The Murder House by Michael Wood

An easy 5 stars from me!

First things first, this is book 5 in the DCI Matilda Darke series so do yourself a favour and start with book one! Then book two… Then book three… Then book four

The opening scenes are brutal and set the stage perfectly for the rest of the story. I was utterly gripped from the very first page of The Murder House and I fell straight back in with DCI Darke and her team as they raced to find the killer who has seeming butchered a ‘perfect’ family in cold blood.

Michael’s writing style is sublime and the way he captures the differing personalities of characters within the book is an absolute masterclass in the craft. All of the characters, from a prostitute who fills a few paragraphs, to the individual members of the team are well defined, individual and believable.

There appears to be a plethora of potential suspects, virtually everyone is lying about something and Matilda should know better by now than to take risks! There are some proper spooky scenes in The Murder House, plenty of peril and a nice number of red herrings to boot!

In among the horrors of the murder and the inevitable ‘whodunnit’ there are some wonderfully woven relationships, personal problems, office politics all running alongside the backdrop of Matilda and her life.

I long for this series to be televised; it is just perfect for it.

I absolutely adore the character Matilda and hugely look forward to new books in the series when they come out. I simply cannot recommend this series enough. If you have a book lover in your life this series would truly make the perfect Christmas gift!

Synopsis: It’s the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen…

The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride’s entire family are stabbed to death – in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined.

Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda’s team, someone is playing games with the evidence – and the killer might be closer to home than they thought…

SHE by H C Warner

4 Stars from me

I blame Charlotte!

I loved the characters in SHE, even the horrid ones and there were a few, the family dynamics and relationships between friends felt really well constructed.

It was a difficult read in places as Warner pushes the reader to the edges of acceptability in terms of what constitutes ‘story’ and what constitutes ‘shock value’ and for me SHE is very firmly the right side of the line. An important subject matter seemed to me to be deal with in a very pragmatic manner.

I really thought I’d be giving SHE a 5 star rating but a couple of things just made that impossible for me – the part where the book flips to a different viewpoint, I have to be honest and say my heart sank, I really didn’t want to have to read everything all over again. Plus there just seemed too many occasions where in reality people would have spoken up or stepped in.

Otherwise – and I am hesitant because I can see from other reviews that a lot of people are wild for the bit where the POV flips so please don’t let my silly old opinion put you off – SHE is a great psychological thriller, I totally kept on turning the pages wanting to read more and see what would happen next.

Synopsis: She’s everything he dreamed of. Isn’t she? Ben can’t believe his luck when the beautiful Bella walks into his life, just when he needs her most.

Still bruised and vulnerable since breaking-up with long-term girlfriend, Charlotte, he falls head over heels in love.

But Bella isn’t quite the ideal partner that Ben believes her to be. She quickly decides that everything is better when it is just the two of them – making it harder for friend and family to stay in touch. And then a sudden death triggers a chain of events that throws Ben headlong into a nightmare…

Secrets, lies, vengeance, and betrayal are at the heart of this story about a family that is destroyed when their son brings home the perfect girl…

All The Rage by Cara Hunter

5 Stars from me

Well it is fair to say that Cara Hunter does not lack for imagination. All The Rage is chock-full of suspects and has at least eleventybillion potential different outcomes – all of which you try and compute as you race through the pages.

Beautiful Oxford comes to life within this story and in a way the Cambridge does during the Cambridge Blue series.

DI Adam Fawley is a complex little bunny isn’t he, even so I find him very likeable and he has that dogged determination that all the very best literary detectives possess – if you were a victim he’d be the guy you’d want investigating and if you were guilty of something you’d be hoping he wasn’t! That said, he has a strong team too and it was nice to read a book where it wasn’t just the lead detective who was worthy of glory.

As ever with Cara Hunter’s books there is a moral and social thread within this story and this made it all the more interesting for me. There are some disturbing elements and there is a lot to think about within this beautifully crafted story.

As great as this book was to read, I am utterly sure it would be fantastic televised – I can picture a lot of the scenes and really think the whole thing would make for a magic tv series.

Synopsis: A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back . . .

WHAT EVERYONE IS SAYING ABOUT CARA HUNTER
‘Your next riveting, twisty read’ Shari Lapena
‘A real gripper of a read’ Peter James
‘Fast paced and a fantastic cast of characters. Kept me guessing to the end – and I loved the final reveal’ Fiona Barton
‘Cancel everything. You’re not going anywhere until you finish reading this’ Emily Koch

Left For Dead by Paul J. Teague

4 Stars from me

I loved reading about Morecambe Bay and enjoyed the contrast of the vibrant holiday town from the past versus the now dilapidated and neglected holiday camp that is ripe for redevelopment today.

Will and Charlotte were a bit of a complex couple, seems to me they need to communicate better! It was a little bittersweet to read of them as a young couple and then see how much they’d lost each other along the way.

Lots of great characters throughout this book with a nice amount of attention paid to some of the non key characters too which I always think is a nice touch.

This is pretty much a mystery book and I was excited to learn that it is the first in a series – we desperately need some new crime thriller dramas on TV, could this be the next big thing?

My thanks to Paul J Teague and BOTBSPublicity for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Synopsis: A return to the past. Two guilty secrets. A memory that won’t stay buried…

When Charlotte and Will Grayson return to the seaside resort where they met as teenagers, they hope it’ll help to heal the wounds in their marriage.

But visiting the dilapidated holiday camp where their relationship began brings terrible memories back from the past.

The man who’d once made their lives hell has come back to find them – only, the last time they saw him, they’d left him for dead on the beach.

As the threats to their new life become more severe, Charlotte and Will discover that they were mistaken about what happened to Bruce Craven on that fateful night.

And now he’s returned to finish off what was started thirty years ago.

Sometimes the past is best left alone…

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulTeagueUK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulteagueauthor/

Thriller website: https://paulteague.co.uk/

Left for Dead is the first book in the Morecambe Bay Trilogy.
Book 2 is Circle of Lies and will be published on Monday 9th December 2019.
Book 3 is Truth Will Out and will be published on Monday 6th January 2020.

Seven Days by Alex Lake

5 Stars from me

Wow, Seven Days is deeply disturbing and emotive read about a typical young girl who is snatched by a local predator and kept captive in his basement for years and years. He repeatedly rapes her resulting in three children and it is the third one who forms the focus of our story as she becomes determined not to let him die.

I couldn’t help but draw parallels with Room and I wonder if one inspired the other?

The whole family backstory was beautifully orchestrated and I really enjoyed the thought and creativity that went into the construction of their lives.

Seven Days is a brilliantly clever book and a captivating read, I had genuine trouble putting it down. Much like other books I have read by Alex Lake it is emotive, interesting and cleverly put together. Very much recommended.

 

 

Synopsis: The twisty new psychological thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author

A race against time to save her child…

In seven days, Maggie’s son, Seb, 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 Seb, 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…

Who Did You Tell by Lesley Kara

4 Stars from me

This book is in part a fascinating peek into the world of the AA, the meetings, the ‘Big Book, the ‘twelve steps’, and the sheer risk and trust you are forced to have with a room full of strangers. I really enjoyed this part of the story and found it – and Astrid’s struggle not to drink – really interesting.

I read Who Did You Tell in a day and found it hard to put the book down as I struggled to work out who was stalking Astrid and why, who she could trust and whether her relationship with Josh was going to work as she tried her best to leave the past behind.

The small town vibe was hilarious, I loved all the nosy neighbours and busybodies.

And, who isn’t in love with Josh? What a sweetie.

Synopsis: It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around.

Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she’s wronged.

But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected.

Some mistakes, you have to pay for…

The Silent House by Nell Pattison

4 Stars from me

Such a clever story! I found myself truly quite fascinated by the introduction to the deaf community within this book – the deaf club, the signing during arguments (selfishly something I’ve never thought about before, but when we argue we shout over each other while walking away, stomping around, from different rooms etc but deaf people would have to have self restraint in order to keep watching and signing while arguing).

Paige and her sister were great characters, there was something quite sweet and naive about them and the way they set about trying to find the killer.

The elements of peril when Paige felt under threat were great and really unnerving. There were so many scenes were I was willing her not to do what she was doing! I devoured this book and just had to keep reading to see what happened next and ultimately which of these characters could murder a sweet child in cold blood.

The scenes with her love interests were fab too, again really quite sweet and I was routing for the policeman!

Overall, Nell Pattison, has created a clever little whodunnit style police procedural with the added dimension of a huge number of the characters and potential suspects/victims being deaf. I really enjoyed it.

Synopsis: If someone was in your house, you’d know. Wouldn’t you? But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare.

The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.

One by one, people Paige knows from the Deaf community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl?

Was it an intruder?

Or was the murderer closer to home?

This mystery will keep you up all night – perfect for fans of The Silent Patient and Cara Hunter