Tag Archives: New Releases

#DayOfTheAccident by Nuala Ellwood #BookReview @NualaWrites @PenguinUKBooks #Giveaway #SignedPaperback

Today I’m sharing my review for Day Of The Accident by Nuala Elwood, what a cracking psychological thriller this one turned out to be. I’m also giving away a signed paperback copy of the book, details further down the post. Before I share my review here’s the book description……

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They say you killed…But What If They’re Wrong?

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

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I was a huge fan of author Nuala Ellwood’s debut novel My Sister’s Bones and after reading Day Of The Accident  the author is now firmly on my “favourite author’s list”. What an exciting, nerve-wracking read Day Of The Accident turned out to be. If you are looking for a psychological thriller that will keep you up late I’ve found it, if you are looking for a deliciously devious plot, you guessed it I’ve found it! I think an author has done their job well if they can surprise me, but  Nuala Elwood has gone one better and left me stunned.  I smugly thought I had pretty much worked out the plot half way through, EPIC fail as I reached the conclusion I realised the author had well and truly duped me and that’s the reason you will hear me shouting from the rooftops about how much I enjoyed this book. 

From the start of the Day Of The Accident the author draws you. We first meet Maggie as she wakes from a coma and to be told that her child Elspeth had drowned in an unfortunate accident and add to her heartache husband Sean has vanished. Maggie’s life is in tatters, she has lost everything that is dear to her, not only does she have to cope with her grief but she also desperate to find out what happened on that fateful day. The author has done a superb job in maintaining the tension throughout the Day Of The Accident I’m surprised I never ended up with repetitive strain injury as I was flipping the pages of my kindle so fast, desperate to get to the truth.  

Maggie isn’t the most reliable narrator partly due to her memory loss from the accident, but also the events the author alludes to regarding Maggie’s past, which encourage the reader to be suspicious of her. I raced through this book I read the first 60% in one sitting so engrossed was I in Maggie’s story, if life hadn’t got in the way I’m sure I would have read the book cover to cover in one sitting. Apologises if this review appears to be vague, but I’m desperate not to spoil the read for others, I want the book to surprise you, just as I was, it makes the read all the more enjoyable. Nuala Ellwood is a master of deception and misdirection, Day Of The Accident is a brilliant crafted, psychological suspense-filled read, with lashings of deceit, it’s a book that will keep you guessing to the last few chapters, cliched but true. Highly recommended.

Buying link:       Amazon UK 🇬🇧

  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (25 Jan. 2019)

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One paperback signed copy of Day Of The Accident by Nuala Ellwood, you can enter here…… Click here to enter #Giveaway

Please note this giveaway is open to UK residents only. I will notify the winner via email within 24 hours of  the giveaway ending. Good luck 🍀

Giveaway ends midnight Thursday 21st March 2019.

 

 

 

#TheSting by Kimberley Chambers #MustReads2019 @KimboChambers

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Sting by Kimberley Chambers, a stand-alone gritty crime thriller. Read on for my thoughts…..

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Best friends Tommy Boyle and Scratch always had each other’s backs. Dragged up in care, and cruelly betrayed by everyone they trusted, they made a pact to fight their way out of the gutter – together.

TWO SIDES OF THE LAW

Old loyalties die hard on the streets of London. Tommy throws his lot in with the notorious Darling family – even if it means leaving Scratch to the wolves. She’s destined for a different path, reinventing herself as copper Kim Regan.

ONE DEADLY SHOWDOWN

Now they’re on opposite sides of the law. Running Operation Sting, Kim will rip the heart out of the Darling’s empire – and only her old pal Tommy stands in her way.

As gritty and dangerous as the London streets in which it’s set, this is No.1 bestseller Kimberley Chambers at her best. Get ready for a shocking read with a STING in the tail . . .

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If I had to choose only one author’s books to read if I ever got stranded on a desert island, without hesitation I would choose Kimberley Chambers. The author writes what I consider to be the most gritty crime thrillers out there; they pull no punches, their raw, authentic and gripping. It’s obvious that the author puts her heart and soul into writing each book, and it shines through in her writing. The Sting is no different, in fact this has to be one of my favourite books so far. It’s exciting, fast-paced and features an array of characters, some you will love, others you will hate but each and everyone of them added to my enjoyment of this book. The Sting is a sometimes shocking but an outstanding tale of betrayal, love, and belonging.

Tommy Boyle’s life may not be perfect, but as long as he has his mother and sisters, it’s a life he’s happy with, then one day everything changes as Tommy finds himself taken into care. It’s here he meets Scratch, and they become inseparable, after being cruelly betrayed by everyone they ever trusted, they make a pact to make a better future for themselves once they reach sixteen. Unfortunately for the pair circumstances change and Tommy joins the notorious Darlings firm and Scratch joins the police, as you can imagine this doesn’t bode well. Neither knows the devastating consequences of their actions that lie ahead.

Yet again Kimberley Chamber has created characters that are vibrant and larger than life, the characters are so well developed you can’t help but invest in their life’s. I loved Tommy’s character from a young boy he suffers the worse kind of abuse, he’s betrayed by his own family members and my heart went out to him. Although Tommy was a “bad boy” I found myself making excuses for his behaviour, and as the author revealed the full of horror Tommy’s story, I found myself in tears, which surprised me, and that’s a testament to the author’s writing skills. The Sting is set in the 1970s through to the 1980s and the author’s attention to detail is incredible and well researched, the songs, the clothes the trends all add a sense of authenticity to the story and also made me nostalgic for the era I grew up in!

The Sting felt very different to her previous reads; the emphasis is on Tommy and Scratch’s relationship, and their own difficult past,  with the gangland crime element being secondary to the plot. This book deals with some tough subjects childhood abuse and domestic abuse, and although the author isn’t afraid to tackle them head on she does so with sensitivity, the abuse is fundamental to the plot, and the abuse the two main characters suffer very much defines the adults that they become. The Sting didn’t end the way I was hoping, but never-less it was the more authentic conclusion. Once again the queen of gritty crime thrillers Kimberley Chambers has written a blinder of a book which I know will reach the top of the book charts. Highly recommended by me

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell #CrimeSeries #MustReads @Caroline_Writes

Today I’m sharing my review for The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell, the second book in the DI Amy Winters series and what a cracker this series is turning out to be. You can read on for my thoughts…..

27E121FF-D997-4E58-9F9D-4597348CCF1EDI Amy Winter knows evil. She’s lived through it.

Four-year-old Ellen is snatched by a stranger in the dead of night. Her devastated mother, Nicole, receives four identical phials and a threatening note in a familiar scrawl that chills her to the bone. But she always knew this would happen. She’s been expecting it for years . . .

According to the note, one of the phials is poisoned. Nicole is given a deadly challenge: if she drinks one, the sadistic kidnapper will notify the police of Ellen’s location. The sender claims to be Luka Volkov but Luka is supposed to be dead, killed long ago in a fire that haunts all those involved.

DI Amy Winter is still reeling from the discovery that she is the daughter of a serial killer, and her childhood trauma only makes her more determined to bring Ellen home. When another child is taken, Amy finds herself in a race against time. To rescue the children, must she seek help from the one person she wants to forget?

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Ever since I read Truth And Lies  (the first book in the DI Amy Winter series), I’ve been eagerly waiting for The Secret Child to be published, and freaking hell it was definitely worth the wait. Amy’s biological parents are notorious serial killers, not the best background for a Detective I must admit! But that’s what makes this series refreshingly original and highly compelling. Before you ask “Yes” The Secret Child could be read as a stand-alone, but would I recommend it? No,  personally I think you need to read the books in order, Amy has such a fascinating and original backstory it would be a shame if you didn’t follow her disturbing tale from the beginning.

Amy is the Detective leading the case of the kidnapping of four-year-old girl Ellen, taken from her home in the middle of the night. Days later Ellen’s mother receives a parcel, along with a note, nothing strange about that you may think but the person who sent the parcel has been dead for years! Told across two timelines the author reveals a sorry tale, but my god it made for a nail-biting, heart thumping read. Although I would never condone kidnapping, I couldn’t help but feel empathy for a character whose own tortured childhood shaped the adult they become.

This book is as much about the characters as it is about the crimes committed, the author has created some fabulous characters, Amy, the kidnapper and her serial killer mother all added to my overall enjoyment of this read. Even from behind prison bars Amy’s evil mother Lillian Grimes continues to manipulate Amy and those around her, she’s one twisted mother ****** that’s for sure, and yet I couldn’t help being fascinated and disgusted in equal measures by her character, what makes a mother turn into a feared killer? How can she possibly consider herself to be a victim? Amy has her flaws like many a fictional Detective, but it’s hardly surprising when you consider who her parents are! The author gives an in-depth insight into Amy character, as she reveals more details of Amy’s very disturbing past, you can’t help but feel her pain and confusion, her constant dissecting of her personality looking for any psychopathic traits she may have inherited from her parents.

There is so much I loved about this book, the characters, the plot which draws on real events making it even more shocking, the shifting between past and present. Add to the fact The Secret Child is one of those reads that reels you in with a promising prologue and keeps you in its grips with an intense and captivating read, it’s definitely a series I would recommend to crime thriller lovers. I’m eager to see where Caroline Mitchell’s twisted imagination takes her next, and that’s the beauty of her writing no two books are the same, so roll on the next book which I will read come hell or high water.

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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#PoeticJustice by R.C. Bridgestock **Blog Tour** @RCBridgestock @DomePress #TeamDylan

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the blog tour for Poetic Justice by R.C. Bridgestock. From the husband and wife team who are the storyline consultants to TV’s Happy Valley and Scott & Bailey, comes the brand new book in the D.I. Jack Dylan series, which takes the reader back to where it all began… Read on for my thoughts……..

C786C9A4-F7F3-41F3-818C-78C7C0020C6DWhen Detective Jack Dylan heads home after a residential course, he has no idea that an extraordinary succession of events is about to turn his life upside down. A vicious, unprovoked attack is just the start. Soon his wife is dead and his step-daughter – dangerously depressed – is being expelled from university for drug use. And at work, two teenagers have gone missing. 

An ordinary man might break under the strain, but Dylan is no ordinary man. He knows that his survival depends on him carrying on regardless, burying himself in his work.

He is determined to pursue the criminal elements behind the events – both personal and professional – whether his superiors like it or not. And, as his family disintegrates around him, a newcomer to the admin department, Jennifer Jones, seems to offer some sort of salvation.

Life may have changed, but nothing will stand in the way of Dylan’s quest for justice.

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Poetic Justice is the ninth book in in the Detective Jack Dylan series but it’s also the prequel to the previous eight books so if you haven’t read any of the books in the series Poetic Justice is the perfect introduction to Jack Dylan. Oh dear, poor Jack Dylan, the authors push him to breaking point in this book. First the victim of a vicious unprovoked attack, then his wife dies in mysterious circumstances, and his step-daughter gets expelled from university for drug abuse, enough to send any man over the edge, but not Jack Dylan, his unwavering quest for justice pushes him onward through a dark period in his life. Although I have only read a few books in the series I enjoyed learning more about Jack and how events from his past shaped his character.

For me it was the second part of Poetic Justice I enjoyed the most, I found the first half a slow burner, but in the author’s defence they use this time to build on the background behind the plots and although this slows the pace of the read, it gives the reader time to gain an in-depth view of the various characters and plots. The second half is much grittier and hard knocking. As the case the police are working involve Dylan, he has to take a ‘back seat’ so to speak, but even then he is determined to get to the truth despite his own grief, and it’s his tireless efforts that propel the story forward.

Poetic Justice is very much character driven so if you are looking for a fast-paced police procedure read this may not be the book for you, but if like me, you like to have a better understanding of the characters you read about then I would highly recommend this book. At certain points of this book there were scenes that were emotionally charged, and I found myself sympathetic to Dylan’s plight, something I wasn’t expecting. There are a couple of plots running through the book, and although not fast-paced or shocking, both added to my enjoyment of this book.  I should mention the author’s police background adds an air of authenticity to the story that some police crime thrillers can lack. Poetic Justice is the perfect read for new fans of the series and for those who are already big fans of this series, it’s a worthy addition to the Jack Dylan series.

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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The D.I. Dylan series of books by RC Bridgestock (Husband and wife writing team, Bob and Carol Bridgestock) comes from a unique perspective of a collective real life experience of high level policing of 47 years. As a career detective Bob Bridgestock worked in the CID at every rank. For over half of his service he was a senior detective, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent of the West Yorkshire Police force.

As a Senior Investigative Officer (SIO) in charge of homicide cases he took command of some twenty-six murder investigations, twenty-three major incidents including shootings and attempted murders and over fifty suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults, some of which were extremely high profile in his last three years alone.

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www.rcbridgestock.com
Twitter @RCBridgestock
LinkedIn: Bob Bridgestock
Facebook: @RCBridgestock

Other books in the series

My thanks to the authors and Dome Press for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

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#BehindTheBooks with #DebutAuthor Noelle Holten @nholten40

Today I’m jumping up and down with excitement, as I have an extra special guest taking part in the book review café’s #BehindTheBooks feature, so a huge welcome  to one of the most passionate book bloggers I know, the one and only Noelle Holten aka  Crime book junkie

Not only is Noelle a book blogger, she works full time as a PR and Social Manager for Bookouture and some how or other she’s managed to write her debut novel Dead Inside which is being published by killer reads and Harper Collins in May 2019. I was lucky enough to be asked to beta read this book and I thought it was brilliant, readers you are in for a real treat.

I think I have gushed enough so without further ado here’s my interview with the lovely Noelle……

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Hi Noelle  I’m thrilled to have you visit the book review café, first things first, tea or coffee?

Thanks so much for having me! Coffee please ☕️

Congratulations on your debut novel Dead Inside being published on May 31st by Killer Reads. I have so many questions I want to ask you. Firstly what made you decide to write a book?

Aww- thank you so much!! I’ve always wanted to write a book, but either thought no one other than me would be interested, it would be awful so no one (publisher-wise) would want it or there was never enough time to write. In 2017, after a lot of encouragement, I attended Crime & Publishment – a writing course run by Graham Smith & Michael J Malone in Gretna Green. I had my prologue written and after mustering up the courage, I asked them both to read it. Their reaction gave me the kick up the backside to write the story and so I made the time!

Where did you get the idea for Dead Inside from?

The idea for Dead Inside came from my own personal experiences, my experience as a Probation Officer and my not-so-normal imagination. When I had finally decided I wanted to write back in 2014 – I had a totally different story in mind, but then Lucy invaded my head and after a few years of thinking about it, she decided she wanted to be heard!

What kind of research did you have to do for Dead Inside?

My previous professional life as a Senior Probation Officer for 18 years, working in a police station for 6 years and the experience I had with various agencies allowed me to pretty much write what I knew. I used a bit of poetic licence to help the story flow, but I drew on my experiences and spoke to a few people or googled/ read relevant books for things I was unsure of. I have quite a library of books on crime, theory and true crime – so reference material is always to hand. 

How long did it take you to write Dead Inside?

I started the first draft on March 13th 2017 and finished May 19th 2017. Then I left the book until the end of November 2017 before I started to edit. That took me until Feb 2018. I then sent it to beta readers and once I had their amazing and insightful feedback, I made those changes and sent it to an editor – I was ready to submit my final MS by April 2018.

What were the lows of writing your debut novel?

Difficult to say and I am not sure I would say I had any particular ‘lows” but writing a novel is hard work and you really have to be dedicated/motivated. Making the time after a long day at work, could be draining but kept me focussed. I also had to re-live and sift through a lot of unpleasant memories. I had no confidence in my writing or myself some days.

Which brings me to the next question, what was the best thing about writing Dead Inside?

Oh! There are a few things – It was therapeutic and reminded me how far I have come. Getting a book deal! (I still can’t believe that!) Having amazing feedback from my beta readers. Fantastic endorsements from authors I admire. Getting a red card from Karen Sullivan /Orenda with the invitation to submit – and being able to say I wrote a book! Pitching my novel to an editor (scary but worth it). Seeing Angela Marsons and Martina Cole’s names on my cover. MY COVER (love it) – So many positives!!

Do you have any writing Quirks?

Hmmm. I’m not sure if this is a quirk or not but I don’t write in chronological order. If an idea pops in my head, I write it down – in fact, I had the ending of Dead Inside written before most of the book. Same with book 2! It’s just how my brain works – but it is a pain when it comes to editing!

Can you describe what Dead Inside is about in one sentence?

I don’t know if I can! HA HA – ok, here was my elevator pitch: 

Four domestic abuse offenders are brutally murdered; three are supervised by the same probation officer and the fourth is her husband.

How long did it take to get your book accepted by a publisher?

This is incredibly weird and definitely not the norm, but I was encouraged by an author and also introduced by one of the editors from Bookouture to pitch to a publisher at Harrogate 2018. I finally plucked up the courage on the Saturday (I may have been dragged over) and gave him my details as well as my pitch. I received an email on the Monday asking for the full MS and an then I received an offer a week later. I then had another expression of interest within two days of that from another publisher I submitted to and finally another offer! Even those who turned down Dead Inside, said they were interested in my writing and would be happy for me to submit anything else I wrote directly. So, I had a really positive experience.

Best piece of advice you would give to someone hoping to get their book published?

Do your homework and write every day. I spend an hour a day, no matter what, writing – within 12-14 weeks I have my first draft done. Only ONE HOUR a day. You have to keep motivated. 

How does it feel to read quotes from authors writing about your book? When it’s normally you writing about theirs.

OMFG I cried many a happy tear as it is just so surreal. I often wonder if they are just being nice but then I think WHO CARES 🤣 Best feeling EVER!

Have you any plans to celebrate on publication day?

I took the day off work and plan to be on social media. I might have a gin or two (it’s a Friday!) but no other special plans. For the paperback publication in August, I am hoping to have a launch in Glasgow – watch this space! 

What are you working on now?

Book 2 edits! We’re still working on the title, but I LOVE the blurb. Hopefully there will be some news about that coming soon!

One last question do you plan to keep on blogging?

Abso-friggin-lutely! I love blogging, but I have taken a big step back from tours and generally I’m focusing on going through my TBR! I will still do the occasional tour, but edits are a priority and then onto Book 3 … in case I get another contract! If I don’t I’m not sure what I will do with Book 3 but I’ll worry about that when I need to!

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic 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.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

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

About the Book:

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

‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole

‘A brilliant debut – gritty, dark and chilling. Noelle Holten knows her stuff’ Mel Sherratt

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

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves 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 police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

Pre-order Links: 

 

Amazon: http://mybook.to/DeadInside  

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2SBRpqt 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2DZwZ2M 

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/T17w30nCWp3 

My thanks to Noelle for taking time out of her hectic to take part in this interview.

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A Gift For Dying by M.J.Arlidge @mjarlidge @MichaelJBooks #MustReads2019

Today I’m sharing my review for A Gift For the Dying by M.J.Arlidge, his first stand-alone psychological thriller, read on for my thoughts, but first the book description….

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With just one look, she knows how and when you will die 

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with she looks into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her.

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . 

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I’ve long been a huge fan of M.J. Arlidge’s D.I Helen Grace series, so I was thrilled when I realised the author was publishing a new book A gift For The Dying. This is the author’s first foray into writing a stand-alone psychological thriller so I did have reservations after all “if it’s not broke why fix it?” and I do love my crime thriller reads. Once I had read the first couple of gripping chapters of A Gift For Dying any reservations I had melted away, this is one author who was born to write psychological thrillers.

Imagine having “the gift” (although personally I think in this case it’s more of a burden) when you look into someone’s eyes you could see how and when they will die, how the hell are you supposed to cope with that? Set in Chicago A Gift For Dying introduces the reader to Kassie a troubled teenager who claims she can see death before it happens. She is the prime suspect in a series of Gruesome murders and comes under the care of Adam Brandt a forensic psychologist who deals with some of the most damaged members of society.  As he tries to unravel the truth, he can’t help being sceptical, but as he learns more about Kassie he finds he has to question everything he believes, and take a leap of faith if he’s going to help Kassie.

What a fascinating character Kassie turned out to be on one hand she appears vulnerable, lonely and scared but her regular drug use make her troubled, unreliable and paranoid. The more imminent or painful the death the more Kassie feels it, so it’s no wonder the poor girl has issues! M. J. Arlidge has created a character who will capture your heart, you feel her fear, loneliness, and vulnerability and yet she’s  ballsy, and unwavering in her quest to bring an end to the serial killers gruesome crimes. The relationship between Kassie and Adams has so many layers and emotions attached to it, it’s one that becomes all the more intriguing as the plot progresses.

Part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much were the short snappy chapters, each one gives a sense of urgency, a need to read on to fathom out the direction the author was taking this nail biting read. The setting for this book is Chicago, an unusual departure for this author who normally sets his books in England. I love American fiction and this book feels very American with graphic and gory crime scenes that will make the more squeamish reader grimace frequently. and yet there’s also a great deal of emotion contained within this book something I wasn’t prepared for. A Gift For Dying contained real ‘OMFG I never seen that coming’ moments, seriously a couple of times I sat there in stunned silence! M. J. Arlidge has written the perfect psychological thriller, one that’s fraught with tension, fast-paced, with a spine tingling plot and engaging characters. Highly, recommended.

Hardcover: 480 pages

Publisher: Michael Joseph (7 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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#OnMyLife by Angela Clarke #MustReads #BlogTour @TheAngelaClarke @MulhollandUK

Today I’m delighted to be sharing my review of On My Life by Angela Clark, this book is definitely a “must read” for those who enjoy a prison drama. Read on for my thoughts…….

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Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it…

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do: Clear her name, Save her baby, Find the killer, But can she do it in time?

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Hells bells what an exciting and engrossing read On My Life by Angela Clarke turned out to be. If you love a prison drama, then look no further, it’s definitely dramatic, the vivid prison scenes depicted by the author give a sense of malevolence that radiate from its pages, it’s a book that’s fraught with tension. The author’s depiction of  HMP Fallenbrook is so convincing it doesn’t take much imagination to sense the claustrophobic feel of the prison, the constant noise, the lack of privacy, a world where violence and fighting for survival going hand in hand. This book is more than a crime thriller, it’s a searing account of one woman’s journey through a failed Justice system. This book maybe fictional, but once you read the afterwords by the author you realise there are so many parts of this book that are based on alarming facts, facts that will make you angry and force you to question the failures of a justice service that treats pregnant woman.

On My Life tells the story of Jenna who appears to have it all, loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home, but then Jenna is accused of the murder of her 14-year-old stepdaughter and the disappearance of her fiancé. Placed on remand at HMP Fallenbrook, she finds herself fighting for her freedom, is she innocent? Who and why would someone go to such lengths to have her incarcerated? The answers are deftly revealed by the author, with numerous shocking moments along the way.  The beauty of this story is the contrast between Jenna’s life prior to the murder and her life as a prisoner, the author reveals the good, the bad and the ugly in equal measures, she doesn’t leave any stone unturned.

As Jenna steps through HMP Fallenbrook she catches her first glimpse of prison life, the author expertly describes Jenna’s thoughts and feelings and captures the fear that shrouds the prison I found myself becoming more and more anxious for her. The scenes are brutal, and yet there are also the scenes that are emotionally charged and heartbreakingly sad, and made me question my own assumptions of the treatment of women in prison.  As you would expect in a prison drama,  pack mentality rears its ugly head and usually in a book of this nature the protagonist comes out on top, but that isn’t the case for poor Jenna, because of the nature of her crimes she’s vilified by her fellow inmates, bullied and treated shockingly by the guards. 

On My Life moves masterfully between the present and Jenna’s past, although this gives an insight into her current predicament, it also explores her difficult childhood and her relationship with her fiancé and his family. I would be lying  if I said I didn’t guess the mystery of the “who” but you know what? this really didn’t matter,  as it was to the “why” I couldn’t fathom out and kept me so engrossed in this book, I must admit when the big reveal came I gave a very satisfied sigh. On My Life is a riveting, character driven novel, which is superbly plotted, this is definitely one book I will be recommending to anyone and everyone. 

  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books (7 Mar. 2019)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Angela Clarke is an author, playwright, columnist, screenwriter and broadcaster. Her debut crime thriller Follow Me was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month January 2016, longlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library 2016, and shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Page Turner Award 2016. Watch Me is the second instalment in the Social Media Murder Series. Angela’s memoir Confessions of a Fashionista is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. Her play, The Legacy, enjoyed its first run and rave reviews at The Hope Theatre in June 2015. She hosted the current affairs show Outspoken on Radio Verulam for six months in 2014, and has appeared on the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, BBC Three Counties and more. Her journalist contributions include: The Guardian, Independent Magazine, The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, and Writing magazine. In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers’ Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing. She volunteers with Womentoring, and the RSA Meet a Mentor scheme, and others, to help encourage and support marginalised artists into the industry. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Angela lives with her husband and far too many books.

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