The Other People by C J Tudor

4 Stars from me

What an incredible storyline! Much like with The Taking of Annie Thorne CJ Tudor has created a surreal and captivating core within the story of The Other People.

The concept of ‘The Other People’ is both creepy and fascinating – I wonder if Tudor had fun researching the ins and outs of the dark web!

Poor Gabe really has led a life plagued with nightmare scenarios, he seems to have lurched from one awful situation to another.

Seeing his daughter in a car and then being told that she couldn’t have been there because she had died… what a way to mess with his mind!

This is a satisfying read which requires a little suspension of belief in reality but just go with it as the story is superb!

Blurb: She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or ‘the thin man’ as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it’s like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn’t seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they’re dead.

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

4 Stars from me

Classic Coben! The book packs so much in that you will fast be immersed in the story and invested in the characters.

Wilde is a ‘Jack Reacher’ style guy with an incredible past that ties him to the family of ruthless criminal attorney Hester Crimstein. He is liked and respected by men and adored by (several) women.

The story focuses on a missing teenager and a murky political past but also manages to weave in some nice emotive touches and several peaks of tension.

Overall, very Coben and very readable!

Blurb: A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away.

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

5 Stars from me

Just like the stonking debut ‘Dead Inside‘ from Noelle Holten, ‘Dead Wrong’ does not disappoint.

After reading Dead Inside I remember thinking I wish it featured DC Maggie Jamieson more, and in Dead Wrong I got my wish!

This is a fresh and exciting police procedural with a twist – a serial killer has been convicted and is in prison – so how can his freshly killed victims only just be appearing now?

Dead Wrong has a clever storyline and a whole bunch of dead ends and red herrings, it is very nicely plotted.

Raven is a beast of a character – he and Maggie together had overtures of Lecter and Clarice for me which was a nice touch.

Enjoy discovering how Maggie thinks and how she sets about proving that Raven is the killer – it’s a bumpy ride but you’ll love it.

Congrats to Noelle for another great read – made all the more enjoyable as she is such a lovely person to interact with on twitter!

My thanks to @nholten40, @0neMoreChapter_ and @BOTBSPublicity for letting me be a part of this epic blog tour!

Blurb: The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

The Split by Sharon Bolton

4 Stars from me

This fabulous thriller will keep you guessing!

I had no idea what to expect from The Split and was soon engrossed in the storyline which begins with Felicity Lloyd fleeing someone across the ice on the remote island of South Georgia before whizzing back to the weeks and months that lead up to this point.

The Split is a fast-paced, multi-faceted thriller with some great characters – all of whom seemed to have an interesting backstory! Joe and his mum were an unconventional pairing although I liked their dynamic.

Felicity herself I found hard to connect with. I enjoyed the counselling conversations although there are some bits and pieces that I now need to go and research!

Have to say I also found the parts about South Georgia and the ice/wildlife fascinating!

Blurb: She’s got nowhere else to hide…and now he’s searching for her.

Two years ago Felicity Lloyd desperately signed up for an extended research trip working on the remote island of South Georgia.

It was her only way to escape.

And now he’s coming for her.

Freddie Lloyd has just got out of prison for murder and is on his way to where Felicity is hiding.

And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her.

Because no matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you…

Tense, gripping and with a twist you won’t see coming, Sharon Bolton is back in an explosive new thriller about a woman on the run…

Exit by Belinda Bauer

5 Stars from me

So good!

If Exiteers aren’t a thing then they totally should be.

I loved this book from start to finish, it is beautifully sharp and funny in all the right places.

I found the characters to be engaging and I simply couldn’t read the book fast enough – I raced through the pages needing to find out what happens to Felix.

Great story, great ending, highly recommended.

 

Blurb: The sensational new crime novel from the bestselling author of SNAP

IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE MURDER . . .

Pensioner Felix Pink is about to find out that it’s never too late . . . for life to go horribly wrong.

When Felix lets himself in to Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of kindness and charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath . . .

But just fifteen minutes later Felix is on the run from the police – after making the biggest mistake of his life.

Now his routine world is turned upside down as he tries to discover what went wrong, while staying one step ahead of the law.

Exit is the heart-pounding, heart-breaking, and often hilarious new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Belinda Bauer.

The One Who Got Away by L A Detwiler

3 Stars from me

I wish I could give it more, I’m a bit torn here for in places (pretty much the middle chunk) it deserves more but there are a few reasons why I am going to stick with a 3:

a) It depicts a dreadful state of affairs and abuse which is not addressed

b) There are so many loose ends

c) The beginning and end really let the book down

The biggie there is a), this book paints a dreadful and frankly terrifying picture of life in a residential care home – the residents of the home or subject to appalling behaviour from the staff and it is portrayed in a ‘oh you will get used to it’ kind of a way. Anyone who was at that point in their life (either as a parent or a child) would be devastated to read this. It would have been better if there had been ‘a couple of bad apples’ among the staff, Jones for example but the rest were good and the system was good.

Overlooking that for a moment, there were some great elements of suspense and drama – and the main thrust of the storyline was good. However the chances of her ending up in a home with two people from the past were, I thought, a stretch too far.

 

Synopsis: “Get out while you can. You’ll die here…”

Adeline Evans has recently moved into a home for the elderly. A safe space, where she can be cared for.

When she begins to receive cryptic and threatening notes, she is certain that someone is out to get her.

But the residents are warned against listening to a woman who is losing her memory. It would seem Adeline is tormented by the secrets in her past, and that the menace is all in her mind.

Until danger comes down the corridor and starts knocking in the night

A compelling serial killer thriller from the bestselling author of THE WIDOW NEXT DOOR, perfect for fans of A.J Finn, K.L. Slater and Teresa Driscoll.

Her Last Breath by Alison Belsham

4 Stars from me

Worth adding that is a really solid 4 stars too, this is crime thriller well worth a read.

This is actually the second in a series and, although it does work as a standalone, I would personally recommend that you go back and read The Tattoo Thief first so that you have a greater understanding of the key characters.

Her Last Breath has an intriguing and unusual storyline and there are some fab high drama scenes as DI Sullivan and his team struggle to catch the murderer before he strikes again.

A bit like with The Tattoo Thief, I felt quite sorry for Detective Francis Sullivan as he seems to perpetually take a bit of a kicking from all sides and I hope he has more luck in future books. Even his family seem to let him down in this one.

I loved it being set in Brighton, there are some great references in the background scenery and it is easy to imagine where the events are unfolding.

Synopsis: The body count is rising…and the clock is ticking.

When a young woman is attacked and left fighting to survive in hospital, the police are pulled into a race against time to save her life. But just 24 hours later, she dies and a deadly tattoo is discovered on her body.

And when another young woman disappears, Detective Francis Sullivan and his team fear a serial killer walks the streets of Brighton.

His team identify a suspect, Alex Mullins, son of Francis’s lover, Marni. Can Francis forget their shared past and save the next victim before it is too late?

A gripping crime thriller from the author of The Tattoo Thief.

Are You Watching by Vincent Ralph

5 Stars from me

This little belter of a book had me utterly hooked. I read it in one day and found it incredibly hard to put down.

Jess is a likeable character and her little family are filled with charm despite the obvious hole in their lives left behind by Jess’ mum who was murdered by ‘The Magpie Man’.

There is a nice balance of tension, emotion, relationships, peril and intrigue throughout the story and a good solid whodunnit with a few clever red herrings, some clues and satisfying outcome!

I loved the use of the YouTube reality show as the platform for Jess to try and find her mother’s killer and thought the concept was very well described and enacted – perfect for the YA audience but I have to say I read this book without realising its target market and I absolutely loved it. So I would say it is perfect for the not-so-young-adult market too!

Synopsis: A page-turning new YA thriller for the social media age, perfect for fans of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and One Of Us Is Lying.

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man. She was the first of his victims but not the last. Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all.

The whole world is watching her every move.

And so is the Magpie Man.

Joining Blogging Book Tours – pros and cons

2019 has proved to be a wonderful year for me from a book blogging perspective. I have read some incredible books (I’ve read 72 according to Good Reads but I know it is a few more than that!).

I have always been a keen and regular reader – escapism at it’s finest!

During 2019 I’ve really embraced taking part in blog tours for books and I’ve hugely enjoyed it, it feels really good to be tiny part of the publicity and promotion for an author and to feel like I might in some small way have contributed to their sales 🙂

At this point, I would like to offer very genuine and heartfelt thanks to those who have welcomed me into their reviewers fold:

Damp Pebbles Blog Tours – got to start with Emma and Damp Pebbles as this was the first blog tour I joined and I have read some fabulous books thanks to Emma and the excellent service she offers to authors and reviewers.

Tony Marturano – next I move to Tony who introduced me to the fascinating and hugely exciting world of being invited to join a readers panel with a view to being an early reader to provide honest feedback intended help shape the editing process prior to publication. I was honoured to be able to this for Tony with his own books and also with Eye for Eye by J K Franko.

Book on the Bright Side Publicity – then there is the lovely Sarah from BOTBS who again I have taken part in some brilliant tours with and is super lovely to deal with too.

R&R Book Tours – now the lovely Shannon from R&R tours… Not only do I get to discover new books with her but she sends me MAGIC content that is all whizzy and HTML codey wizardry!

Random Things Tours – the most recent sign up for me is with the lovely Anne from Random Things Tours. Anne is great to deal with and super organised – thanks again for letting me take part.

Last but by no means least, I have also done a couple of reviews with Mirror Books and have a couple more lined up for the New Year. They are also great to work with and have some really exciting publications.

Also a nod to NetGalley, I absolutely love NetGalley!

So again, huge thanks to you all.

Now to Pros and Cons

I’ll start with cons as then they are out of the way. It can, at times, feel pressured. It can, sometimes, feel as though you are reading to meet a deadline rather than reading for enjoyment. There will be times when you don’t like the book. You will need to be clear and strong with your own opinions – without damaging the tour. You will need to be organised and meet the commitments you have made in terms of reviews – people are relying on you to publish on the right date. Never ever do it for the ‘free’ books, they aren’t free, think about the cost of your time!

Phew, now, on to the pros! So many positive aspects here, you get to read some amazing books – for me personally I’ve read books that I would probably not have ever encountered and a lot of them have been brilliant! You get to make connections with other people who love books 🙂 it’s a beautiful thing giving someone a book recommendation and then getting a tweet in a couple of weeks time to say they loved it. Reading an advance copy of a book for a nerd like me is exquisite! And, for me, the best thing is knowing that I’ve helped an author or made them smile when I can honestly say ‘I loved your book’.

So thank you all once again and I look forward to reading and reviewing many more fabulous books in 2020.

Lisa x

Remain Silent by Susie Steiner

4 Stars from me

There is a simple beauty within these pages – among the chaotic debris of Manon’s life, and the depravity, abuse, racism, squalor and disappointment in the story – that is found within the relationship based narrative. It is so acutely observed, so raw, so natural and so accurate. A truly wonderful and unexpected delight. The way Susie Steiner has captured the relationships and emotions is quite brilliant.

DS Manon Bradshaw is a great character, she leads us unflinchingly through every aspect of this book and she shares a lot along the way.

There is an uncomfortable truth in this story as the thread of the abuse of immigrants is all too close to home. The inhumane way in which these men are treated was captured perfectly and highlights a sad truth within our society.

I really enjoyed the setting of the book too as it is reasonably local to me which I guess made me connect with the book virtually from page one – ‘oooh I’ve walked through that park where the dead guy was hanging…’

I very much enjoyed this book although was saddened to read in the authors notes at the end of her own ill health. It made for very humbling reading and I hope that treatment is going well.

Synopsis: Newly married and navigating life with a toddler as well as her adopted adolescent son, Manon Bradshaw is happy to be working part-time in the cold cases department of the Cambridgeshire police force, a job which allows her to “potter in, coffee in hand and log on for a spot of internet shopping – precisely what she had in mind when she thought of work-life balance.” But beneath the surface Manon is struggling with the day-to-day realities of what she assumed would be domestic bliss: fights about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen, the bewildering fatigue of having a young child in her forties, and the fact that she is going to couple’s counseling alone because her husband feels it would just be her complaining.

But when Manon is on a walk with her two-year-old son in a peaceful suburban neighborhood and discovers the body of a Lithuanian immigrant hanging from a tree with a mysterious note attached, she knows her life is about to change. Suddenly, she is back on the job, full-force, trying to solve the suicide – or is it a murder – in what may be the most dangerous and demanding case of her life.