Tag Archives: Psychological thriller

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

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Yay we’re in May hopefully the weather is going to improve and I can spend some time sat in the garden reading, but there again living in the UK it’s just as likely to snow 😂.

I haven’t shared many reviews to my blog this month, I’m still trying not to over do things at the moment, so although I have read plenty of brilliant books I’ve yet to share them on my blog. Hopefully I will be sharing them over the next few weeks.

Anyway less of the rambling and once again I have managed to narrow down my book of the month to ONE book, I think I’m finally getting the hang of it 😂😂😂 so without further ado here’s my book of the month⬇️⬇️⬇️

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

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Doug Johnstone’s writing is superb every word, in fact every sentence has a deep impact on the reader, his characters are superbly depicted, and if this book doesn’t leave you an emotional wreck, then I’m sure you will be in the minority. Breakers is a searing and heartbreaking portrayal of modern day Britain, the author takes the reader on an emotional journey, one that at times feels uncomfortable, it packs a hell of a punch, you will find yourself questioning your own assumptions, it’s a book whose characters will remain with you long after you reach the last page. In case you haven’t already guessed I loved this book, and it will definitely be one of my top reads of 2019. You can read my full review here……..Breakers by Doug Johnstone #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #Breakers #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

 

 

My reviews can be found here….

#TheFive by Hallie Rubenhold @HallieRubenhold @DoubledayUK #thefivewomen #iamPollyAnnieElizabethKateMaryJane

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins #BookReview @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillan #MustReads.

AMAZING GRACE BY KIM NASH @KIMTHEBOOKWORM @HERABOOKS #REVIEW

Last Of The Magpies by Mark Edwards #BookReview @AmazonPub @Mredwards #MustReads #LastOfTheMagpies

Books I could read in May

As I’m cutting back on blog tours (I only have two books I need to read for June) I’m in a position where I’m able to read what ever takes my fancy, so here are some of the book I might or might not read depending on my mood.

 

 

 

 

 

The Paramedics Daughter by Tara Lyons @Bloodhoundbook @taralyonsauthor

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Paramedics’ Daughter by Tara Lyons, this is the author’s foray into writing a psychological thriller, and hopefully it won’t be her last.  Read on for my thoughts…..

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Paramedic Abi Quinn is hailed as a hero by the patients she saves with the London Ambulance Service; but a secret she’s kept since she was a teenager now threatens to shatter that perfect illusion. 

When her daughter Rose goes missing while studying at Brighton university, and ghosts from her past return to haunt her, Abi’s caught in a race against time to untangle the web of lies she set in motion over twenty years ago.    

Everyone has something to lose. 

Everyone is trying to protect themselves. 

Everyone is broken.

But what lengths will they go to in order to stop the truth from being exposed?

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The Paramedic’s Daughter is author Tara Lyons first foray into writing a psychological thriller which I find hard to believe, after reading this sorry tale, this is one author who is destined to write thrillers in this genre. This has to be one of the most seriously twisted books about relationships I’ve read in a long time, on about mess with your head!  This is a story of lies, secrets and complicated relationships, and the lengths people will go to to protect themselves, and stop the truth from being exposed.

I enjoy a book that hints at a hidden secret; the author drops subtle hints and teases the reader and being the nosy person I am it’s one thing that’s going guaranteed to keep me hooked. There’s nothing more satisfying than trying to work it all out before the author reveals all, mind you sometimes that means my imagination runs away with me and I come up with the most far-fetched scenarios. Although my imagination is nothing compared to Tara Lyons, the author takes “twisted imagination” to another level entirely. As for the secret it’s a shocker, and one that has huge consequences for those closest to Abi.

I really liked the fact that the protagonist Abi is a paramedic, the insight into her job is brutal, there’s no shying away from the life and death situations Abi comes across in her job, and the emotions she feels when dealing with life-threatening situations are authentic, raw and very gritty. Abi wasn’t a character I warmed to, and I’m really not sure why, normally I struggle with a book if I can’t connect with the main character, but in this instance it did not spoil my enjoyment of this book one iota. When Abi’s daughter goes missing, her panic and worry are something any parent will be able to relate too, although I was slightly surprised at the direction she took in the search for her.

Like many a psychological thriller The Paramedic’s Daughter starts off at a sedate pace, allowing the reader to gain insight into Abi’s personality, her job and her “big secret”. The author then deftly ramps up the pace, turning this novel into a heart pounding read, as secrets are revealed, and a sense of foreboding wraps itself around the reader. There are so many shocks in this book, I can honestly say there was one I would never have guessed in a million years, but it felt very much a part of the story, and not just randomly written into shock the reader.  As psychological thriller The Paramedic Daughter has it all mystery, suspense, and shocks galore its one I would definitely recommend to Psychological thriller lovers.

  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (1 May 2019)

Buying links:

Amazon 🇬🇧 https://amzn.to/2UGiNR8

Amazon 🇺🇸 https://amzn.to/2VzbDTD

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My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing @smariedowning @penguinrandom #MyLovelyWife #BookHangoverAward #Review

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for My Lovely Wife, the debut novel from Samantha Downing.  If you are looking for a thriller that’s different, then I definitely have just the book for you……

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HOW WELL DO YOU REALLY KNOW THE ONE YOU LOVE THE MOST?

‘The twist at the end of the first chapter made me read through the night’ Jane Corry, bestselling author of The Dead Ex

This is a story about a married couple. They met, fell in love, had two beautiful children. So far, so ordinary.

But they have a very dark secret.

It’s a story with a twist. And then another. And another.

You might think you’ve read stories like this before.

You’d be wrong.

By the end of the first chapter you’ll be hooked.

At page fifty you might not sleep until you finish.

And when you turn the last page, you’ll ask yourself one question:

How well do you really know the person you love most?

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This will probably be the shortest review I’ve ever written, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing is one of those books where it’s nigh on impossible to mention the plot in any detail without giving away major spoilers. I had no idea what this book was about when I first started reading it; I had no expectations, no thoughts on where the book would lead, and for me personally it made this reading experience even more exciting and enjoyable. My Lovely Wife has to be one of the best novels I’ve read this year, addictive, deliciously dark and very disturbing. 

My Lovely Wife is the story of two ordinary people who meet, fall in love and settle into the humdrum life of suburbia and parenthood, but if you scratch beneath their veneer of respectability, there lies a dark and disturbing secret and one only the couple share, well until now that is! Narrated from the point of view of the husband, we the reader are privy to every detail of this couple’s marriage. As a reader, I’m used to seeing thrillers that come with the promise “a twist you won’t see coming” and more often than not I’m left feeling disappointed that the “twist” was obvious from the start. That’s not the case with this novel, there really were some brilliant twists and in very much in keeping with the plot. 

Samantha Downing has written a novel that captures the reader from the first chapter, and as the book description mentions “At page fifty you might not sleep until you finish” and I have to agree I literally read this book in two hugely satisfying sessions (it would have been one if life didn’t get in the way) My Lovely Wife is a deliciously dark tale of relationships and secrets, not original themes by any means, but it’s so different to any other novel I’ve read, it’s wickedly entertaining, full of black humour, and as for the characters their deeply flawed but fascinating never the less. I have a feeling this novel will be a big hit with fans of psychological and crime thrillers and rightly so. Highly recommended by me 

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Books (26 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

I’m giving My Lovely Wife my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Last Of The Magpies by Mark Edwards #BookReview @AmazonPub @Mredwards #MustReads #LastOfTheMagpies

Today I’m sharing my review for Last Of The Magpies By Mark Edwards. If you read The Magpies this book brings the trilogy to a shocking conclusion. Published tomorrow 30th April you can read on for my thought……

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The chilling conclusion to the #1 bestseller The Magpies.

Twelve months ago, Jamie Knight walked straight into Lucy Newton’s trap. Both Jamie and his ex-wife Kirsty barely survived. Now, with the police investigation into Lucy’s disappearance going nowhere, Jamie teams up with a true crime podcaster to track down his nemesis.

But can Jamie persuade Kirsty to help? Can Kirsty forgive him for his past mistakes? And who, if anyone, will survive the final showdown? Featuring extracts from Lucy’s secret memoir, Last of the Magpies brings the trilogy to a shocking conclusion.

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The Magpies was the first book I read by Mark Edwards way back in 2013 and it’s one that often springs to mind as it’s one of my favourite psychological thrillers EVER. I also really enjoyed the follow up A Murder Of Magpies. So imagine my delight when I found out the author had written a chilling conclusion to The Magpies in the form of Last Of The Magpies I should point out it’s a short story (100 pages) and not a full length novel, but don’t let that put you off the author manages to pack a lot into this thrilling  sequel. 

As far as Jamie Knight is concerned Lucy Newton is the devil reincarnated, she has made his life a misery from the day they became neighbours, she caused his marriage to break down, and drove him to the brink. Twelve months after his last encounter with Lucy, one in which he his ex-wife Kirsty barely survived, he’s determined to find Lucy for a final showdown, but who will survive? that’s the question I was eager to find the answer to.   

I loved the extracts from Lucy’s Secret memoirs, you get a real sense of her manipulative and conniving personality, she’s someone who has no compassion for others. It’s these chapters that make for an unsettling read. Lucy is a fascinating character you can’t help being drawn to her, trying to fathom out how far she will go to keep her freedom. You can’t help rooting for Jamie, a victim of Lucy’s depraved games, hoping that he would at last find away to rid himself of Lucy once and for all.

I’m not sure how I expected Mark Edwards to conclude Lucy’s story, but in my opinion it’s the most fitting ending. As I mentioned this is a short read, but the author still manages to pack plenty in, the plot doesn’t feel rushed and the author manages to incorporate a great deal of tension into the plot. I’ve really enjoyed this series of books and couldn’t help but find Lucy’s character memorising, even though she repulsed and fascinated me in equal measures.  Highly recommended

  • Print Length: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing (30 April 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

Books in the series

 

 

 

 

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins #BookReview @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillan #MustReads.

Today I’m sharing my review for The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins, a stand-alone Psychological thriller. 

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FOR SALE: A lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .

And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.

On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune. The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.

After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.

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The Neighbour is a stand-alone psychological thriller from Fiona Cummins, and very different in tone to Rattle and The Collector   (I loved both books). So I opened this book with some trepidation, and the reason for my trepidation? I have read many crime thrillers with “neighbours” as the main theme, so I wasn’t convinced the author could come up with a plot that would standout from the crowd. As usual, any doubts I had were dismissed once I read the prologue and the first couple of chapters. The Neighbour has to have one of the creepiest prologues EVER! It literally sent shivers down my spine.

FOR SALE: A lovely family home with a good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . .. sounds perfect doesn’t it? but there’s a catch the area where the house stands is the hunting ground for a serial killer dubbed the Doll Maker. This doesn’t stop the Lockwood family moving into their new home on The Avenue. Even before the removal vans unload, a fifth body is found in nearby Woods. The police seem to be struggling for leads and the Lockwoods’ neighbours all seem to have guilty secrets they would prefer to remain hidden, but which one is capable of murder?

The chapters give a “through the keyhole” view into each of the neighbours lives, allowing the reader to learn more about the secrets each one is hiding, there’s a growing sense of mistrust as you try to work out which of the oddball neighbours is most likely to be the killer. The story is told in short chapters, some of the chapters shine the spotlight on the owners living in the Avenue, whilst others relate to the investigation, but it’s the chapters that are narrated from the killers POV I found the most unsettling. You can’t beat a well-depicted serial in a crime thriller and the author has created a monster, as you learn more about them through past events, and their very dark thoughts regarding the crimes they committed I found myself repulsed by the killer, but a small part of me also found this insight strangely fascinating. 

Fiona Cummins has a remarkable talent she can write gruesome crime scenes, layered in horror and menace, and yet her writing is memorising and very descriptive, which seems at odds with the books she writes, but they fit perfectly together, making her books even more compelling to read. Without a shadow of doubt the author knows how to write a top-notch psychological/crime thriller, the sense of  horror, menace, and trepidation is palatable throughout. The Neighbour is a powerful, dark and disturbing story with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing right up until it’s heart stopping conclusion, cliched I know but also very true. Highly recommended to those who enjoy a crime thriller with a dark heart and a chilling premise.  

  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (28 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Breakers by Doug Johnstone #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #Breakers #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing a review for a book by a new author to me, Breakers by Doug Johnstone. If you are looking for a gritty, no nonsense, deeply moving crime  thriller, then I may have just found the book for you……

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Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt. With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation . . . unless he drags her down, too.

A pulsating, tense psychological thriller, Breakers is also a breathtakingly brutal, beautiful, and deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family, from one of Scotland’s finest crime writers

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This is the first book I have read by Doug Johnstone, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,  but one thing I wasn’t expecting was to have my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. Breakers could have been a depressing read considering it’s a modern tale of poverty, and deprivation, and yet it’s not, it’s a plausible and heartbreaking story, but buried amid all the ugliness is the beautiful and moving story of Seventeen-year-old Tyler who lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived area’s. The cards aren’t stacked in his favour, living with his junkie mum and younger sister, he lives hand to mouth stealing from people’s homes to support his family. The contrast between the affluent areas of Edinburgh and the more deprived areas are stark, but very credible. The author doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties of living in such a grim environment where violence, drugs and crime are part and parcel of everyday life for its residents. 

I really did not expect to like, let alone sympathise with Tyler’s character, after all he steals from people’s houses,  causing upset and trauma to the people from whose homes he steals. Yet once the author scratches away below the surface you realise Tyler isn’t all bad, his relationship with his little sister Bethany is heartwarming to say the least, he’s her loyal protector and desperate to shield her from the ugly and harsh realities of the life she has been born into. On the other hand, his relationship with his junkie mother is toxic, despite her shortcomings and she has many, Tyler still isn’t ready to give up on her, he sees things no child should have to witness, and it’s these scenes that are heartbreaking and harrowing, as the reader you want to wrap him in a big hug and tell him “everything is going to be alright” even though you know the realities of the world he lives in and the chance of him finding a “happy after” are slim to none. The author has the unique ability to create characters that despite their flaws, you find yourself rooting for, you feel their pain, experience their joy and cry at the injustice of the world we live in.

Doug Johnstone’s writing is superb every word, in fact every sentence has a deep impact on the reader, his characters are superbly depicted, and if this book doesn’t leave you an emotional wreck, then I’m sure you will be in the minority. Breakers is a searing and heartbreaking portrayal of modern day Britain, the author takes the reader on an emotional journey, one that at times feels uncomfortable, it packs a hell of a punch, you will find yourself questioning your own assumptions, it’s a book whose characters will remain with you long after you reach the last page. In case you haven’t already guessed I loved this book, and it will definitely be one of my top reads of 2019.  Highly recommended to those who enjoy a gritty thriller with a powerful and moving plot.

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; (16 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving Breakers my Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

#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.