The Fourth Monkey by J.D.Barker @jdbarker #Bookreview #4MK

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Book description

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorised the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realise he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

img_1258Oh my god I absolutely loved The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker, what a deliciously dark and utterly gripping novel this one turned out to be. I’m the first to admit you can’t beat a good serial killer in a crime thriller (hmmm I’m not sure what a psychologist would make of that) but believe me when I say they don’t come more twisted than the  The Fourth Money (or 4MK as they are known) but it certainly made for a brilliant read. Masterfully written,  fast-paced thriller this novel made for a rivetting read.  I’m not going to go into plot details as I would hate to spoil the read for others and it’s definitely one of those “the less you know, the more thrilling the read”

The novel is told mainly from Detective Sam Porter POV and from 4MK’s diary. This diary tells the story of a serial killer, beginning with their childhood you learn of the events that shaped them into the evil and depraved monster they became. It was these chapters that I found the most unsettling they are seriously twisted and imaginative, to read how a small child turns into a psychopath serial killer made for a very disturbing and chilling read, but I found myself compelled to learn more about this sick individual. Yes it is pretty graphic in parts, but very much in keeping with the plot and characters.

Deviously plotted with twists galore this J.D. Barker has written a story that challenges and shock, he certainly  isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what we expect. He writes with grit, enthusiasm and passion and manages to deliver on all fronts. The Fourth Monkey has been compared to 7even and Silence Of The Lambs, and I can see why, thanks to the plot, an unforgettable serial killer and scenes that would unsettle the most hardened crime thriller reader it really does have the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Highly recommended and I can definitely see why this novel is being billed as one of the most anticipated releases of 2017. 

Hardcover: 416 pages

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (27 Jun. 2017)

Links to pre-order:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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I will be giving The Fourth Monkey 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 good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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**Blog Tour** #BeMyKiller by Richard Parker #BookReview @Bookouture @Bookwalter

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Today it’s another “thrilling” day on the book review café as I’m the next stop on The Be My Killer by Richard Parker blog tour. Be My Killer is published by one of my favourite book publishers  Bookouture and the good news Be My Killer was published on the 26th of May 2017, so you don’t even have to wait to buy a copy just hop over to Amazon and “click” after you’ve read my review of course!

Don’t forget to check out my partner in crime on the blog tour aka fellow book blogger Susan’s review over at https://booksfromdusktilldawn.wordpress.com

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Book description

You set the trap. Now you can’t escape.

When an online prank goes viral and triggers a spate of gruesome murders, documentary maker Hazel Salter watches in horror. But then a new victim is found, her body bound to a pillar, and its Hazel’s childhood friend, Meredith Hickman. Hazel must find out what happened.

Is it one killer or more? Random, or part of a bigger plan?

The police have no leads, but Hazel has a theory – one she’ll stop at nothing to prove. With her film crew in tow, Hazel sets off for the abandoned amusement park where Meredith was found, to solve the crime, bring Meredith justice, and make the documentary of her lifetime. But as Hazel interviews the victims’ families and friends, people start disappearing.

As the death toll rises, Hazel realises someone close-by is targeting her team methodically. Can she uncover the truth before another life is lost, or will the killer get to Hazel first?

img_1258Be My Killer by Richard Parker should come with the tag line “be afraid, be very afraid”, this novel reads like one of the scariest movies you watch, you know the slasher movies where you spend half the time peering from behind your fingers, you want to watch it but it’s making you anxious, your hearts pounding, that’s exactly how this novel made me feel whilst reading it. From the blood curdling first chapter you know it’s going to be a hell of a read. If you are expecting Be My Killer to be a conventional crime thriller forget it, as this book reminded me very much of the horror books I use to love reading in my younger days.

Be My Killer by Richard Parker is set in a derelict amusement park called Fun Central, a perfect setting for the most gruesome and original killings I’ve read about in a long time. I have to say the author has a twisted and warped imagination, but I mean that in the nicest possible way, as he’s certainly created one twisted killer, and as to the actual killings let’s just say they are very unique. Crime thrillers based around social media seem to be a popular theme for crime writers and I can definitely see why. The author uses Twitter and the #BeMyKiller hash tag which is pivotal to the plot, and it certainly works, in fact it adds a new level of terror to a gory and sometimes graphic read, this definitely isn’t one for the faint hearted.

I’m not going to go into plot details as the book description tells you all you need to know, but the concept of using a film crew to record a documentary based on Meredith Hickman one of the victims, was sheer genius and highly original. Be My Killer has the makings of a movie, there are so many “heart in your mouth” moments, a constant sense of unease, you are just waiting for the killer to strike again. I found myself constantly thinking Why? Whose next? which for me made for a truly heart pounding read.

If I had one small niggle with this book it was the array of characters the author introduces to the plot, at times I struggled to remember who they all were, which slightly distracted from my enjoyment of this book, but on the plus side Richard Parker has devised a very clever ploy and delivered this seriously twisted tale in short, snappy chapters which meant I kept on reading “one more chapter” long after I should have gone to bed! Be My Killer races along, spattering blood and body parts on the way, so if your squeamish this book may not be for you, but if like me you love the darker crime thriller with an intriguing plot and a serial killer who will give you nightmares then I would highly recommend you buy yourself a copy today.

Publisher: Bookouture (26 May 2017)

Buying links:      Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

img_1259Richard Parker is an ex TV script writer, script editor and producer who now writes dark, stand alone thrillers. His first novel, Stop Me, was nominated for a Dagger Award. The movie rights to his second, Scare Me, have been bought by Hollywood studio Relativity Media with screenplay completed by Wentworth ‘PRISON BREAK’ Miller and his third, Stalk Me, rode high in the US and UK Amazon charts.

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Links:   Website        Facebook      Twitter
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**Blog Tour** Body Breaker by Mike Craven #BookReview @caffeinenights @MWCravenUK

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Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for Body Breaker by Mike Craven. Mike Craven’s books have been on my radar for a while now, but like every blogger on the planet my TBR pile is overwhelming so I’ve never got a round to reading any of his book, (apologies to Mike Craven it wasn’t personal) but when Noelle over at https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk was looking for bloggers to take part in the book blog tour for Body Breaker I jumped at the chance, as I’m determined to add more new to me authors to my blog and the book description definitely piqued my interest. So less of the ramblings and here’s my review………

Book description

Investigating a severed hand found on the 3rd green of a Cumbrian golf course was not how Detective Inspector Avison Fluke had planned to spend his Saturday. So when a secretive unit from London swoop in quoting national security, he’s secretly pleased.
But trouble is never far away. A young woman arrives at his lakeside cabin with a cryptic message: a code known to only a handful of people and it forces Fluke back into the investigation he’s just been barred from.

In a case that will change his life forever, Fluke immerses himself in a world of new age travellers, corrupt cops and domestic extremists. Before long he’s alienated his entire team, made a pact with the devil and been arrested under the terrorism act.
But Fluke is only getting started. A voice has called out to him from beyond the grave and he has no intention of ignoring it.

img_1258There are some books you pick up and know you are in for a seriously good read, and I just knew from the opening chapter Body Breaker by Mike Craven was going to be one of those books.It’s obvious that The author has “Inside” knowledge of crime investigation procedure and the technical aspects of police work. personally I felt his knowledge made Body Breaker all the more compelling and it definitely added authenticity to this gripping tale. For me Body Breaker doesn’t read like a conventional crime thriller, it has so much more to offer the reader in terms of plot, characters and action.

I’m not going to rehash the plot as it’s all in the book description, suffice to say when our hero Fluke gets a grisly call from beyond the grave, he is determined to get to the truth and god help anyone who gets in his way. I’m not sure which character I loved the most Fluke who gives the illusion he’s a rogue cop or his sidekick the psychotic Towler, the author describes him as a “social hand grenade” which sums him up perfectly. I think they make the perfect combination and the dark humour between the pair have planted them firmly in “my favourite” fiction detectives.

If I’m honest I wasn’t sure the plot would be enough to keep me gripped with new age travellers, corrupt cops and domestic extremists, I’m more of a “serial killer on the loose” kinda of girl, but thanks to a well plotted tale, fabulous characters and Mike Craven’s ability to draw the reader in with his style of writing, I actually found this book to be a gripping read. The first half of Body Breaker wasn’t as fast paced as I expected, but once it reached the half way mark the plot moved along like an express train on speed! And the ending, brilliantly executed and left me desperate to read more.

The author manages to reel the reader in and I gave up trying to second guess where the plot was leading as it had so many twist and turns that I didn’t see coming until they smacked me in the face, don’t you just love it when a book does that? Body Breaker certainly has plenty to offer the crime thriller lover, and if you are looking for a unique plot, (not a serial killer in sight) this might just be the book for you.

Don’t forget to check out my partner in crime (sorry for the pun but I couldn’t resist) Claire’s review over at https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Caffeine Nights Publishing (25 May 2017)

Buying link:       Amazon UK 🇬🇧

img_1259Although he was born in Cumbria, Mike Craven grew up in the North East before running away to join the army as soon as he was sixteen. After training as an armourer for two and a half years (that’s an army gunsmith to you and I), he spent the next ten travelling the world having fun. In 1995 he left the army, and after a brief flirtation with close protection and bodyguarding, decided on a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse.

In 1999 he joined Cumbria Probation Service as a probation officer, working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later, he took the plunge and accepted redundancy to concentrate on writing full-time, and now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals.

Mike’s first DI Avison Fluke novel, Born in a Burial Gown, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award and was published on 11th June 2015 by Caffeine Nights. Also available is his award winning collection of short stories featuring Fluke and his colleagues from the Cumbrian Force Major Incident Team, Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody, Challenge Everything. Body Breaker, the hotly anticipated follow up to Born in a Burial Gown, is out on May 25th.

In March 2017, Mike signed a two book contract with the Little, Brown imprint, Constable, for his new series starring the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe, an expert in serial killers and seemingly motiveless crimes. The first Poe book – as yet untitled – will be published in hardback in spring 2018.

Between leaving the army and securing his first publishing deal, Mike found time to keep a pet crocodile, breed snakes, get married, and buy a springer spaniel named Bracken. He lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne, where he tries to leave the house as little as possible.

Mike is also one third of Crime Ink-Corporated, a trio of northern writers who take writing out for the community and host events such as England’s first Noir at the Bar.
 
Mike’s first DI Avison Fluke novel, Born in a Burial Gown, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. He is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and the International Thriller Writers’ Association.

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Links: Website     Facebook     Goodreads     Author Profile on Caffeine Nights     Twitter

My thanks to the author and Noelle Holten for an advanced copy of this book. 

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Brick by Conrad Jones #BookReview @bloodhoundbooks @ConradJones

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Today I’m thrilled to be the last stop on the Brick by Conrad Jones blog tour, alongside fellow blogger Clair over at http://www.havebookswillread.com so don’t forget to check out her review. Brick has been republished by Bloodhound books, I just happened to see on Amazon Brick has 5 ⭐️ and 4 ⭐️ Reviews and after reading this gripping crime thriller I can see why, it’s a standalone so you don’t have to worry about  cartching up on a series, so without further ado here’s my review…..

Book description

When a teenager is the victim of an unprovoked attack while walking his dog, a murder investigation begins. A cruel twist of fate makes his innocent family the targets of a vicious campaign of terror. As the detectives of Liverpool’s Major Investigation Team try to contain the violence, several key members of an organised crime family begin to topple, causing shockwaves across the world.

Why was the teenager attacked?

And will the villains be brought to justice?

img_1258I’m going to make one thing clear from the start I absolutely loved Brick by Conrad Jones. I love an authentic, gritty crime thriller so why oh why has it taken me so long to get around to reading this authors books? I’m literally kicking myself! From the prologue I was hooked, the author very much sets the tone of the book with an brutal and violent prologue that introduces the reader to the murky and violent underworld of gangland Liverpool.

Fourteen year old Bryn Evans happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, what starts out as an innocent walk with his beloved dog soon becomes his worst nightmare and Bryn and his family find themselves the victims of gangland retribution. What follows is a gritty and brutal read that I was reluctant to put down, I found myself picking this book at any opportunity I got, in fact if “life” hadn’t got in the way I would have read Brick in one sitting.

This is not a novel for the faint hearted as Conrad Jones paints a very vivid picture of gangland violence, but in the authors defence none of the graphic scenes are sheerly for shock value, there is always a proper place for the how and why it happens, and it also adds a sense of realism to the plot. I couldn’t help but feeling sympathy for Bryn’s plight, from the outset it’s obvious he’s a typical fourteen year old, never been in trouble and from an average home, his vulnerability shines through and you cant help hoping he will find away to escape the wrath of the gangsters. As to the gangsters they are a nasty bunch as you would expect, you can’t help but hope “karma” will intervene.

Brick is relentless in pace, gangland warfare, revenge and conflict are just a few of the themes explored, which all made for a hard hitting read. Conrad Jones has written a book that deftly explores the violent side of gangland life, but he also writes a gripping tale that had me flipping the pages on my kindle so fast it literally froze (I kid you not!). Would I recommend Brick? Of course I would especially if like me you love a gritty crime thriller with an exceptional plot.

Paperback: 314 pages

Publisher: Bloodhound Books (18 May 2017)

My thanks to Bloodhound books, Conrad Jones and Sarah Hardy for my copy of Brick in exchange for an unbiased review. 

Buying links:      Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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img_1259I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 17th novel, SHADOWS, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelley and his Harry Bosch Series.

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Links:  Facebook       Amazon Page        Twitter      Email

It might be the end of the blog tour. but you can still check out some of my fellow bloggers posts, so here’s the blog tour banner. 

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The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins #BookReview @lucyatkins @quercusbooks

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Book description

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?

img_1258The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins is one of those books, where you come to the end and feel a sense of loss, I loved every page, every chapter of this intricately plotted novel. Taut with tension from the off this is definitely one book that’s begs to be read in one sitting. The story centres around Olivia a high-flying TV presenter and historian, and the rather creepy Vivian Tester a socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper who becomes Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. what follows is a tale of deception, ambition and manipulation.

This book captivated me from the very first chapter and I found myself immersed in the complex tale of two very different women. Olivia and Vivian are far from likeable, they are as different as chalk and cheese, but scratch the surface and there are similarities between the pair, it’s these similarities which make them such unlikeable characters. Vivian is definitely the most despicable out of the two, she literally made my skin crawl, her obsessive, deluded and manipulative traits make her very difficult to like, but still what an intriguing character she made. 

The authors writing is beautifully descriptive and almost from the start of The Night Visitor you get a sense of foreboding, as she describes settings and the characters so convincingly. The attention to detail is impeccable whether it be the characters, setting or the description of beetles, which for me made this a hugely compelling read. As animosity between the two women bubbles away the plot began to feel very sinister, malice radiated from every page, and yet I found myself desperate to find out more about the toxic relationship between Olivia and Vivian.

The Night Visitor is very much a character led psychological thriller, it isn’t an edge-of-your-seat hardcore thriller. If you read it with that expectation, you just might be slightly disappointed. For me personally The Night Visitor made a refreshing change from the usual crime read, I found it to be a riveting and unnerving read, beautifully written with characters you won’t forget about in a hurry. I would highly recommend The Night Visitor if you are looking for a book that offers something different from the norm.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 368 pages

Publisher: Quercus (4 May 2017)

My thanks to Linda Hill over at http://www.lindasbookbag.com for sending me her spare copy of The Night Visitor

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly #BookReview

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Book description

Who do you believe?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something – and someone – is always in the dark

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When I first started reading He Said She Said by Erin Kelly I was surprised that this book had so many five stars and rave reviews , I found it to be a slow starter and the constant changing between narrator and time lines took a while to get used to, but around the 120 page mark everything clicked into place and this turned from a mediocre read into a book that actually made for an intriguing read.

At the centre of the plot are four characters whose live’s become entangled after a chance meeting during an eclipse, the story is told from two perspectives, Kit and Laura’s. After witnessing a brutal attack during an eclipse, the couple do what anyone would do if they found themselves in a similar predicament and call the police, but little do they realise life will never quite be quite the same for them again. As events unfold it soon becomes apparent that nothing is quite as it seems, the characters credibility plays a major factor in this tale, and the reader is led a merry dance to get to the truth.

I’m sure at this point I’m going to get some shocked gasps but here we go, although I enjoyed He Said She Said I did have some issues with this book. At times the plot felt drawn out and there were chapters that didn’t necessarily add anything to the read, but actually distracted from the story, if I’m honest I actually found the whole eclipse thing a bit tedious after a while, although in the authors defence I can see why it was included in relation to the plot, it just didn’t work for me.

On the positive side come the last half of He Said She Said I was pleasantly surprised at how crafty Erin Kelly had been, I don’t want to give anything away that might spoil the read for others, but suffice to say the conclusion to this book absolutely threw me, as did the surprises along the way. If I were to sum this book up I would say it’s got a great premise, a brilliant second half, but I’m afraid this one struggled to keep my attention. I definitely think I’m in the minority with my thoughts on this book as it’s received so many fabulous reviews and in this case it maybe one you need to read for yourself.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧          Amazon US 🇺🇸
Hardcover: 416 pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton  (20 April 2017)

 

**Blog tour** Child Taken by Darren Young #BookReview @DARRENYOUNGBOOK @REDDOORBOOKS

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Book description

How could such a thing happen?

But it did happen.

I wasn’t one of the others, observing.

It happened to me.

One hot summer’s day, two-year-old Jessica Preston disappears from the beach. The police are convinced she drowned, but Sandra Preston won’t give up hope that her daughter is still alive.

How can she?

Twenty years later, another child goes missing, and Sandra is approached by a young journalist who raises questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston all those years ago. But when the journalist discovers someone with an explosive secret, it threatens not only to reveal what’s been covered up for so long, but puts both their lives in danger.

img_1258Child Taken is the debut novel from Darren Young, and I’m pleased to report it’s a hell of a debut, it’s twisted and definitely makes for an intriguing read. As the book suggests two year old Jessica Preston disappears on a day out with her family. Twenty years later another missing child gets the attention of trainee journalist Laura Grainger, which leads to questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston? What follows is an intricate tale shrouded in mystery and deception.

There are have been numerous books that deal with this theme, but what sets this book apart was the authors decision not to concentrate on one particular character, he deftly explores the long term impact on everyone involved, after all each character involved lost something when Jessica was taken. At first I found the style of narrative confusing to follow as the story is told from four POV, but once I got into the swing things I realised just how cleverly woven the narrative is as it follows the journey past and present of the abductors and the family whose child was taken.

The author presents the reader with a tangled and intriguing tale which draws the reader in from the very first chapter. As a parent myself I found my sympathies lay very much with Jessica’s mother, as the author describes her thoughts and feelings at loosing a child with conviction and empathy. As for the abductors I couldn’t raise an iota of sympathy for their predicament, but to see why I felt like this you will just have to read the book for yourself, as in explaining my reasons I may give away major spoilers which is never my attention. I had one small niggle with Child Taken I did feel this book could have been shorter, as at times it felt the author was padding out the story and wasn’t really relevant to the plot.

I really thought I had Child Taken figured out around the halfway mark, but OMG Darren Young deviously leads the reader a merry dance, and I can honestly say I never thought for one minute the novel would end the way it did. This is a dark, twisting thriller that shows all too well how you can never escape the sins of your past. Child Taken is a terrific, gripping, page-turning debut by a talented new voice in suspense. A great read that I would highly recommend.

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: RedDoor Publishing (18 May 2017)     Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Darren Young lives in Nottingham with his wife, Luisa and their two children, Alessio and Emilia.

Away from writing, he has a background in financial services and an MBA from the University of Wolverhampton and helps organisations to improve their customer service, whilst also being involved in producing papers and a weekly blog on the subject. He wanted to write something different; a story he’d like to read, one about ordinary people thrown into extraordinary positions and had the ideas but wasn’t sure that there was enough time, or coffee, to fit it into his already busy life. However, he started working on Child Taken in 2014 and found that there was. He’s currently working on a new version of the book he wrote for ‘practice’ before embarking on Child Taken and after two years writing about child abduction, he wanted to explore something a little lighter; heart transplants.

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Follow Darren on Twitter @darrenyoungbook

you can follow the rest of the blog tour here….

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