For Better, For Worse by Jane Isaac

5 Stars from me

I am a long time fan of Jane Isaac and am therefore delighted that For Better, For Worse is just as excellent as her previous books.

Beautifully written and with a breathtaking start, For Better, For Worse will have you whizzing through the pages in a bid to keep up.

Hats off to Gina Ingram, I can’t imagine the horror of having the police accuse your husband of being a child abuser – the sheer world-altering, future-changing, past-destroying horror. But then to have the test to your relationship of him protesting his innocence – how could you really ever be sure?

A difficult subject is thought provokingly handled throughout the core of this book, with the main thrust of the crime thriller built around it.

DC Beth Chamberlain is back and needs to use all of her liaison officer training to begin to unpick the tightly woven threads of the truth. She is a solid and likeable character throughout this book and I hope we get to read more about her in future stories.

Blurb: Stuart Ingram was once a respected local councillor… The first time the police knocked on Gina’s door, they arrested her husband.

The second time, they accused him of child abuse.

But he died a guilty man.

This time, the police are here for Gina – to tell her that her husband is dead. Murdered, just two weeks before his trial.

Gina always stood by her husband. Even when everyone else walked away. She believed the trial would clear his name. But now Stuart is dead.

And his wife is the suspect.

It’s a race against time for DC Beth Chamberlain to uncover the truth – especially when a second man turns up dead.

Domestic noir meets police procedural in this pacy thriller from Jane Isaac, perfect for fans of Samantha Downing, Fiona Barton and K.L. Slater. Previously published as Presumed Guilty.

Two Years After by Paul J Teague

5 Stars from me

I raced through this nasty little psychological thriller from Paul J Teague! The pages virtually turned themselves while I did my best to hold on and enjoy the ride.

Poor Rosie, what a time of it she has had – how fortunate for her that her job has remained open… What lovely new friends she has made at work – with the exception of deliciously creepy Mr HR Manager of course.

Really can’t praise this enough, fabulous escapism at its finest with a fast pace, intriguing storyline and an unpredictable ending.

Loved it.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: An unsettling psychological thriller with a chilling twist…

A shattered life. A tortured mind. A return to work that becomes a living hell …

When Rosie Taylor returns to work after a long recovery from a tragic accident, she can’t believe how much things have changed for the worse.

Not only is there a new HR guy in charge, everybody’s fighting to keep their job and there are some new recruits with very unusual habits.

Rosie needs this job.

Social services are threatening to take her child, she’s struggling to recover from mental illness and if she doesn’t bring some money in fast, she’ll lose the house.

But somebody at work has got it in for her and she’s struggling to hang on to what’s left of her shattered life.

Two Years After is an unsettling psychological thriller which will have you looking over your shoulder next time you go to work.

Author Bio:

Paul Teague writes thrillers, sci-fi and non-fiction books.
Writing as Paul J. Teague, he is the author of the Don’t Tell Meg and Morecambe Bay trilogies as well as several standalones such as Dead of Night, Now You See Her (with Adam Nicholls) and So Many Lies.
Paul is a former teacher, DJ, waiter and BBC radio producer, presenter and journalist.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulTeagueUK

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

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

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.

Keeper by Jessica Moor

4 Stars from me

This is a sad yet captivating psychological thriller which will (and should) get under your skin.

Split into ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ we follow (mostly) Katie and how she falls prey to a calculating abuser and becomes trapped in a spiral of subtle and steady abuse. I think anyone reading this book needs to think about their own family members and their own circle of friends – a hugely sad part of this story for me was that Katie’s friends and family essentially let her down and pretty much helped Jamie build his prison of coercive control around her. Her mum was taken in by his charm and ignored the red flags and her friends just let go…

‘Now’ focuses on the police who are initially investigating Katie’s death, and is told primarily from the point of view of Detective Sergeant Whitworth, although also by some of the women living in the Widringham women’s refuge.

DS Whitworth is old school and seemed a little of out his depth at times. I felt he was lacking in awareness and quite possibly this is real issue for victims. His younger side kick, DC Brookes seems more able to relate and there are hints at some darkness from his past which suggest a reason for him being able to connect with the women and children at the refuge.

Val who runs the refuge is a great character and I like to think that there are plenty of Vals in the world striving and pushing in order to provide a little bit of sanctuary and safety for people in this situation.

There is a great pace to the plot of this book and the alternating between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ added a measure of urgency – particularly so in the ‘Then’ parts as it almost felt like Katie could be saved.

Knowing the writer has experience of working in the sector adds a layer of credibility.

I didn’t enjoy the ending.

Just BTW, I found Keeper hard to find on Good Reads, it seems to be listed on there are The Keeper but I could only find it by searing the authors name.

 

Synopsis: He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes.
Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside.

When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide.

But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder.

Will you listen to them?

An addictive literary page-turner about a crime as shocking as it is commonplace, Keeper will leave you reeling long after the final page is turned.

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…

Date Night by Samantha Hayes

5 Stars from me!

This is one head f*** of a book! If you like to not have a clue what is going on then this is the book for you!

Date Night is so clever, the story reveals itself in layers and with each new layer you realise that the the version of events you’ve just read about may not have exactly have been wrong but it might not have contained ALL of the truth.

I was genuinely delighted the first time I realised it and then again and again as the little layers of new information started coming through.

Bloody genius.

 

Synopsis: Returning early from a disastrous date night with my husband, I know something is wrong the moment the wheels crunch the gravel drive of our home. Inside, the TV is on and a half-eaten meal waits on the table. My heart stops when I find our little girl is alone in the house and our babysitter, Sasha, is missing…

Days later, when I’m arrested for Sasha’s murder and torn away from my perfect little family, I’ll wish I had told someone about the threatening note I received that morning.

I’ll hate myself for not finding out who the gift hidden inside my husband’s wardrobe was for.

I’ll scream from the rooftops that I’m innocent – but no one will listen.

I will realise I was completely wrong about everything that happened that night…

But will you believe me? 

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

4 Stars from me!

This is a really good, enjoyable, if a little uncomfortable at times, read! You will need to stop yourself overthinking stuff and just go with the flow of the story, otherwise I think you would ruin your own enjoyment.

I read it as part of a book group and had a message from another member saying ‘Let me know when you’ve finished, I have a question for you!’

As soon as I read the book I knew what her question would be and we enjoyed a ‘what would you do’ conversation. There are certainly a few things I would have done differently to Mel along the way.

The relationships within the books are very well crafted and central character Mel has a enviable life with her husband, children and circle of friends. That is until Abi comes back into her world and messes with pretty much everything.

Great book, perfect holiday read!

 

Synopsis: A gripping story of friendship and betrayal from international best-selling author Adele Parks

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

5 Stars from me!

Having enjoyed ‘The Couple Next Door‘, I was keen to read ‘Someone We Know’ and I wasn’t disappointed. I was completely hooked by from start to finish. This is a highly accomplished psychological thriller that will keep you well and truly on the edge of your seat.

There are a few separate yet very linked stories running throughout the book and they all probably would have stood up well as main storylines in their own rights.

The book is packed full of ‘what would you do‘ theoretical conundrums and a fair sprinkling of infidelity and untrustworthy friends.

I literally hated putting this book down, I just wanted to keep on reading and find out what was going on. Throughout all of the domestic nitty gritty and suburban life there is a murder to solve after all. I usually guess the killer early on in these things but there were so many threads and viable would be murderers that it kept the pace fast and the story interesting.

Can’t recommend this enough, go read it!

 

Synopsis: “No-one does suburban paranoia like Shari Lapena – this slowly unfurling nightmare will have you biting your nails until the end.” 

–Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10

The new domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House, and An Unwanted Guest, Shari Lapena

Maybe you don’t know your neighbours as well as you thought you did…

“This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much… My son broke into your home recently while you were out.”

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses -and into the owners’ computers as well-learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighbourhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide…

You never really know what people are capable of. 

Who Killed Ruby by Camilla Way

4 Stars from me

As the title suggests, this book is very much centred around the question ‘Who Killed Ruby?’. Ruby was Vivienne’s older sister who was murdered when they were children – with very young Vivienne’s testimony being the key to the conviction of Jack Delaney.

We meet Vivienne as an adult with a 14 year old daughter and a string of failed relationships. At first life seems to be going pretty ok for Viv as on the surface of things she has a successful business, a loving daughter, great friends and nice home. However, as the anniversary of her sister’s death approaches, things start to go wrong.

Who Killed Ruby follows Vivienne through a journey into the past which seems the only way to save her daughter from the same fate as her sister – but is the answer already in her head?

Clever little psychological thriller, packed full of red herrings and a proper thriller!

Synopsis:

The gripping new psychological thriller from Camilla Way, author of Watching Edie and The Lies We Told

You never know what’s going on behind closed doors…

If you passed it on the street, you’d see an ordinary London townhouse. You might wonder about the people who live there, assume they’re just like you.

But inside a family is trapped in a nightmare. In the kitchen, a man lies dead on the blood-soaked floor. Soon the police will come, and they’ll want answers.

Perhaps they’ll believe the family’s version of events – that this man is a murderer who deserved to die.

But would that be the truth?

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

5 Stars from me

Is it wrong that I felt so sorry for Mike?

Frankly these two, Mike and Verity, are both as bad as each other and although Verity does appear to end up being ‘the victim’ she was most certainly the instigator for a massive amount of time and pretty much created the man that Mike became.

Their ‘Crave’ game was dangerous and depraved and yet it turned them both on… with Verity getting as much out of it as Mike which says so much about her and what makes her tick. Would she ever have been truly happy with a man like Angus?

I don’t want to give out any spoilers but let’s say the necklace surprised me and made me question the truth. Maybe (definitely I guess) Mike needs some psychological help but then again maybe Verity wants to have her cake and eat it by still pressing his buttons?

Although dark and disturbing this was a fabulous and compelling read, which left me with lots of unanswered questions, which I can well see being turned into a film – I will look out for more by Araminta Hall.

Synopsis: VERITY
Things were difficult with Mike by the end. He was too much, too controlling – sometimes, I was afraid of him. But I’ve moved on now. I’m getting married to the man of my dreams – he looks after me, but he doesn’t stifle me. Mike and the games we used to play – that’s all in the past now.

It’s time to move on.
Mike and I are finished.

MIKE
It was just a matter of time until she came back to me. After what I did, maybe she’s right to make me wait. But Verity knows how sorry I am. And the messages she sends me, the way she calls me, the way she acted last time I saw her – no-one acts like that if they’ve stopped caring.

She’ll be mine again.
No matter who stands in my way.