Tag Archives: Thriller

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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#BlogBlitz The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D Tysall @BloodhoundBook @annevansauthor #GuestPost

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D Tysal #BlogBlitz. Published by Bloodhound Books The Bitter End is a supernatural thriller, I must say I do love the sound of this book, and hope to read it at some point in the near future. I do have a guest post from Ann Smith which I really enjoyed reading, I hope you do too.

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An Interview with my Character. 

For this blog, I decided to speak to Father Wallace Willoughby, the parish priest and a neighbour of the protagonist, Paul Christian. 

Although Father Willoughby is a diminutive little man, he’s something of a fire and brimstone preacher and his loud booming voice can rattle the windows! Even so, I didn’t expect the reaction I got from him. 

He glared at me through those small round glasses of his, his voice fairly controlled – for the moment. “I’m afraid this is not a book I approve of,” he said. “In fact, I’m horrified that you could write about such dark and dreadful deeds.”

“It’s just fiction,” I reminded him, but he cut me short.

“The Good Lord did not grant you your writing skills to produce such heinous characters or such odious atrocities… and have you no thought for me?”

“You didn’t like the role then?”

“Well at first yes, I was flattered that you’d created me and it all started so innocently. But I had no idea what you… and that other author fellow – Tysall, Robert Tysall, had concocted.”

“Yes, well, that was the idea,” I tried to explain. “You don’t want the reader to guess what’s coming.”

“I didn’t see what was coming!” he bellowed. “How could you? I remember when you used to write nice children’s stories.”

“I like to try different genres,” I said, smiling, hoping he’d understand.

 He shook his head. “Alas, it is done, and the book – what is it called again – Ah yes, The Bitter End, is published and available for the world to read. And read it they will. You mark my words. The devil works in mysterious ways.”

“But it’s a fight for good conquering evil, Father Willoughby,” I reminded him.

He didn’t seem convinced and was actually a little sarcastic. “So, it’s a happy ending for all of the characters, is it?”

I sort of hung my head in shame. “Well, no, but…”

He sighed. “I shall be praying for the saving of your soul, my child.”

“Oh! Come on!” I argued. “It’s just a fictional story…”

“I enjoy fiction!” he said in that booming voice. “I, just like the Holy Father in Rome, am extremely fond of television’s Father Ted for instance. But really, The Bitter End goes a step too far.”

There was a grimace on my face. “Er, so you won’t be in book two?”

The disdainful glance he cast me provided the answer. 

I nodded and said goodbye, deciding it was probably best not to tell him that while he wouldn’t be in book two, possibly his older, and slightly stranger brother would be.

Book description

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.

 As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.

 Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?

 Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.

 Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.

 Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.

 As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

About the authors

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Ann Evans was born and bred in Coventry, West Midlands, and started writing just for fun after giving up her secretarial job to have her three children.

Having caught the writing ‘bug’ there was no stopping her, and as her children grew up, she continued to write for a variety of genres. She spent 13 years at her local newspaper as a Feature Writer as well as working freelance on magazine articles.

She also writes books for children, young adults, reluctant readers and some romance. (Ann Carroll) Her first adult crime novel, Kill or Die was published in 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

Having worked with writer/photographer Robert D. Tysall for many years through magazine work, Ann and Rob teamed up to write the supernatural thriller, The Bitter End – Ann’s first collaboration with another writer.  This will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer of 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-E vans-Books-146957850210/

https://twitter.com/annevansau thor

https://www.goodreads.com/auth or/show/9812907.Ann_Evans

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Robert Tysall was born and brought up in Rugby, Warwickshire, and played the sport the town is famous for in his youth, until he discovered a passion and talent for photography, music and writing poetry and song lyrics. His career so far has been a busy mix of being lead vocalist and percussionist in bands plus working as a professional freelance photographer.

He is currently in a 60s, 70s & Beatles duo, and lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Heather. He has two grown up children. Rob is multi published on the photographic side of things with countless magazine articles, generally working alongside writer Ann Evans.

For many years he has dabbled with ideas for stories and finally the time felt right with this book. It seemed a natural turn of events for both Rob and Ann to team up and write The Bitter End together.

With his debut novel completed, now there’s no stopping him, and two more book collaborations with Ann are currently in the pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/rober t.tysall

https://twitter.com/TYSALLSPHO TOS

If you want to follow the rest of the tour where you can read reviews for this book from some pretty awesome bloggers here’s the blog poster……

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#TheJourney by Conrad Jones @ConradJones @BloodhoundBook #MustReads

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I read Brick by Conrad Jones  back last year, and I’ve always been meaning to read other books by this author. So when I saw the author had a new book release The Journey I read the book description I knew it was one I had to read. Read on for my thoughts…….

Book description 

The gripping story of a young boy and his family, driven from their home by war and indiscriminate violence. Like millions of others, they attempt the treacherous journey across their war-torn continent, trying to reach the safety of Europe. 

The truth is, Europe doesn’t want them and thousands die every month at the hands of thieves and profiteering men to whom life is cheap. Kalu believes that he can lead his family to safety, he has planned for this. They have money, a plan and Kalu is, after all, the smartest man in Monguno. 

The story is fast-paced, at times funny, at times heart-breaking but it will pull you along at 100 miles an hour. It will make you think, it will make you question your perceptions. Most of all it will make you ask, if your family was in peril, what would you do?  

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I am sat here flabbergasted after finishing The Journey, what a simply fabulous heart-breaking read this turned out to be, and what a talented and versatile author Conrad Jones is. I picked up The Journey and even after reading the book description I thought it would lean heavily towards being a crime thriller, but my god I was so wrong, It’s a story of Human resilience, and the incredible lengths people will go to protect their family. Although a fictional account of refugees, it never the less made for a haunting read and a very credible one at that.  

The journey is a modern day tale of our times, and follows the harrowing story of ten year old Beb and his family who flee their village of Monuno after Boko Haram attack their village. Beb’s story is unfortunately a very credible one, it’s the reality that thousands of innocent people face every day. Conrad Jones describes scenes which are rich in detail, the suffering, the violence, the author doesn’t sugarcoat the atrocities carried out by Boko Haram, but neither does he use them for shock value.  

The author has created a family whose characters engage you from the start, you can’t help but connect with Beb and his family and thanks to the incredible detailed descriptions you feel you are there alongside the family on their treacherous journey to reach Europe, you feel their desperation and uncertainty and their fear, you can’t help but urge this family on as they face the unknown. The Journey depicts the best and worse in human behaviour, it’s harrowing without a doubt, heartbreaking and yet amid the horrors there’s an underlying sense of hope for some. I’m sure this book and Beb will haunt me for weeks, so convincing was Conrad Jones’s writing. Highly recommended 

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 196 pages

Publisher: Bloodhound Books (14 May 2018)

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The Fear by C.L. Taylor #BookReview #Mustreads2018 @AvonBooksUK @callytaylor

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If you are looking for a dark and twisted thriller, I may just have the book for you. The Fear by C.L.Taylor was published by Avon on the 22nd March 2018, read on for my thoughts…

Book description

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

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There are a handful of authors books I would happily pick up without reading the book description and C.L. Taylor is one of them, she has the ability to turn a well used subject in fiction and turn it into the most twisted and extraordinary tale. The Fear is no different, Shocking, compelling, fraught with tension and guaranteed to keep you turning the pages as if your life depended on it.

Anyone who is a parent with a teenage girl will immediately be struck by a sense of unease when they pick up this book as it deals with the uncomfortable subject of a grooming, although it’s very much part of the plot it never felt unjustified and the author shows a great deal of sympathy and understanding towards the victims. Told from three POV Lou, teenager Chloe and the mysterious Wendy the author has an uncanny knack of breathing life into her characters so much so you feel their emotions and their pain but most importantly they are very credible. Lou and Chloe both take the same path, and “fall in love” with a predator, they are each at different points in their life, and yet they still share so many of the same emotions guilt, hatred and fear to name but a few.

Another character who deserves a mention is Mike how I detested him, he literally made my skin crawl. Poor Lou and Chloe both starved of affection and desperate for attention as children made them the perfect “victims” for Mike. It makes you realise how driven and manipulating pedophiles are in their pursuit of their prey, and how vulnerable girls are drawn into harmful relationships. What made this book an original read were the different characters perspectives of their relationship with Mike and the exploration of the after-mass of such damaging relationships and the complex emotions involved.

The second half of the book takes an ominous turn and I’m sure some readers may find this part of the book “far fetched” I just thought “who knows what we would do if we found ourself in a similar dilemma” so I was happy to go along with the direction C.L. Taylor took The Fear. The telling of Lou and Chloe’s story is imaginative, compelling and shocking, it’s a story that those who enjoy a book with moral dilemmas will find thought provoking, but at the same time a highly engrossing read. Highly recommended.

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Print Length: 400 pages

Publisher: Avon (22 Mar. 2018)

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The Photographer by Craig Robertson #BookReview @SimonschusterUK

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Book description

The sergeant took some from each box and spread them around the floor so they could all see. Dozens upon dozens of them. DI Rachel Narey’s guess was that there were a few hundred in all.

Photographs.

Many of them were in crowd scenes, some just sitting on a park bench or walking a dog or waiting for a bus or working in shops. They seemed to have no idea they’d been photographed.

A dawn raid on the home of a suspected rapist leads to a chilling discovery, a disturbing collection hidden under floorboards. Narey is terrified at the potential scale of what they’ve found and of what brutalities it may signal.

When the photographs are ruled inadmissible as evidence and the man walks free from court, Narey knows she’s let down the victim she’d promised to protect and a monster is back on the streets.

Tony Winter’s young family is under threat from internet trolls and he is determined to protect them whatever the cost. He and Narey are in a race against time to find the unknown victims of the photographer’s lens – before he strikes again.

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I have a BIG Confession to make “I have never read a book written by Craig Robertson” what a terrible book blogger I am! so my apologises to Mr Robertson in my defence I would say “I have so many books, but so little time”. Anyway I have now rectified the situation by reading The Photographer and I’m so glad I did! I loved it. I should mention this is the seventh book in the series, now I’m one of those readers that likes to start a series at the beginning as I always feel I’m at a disadvantage if I start a series midway, but strangely enough I didn’t feel like this reading The Photographer, so I would say it can easily be read as a standalone.

What a read The Photographer turned out to be, compelling, thought provoking and so well plotted, it’s a book that deals with some highly emotional and disturbing themes. I must mention that every scene, every description is relevant to the plot, and although uncomfortable at times the author writes with a great deal of sensitivity and insight.

This book made for a topical and a very credible read, you only have to pick up a newspaper to see such crimes are very much part of the society we live in today, alongside that comes the ugly side of human nature, the need to judge someone else, form an opinion without the facts and then trolling their venom and inflammatory comments on social media. Craig Robertson has created an array of characters who are well developed, each has a different opinion on the crimes committed, but each and everyone of them brings something to this well told story.

The author has written a compelling crime thriller but this book has so much more to offer there are so many themes that are bought to light in this book which I would like to discuss in more detail but then I would definitely be entering spoil territory which is never my intention when writing a review. What I will say is the author raises many issues, thoughts and views which in turn evoked strong emotions in myself. As I read The Photographer the tension became unbearable I found myself desperate for justice to be served for the victims. This has to be one of the best crime books I’ve read this year gripping, horrific but so cleverly plotted, this is one book I will be highly recommending to anyone and everyone.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 448 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (25 Jan. 2018)

Close To Home by Cara Hunter #BookReview @CaraHunterBooks

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Book description

Someone took Daisy Mason. Someone YOU KNOW.

Last night, 8-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from her parents’ summer party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying. DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew. That means someone is lying. And that Daisy’s time is running out…

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, CLOSE TO HOME is a pulse-pounding race against time and a penetrating examination of what happens to a community when a shocking crime is committed by one of its own.

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There are so many crime books on the market that involve children going missing, that I sometimes find myself picking them up with a “sigh” partly because I read so many crime thrillers it also means I’ve read lots of “children go missing” books. So for a book to stand out with this theme it has to be more than a “just so” read, it’s got to have an element of surprise or the “shock factor”, so when I picked up Close To Home I wasn’t convinced this book would have much more to offer than many other crime books dealing with the same subject. At this point I should apologise to the author Cara Hunter I take back all I said, Close To Home has to be one of the most exciting and riveting crime thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

Close to home is part police procedure and part psychological thriller, the novel follows DI Adam Fawley, a man who lost his own child, he finds himself leading the investigation into the disappearance of eight year old Daisy Mason. The author uses tweets, Facebook and witnesses interviews to good effect, it not only gave the book a very up to date twist, but as a reader I actually felt like I was part of the investigation. The date and timeline stamps peppered throughout this book added weight to the investigation, as the reader you can’t help but feel the tension, the frustration, and the frantic pace of the investigation.

Cara Hunter does a remarkable job in pointing the finger of suspicion at numerous dubious characters, I found myself going back and fourth looking for a motive and the culprit. The characters are complex and more importantly very convincing, you have the very odd and despicable Mason family who immediately rouse suspicion, and then you have Detective Inspector Fawley, like many fictional Detectives he has his demons, but unlike lots of crime thrillers the author has chosen to not reveal all and Fawley remains something of an enigma, I think part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much was the fact that Fawley’s character is secondary to the investigation and doesn’t overshadow the plot as some fictional Detectives tend to do.

The last ten percent of Close To Home is electrifying as the evidence mounts up, the author manages to keep the reader in suspense.  I found myself to-ing and fro-ing between suspects and scenarios,  it’s not often an author manages to keep me utterly engrossed to such an extent I found myself getting irritated every time I was interrupted, I even thought about locking myself in the bathroom, and believe me the thought crossed my mind once or twice. I think Cara Hunter has a bestseller on her hands Close To Home is  gripping, shocking  and made for an heart pounding read.  Personally I can’t wait to read the second book in this highly entertaining series, and just in case you haven’t guessed It’s one of those books I will be shouting about and recommending to anyone and everyone.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Viking (14 Dec. 2017)

**Blog Tour** The House by Simon Lelic @PenguinUKBooks #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be hosting The House blog tour. The House is written by Simon Lelic and will be published by Viking Books in paperback on 3rd November 2017. If you can’t wait until then, the eBook version is available now.

 

Book description

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

My review

Moving into your dream home should be the happiest of times right? Wrong!, take Jack and Syd ,their dream home turns into there worse nightmare. This is going to be one of those reviews that may seem vague but in truth it’s a difficult book to review without giving away major spoilers. The one thing I will say is the book description very much leads the reader in the wrong direction, of course the house is pinnacle to the plot, but this novel has far much more to offer. Although the descriptions of the house provide the reader with a creepy and atmospheric setting, it’s the undertone of malevolence that made this novel such a compelling and disturbing read.

The story is narrated in the alternating perspectives of Syd and Jack, the author chooses to narrate The House in a very distinctive style concentrating on the perspectives of Jack and Syd told in the style of a journal. To begin with I found this style of writing difficult to follow at first it appears to be a hotchpotch of memories, thoughts and events. As I got use to the style of writing I found it was actually a very effective ploy as we learn about the backgrounds and personalities of the couple, as well as the progressively mysterious and creepy events that start to take place in their home. It’s only when you reach the second half of the book you realise just how cleverly Simon Lelic has misdirected the reader.

The House has a very gothic feel to it which certainly puts the reader on edge, the sounds, the smells and the secrets hidden within the house add to the anxiety I felt as a reader. I would never have guessed where this novel was heading as the author always manages to keep one step ahead, which I find always heightens my enjoyment of a book. I do love the unexpected and this book certainly has plenty of those “OMG” moments, there were so many twist and turns my head was spinning. This is the first book I have read by Simon Lelic and I’m impressed, The House is complex, creepy full of surprises and definitely a book I would recommend if you like a twisted thriller.

Print Length: 342 pages

Publisher: Penguin (17 Aug. 2017)

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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I was born in Brighton in 1976 and, after a decade or so living in London and trying to convince myself that the tube was fine, really, because it gave me a chance to read, my wife and I moved back to Brighton with our three young children. That Barnaby, Joseph and Anja’s grandparents happened to live close enough by to be able to offer their babysitting services was, of course, entirely coincidental.

As well as writing, I run an import/export business. I say this, when people ask, with a wink but I fool no one: I am more Del Trotter than Howard Marks. My hobbies (when I have time for them) include reading (for which I make time, because I can just about get away with claiming this is also work), golf, tennis, snowboarding and karate. My weekends belong to my family (or so my wife tells me), as does my heart.

I studied history at the University of Exeter. After graduating I was qualified, I discovered . . . to do an MA. After that I figured I had better learn something useful, so took a post-grad course in journalism. I know, I know: so much for learning something useful. After working freelance and then in business-to-business publishing, I now write novels. Not useful either, necessarily, but fun and, in its own way, important.

Links to the author: Website     Twitter

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