Tag Archives: Psychological thriller

#TheLingering by SJI Holliday @OrendaBooks @SJIHolliday #MustReads #BookReview

 

Today I’m sharing my review for The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it’s a book that’s full of suprises and a book that’s certainly going to be on my top reads of 2018 list. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description……  

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

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When I pick up a novel I’m always looking for a read that will captivate my imagination, a novel that leaves me breathless, one that will unnerve me and one where I reach the last page I immediately want to read it again, novels that make me feel like this are a rare breed indeed, well up until now that is. I’m not going to beat about the bush I loved The Lingering by SJI Holliday, it was the perfect read for me, I found it to be creepy, and very, very dark. Part ghost story, part domestic thriller, the author  tantalises the reader with the mystery surrounding Rosalind House and its occupants, when you add to the mix odd occurrences and strange sightings well let’s just say “this novel made for a disquieting, but oh so thrilling read”.

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardner are seeking a fresh start and decide to move to  Rosalind House a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, but what dark secrets are the couple hiding? Once they arrive it’s not long before the couple experience ghostly happenings, and that’s when this novel gets bone chillingly creepy.  Rosalind House, an abandoned asylum is the perfect setting for this novel, it hides a tragic past, where secrets and passed misdoings are hidden in the very fabric of the building. It’s a building steeped in myths and legends where bad things happened, and as the author slowly reveals its dark and deadly secrets I found myself becoming more fearful at each turn of the page.    

The characters in The Lingering are fabulously depicted, rich in personality, and complex. Jack and Ali Gardner what a couple, their relationship is one based on coercion and control, a relationship that’s shrouded in lies and deceit. You know from the beginning the couple are hiding something BIG, and that alone adds an over whelming sense of uneasiness that intensifies as the Gardner’s dark secrets are slowly revealed.

I guess the spooky supernatural element might not suit all crime fiction fans, but if like me you read The Lingering with an open mind I’m sure you will end up loving it as much as I did. The Lingering explores the nature of true evil, the psychological aspect of this novel is dark in tone as the author delves into the minds of a very disturbed couple. This novel is exceptionally well plotted, original, creepy and very disturbing and yet it is one of the most compelling novels I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time, and definitely a contender for my “book of the year”. Highly, highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Lingering  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 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 reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Sept. 2018)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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#InHerShadow by Mark Edwards #BookReview @AmazonPub @Mredwards #MustReads

Today I’m sharing my review for Mark Edwards latest book In Her Shadows, which is published on the Thursday 4th October but firstly here’s the book description…….

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Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead.

For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.

As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.

Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

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Mark Edwards books never fit neatly into one particular genre, and In Her Shadow is no different, is it a psychology thriller? Possibly, horror? it definitely has elements of that fit this genre, supernatural? there’s plenty of events that suggest it could be, see what I mean?The reader is never sure what the author has planned, and that’s one of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of  this authors work, he turns the most ordinary events into an extraordinary tale. In Her Shadow is spine-chilling creepy, it’s one of those books where your nerves are frayed, the  slightest noise will make you jump, there’s a sense of impending doom which only intensifies as the plot thickens, it’s  a story that’s brimming with suspense, misdirection and the most delicious twists.   

Jessica is mum to  four year old Olivia who appears to be communicating with Jessica’s sister Isabel, but that’s where things take a creepy and disturbing turn as Isabel died four years ago when she fell from the balcony of her house. At the time the fall was seen to be a tragic accident but Olivia has other ideas and soon Jessica is convinced that there is something far more sinister behind her sisters accident. In Her Shadows reminded me a little of the film The Sixth Sense, it’s the one where a young boy talks to dead people, I got the same sense of unease whilst reading this book. Olivia’s character is definitely the star of In Her Shadows, I had permanent goose bumps as Olivia’s behaviour became more disturbing, especially when she started  sharing memories that only Jessica and Izzy would have known about. 

Familiar themes run through this book, family secrets, lies and obsession but Mark Edwards adds his unique voice making the themes his own. I loved the way the author always manages to make his books multi genre, and even with elements of the supernatural In Her Shadows felt frighteningly credible. Add into the mix unreliable characters that as the reader you find yourself  constantly doubting how trustworthy they actually are. The author also leaves little time to contemplate because as each chapter ends the plot thickens, which certainly added to my enjoyment of this read. I really enjoy the fact you never know what story will be hidden in the pages of a new Mark Edwards books, but one thing you can be guaranteed it will be a highly entertaining read. Definitely one for fans of psychological thrillers. Highly recommended.

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (4 Oct. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Book of the month **August and September 2018** chosen by the book review café

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WOW I can’t believe I’m sat here choosing my book of the month for September, where’s the year gone? I didn’t read as many books as I would have liked in September, but there was ONE book that stood out for me, yes you read that right. Anyone who follows my blog will know I always struggle to choose one book for the book of the month and have been known to have two or even three books included.

As I was on holiday at the beginning of September I never got around to posting my book of the month for August, so I’m including these in my post, and normal service resumes and there were two books I loved for my August book of the month 😂🙈. So without further ……

Book of the month **August**

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Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell

There are so many police procedure crime thrillers on the market, so for me personally to commit  to a new crime series it’s got to grab me by the throat,  with an interesting protagonist, gripping story line and plenty of heart thumping moments that leave me desperate to read more and guess what? Truth And Lies ticks every box and more.  You can read my full review here……#TruthAndLies by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_Writes #MustReads #NewCrimeSeries

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Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan

Oh, what a tangled web Jack Jordan weaves when first he practice to deceive” and boy does he deceive in the best possible way, what a gripping and compelling read Before Her Eyes turned out to be,  this book rattles along like a express train, giving the reader no time to breathe. Full of misdirection and unreliable characters I can honestly say “this is definitely the authors best book yet”. Perhaps a **word of warning** from the wise (cough!) clear your schedule, lock the doors, it’s one of those books that the slightest irritation will bug the life out of you. Full review here …….**Blog tour** #BeforeHerEyes by Jack Jordan @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #Must Reads2018

Book Of The month **September**

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The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood

OMG what a book The Hangman’s Hold turned out to be, this is one of my all time favourite crime procedure series, so I knew I was in for a thrilling read but Michael Wood has taken this brilliant series to a whole new level. It’s a shocker, brutal, dark and fabulously twisted in the best possible way. It’s not often when I finish a book I’m lost for words but I must admit I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then re-read the last few chapters just to process what I was reading.  Michael Wood is a gifted story teller and deserves high praise indeed as this is definitely the best book in the series so far.  Although this book could easily be read as a standalone I would urge you to start at the beginning just because you are missing out on a “must read” series. Full review here….**Blog tour** The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction  

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**Blog Tour** #SuspendedRetribution by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

**Blog Blitz** #TheForgotten by Casey Kelleher @CaseyKelleher @Bookouture

**Blog tour** #DoNoHarm by L V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater

**Blog tour** #BeforeHerEyes by Jack Jordan @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #Must Reads2018

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I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for one of my most anticipated reads of the year Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan. If you enjoy a psychological thriller with lots of twists and a gripping story line look no further, read on for me review, but firstly the book description……

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She can’t see the killer

But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in a small, claustrophobic town, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But then she stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. 

Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

As the police begin hunting the person responsible and more victims are discovered, Naomi is forced to answer the question on which her fate hangs: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

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“Oh, what a tangled web Jack Jordan weaves when first he practice to deceive” and boy does he deceive in the best possible way, what a gripping and compelling read Before Her Eyes turned out to be,  this book rattles along like a express train, giving the reader no time to breathe. Full of misdirection and unreliable characters I can honestly say “this is definitely the authors best book yet”. Perhaps a **word of warning** from the wise (cough!) clear your schedule, lock the doors, it’s one of those books that the slightest irritation will bug the life out of you. 

What I loved about this book was it felt far more menacing than most psychological thrillers I read, partly because the protagonist Naomi is blind, this adds a creepy vibe to the whole plot as you realise the killer is hiding in “plain sight”  I felt the hairs on the back on my neck stand on end as things became far more sinister. When Naomi stumbles across a body, and knows there is someone there in the shadows watching her, her sense of fear and anxiety were palatable,  countless times I found myself holding my breath on her behalf. This turned out to be a nerve wrecking book, as the author puts Naomi in jeopardy on more than one occasion.  Before Her Eyes is fraught with tension and feels very claustrophobic thanks to the “small town, living in everyone’s pockets” setting and Naomi’s condition.  

Detective Markus Campbell is at the centre of the police investigation and he’s certainly got his work cut out with a cold case and more victims being discovered, but he’s determined to get to the truth and protect Naomi. Jack Jordan deviously keeps  the attention of the reader deliberately focused on the numerous red herrings and false motives in order to conceal the identity of the murderer, and my god he does it with confidence and flair. The author teases the reader by throwing numerous “suspects” into the ring, just when I thought I had it all worked out it and had the culprit  firmly in sight, he deviously twisted the knife (excuse the poor pun) and made me question everything I had read.  

As reviews go I’m keeping this one vague as I would hate to spoil the read for others, but I do hope this review will pique your interest enough to pick this book up. With an original premise Before Her Eyes made for a terrifying and atmospheric thriller, I literally read this book in one hugely satisfying sitting. As psychological thrillers go this is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year, I really enjoyed the element of surprise that I can find sometimes lacking in this genre.  Highly recommended.

 This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving Before Her Eyes 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 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: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (16 Aug. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), and Before Her Eyes (2018). 

To find out more about Jack, enter numerous annual giveaways to win signed copies of his books, and be one of the first to hear of new book releases and news, follow him here:

Facebook: JackJordanOfficial

Twitter: @JackJordanBooks

Instagram: @JackJordan_Author

Goodreads: JackJordanOfficial

If my review hasn’t convinced you to buy this  book, you may want to check out my fellow book bloggers  reviews…..

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**Blog tour** #DoNoHarm by L V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the many bloggers taking part in the blog tour for Do No Harm by L V Hay, published by Orenda books,  you don’t even have to wait to get a copy, one click and it’s yours, but a **word of warning** you may want to clear your schedule before starting this one As it’s such a compelling read. Before I share my thoughts here’s the book description……..

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After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…

Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…

Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

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What a fabulous and captivating  psychological thriller Do No Harm turned out to be. Deviously plotted the L V Hay delivers a story with sustained tension, surprises, and a constant sense of impending doom, definitely my kind of read. There is nothing  I find more satisfying than reading a book that heightens my feelings of anticipation, excitement and anxiety and this is one of those rare books that managed to evoke all these feelings and more.  

Lily is looking forward to starting a new life with Sebastian, she believes she can finally shut the door on her first marriage to Maxwell, a possessive control freak, but before the ink has even had time to dry on the marriage certificate, it soon becomes apparent  someone will do anything to break the couple up. Hay drags the reader into a compelling plot that’s claustrophobic and very tense, you very much feel like a “fly on the wall” as the couples life begins to unravel, you want to jump into the pages and warn them “to trust no one”. 

Do No Harm is an unsettling tale of obsession, Lucy Hay explores the persistent disturbing preoccupation someone appears to have with the couple through occasional chapters told from their POV, it’s these chapters that make you realise how obsession can turn into something much more dangerous and chilling.  The author has created a cast of characters who can only be described as untrustworthy, and that’s the thing I loved about this book as the reader your on high alert looking for inconsistencies in the characters dialogue, constantly second guessing and trying to work out who and why someone is manipulating the couples relationship, I think every character featured as a “suspect” at some point hence my constant feelings of anxiety.  Although I did guess the “culprit” correctly I still really enjoyed this book as I was stilll left wondering WHY? and the motive behind   their increasingly disturbing behaviour.  

Do No Harm has all the ingredients I’ve come to expect in a psychological thriller and then some,  with unstable characters, steeped in mystery and suspense.  I raced through this book, it’s satisfyingly twisted and made for a compelling read.  I should mention I loved the conclusion so satisfying and yet shocking. L V Hay is definitely an author to look out for and I’m excited to see what twisted plot she comes up with in her next book.  Highly recommended. 

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Jun. 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. Lucy’s the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS for fiction as well as screenwriting. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN,  published by  Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine.

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Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #BookReview @penguinrandom @riley_sager #SummerReads

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Today I’m sharing my review for The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager another one of my most anticipated reads of the year, before I share my review here’s the book description

Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all… 

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Riley Sager is back with a cracker of a crime thriller,  I was a huge fan of his debut novel Final Girls , Last Time I Lied is intense, addictive, and such a Compelling read . I do love the way the authors books are written, they very much remind me of the 1980’s scarey  movies I was so fond of back in the day, minus the dramatic music of course! A word of **Warning** once you pick this book up prepared to drop everything else, full of misdirection and deceit it’s a book that’s nigh on impossible to put down. One thing I will say if you loved Final Girls for the horror/slasher vibe running through it, you may find The Last Time I Lied slightly disappointing as this book isn’t as dark, but never the less I still found it a really enjoyable read.

Years after Emma’s three friends went into the woods and disappeared, she returns to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale, hoping to find out what really happened to the three young girls. Oh how I absolutely adore an unreliable and troubled narrator, and boy does Emma fit the bill perfectly. Her story is one of teenage lies and mental illness, which make this book so unpredictable. Last Time I Lied is told  through past and present chapters, all I will say is the author is a master in deception, so good luck with trying to separate fact from fiction, as I didn’t even get close to working out where this tale was heading.  

Although some may consider the start to be a slow one, it’s definitely worth persevering, Riley Sager firstly sets the tone and atmosphere of the story helped along by Camp Nightingale the perfect location for a crime come horror thriller, with a cinematic narrative it feels like you are actually watching a movie rather than reading a book. With an underlying sense of menace running through its pages Last Time I Lied is definitely one to be read during day light hours. As a huge crime thriller reader there is nothing I like more satisfying than an author  taking me by surprise, now this could be an unexpected plot twist or something else entirely, and the author managed both, to the “why” or the “what” my lips are sealed. Highly recommend.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Digital (12 July 2018)

 

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧          Amazon US 🇺🇸

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**Blog tour** #NowYouSeeHer by Heidi Perks @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing #SummerReads

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Blog tour for Now You See Her by Heidi Perks, I have a feeling this is going to be one of the most talked about reads this summer. Before I share my review here’s the book description……

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She’s playing at the school fete with your children. You pull out your phone, scroll through Facebook, and look up again.

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Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable, tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.

Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

E1F3660A-E5FA-4419-8451-16F1D13B7348Three year old Alice goes missing, hardly an original theme you might think and to some degree I would agree with you,  but then Heidi Perks comes along and turns what could have been another “run of the mill” psychological thriller into something very special. Imagine being asked to look after your best friends child and then you lose them, what would be worse losing  your own child or someone else’s? that’s pretty much the premise for Now You See Her. Friendships are tested, scrutinised And dissected, fingers of suspicion are pointed, making Now You See Her a suspense fuelled and very compelling read.  

Unusual in a book with this theme the main focus isn’t on the police investigation but centres around the two main characters Charlotte and her best friend Harriet, both flawed, with very different personalities. The author explores their unlikely friendship and as she scratches away at the surface she deftly pulls the threads of their friendship apart. I found my feelings towards both characters constantly shifting as more details about them were revealed, I found myself distrustful of both characters at different points of the story, which certainly added to my enjoyment of this book. There’s one character who deserves a mention without giving too much away, they made my skin crawl and my hackles rise,  definitely a testament to the author’s writing skills that a character could get under my skin and stir up emotions I wasn’t expecting.  

Now You See Her alternates in chapters between Charlotte and Harriet and move back and forth between events before and after Alice’s disappearance. Sometimes I can struggle with this format, but not this time this form of story telling actually made this book a more enjoyable read as I found myself constantly second guessing things. I did have a niggling feeling I knew where the plot was heading and although I guessed correctly the author still managed to surprise me on one or more occasions.  

I wouldn’t consider Now You See Her to be action packed, but like many psychological thrillers the emphasis is very much on the characters, you will find yourself doubting them, questioning their motives, and desperately turning the pages to get to the truth. With familiar themes of deception, manipulation and secrets Now You See Her is a book I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy a psychological thriller with intriguing characters. Personally I think this book is the perfect beach read,  and I can definitely see this being one of the most talked about books this summer.  

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Century (26 July 2018)

Buying links :    Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.

Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.

Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.

She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional. 

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