Tag Archives: New Author

The Waxwork Corpse by Simon Michael #Extract #BlogTour @Simonmichaeluk @SapereBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on The Waxwork Corpse by Simon Michael blog tour.  This book is the fifth in the ‘Charles Holborne’ legal thriller series, set in London in the 1960’s.

Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to read the book, but I’m loving the book description and I’m hoping to read it in the not to distance future as I do enjoy a legal thriller. So in the meantime I have a very intriguing extract from the book, but first the book description…

8C0246EC-7DC2-48EB-8BDA-ACAB127E8843

A deadly crime has been dragged to the surface…

London, 1965

Charles Holborne, maverick barrister, will never fit in at the Bar; he is too working-class, too Jewish and too dangerous.

But that makes him the perfect outsider to prosecute a shocking murder case which has already made its way to the press.

By chance, a body was found, dumped in a lake. It had clearly been there for some time, but the conditions in the water have meant that it was nearly perfectly preserved.

The police have managed to match this ‘waxwork corpse’ to a missing woman and if her husband — a senior judge — was the one who killed her, the scandal threatens to rock the British justice to its foundations.

The waxwork corpse is not the only thing to be raised from the past. The investigation also dredges up a violent mistake made by Charles in his youth which, if revealed, could put his own life at stake…

7BA83CBD-605A-467E-ACC5-3D8E32C37B13

Charles Holborne needs a big breakfast.

The previous night he stayed up until the small hours smoking and drinking whisky, staring at the silent, glistening city streets below him and ruminating about Sally; specifically about where she was sleeping. And with whom.

Months after their breakup and the sale of their house in Hampstead, he still thinks about her, most days and every night. The nights are the worst, alone in the tiny apartment on Fetter Lane.

So a plateful of bacon, eggs, mushrooms and toast are now absorbing the remnants of the alcohol, and Charles is starting to feel human.

Listening with half an ear to John Arlott commentating on the first few overs of the test match, he reads again the newspaper report of his beloved West Ham becoming only the second British club ever to win a European trophy. They defeated Munich 2 – 0 in the European Cup Winners Cup at Wembley the previous night, and Charles is still cross he missed it. But for the trial that he expected to continue throughout this week, he’d certainly have bought tickets.

He clears up and, a couple of hours later than usual, leaves the flat. He dodges the stationary traffic in the junction with Fleet Street and ducks under the stone arch into Sergeants Inn. It’s barely 100 yards from his front door to the Temple, which, in normal circumstances, allows him to wake at seven o’clock, wash, eat a leisurely breakfast and still be at his desk in Chambers before eight.

Charles, now thirty-nine, is as broad as an ox, with enormously wide shoulders, great hams for arms and heavily-muscled legs, and there is a healing cut over his left eyebrow. He looks like a boxer, which is what he is — or was, until his last fight, a few months ago at the relatively late age of thirty-eight. He therefore looks slightly incongruous in a barrister’s regulation pinstriped three-piece suit under a light raincoat and battered hat. Slung over his left shoulder, in a red cloth bag closed with a white cord drawstring, are his court robes, and in his right hand he carries a briefcase with the papers from the previous day’s case.

The barred gate at the northern end of Kings Bench Walk is manned today by a young official in uniform, the polished buttons of his Inner Temple uniform gleaming in the weak sunshine.

‘Good morning, Mr Holborne,’ he says. ‘Not seen you for a while.’

‘Hello Jimmy,’ replies Charles.

Charles has known the lad since he first started working in the Temple almost a decade before. He was then employed to direct parking and pick up litter, but despite his difficult start in life (Charles knows he was sent to Borstal for a string of domestic burglaries committed as a juvenile) his cheery disposition and willingness to work hard had seen him promoted gradually through the ranks of Temple employees. Now in his mid-twenties, he’s being given greater responsibility.

Inn servants such as Jimmy are largely invisible to Charles’s colleagues. Charles, on the other hand, feels more at ease with them than he does the majority of his public school, Oxbridge-educated peers. Most of the minor functionaries in the service of the Law, the employees of the Inn, the clerks and the court staff — in short the people essential to the smooth functioning of the administration of justice — know of Charles. They know that the curly-haired Charles Holborne, Barrister at Law, started life as Charlie Horowitz, boxer and, it was rumoured, criminal. His oldest friends and associates include the Krays and others on the wrong side of the law. He’s a Jewish East End lad who had an outstanding war and “made good”, and they have a sense of proprietorial pride in him; he’s still one of them.

The feeling is mutual. Although Charles has tried to put the Krays and his law-breaking firmly behind him, he likes to pass the time of day with good honest East Enders who share his background and with whom he doesn’t have to maintain the cultivated sophistication so carefully grafted onto his Cockney roots.

Charles steps down into the Temple, and as he does so a sudden squall of rain blowing off the Thames hits him square in the face. It carries the familiar aromas of his past life as a lighterman: sea salt and effluence. Taking care on the slippery cobbles, he runs underneath the tall plane trees, their newly-emerged leaves being given an unnecessary shower, and turns the corner into Crown Office Row.

A few seconds later he is bounding up the old staircase into Chambers, creating little puffs of wood dust where his heavy tread lands on every second stair.

This has been Charles’s professional home for two years; since he was forced out of his previous chambers; since the murder of his wife; a wife who was, rather inconveniently, the daughter of the former head of those chambers.

He pushes open the door to the clerks’ room to find it as frenetic as ever. Barbara, the senior clerk, Chambers’ own Edinburgh headmistress, is conducting two calls at the same time, one phone in her hand and the other clamped to the other ear by a tweed shoulder. She looks up from the lesson in good manners being delivered to an unhelpful listing clerk and nods her welcome to Charles. Jennie and Jeremy, the symbiotic junior clerks known throughout the Temple compendiously as “JJ”, hover by the door, each with an armful of briefs to be distributed around Chambers. The last member of staff, Clive — a spotty, insouciant Cockney teenager who fills the function of office junior — appears to be elsewhere.

Three barristers juggle for positions by the pigeon-holes, skimming the miscellaneous papers received on existing cases, but in fact more interested in discovering if there might be any buried fees cheques.

‘Morning,’ says one, a pot-bellied, almost spherical, junior barrister named Knight.

‘Morning, Oliver,’ replies Charles.

A tall man with his back to Charles turns swiftly. ‘Ah, there you are, Holborne,’ he says angrily, the use of Charles’s surname signifying both formality and condescension.

‘Yes, Murray,’ replies Charles blandly, scanning his own post without looking up, but deliberately using the taller man’s first name.

Murray Dennison, Queen’s Counsel, has been a long-term thorn in Charles’s side, particularly since Charles’s practice took off. Dennison, jealous and ambitious in equal measure, and whose elevation to silk had yet to prove an unqualified success, takes Charles’s recent professional ascendancy as a personal insult. His antipathy to Charles’s working-class background, his religion, his success — in short, everything about him — had grown swiftly from arrogant antipathy to outright hatred. There’s nothing more likely to make a man hate you than his being discovered trying to cause you harm, thinks Charles. It is only a few months since Charles uncovered, and survived, Dennison’s plot to have him evicted from Chambers.

‘I assume those … people in the waiting room are your clients?’ says Dennison.

‘Mine?’ enquires Charles reasonably, in no mood for a fight. ‘I’m not expecting any.’

‘Well, they’re your lot, and they’re taking all the space. I’ve important clients arriving in half an hour.’

‘My “lot”?’ queries Charles, knowing exactly what Dennison means.

He slips out of the clerks’ room and looks through the open door to the waiting room. Sitting silently and uncomfortably on the couch and two of the chairs are four bearded men in dark suits and white shirts, all wearing skull-caps. They are unmistakeably orthodox Jews. Charles smiles and nods before withdrawing and returning to the clerks’ room.

‘Not my case; not my clients,’ he says shortly, making a final effort to avoid a confrontation.

‘Aren’t they Jews?’ says the taller man, narrowing his eyes and jutting his grey lantern jaw at Charles aggressively.

‘And because they’re Jews, they must be my clients?’ demands Charles, his temper slipping.

‘It’s not an unreasonable assumption.’

‘Accordingly, I should assume that, because you defended those two homosexuals last week, you must also be a sodomist?’ he replies with a dangerous smile. Charles knows this will provoke Dennison, a Catholic with traditional views on homosexuality.

‘Now, now, sir,’ intervenes Barbara, now off both telephone calls, ‘let’s not wind up Mr Dennison.’

Dennison approaches Charles threateningly, almost nose to nose. ‘I’ve just about had enough of you, barrow boy.’

Charles tugs his forelock and deliberately exaggerates his native Cockney accent. ‘Oh, guvnor, I’m ever so sorry if I forgot me place.’

That produces a suppressed snigger from Jeremy which serves only to increase Dennison’s fury, but before the QC can answer, Charles has switched to a thick Yiddish accent. ‘On the other hand, perhaps it’s because I’m one of the Chosen People?’

Dennison points his bony forefinger at Charles, grasping for an appropriate retort but apparently unable at that instant to decide which prejudice to pursue. He splutters for a moment, changes his mind and strides out of the room. Charles follows him to the door and calls down the corridor after him. ‘I’m so sorry you weren’t chosen, Murray.’

Dennison spins on his heel. ‘Why don’t you people go back where you came from?’

‘This is where I came from!’ shouts Charles back. ‘I can trace my English roots to 1492, Dennison. Can you?’ Charles turns to Barbara with a triumphant smile but finds her face stony.

‘You’re your own worst enemy, Mr Holborne,’ she says, shaking her head sadly.

‘Yes,’ replies Charles heavily. ‘So I’ve been told.’

‘What’re you staring at?’ Barbara says, turning on Jeremy, still by the door. ‘Go on, scoot!’ The young clerk scuttles out of the room. ‘And in case it improves your mood, sir,’ says Barbara to Charles sardonically, ‘I’ve just put a nice cheque in your pigeon-hole.’

‘Have you?’

‘That case from Fletchers, the two-handed rape at Aylesbury.’

‘Oh yes.’

‘They’ve cut you down, but not by much. Have a look at the breakdown and let me know if you want to appeal.’

Charles picks up the cheque and the other papers waiting for him and makes to leave the room.

‘Oh, by the way, sir,’ adds Barbara, ‘Clive took a call for you from a Mr Jones.’

‘Yes?’

‘Mr Jones was rather mysterious. He announced that he was new to the Met police prosecuting service and asked if you’d passed the Scotland Yard Test.’

‘And you told him that I had?’ Charles asks.

The “Scotland Yard Test” is essentially a list of barristers deemed fit to prosecute cases on behalf of the Metropolitan Police. Charles has now been instructed in several high-profile murder trials for the Crown, so it’s surprising the caller was unaware that he’s considered acceptable counsel.

‘Of course. I asked him if he had instructions for you but he seemed evasive; said he was very anxious to speak to you. Immediately. When I said you weren’t in yet, he refused to leave a number and said he’d call back at noon. He asked particularly that you’d be available to take his call.’

‘If he’s employed by the Met prosecuting service, why on earth didn’t he ask one of his colleagues if I was on the list?’

‘That’s what I thought. I did wonder if it wasn’t some sort of practical joke. And…’

‘And?’

‘Well, he sounded strange.’

‘Strange?’

Barbara shrugs and her smile has a trace of embarrassment. ‘He sounded like Bugs Bunny!’

Charles laughs. ‘Are you sure the call didn’t come from inside Chambers? This sounds like one of the junior barristers pulling your leg.’

Barbara pauses, thinking. ‘You know, I never thought of that. Maybe that’s all it was. No doubt we’ll find out soon.’

Charles climbs the stairs to the first floor where his room is situated. It is empty. Peter Bateman, his former pupil, is at court, and the third occupant of the room, a recent addition, is also absent. Charles has yet to meet her, but she represents the welcome face of change: Roberta Gough is a pupil barrister, the first woman pupil to be taken on by the set of barristers in its 150-year history.

Charles makes himself a cup of tea in the area laughingly referred to as the “upstairs kitchen” — a converted cupboard — and takes it to his desk.

His room isn’t large, but it’s well-lit and comfortable, housing three battered leather armchairs and a small coffee table as well as two leather-inlaid desks loaded with briefs and Miss Gough’s small, and still empty, desk tucked into a corner behind the door. What makes the room special to Charles is its view over the manicured lawns of the Inner Temple and thence across the Embankment to the River Thames. On more than one occasion Charles has returned from court to find a temporarily unemployed member of Chambers relaxing in one of the chairs, feet up on Charles’s desk, idly surveying the river traffic and the lawyers strolling the gardens.

Charles begins by opening his post. At noon precisely, the telephone rings.

‘Mr Jones for you, sir,’ says Barbara, and Charles, who knows his senior clerk very well, detects suppressed mirth in her voice.

‘Charles Holborne?’ asks a clear high-pitched voice.

‘Yes,’ replies Charles. ‘How can I help you?’

‘Are you available this afternoon, Mr Holborne?’

Charles smiles in recognition of Barbara’s characterisation of the voice. It’s not Bugs Bunny, but it is unusually high-pitched and, oddly for a solicitor practising in the Metropolis, Charles detects a definite North American accent.

‘Available for what?’

‘A conference in a criminal matter.’

‘For the prosecution, I assume.’

‘That is correct.’

‘Certainly. What’s the name of the case?’

‘I am sorry, but I can’t tell you that at present,’ replies the solicitor officiously.

‘Oh,’ says Charles. ‘Why on earth not?’

‘You’ll understand when we meet. Just call it “In the Matter of a Possible Prosecution”.’

‘Very well,’ replies Charles, curbing his curiosity. ‘When can you let me see the papers?’

‘I won’t be sending you any case papers. You’ll be instructed by myself and two police officers.’ Then Jones’s formality slips slightly. ‘Sorry about the mystery, Mr Holborne, but you’ll understand when we speak in person. I assure you, this is no joke.’

‘Very well,’ repeats Charles. ‘What time would be convenient to you?’

‘Your clerk said two o’clock.’

‘Fine. I’ll see you then.’

‘Good. One last thing: the matter is to be mentioned to no one at all. Both you and your senior clerk will be asked to sign the Official Secrets Act before anything of substance is discussed. Goodbye.’

Charles almost laughs as he hangs up. He wonders again if the entire conversation is a hoax. He’s never heard of a barrister being required to sign the Official Secrets Act before being instructed in a case. The whole idea is bizarre. He looks forward to the meeting, if it occurs at all, with interest.

  • Paperback: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Sapere Books (20 Dec. 2019)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

About the author

5D8094B5-0A72-4B06-A75B-4E0E90CCDF70

Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne.  Simon writes from personal experience: a barrister for 37 years, he worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy.  The 1960s was the Wild West of British justice, a time when the Krays, the Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted evidence and took a share of the criminal proceeds.  Simon weaves into his thrillers real events of the time, the cases on which he worked and his unusual family history in the East End.

Simon was published here and in America in the 1980s and returned to writing when he retired from the law in 2016.  The Charles Holborne series, The Brief, An Honest Man, The Lighterman, Corrupted and the latest, The Waxwork Corpse, have all garnered strong reviews for their authenticity and excitement.

Books in the series

Follow the blog tour…..

D4A49E2F-4288-4B8F-A775-60E4169352AC

The book review café book of the month **February 2020

6BEFEE4A-921E-4838-9A65-14EEDC7A978B

Whohoo March is here, and spring is in the air! (Well hopefully it is). It feels like I have spent the WHOLE winter, coughing and sneezing, and feeling generally unwell.  I’m seriously thinking of hibernating next winter!

58B4B5F4-339F-49F6-8EF6-F7FB84EB6CB1

As usual I’m digressing but as it’s March it means it’s time to choose my book of the month for February. I read some cracking books in February, but if I’m honest the book I’ve chosen was always going to be a contender for my book of the month, and it’s already one of my top reads of the year so far.

How do I choose my book of the month?

I choose 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. So without further ado here’s my book of the month for February.

I Am Dust by Louise Beech

D8160732-C01C-4612-BC14-46DCDB9E3D1A

Louise Beech is such an extraordinary author, she doesn’t just write a book; she gives each book a heart, a heart that gives life to her stories and her characters. I Am Dust takes you on a journey of magic and murder, love, ambition, jealousy and loss. It’s a ghost story entwined with a murder mystery, but it’s not the kind of ghost story that’s outside the realm of possibility, it’s plausible, heartbreaking, unnerving and creepy. You can read my full review here…I Am Dust by Louise Beech

Highly recommended

Full reviews can be found here…

The Other People by C.J. Tudor @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks #MustReads

The Guest List by Lucy Foley #BookReview #TheGuestList @lucyfoleytweets @HarperCollinsUK

Never Look Back by A. L. Gaylin #BookReview @Orionbooks

Liar Liar by by Mel Sherratt @writermels @AvonBooksUk #BookReview #BlogTour #LiarLiar

The Dilemma by B A Paris #BookReview @BAParisAuthor #TheDilemma @HQstories

The Murder House by Michael Wood #BookReview @MichaelHWood #CrimeFiction @0neMoreChapter_ #TeamDarke @HarperFiction #MustReads2020

Books I’m hoping to read in March

I have a couple of books to read for book blog tours, but apart from that I’m hoping to read some up and coming book releases, plus a couple of my own book shelf reads.

 

 

 

Ted Bundy The Only Living Witness by Stephen. G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth #nonfiction #truecrime @TheMirrorBooks #BlogTour #OnlyLivingWitness

One of the things I’m hoping to do this year is read more true crime thrillers, so today I’m sharing my first #TrueCrime read of the year, as part of the blog tour for Ted Bundy The Only Loving Witness by Stephen. G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth.    

D3097BD6-F931-46E9-B885-230A48C84406

Ted Bundy was America’s first celebrity serial killer, and one of the most chilling enigmas in criminal history.

Handsome, boyish and well spoken, a law student with bright political prospects, Bundy was also a predator and sexual deviant who murdered and mutilated at least thirty young women and girls, many of them college coeds, but at least two as young as twelve.

Penned by two journalists in close contact with Bundy’s friends and relatives, as well as spending 150 hours interviewing him on Death Row, Ted Bundy: The Only Living Witness is the definitive account of America’s most notorious criminal, as told by the people who knew him best.

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mirror Books (6 Feb. 2020)

53BA803D-1077-41F0-BAD6-1B47422DB9F8

Ted Bundy is arguably one of the most infamous serial killers in America, but who was Ted Bundy? over the years the notorious serial killer has been described as many things “intelligent, handsome, wholesome and even likeable” And then there’s the flip side, “a master of manipulation, cold, calculated and emotionally immature”.  This book takes away his celebrity status and shows Bundy to be much more of an “ordinary” serial killer than the “extraordinary” one the media have led us to believe. It reveals Bundy as a violent sexual sadist, who brutally raped, tortured and killed dozens of women, a man who showed no remorse for his crimes.

Many authors have attempted to get ‘inside the head of Ted Bundy’ and failed, probably due to the fact their information has been gained from transcripts, witness statements, and here-say. Ted Bundy The Only Loving Witness by Stephen. G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth is unique, as along with the facts of the case, it’s based on over a 150 hours of interviews with the killer.

Like many books that I have read about Bundy, the authors explore Bundy’s childhood, his crimes (although adequately descriptive it is not gratuitously graphic) and his trials, but they also explore the complex psychology of a deeply-troubled, emotionally-unstable young man. This book reveals the complexity of his personality and unravels the multiple masks he hid behind, the complexities of his character are validated by their personal interviews with the serial killer.

One of the things I found fascinating about this book was the fact that Bundy gives a third-person rumination in his interviews, based entirely on his own experiences, thus disassociating himself from his horrendous crimes. The authors also dispels many of the myths surrounding Bundy, by providing the reader with a wealth of information that’s based on fact, and the testimony of witnesses, friends and family.  

Ted Bundy The Only Loving Witness is a chilling, well-written book, that gives the reader an insight into the nature and thoughts of a psychopath. It’s not an enjoyable read, and nor should it be considering it’s true crime, but it did make for a fascinating read. Ted Bundy described himself as “the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet.” after reading this book I have to agree! A must read for those who enjoy a true crime read. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ted-Bundy-Living-Witness-written/dp/191262480X

My thanks to the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

Check out the rest of the blog tour…..

918A6CCA-6981-4B0E-B733-9F83F600F8B1

 

Never Look Back by A. L. Gaylin #BookReview @Orionbooks

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Never Look Back by A. L. Gaylin, a new author to me so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Read on for my review but first the book description……..

C51FC94B-21FC-4B2F-A6A6-5387A76B4B03

She was the most brutal killer of our time. And she may have been my mother…

When website columnist Robin Diamond is contacted by true crime podcast producer Quentin Garrison, she assumes it’s a business matter. It’s not. Quentin’s podcast, Closure, focuses on a series of murders in the 1970s, committed by teen couple April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy. It seems that Quentin has reason to believe Robin’s own mother may be intimately connected with the killings.

Robin thinks Quentin’s claim is absurd. But is it? The more she researches the Cooper/LeRoy murders herself, the more disturbed she becomes by what she finds. Living just a few blocks from her, Robin’s beloved parents are the one absolute she’s always been able to rely upon, especially now amid rising doubts about her husband and frequent threats from internet trolls. Robin knows her mother better than anyone.

But then her parents are brutally attacked, and Robin realises she doesn’t know the truth at all…

0E3634F4-4486-4146-8EF3-1BD0A74E914C

There’s nothing I like more than picking up a book I know nothing about, it means I have no expectations, sometimes it can all go terribly wrong and I end up reading a book that’s really not my ‘cup of tea’ but thankfully that wasn’t the case with Never Look Back by A. L. Gaylin in fact it was quite the opposite I ended up loving this twisted absorbing, addictive tale of psychological suspense.

True crime podcast producer Quentin Garrison, is investigating a series of murders in the 1970s committed by teens Gabriel LeRoy and April Cooper. The victims included members of his own family. For Robin Diamond, a columnist, the podcast produces some startling evidence. When Quentin contacts her about it, and starts asking questions about April Cooper and tying her to Robin’s own mother, Robin isn’t convinced by his story, but the more she delves into the murders, the more she can’t help wondering.

Never Look Back moves between the present and 1976, mostly narrated by Quentin and Robin, past events unfold through a chilling number of journal style letters written by April Cooper. Using a dual time line to convey a story can sometimes confuse a story, or even worse make a story feel stilted, but that’s not the case here, as the two flow perfectly, enhancing the story rather than hindering. April Cooper’s letters made for a chilling read, but they give the reader an insight into a complex character and her relationship with partner in crime and murder Gabriel LeRoy.  I wasn’t convinced April was being completely truthful, she takes no responsibility for her part in the crimes.

The author has created characters who are compelling, you can’t help but become invested in their stories. Most of them are seriously damaged, or at least flawed! I chiefly felt for Gabrielle whose grief and anger is visible throughout his investigation. The plot is very much character driven, and what a fascinating array of characters they turned out to be, love them or hate them they each have a role to play in this must read thriller.

Considering the subject matter I expected gory crime scenes, but these never materialised and I’m grateful for that (a first for me as I’m not averse to some gore!) as this book is very much about the mystery surrounding April. One thing I wasn’t expecting to find in this book were the powerful emotional scenes that explore the anger and guilt that fester for those that are left behind. This book reminded me of Bonnie & Clyde, I’m not sure if that’s what the author intended but it worked for me. Never Look Back has it all Lies and betrayal, painful secrets and events, Murder, and oodles of mystery. Highly recommended 

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (4 July 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon USA 🇺🇸

My thanks to Orion Books for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

7A5C811A-6DD9-4FA2-BE37-CDB928001F30

My TBR pile for January & February 2020 (so far) #BookBlogger #PartOne

Today I thought I would share something a little bit different with you all. I was checking on my TBR pile and realised that despite it only being October I have some amazing ARC’s sat waiting to be read.

So I thought I would give you a glimpse of what sound like some amazing books being published in January and February 2020……….my dilemma now is which one to read first? 

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

D2281FE9-3D80-4B52-8D7E-F89EDB50CCEA

Every town has its secrets. Lesley Kara knows them all .

From the author of 2019’s biggest crime thriller debut, The Rumour, comes an addictive new novel . . .

It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around.

Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she’s wronged.

But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected.

Some mistakes, you have to pay for . . .

Pub Date 9 Jan 2020

Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

42139EAC-5865-4D76-8479-61B8DA424FB8

Inspired by a terrifying true story, a heart-pounding novel of suspense about a small Minnesota town where nothing is as quiet—or as safe—as it seems.

Cassie McDowell’s life in 1980s Minnesota seems perfectly wholesome. She lives on a farm, loves school, and has a crush on the nicest boy in class. Yes, there are her parents’ strange parties and their parade of deviant guests, but she’s grown accustomed to them.

All that changes when someone comes hunting in Lilydale.

One by one, local boys go missing. One by one, they return changed—violent, moody, and withdrawn. What happened to them becomes the stuff of shocking rumors. The accusations of who’s responsible grow just as wild, and dangerous town secrets start to surface. Then Cassie’s own sister undergoes the dark change. If she is to survive, Cassie must find her way in an adult world where every sin is justified, and only the truth is unforgivable.

Pub Date 1 Jan 2020

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell

461EFD02-1673-4C14-A08B-44C15CC7F742

She thought they wanted her baby. But they won’t stop there.

Roz is young, penniless and pregnant. All she wants is to be the perfect mother to her child, but the more she thinks about her own chaotic upbringing, the more certain she is that the best life for her baby is as far away as possible from her hometown in Ireland.

Determined to do the right thing, Roz joins an elite adoption service and can’t believe her luck. Within days she is jetting to New York to meet a celebrity power couple desperate for a child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel are wealthy and glamorous—everything Roz isn’t. Her baby will never go hungry, and will have every opportunity for the perfect life. But soon after Roz moves into their plush basement suite, she starts to suspect that something darker lurks beneath the glossy surface of their home.

When Roz discovers she isn’t the first person to move in with the couple, and that the previous woman has never been seen since, alarm bells start ringing. As the clock ticks down to her due date, Roz realises her unborn baby may be the only thing keeping her alive, and that despite her best intentions, she has walked them both into the perfect nightmare…

Pub Date 14 Jan 2020

The Murder House by Michael Wood

91B1A231-B051-4FE0-AAFF-CBD665A6427C

They were the perfect family. It was the perfect crime.

The new gripping DCI Matilda Darke crime thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a perfect family. For fans of Patricia Gibney and Angela Marsons.

It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

The Knock by Jessie Keane

8F049393-DF36-46FC-B3A5-592D20E15ACE

For some, being on the wrong side of the law is the safest place to be . . .

Dora O’Brien had a good start in life, but things went bad when she began to mix with the wrong company. When her daughter Angel is born, Dora is already under the influence of drink and drugs.

Growing up in the shadow of her mother’s abusive relationship, Angel is nothing like her mother, but when matters turn murderous, Angel is forced to grow up fast and survival becomes the name of the game.

No one uncovers the underworld like Jessie Keane.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

7654E402-3D5F-43DA-BCF7-F90C39090C6E

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .

Pub Date 23 Jan 2020

The Dilemma by B A Paris

510F3CA2-6952-424F-A04A-CE51B2976AEB

The million-copy bestselling author returns with another breath-taking book …

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever, The Dilemma is the breath-taking, heart-breaking new novel from the million-copy-selling, Sunday Times bestseller, BA Paris

Pub Date 9 Jan 2020

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donahue

FBC249FC-8C6A-49C6-8C84-E88AEB20E70C

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

The House On The Lake by Nuala Ellwood

3626C1ED-B4E5-4147-A733-685EF0CDE192

No matter how far you run . . .
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

The Perfect Kill by Helen Fields

EF5BA6A0-2986-4950-984E-85D31EF3ED57

He had never heard himself scream before. It was terrifying.

Alone, trapped in the darkness and with no way out, Bart Campbell knows that his chances of being found alive are slim.

Drugged and kidnapped, the realisation soon dawns that he’s been locked inside a shipping container far from his Edinburgh home. But what Bart doesn’t yet know is that he’s now heading for France where his unspeakable fate is already sealed…

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are working on separate cases that soon collide as it becomes clear that the men and women being shipped to France are being traded for women trafficked into Scotland.

With so many lives at stake, they face an impossible task – but there’s no option of failure when Bart and so many others will soon be dead…

Pub Date 6 Feb 2020

Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph

9B62380D-793A-4C7E-8665-DE23E0B76F69

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was the first victim of the now notorious Magpie Man. 13 murders later and this serial killer is still at large with no clue as to his identity. He kills every 9 months. It’s almost time for his fourteenth victim.

Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to warm up the case that has turned cold.  The world is watching her every move. And so is the Magpie Man.

Pub Date 6 Feb 2020

 

AEB58946-E4A8-44C7-9099-E7FBD10B4BAC
The brand new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party.

It starts with a party.

On a remote island, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.Old friends. Past grudges.Happy families. Hidden jealousies. Thirteen guests.One body.

The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.

It’ll end in murder.

Pub Date 20 Feb 2020

Well what do you think? Have any of these books caught your eye? Is there a book you are desperate to read in 2020? Please feel free to leave me a comment.

Seven Days by Alex Lake #BookReview @Alexlakeauthor @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #SevenDays

Today I’m sharing my review for Seven Days by Alex Lake, but firstly the book description…….

1AB6F018-6A33-4D2B-A503-0C0430368B22

In seven days, Maggie’s son, Max, turns three. But she’s not planning a party or buying presents or updating his baby book. She’s dreading it. Because in her world, third birthdays are the days on which the unthinkable happens… she loses her child.

For the last twelve years Maggie has been imprisoned in a basement. Abducted aged fifteen, she gave birth to two sons before Max, and on their third birthdays her captor came and took them from her.

She cannot let it happen again. But she has no idea how to stop it. And the clock is ticking… 

F4983A02-C39A-483C-A59E-C01BEEB56194

Seven Days by Alex Lake was a book I devoured in a matter of hours, it had all the ingredients I expect from a Psychological thriller, an imaginative plot, interesting characters and a book driven by tension. A young girl getting abducted and held prisoner isn’t an original  plot, it’s one that’s been done numerous times before. So I was delighted when I realised the author had created a plot that was imaginative in its writing, sinister, and made for a tense read.

Abducted at fifteen Maggie has spent twelve years living in a basement, abused, ridiculed and terrified. She has given birth to three sons, two have been taken by her abductor on their third birthdays never to be seen again, and now Max’s third birthday is approaching Maggie is determined this won’t be his last. As Max approaches his third birthday, and Maggie marks each day on the calendar I found myself nervously biting my nails with anticipation, at what would happen to Max? 

I enjoyed how the author has integrated numerous POV into the story, for me it made the story feel far more credible. Not only do you learn more about Maggie’s imprisonment in a basement, but the story also explores the after-mass that Maggie’s grieving family face as they struggle to come to terms with her disappearance. To compliment these POV we also follow DI Wynne the lead detective in Maggie’s abduction, you may think so many POV could hinder a read, but the three fit perfectly together creating a tense and all to authentic read.  

It’s clear Maggie has suffered trauma, physical and mental abuse throughout her captive years, but the author doesn’t compound the fact by including graphic scenes, there’s just enough detail for the reader to understand the severity of Maggie’s situation. I really felt for Maggie and all that she had lost through her abduction, her family, her teenage years, and the everyday things that we often take for granted, eating, drinking, bathing. Her relationship with Max is her only light in the darkness of her situation,  her sense of fear was palatable as Max’s third birthday loomed. 

Seven Days managed to hold my attention throughout, rather like Maggie you feel time is running out for Max, which adds a sense of urgency to the overall read. If I had one small niggle the conclusion ended a little too neatly for me. I can’t say much more without heading into spoiler territory, although I can’t say it impaired my enjoyment of this read.  I found Seven Days to be an addictive, tense and chilling read, and a worthy addition to any psychological or crime thrillers lovers bookshelf.

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (31 Oct. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

9C98070F-6170-4F38-8D89-8DB0685F5066

**Blog tour** Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner #MustReads @Ronnie_Turner @HQDigitalUK

Today I’m over the moon to be on the blog tour for Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner, a fabulous book blogger turned author. Before you read my review here’s the book description……

80B4ACB9-B745-4615-B6C1-6A39B7A2A0F5

Will they ever learn the truth?

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . .

E1F3660A-E5FA-4419-8451-16F1D13B7348

Every parents worse fear becomes a reality for John when his daughter goes missing. “Not another child missing book” I can here you muttering, but wait Lies Between Us the debut novel by Ronnie Turner takes a familiar subject used in psychological thrillers and then turns it on its head. What makes it stand out? Firstly the characters, best of luck trying to work out their connection, it’s intricately plotted, and the writing is superb, best of all I loved the way the author keeps the reader guessing throughout. If you are looking for a read that’s taut with tension and rife with suspense then look no further Lies Between Us contains bucketfuls of both.      

Told from three POV this book is very much character driven, the BIG question is what connects the three? As a parent my heart went out to John whose daughter has been taken, his emotions and fears were very credible. My favourite character was definitely Miller, oh dearie me what a disturbed and creepy child he turned out to be, the chapters told from his POV add an overwhelming sense of menace to the overall story. Maisie a nurse was a character who puzzled me  I knew her POV must have some relevance to the story, but as to the “how” I just couldn’t fathom it out, but once I reached the big reveal and so superbly executed might I add, I realised just how devious the author had been. Lies Between Us does require the reader’s full attention due to the complexity of the plot, there were a couple of times where I did find myself confused, my advice would be to pay particular attention to the chapters time stamps it definitely helps.

There’s nothing more satisfying than reading a psychological thriller that takes me by surprise, and Lies Between Us not only surprised me it left me sat there flabbergasted. I did manage to work out the “who” after numerous false starts, but by the time I did I had nearly reached the end of the novel, so my “detective radar” was definitely scuppered by the author. Ronnie Turner deftly explores obsession and the lengths people go to in the name of “love” it’s deliciously dark and definitely very twisted but I loved every page of this novel. I must admit as I reached the conclusion I was left wondering about a few things, but that’s the beauty of this book as the author lets the reader come to their own conclusion.

should mention the author has the most twisted mind (I mean that as a compliment) Ronnie Turner teases and taunts the reader at every possible turn. Lies Between Us is my perfect kind of psychology thriller, it’s  one that kept me constantly guessing with enough “OMFG” moments to make Lies Between Us a superbly compelling read. A promising debut from Ronnie Turner and I will certainly be reading her next book without a shadow of a doubt.

  •  Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ Digital (1st Oct. 2018)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

E0AB674C-25D3-44A2-A3A7-8528A19B2C8A

EAFBFCB4-95B4-47CF-B70D-8CF6506835AC

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Find her on:

Twitter: @Ronnie_ _Turner

Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Website: www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40169201-lies-between-us

This Is a huge blog tour and if my review for Lies Between You hasn’t tempted you, perhaps one of my fellow 71 awesome book bloggers reviews will……

F6410977-4730-4F4E-9DBA-F88D19E8C04C49E8BFD3-71C2-4F51-8A39-A982345A9FAFF12C4ED8-3279-4BE7-8F0E-57FAA56CB0C3