it that Sally McGowan a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in the sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea. one casual remark, one whispered confidence that’s all it takes and rumours spread like wild fire in the small insular town. As the reader you feel like you are one of the  towns people living there, amid the rumours and the speculation, which immediately makes you wary of every character you are introduced to,  which adds a high level of tension to the read.  Lesley Kara misdirects the reader at every possible turn, which was personally the reason I enjoyed this novel so much, I do love to be outwitted by an author. 

There’s something really disconcerting about this book I think it’s because you feel uncomfortable being privy to the rumours, you make assumptions and very much like the paranoid people of the town you find yourself putting each character under the microscope, looking for that clue will uncover infamous Sally McGowan. The sense of disgust and outrage from the towns people is evident, and it seems more so because this was a murder committed by a child.

As with many rumours, once whispered they take on a life of there own and things quickly began to escalate. Joanna tries to shy away from the gossip but she finds her self drawn into it, and on occasion, she’s even responsible for it. Joanne comes to realise she may have opened a can of worms, whilst placing her son in danger.  The author highlights the damage rumours and gossip can inflict on innocent individuals, but she also explores the privacy of someone in witness protection, and the feelings and emotions of someone hiding in plain sight. There’s an intensity within The Rumours pages,  it doesn’t come from a fast plot or dramatic scenes it comes from “the not knowing” the constant shifting of suspicion from one character to another.

The Rumour made for an intense and unfortunately a far to credible read, it’s one that will cause wide debate amongst its readers, I found myself contemplating the rights and wrongs of this complex story and whether someone who commits murder at a young age deserves anonymity. I’m really excited by Lesley Kara’s writing and considering this is her debut she has written an outstanding psychological thriller, that should stand proud on the book shelf next to the more established authors of this genre.  In case you haven’t already guessed I will definitely be recommending this novel to anyone  who love a psychological thriller that really does keep you guessing to the end. 

  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (10 Dec. 2018)

Buying link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rumour-Lesley-Kara-ebook/dp/B07D313CT9/ 🇬🇧

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#TheKey by Katherine Hughes#BookReview @headlinepg


Today I’m sharing my review for The Key by Katherine Hughes, a book that’s very different to my usual reads, but one I found to a be a breath of fresh air, you can read on for my thoughts, but first the book description….

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1956 

It’s Ellen Crosby’s first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever…

2006

Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right . . .

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Every once in a while I like to pick up a book thats outside my comfort zone, a book that takes me away from serial killers, murders and mayhem, and when I read the book description for The Key I knew it was one I had to read. I’ve always been intrigued by asylums, I put that down to spending so many years working as a psychiatric nurse. When I think of asylums I conjure up images of wrong doings, barbaric treatments and an environment that was definitely not therapeutic to those living within the walls of such a place. Despite this Katherine Hughes has written a book that’s beautifully told, with a moving and thought provoking storyline, it’s one that pulls at the most hardened heart strings.  

The Key has a dual timeline, alternating between the 1950s and present day. Sarah, historian, finds a stash of old suitcases whilst going through the ruins of the old asylum. She is drawn to one suitcase in particular that contains a 50-year-old secret about the tragic life of Amy, a former patient. Katherine Hughes  manages to convey the attitudes of the staff and the treatment of patients in Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum with such conviction that some readers may find this book an uncomfortable and upsetting read at times. There is no doubt  The Key makes for a heartbreaking read, and more so because of the cruelty of such asylums, the author also highlights  the shocking and unbelievable reasons patients found themselves incarcerated.

The author has done a magnificent job in creating characters that are so well drawn that you can’t help but invest in their story, especially Amy’s it’s a tragic one and all the more upsetting because it’s a very believable one. It’s easy to imagine Amy’s confusion, her feeling of helplessness, but mostly you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of injustice at the way Amy was treated in Ambergate. This could have been a depressing read, but  the author manages to add some heartwarming moments of friendship, hope and love within its pages. 

Katherine Hughes has written a novel that made for a   enthralling read, at times I found myself quite emotional which is a testament to the author’s writing skills, by the time I reached the last page I felt like I had been alongside Amy in her life journey, a path filled with heartbreak, fear and rejection. The Key is a wonderful told story of  pain, loss,  truth, and redemption. A disturbing yet captivating read that I would highly recommend to readers of historical fiction.  

  •  Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (6 Sept. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Footnote: 

The Key was inspired by the real-life discovery of a room filled with suitcases in a derelict asylum in Willard, New York. I visited the Willard Suitcases website to read more, it’s a fascinating website but also extremely sad, but it does make you realise that The Key although a work of fiction is inspired by real people placed in the most awful situations. 

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