Tag Archives: Psychological thriller

Violet by SJI Holliday #BookReview @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #Violet #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing my review for Violet by SJI Holliday, Violet is published by the fabulous Orenda Books. What I love about this publishers books is the fact no two books are the same or even similar in plot. Read on for my thoughts about Violet but first the book description…….

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When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

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Oh, how I loved Violet by SJI Holliday, what an intense, psychological thriller this novel turned out to be. Sometimes strangers come into our life’s, and it seems like fate, they become friends, a confidant, someone who we will feel better for knowing,  this appears to be the case for Violet and Carrie when they meet by chance in a Beijing Hotel. On impulse Carrie invites Violet to take the place of her friend and accompany her on the Trans-Siberian Express. The more sensible amongst us would think twice, after all you have to take a stranger at face value, how do we  know they are who they say they are? they could be an axe murderer or drug trafficker, but both girls are young, living for the moment, the worlds their oyster and where we perceive danger they see adventure! So we the reader accompany them on their journey aboard the Trans Siberian Express, a journey that darkens with every country that passes. 

This story tale is narrated from Violets POV, the ‘wary’ part of me immediately went on high alert, there was something about Violets story that set alarm bells ringing, her story seemed to have a lot of holes, she skirts certain subjects, and there was always a niggling feeling that she was keeping something back, she came across as being very intense and a little bit creepy. There are also sporadic emails from Carrie sent to her best friend Laura, she shares her inner thoughts and feelings, these could easily be dismissed as ramblings but it’s only later you realise there importance. SJL Halliday expertly allows each of her characters to raise suspicion in the reader’s head, whose telling the truth? Violet? Carrie? Or neither? 

The parent in me wanted to shake Violet and Carrie so intent are they at ‘having the time of their life’ they take unnecessary risks with their own safety, drugs, drink, talking to strangers, but maybe all the time danger lays much close to home!  To begin with Violet and Carrie’s new found friendship seems to thrive, but as their journey progresses, it turns into something much more intense, it begins to feel uncomfortable, it’s a friendship that’s based on manipulation and obsession, it’s one that’s toxic in its making, this adds a darkness to the story, along with a growing sense of dread. 

The attention to detail in this book is evident, SJI Holliday writes in such a descriptive way, it’s easy to conjure up images of the country’s the two girls visit, the atmosphere, the train journey, and the people they meet along the way. There are so many psychological thrillers on the market, it’s difficult to find one that stands out from the crowd, but Violet does just that, and for all the right reasons it’s deliciously dark, slightly creepy, with unreliable characters. It’s a book that will keep you guessing until the devious author decides to reveal all. Exquisitely written, Violet makes for an all-consuming read, one that begs to be read in one hugely satisfying sitting. Highly recommended 

Yes you’ve guessed it I’m giving Violet my shiny Book hangover award, 

What criteria does a book need to meet to win this 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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  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (14 Sept. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

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

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The book review café’s **book(s) of the month** September/October

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Can you believe we’re in November already? Where has the year gone? It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago I was sunning myself in warmer climates. I’m not a winter person in fact I hate this time of year, the dark nights, cold, wet and miserable (a bit like myself😂). I do love Christmas though and have an extra special  feature running through December, which I’m really excited about but for now my lips are sealed 🤐.

I’m digressing here the whole point of this post is to share my book of the month with you, the eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed I didn’t post one in September, so I have cheated and combined two months September and October books. I can’t believe I’ve managed to get to November and haven’t broke my pledge…….to choose only one book a month. Yes I have two books  this month BUT they are for September and October so I’m still keeping to my side of the bargain 😂🙈

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 September and October…….

Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

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The tension that reverberates through Blood Song never looses momentum, each short chapter leaves you craving more, urging you on to its conclusion. This book has so much to offer the reader, with a gripping plot, moments of heartbreak, vivid scenes, and characters that will remain with you long after you’ve reached the final pages. With themes of fertility, child abductions, and child abuse the author has created a dark and disquieting story, and one that spans years of violence and abuse.  Blood Song is a ‘must read’ for any crime thriller love, and although it could easily be read as a stand-alone I would suggest you read the series in order you won’t be disappointed I promise. Highly recommended. You can read my full review here………Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson

In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael J Malone

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The the author has taken a brave decision, in writing a book that explores a taboo subject matter, that’s seldom discussed so fixed is the stigma attached to this subject. In some author’s hands this would have just made for a shocking read, but Malone strikes the right balance and has produced a masterpiece, it’s subtle, sensitivity written, wrought with emotion and has to be one of my most captivating, heartbreaking reads EVER! Michael Malone is one of those rare author who appears to be able to write in any genre and turn what could be an interesting read, into something extra special, definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time to come. In The Absence Of Miracles is certainly a contender for my book of the year and one I will be recommending to anybody and everybody. You can read my full review here….In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone @OrendaBooks #BookReview #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

Full reviews can be found here……..

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank #BookReview @Ajes74 @HQstories #HalloweenRead

The Family by Louise Jensen @Fab_fiction @HQStories @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #BookReview #WelcomeToTheFamily

Here To Stay by Mark Edwards #HereToStay #BookReview @mredwards @AmazonPub #MustRead

Gone by Leona Deakin #BookReview #Gone @LeonaDeakin1 @HJ_Barnes @PenguinUKBooks #MustReads

THE JULY GIRLS BY PHOEBE LOCKE @PHOEBE_LOCKE @WILDFIREBKS #REVIEW #TheJulyGirls #SummerMustReads #BookHangoverAward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The Family by Louise Jensen @Fab_fiction @HQStories @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #BookReview #WelcomeToTheFamily

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Louise Jensen, not because I haven’t wanted to, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to read all the books I would like to. I have heard great things about the author’s latest book The Family and knew it was one I just had to read. Here’s my review but first the book description…..

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ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

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OMG! I actually loved The Family by Louise Jensen, this book is a masterclass in how to write a Psychological thriller, it’s a compelling, allconsuming, chilling tale of secrets, lies, blackmail, and manipulation. It’s definitely one of those books that will shock and surprise you in equal measures. After the sudden death of her husband, Laura is struggling, overwhelmed by grief, she finds her financial problems growing by the day, with no family to speak of, Laura has nowhere to turn. Then a lifeline is thrown to Laura and her 17-yearold daughter, Tilly. Laura is offered a home and work by Alex ‘The Familyleader of Oak Leaf Organics, a ‘retreat’ of sorts for those it need. On the surface It appears to be the answer to Laura’s prayers. It’s always been my motto “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, if only poor Laura had heeded these words!

I really enjoyed how the author alternated chapters between Laura and Tilly, this gives the reader a fascinating insight into their relationship. The author explores the psychological of her characters with such conviction; she breathes life into her characters, making them very credible. It was interesting to read how they misunderstood each other’s thoughts, actions and feelings, this leads to conflict, anger, and pain. Their relationship isn’t an easy one, that’s for sure, but despite their difficulties Laura is like a fierce lion who will do anything to protect her daughter. There are chapters narrated by the charismatic Alex, these chapters felt much darker, intense and disquieting.

From the first description of Oak Leaf I had a creeping sense of unease, The setting of Oak Leaf farm felt sinister and claustrophobic, the descriptions of the crows and building give this book a gothic feel, it’s a place which feels incredibly dark. As Laura and Tilly become part of ‘The Family’ the plot takes on a sinister tone, each of ‘The Familyhas a secret, and as the story progresses you learn more of their backstories (sometimes it’s shocking other times desperately sad), it’s gives the reader an insight into  how and why the characters are drawn to the sanctuary of Oak Leaf.  Laura and Tilly are at their most vulnerable, and from the off I got the sense Alex would use this to his advantage. As the author weaved her tale, you realise that Oak Leaf might not be the haven it first appeared, manipulation, remoteness from the outside world, all point to it being a ‘cult’ of sorts. The Family frighteningly highlights how people can easily be manipulated and coerced when they are at their most vulnerable.

The Family holds so many secrets, and we all know it doesn’t matter how deep you bury them, they have a way of surfacing when you least expect it, secrets that can be used against you, secrets that hurt, or secrets that have far-reaching consequences, as Laura and Tilly find out. The author drops subtle hints, slowly building on the tension and adding an increasing sense of unease.  Just as I thought I had it all worked out, I realised Louise Jensen had misdirected me at every given opportunity, naughty, naughty! But so cleverly done. I always find a book much more satisfying when I’m taken by surprise. The Family explores what makes a family, and then turns it on its head, making this book a twisted, and shocking read. A must-read book,  that I would highly recommend.

  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (25 Sept. 2019)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

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

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**Making a dent in my bookshelf** #MiniReviews #BookChallenge part 2

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Like every book blogger in the country I have numerous books sat on my book shelves I’ve been meaning to read for ages. So I decided to set myself a mini challenge and read as many books as I can from my own personal collection between now and the end of December (which December? I’m not sure yet😂🙈).

I have read six books in total from my own bookshelves (Mind you it helped that I had two weeks holiday this month)…whohoo go me, and the months not over yet only 1,56789 books to go😂📚📚📚📚📚

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

 

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In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean, a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple open the island’s most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony. 

Two neighbouring families, the Georgious and the Özkans, are among many who moved to Famagusta to escape the years of unrest and ethnic violence elsewhere on the island. But beneath the city’s façade of glamour and success, tension is building. 

When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city, just two families remain. This is their story.

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Every now and then I do like to mix things up a bit and read something that’s different to my normal crime reads.   Victoria Hislop is one of the author’s I turn to I do enjoy historical fiction especially when it’s blended with true events.  The Island centres on the clashes between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots which came to a head in 1974, resulting in a Greek coup and Turkey invading Cyprus, and Famagusta.

Although I knew little about the civil war I wasn’t aware of the Famagusta, which  is now a deserted town surrounded by barbed wire, within its walls  there must lie stories of devastation and heartbreak caused by a war where the citizens of the town were forced to flee, never to return. The author manages to capture the tone, atmosphere and the fear of a civil war perfectly, but then I would expect nothing less from an author’s whose research is impeccable.

I really enjoyed learning more about the history of Cyprus and the events that led up to the invasion. Victoria Hislop blends fact and fiction to create a compelling read, and her descriptions are so vivid it took look little imagination to conjure up images of Famagusta, before the days of cheap package tours, a town which was wealthy, visited by the most affluent, on the flip side it was horrifying to imagine the city devastated by war, a resort left barren. Although I enjoyed The Sunrise I can’t say I loved it, for me the book felt contrived in parts, and only partly fitting to the history of the people who lived there. I must admit I struggled to feel any connection to the characters, many of them appeared to superficial and  lacking in emotion. Although I read The Sunrise in a couple of sitting. I must admit  It’s not my favourite book by the author, but there again I think I compared it to The Island a very different story, but one I loved.

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (4 Jun. 2015)

I Found You by Lisa Jewell 

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Everyone has secrets. What if you can’t remember yours?

‘How long have you been sitting out here?’

‘I got here yesterday.’

‘Where did you come from?’

‘I have no idea.’

Lily has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night, she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one.

Alice finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement, she invites him into her home.

But who is he, and how can she trust a man who has lost his memory?

  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (14 July 2016)

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I have read a couple of books by Lisa Jewell now and I’m impressed by her ability to produce a compelling plot, that drags you in from the first page and before you know it you are halfway through the book, not even stopping for a coffee break (unheard of!) I Found You made for a riveting read, full of misdirection, suspense. At first I Found You looked as if it would be a simple and straightforward story. A new husband disappears on his way home from work,  a man turns up on a Yorkshire beach and has lost his memory, man gets his memory back and all sorted! But that’s not the case here the story twists, turns, and intertwines creating a throughly nail biting read.

The characters all spring to life especially Alice, I do find a character far more likeable if they have credible flaws, no ones perfect after all! Alice is adorable, always looking to rescue people, animals and friends, and despite her tops turvy life style she still manages to be the best parent she can.  The plotting is incredibly complex with the author drip feeding  little details slowly and tantalisingly the reader. At one point, I thought I knew where it was all heading, but epic fail! When the author finally revealed all I couldn’t help but gasp, Lisa Jewell well and truly left me stunned. I Found You is my perfect kind of psychological thriller, fast paced, fascinating characters and misdirection at every turn.  

The Chain by Adam McKinty

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You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child, and most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain. 

  • Print Length: 369 page
  • Publisher: Orion (9 July 2019)

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The Chain by Adam McKinty is one of the most talked about books on social media this year, bloggers, authors, publishers are raving about it, and then there’s me! The plots definitely an original one, based on Chain letters, the author takes this one step further,  your child gets kidnapped, so in turn you have to kidnap a child, if you break the chain your child will be murdered. I throughly enjoyed the first part of The Chain it’s fast paced, riveting and as the reader you live and breathe events as they unfold through the characters eyes. The chapters are short, and precise adding tension to the overall plot. 

The second part of the book is more about the beginning of The Chain , and it’s creators I didn’t enjoy this part as much, the pace slowed, the tension ramped down a couple of notches, and the plot became far more predictable. Don’t get me wrong this book has much to offer the thriller lover and I can see why readers are raving about The Chain. Personally I think because I made the mistake of reading some of the reviews for The Chain before reading the book so I may have set my expectations too high for this book, which left me more than a little disappointed.

I must admit as a mother I felt for the victims, but not enough to care about the outcome, for me the victims were to quick to pick out a victim, without thinking about the consequences, this made them appear cold hearted and not particularly likeable.  The Chain was a great first half, with plenty of promise but the second half was a let down, at this point I found I felt no sympathy for any of the characters or the predicament they found themselves in, and my interested waned to the point where I wasn’t particularly interested in the outcome.

This Little Dark Place by A. S. Hatch #BookReview #BlogTour #GripLit @andrewshatch @serpentstail #ThisLittleDarkPlace

Today I’m thrilled to be closing the blog tour for This Little Dark Place by A. S. Hatch. I’m a huge lover of psychological thrillers, but after reading so many it’s difficult to find a book in this genre that stands out, did this one hit the mark? Read on for my thoughts. 

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How well do you know your girlfriend?

How well do you know your lover?

How well do you know yourself?

Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.

But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.

And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.

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If you decide to read This Little Dark Place by A.S. go in blind, Don’t read any reviews (apart from mine and other book bloggers on the blog tour of course, as they contain no spoilers!). I knew nothing about this book and it made the reading experience far more enjoyable as I had no idea, where the author was leading the story. It’s a story that twist and turns, with its tale of obsessive love and betrayal. This Little Dark Place is narrated by a compelling voice, it’s original, and made for a dark read.

Daniels story is narrated through a series of letters which I felt worked really well, it gives an ominous feel to the book, a feeling that grows as Daniel reveals more about his life, we learn about his closest relationships, with his mother, wife Victoria and Ruby a prison pen pal.  The letters are written to Lucy, who is the mysterious Lucy? it’s a question that is central to the plot, and will put your head in a spin as you try to fathom out her connection to Daniel. This book held so many questions, but thankfully the author slowly and deftly reveals all the answers. 

At first Daniel appears to be your ‘average’ bloke living a fairly predictable life, that some would consider to be boring, he doesn’t appear to have any dreams, or inspirations to better himself. It’s only as A. S. Hatch peels away the layers of Daniels life that you realise that here’s a character whose not without flaws. Through the letters you can’t help but feel a degree of sympathy for Daniel, your privy to his every thought and emotion, as the reader you feel Daniel is writing the letters to you, pulling you into the tangled web that his life has become, but is Daniel a reliable narrator? That’s for you to read the book to find out! When we meet Ruby I found myself constantly questioning her motives wondering just how trustworthy she was, her introduction feels ominous, and gradually builds until I found myself holding my breath in anticipation. 

This Little Dark Place is a relatively short read at 283 pages, but sometimes the ‘best reads come in small packages’ and this book proves that. Like many psychological thrillers the story is very much character led, so at times the pace is much slower, not that it matters as the author slowly draws you into a well drawn, captivating read. I loved the fact that every time I thought I knew where the story was heading A. S. Hatch misled me at every turn. The author has written an exciting psychological thriller, it’s original in its writing, with an  unreliable narrator and more than enough surprises to keep the most avid psychological thriller lover entertained. Highly recommended by me of course! 

  • Print Length: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent’s Tail; Main edition (10 Sept. 2019)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to Serpent’s Tail and the author for my ARC in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. 

About the author

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A.S. Hatch grew up in Thornton-Cleveleys, a small town near Blackpool. After graduating in 2007 with a degree in journalism he moved to Taipei, Taiwan where he taught English as a foreign language for two years before moving to Melbourne, Australia. Andrew returned to the UK in 2013 and now lives in London where he works in political communications.

He began writing fiction at university. His novel Los Gigantes was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Prize in 2013 and his short story Flies was chosen by WyrdBooks Ltd as their short story of the month in October 2012.

Catch up with the blog tour…….

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**Making a dent in my book shelf** #MiniReviews #BookChallenge part 1

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One of my bookshelves

Like every book blogger in the country I have numerous books sat on my bookshelves I’ve been meaning to read for ages. So I decided to set myself a mini challenge and read as many books as I can from my own personal collection between now and the end of December (which December? I’m not sure yet😂🙈).

All the books mentioned were bought by myself in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

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Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it. 

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. 

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing. 

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wildfire (21 Feb. 2019)

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A disturbing story of toxic relationships, manipulation, desire and betrayal, I raced through Blood Orange by debut author Harriet Tyce. I genuinely enjoy a Psychological thriller that delves into the complexities of toxic relationships. I can genuinely say I loathed every character in this book. Alison appears to have it all, but it’s not enough, here’s a woman whose hell bent on pushing the ‘self destruct’ button. 

I’m afraid I lacked empathy for Alison, mostly because of her reckless behaviour, but such is the power of the author’s writing, I ended up hoping she would find a way to turn her life round and rid herself of the unhealthy relationship She had with her husband, and her lover. The men in Alison’s life are manipulative, bullies, and unpleasant,  any woman in control of her life would see the warning signs and run for the hills! And yet I really enjoyed this book, there’s an overwhelming sense of dread, as Alison’s life begins to unravel, and the all important tension increases all the way to the hugely satisfying finale. Highly recommended to those who enjoy unsettling, dark domestic noir. 

One Last Pray For The Rays by Wes Markin 

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School should be the safest place in the world. Not this winter.

Detective Michael Yorke faces his most harrowing case yet.

When 12-year-old Paul disappears from school, Yorke’s only clue is a pool of animal blood. Fearing the worst, he turns toward the most obvious suspect, recently released local murderer, Thomas Ray.

But as the snow in Salisbury worsens, Ray’s mutilated body is discovered, and Yorke is left with no choice but to journey into the sinister heart of a demented family that has plagued the community for generations. Can he save the boy? Or will the evil he discovers change him forever?

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As anyone who follows my blog will know I do love a crime thriller that veers towards the dark side, and One Last Prayer by Wes Markin fitted the bill perfectly, it’s brutal, gritty with more than a touch of the macabre. One Last Prayer For The Rays opens with a hell of a bang, and from that moment on the author holds you in his clutches with a gripping story, that’s shocking, gory, and so deliciously twisted

The story centres on 12-year-old Paul Ray who disappears from school, from a distance the Ray family could be seen as a generation of pig farmers, and nothing more, but delve into their murky and flawed family tree and you will find generation upon generation of depraved psychopaths, the kind that emit evil from every pore, where violence is the norm, and remorse is a word that doesn’t feature in their vocabulary! Dysfunctional doesn’t even come close to describing this family, but one things for sure their a family you won’t forget in a hurry.  One Last Prayer For The Rays is a strong police procedure,  fast paced read that gets darker and more tangled with each turn of the page. which made for a compulsive and thrilling read.  

If you are looking for a cosy Murder mystery then this definitely isn’t the book for you, but if you’re a crime thriller whose not adverse the the occasional gory scene then this one’s definitely for you. An incredibly strong debut and one to read with the lights on. This is the first book I read by Wes Markin, but it definitely won’t be my last. 

My thanks to Shell Baker at http://bakersnotsosecret.blog for recommending One Last Prayer For The Rays to me. 

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (29 Jan. 2019)

The Holiday by T.M. Logan 

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Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence. 

But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends. 

One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined. 

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

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If you were thinking of going on holiday with your closest friends, you may want to think again! The Holiday by T. M. Logan serves as a warning that it’s just possible that your best friends could also be your worse enemies! As three families, four friends,  find out when they spend a week together in Provence. This book is very much character driven, no fast paced plot here, but it certainly made for an intriguing read, shrouded in subterfuge each member of the family has something to hide. As the author reveals secret after secret each character comes under close scrutiny, all the characters have their flaws some have very unpleasant traits, to be honest they are a pretty unlikable bunch, but never the less this also made them more intriguing.

You never quite know who to trust as Kate tries to uncover which of her friends is having affair with her husband,  and the author doesn’t help by tantalising the reader with red herrings along the way. As the temperatures in Provence increase so does the tension between the four friends, what first starts out as a simmering niggle  develops into boiling rage of emotions that ends in tragedy. The plot is an interesting one which explores themes such as secrets, parenting, loyalty and betrayal. The Holiday is the perfect summer read for those who enjoy a slow burning psychological thriller. 

  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Zaffre (25 July 2019)