Tag Archives: Psychological thriller

The closer I get by Paul Burston #Review @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks #MustReads

Today I’m sharing my review for The Closer I Get By Paul Burston, this book has been sat patiently on my TBR shelf for far too long, but it’s one that was definitely worth the wait. Before I share my review here’s the book description…

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Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

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When I was young, many moons ago, trolls were cute plastic dolls with sticking up hair, and social media was unheard of it, fast forward a decade or three! and social media is something we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t do without. In someways I embrace social media but I have had always had reservations about the negative side of social media, the trolls, the vicious comments, it goes on and on.  After reading The Closer I get by Paul Burston I find I’m even more  paranoid about my own use of Twitter,  in fact it made me want to delete all my accounts! The author explores online relationships and how the most innocent interactions can turn into something far more disturbing. We are privy to the characters turmoil as we get pulled into a living, breathing nightmare, where fragile online friendships turn to an all consuming obsession. The Closer I get is a powerful, dark tale, brimming with raw emotion and  malice, but oh such a compelling read. 

Tom Hunter is a successful novelist, well his first book was a major hit anyway. His fame comes at a cost and he finds himself being stalked by Evie, a young woman who he met at a book signing and befriended. As the stalking escalates, Evie finds herself in court, and is given a restraining order. The Closer We Get is told in both past and present we learn how Tom and Evie’s relationship turned from innocent tweets into something far more disturbing, and the chapters told in the present explore the impact on Tom and Evie after the court case. Told from both Tom’s and Evie’s points of view the reader is given the opportunity to delve deeper into both characters psyche, which alone makes for a very disquieting read. 

There’s nothing I like I more than an unreliable narrator, but when you get two unreliable characters for the price of one, it’s difficult to know who to believe, or to distinguish the truth from the lies. For me I also felt the lines between the hunter (Evie) and the hunted (Tom) were hazy, is Tom really innocent of any wrong doings? Is Evie as much a victim? I can’t say I particularly liked either of the characters, without a doubt Tom is a victim, but  I found  him to be arrogant and pompous, where as poor Evie is clearly deranged, unstable, and unable to separate fact from fiction, but strangely enough this made the read all the more enjoyable! the author has created two unforgettable characters, which in my mind is testament to Paul Burston’s writing. 

Don’t think for one minute this is your typical ‘stalker’ Psychological thriller, it’s anything but! after all we’re talking Orenda Books here whose books are never, ever, predictable. As the story reached its hugely satisfying but unpredictable conclusion, the tension becomes unbearable as a growing sense of foreboding radiated at the turn of every page.  This is a story that Is highly relevant to today’s society, it’s shockingly credible, unsettling, and brilliantly executed. The Closer I Get has all the ingredients I enjoy in a psychological thriller, unreliable characters, an unpredictable plot, it’s one that encourages you to ponder the perils of social media, which reminds me I need to go and deactivate my accounts! Highly recommended 

  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (11 May 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen Sullivan for my review copy in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. 

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

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Well here we are in July, can you believe it? At last summer seems to have arrived😎 I’m just wondering how long it will last. Before I share my book of the month I thought I would give you an update on my lack of posts lately.  Earlier this year I got admitted to hospital, and to cut along story short it made me realise I needed to slow down, so for the next few months I will be posting as and when. I have no schedule,  well apart from one cover reveal and a blog tour I’m really excited about (my lips are sealed for now 🤐).

You may have noticed I’ve updated my blog photo, do you like it?or hate it? feel free to leave a comment I won’t be offended honesty! I wanted something that instantly shows that I mostly read and review crime thrillers.  I’m still in two minds about the cover but it will do for now anyway.

And now the real reason for my post it’s time to choose my book of the month for June. How do I choose my book  of the month? I go for a book that I find particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page. So without further ado here’s my book of the month for June and it’s a cracker……..

The Whisper Man by Alex North

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With a synopsis that grabbed my attention and a promise from the publishers ‘GET READY FOR THE BIGGEST THRILLER OF 2019’ there was no way on earth I was going to miss reading The Whisper Man by Alex North. There is nothing more terrifying than a child being murdered, and the author expertly plays on these fears, creating a dark, creepy, and haunting read. Be prepared for a few sleepless nights, it takes a lot to unnerve me, but this book actually scared me silly in parts! (In the best possible way). Oh, and a word of warning make sure your bedroom doors are closed at night or beware ** If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken** You can read my full review here…..The Whisper Man by Alex North @writer_north @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #TheWhisperMan #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

Links to my reviews……..

TheJourney by Conrad Jones @ConradJones #BlogTour #BookReview @BOTBSPublicity

Black Summer by M.W.Craven #BookReview @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @TheCrimeVault #WashingtonPoe #BlackSummer #BookHangoverAward

Someone Is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst #Review @JennyBlackhurst @Annecater #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @headlinepg #SomeoneIsLying #ButWho

Books I’m hoping to read this month

Depending on my mood of course 😂🙈

 

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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