I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll

5 Stars from me!

Oh that poor little boy, that ‘brave little soldier’ on his own while his Nan goes out to work. Oh my heart broke for him and I just wished they’d asked the teacher, or found a nice neighbour to help out. I found that whole bit of the story utterly heart-wrenching – very emotive and powerful. I know it’s just words on a page but I still feel so sad for him!

I liked Alice, although blimey some people just attract bad luck don’t they! I thought Matthew was a great character and definitely someone I would like looking after me in a similar situation!

I thought all the characters were very well defined and I enjoyed all the different threads within the story – Alice’s own family dynamics with her mum and her sister were a sweet interlude among all the fear.

As for the fear, it was great, really palpable and effective – had I have read this book alone at night I am pretty sure there were many sections where I would have slept with the lights on 🙂

Teresa Driscoll has done a great job with I Will Make You Pay, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Synopsis: Every Wednesday, like clockwork, the terror returns.

It seems like an ordinary Wednesday, until the phone rings. A mysterious caller with a chilling threat. Journalist Alice Henderson hangs up, ready to dismiss it as a hoax against the newspaper. But the next Wednesday, the stalker makes another move—and it becomes clear that this is all about Alice.

Someone wants her to suffer, but for what? Her articles have made her a popular local champion—could it be her past rather than her work that’s put her life in danger? Alice is determined not to give in to fear, but with the police investigation at a dead end, her boyfriend insists on hiring private investigator Matthew Hill.

With every passing Wednesday the warnings escalate, until it’s not only Alice but also her family in the stalker’s sights. As her tormentor closes in, can Alice uncover what she’s being punished for before the terrifying threats become an unthinkable reality?

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A Litter Of Bones by JD Kirk

5 Stars from me!

THIS IS SO GOOD! I genuinely can’t recommend A Litter of Bones highly enough, I was absolutely blown away by this debut novel and if I didn’t know better I would have sworn it was written by one of the crime thriller greats.

It is so good in fact that I can almost (almost) forgive JD Kirk for calling his main character DCI Logan. I say that because, for me, there is only one Scottish detective called Logan

DCI Logan is a great character, he has the right balance of flaws and assets to make him a great lead and the supporting cast of his temporary team was equally well constructed.

Clever and innovative storyline, yes I guessed ‘whoduunit’ but that didn’t spoil anything for me – if anything it added to the build up. I raced through the book and loved (almost*) every second of it as the story unfolded. It was well observed, had tangible and likeable characters, had an intense build up of suspense and was peppered with intelligent humour in among the gloom – literally the perfect book?

If you like Stuart MacBride you will love this book, in fact if you are fan of crime thrillers you will love this book.

*If you are a mad ole crazy cat lady then there are a couple of pages you may want to skip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author bio: JD Kirk lives in the wilds of Scotland, where he spends his days making stuff up and writing it down. He lives with his wife, two children, one dog, and – if his daughter has anything to do with it – a cat in the very near future.

Having been writing in various genres for over a decade, JD turned his attention to crime fiction in May 2019, and hasn’t looked back. A Litter of Bones is his first crime novel, and the first of his hundred-plus books that his wife could bring herself to read.

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

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jdkirkbooks

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19106689.JD_Kirk

Website: http://www.jdkirk.com

Synopsis: Was the biggest case of his career the worst mistake he ever made?

Ten years ago, DCI Jack Logan stopped the serial child-killer dubbed ‘Mister Whisper,’ earning himself a commendation, a drinking problem, and a broken marriage in the process.

Now, he spends his days working in Glasgow’s Major Incident Team, and his nights reliving the horrors of what he saw.

And what he did.

When another child disappears a hundred miles north in the Highlands, Jack is sent to lead the investigation and bring the boy home.

But as similarities between the two cases grow, could it be that Jack caught the wrong man all those years ago?

And, if so, is the real Mister Whisper about to claim his fourth victim?

A Litter of Bones is the explosive debut crime thriller novel from JD Kirk, an exciting new voice in Scottish crime fiction.

The Good Neighbor by Cathryn Grant

4 Stars from me

Wow! To say this book ‘packs a punch’ is such an understatement – it more ‘smacks you around the head with a 9 iron!’

The Good Neighbor starts off softly, albeit with a traumatic and shocking event – 14 year old Brittany has disappeared during the night, seemingly snatched from her bed. I have to confess I was lulled into thinking it would jog along nicely so boy was I taken by surprise!

The pace accelerates and accelerates before plunging you into free fall as more and more of the story is revealed. There were twists and turns around every corner all neatly packaged within this highly readable tale.

Be warned though, there are several moral questions hidden within these pages… Would you? Could you? How far would you go if you were in Taylor’s shoes, Moira’s shoes, Crystal’s shoes, Brittany’s shoes?

I haven’t read anything by Cathryn Grant before but she is certainly an author I will look out for now!

My thanks to @CathrynGrant and @damppebbles for letting me be a part of #damppebblesblogtours

Synopsis: Sometimes the past just won’t stay buried.

When 14 year old Brittany Cushing disappears one night, her parents are devastated, certain she has been taken.

They can’t bear to think about who has done this and why, about what might be happening to their precious daughter.

Their neighbor, Taylor, is a rock, doing everything she can to help – organizing search parties, setting up a Facebook page, …

As this affluent California community becomes focused on the hunt for the missing girl, it slowly becomes clear that her disappearance is linked to terrible secrets from the past.

Secrets that must be kept hidden at all costs….

The Good Neighbor is a gripping psychological thriller that twists and turns as it races towards its nerve-shredding climax. Perfect for fans of K. L. Slater, Teresa Driscoll and Mark Edwards.

About Cathryn Grant:

Cathryn’s fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines, The Shroud Quarterly Journal, and The Best of Every Day Fiction. Her story “I Was Young Once” received an honorable mention in the 2007 Zoetrope Fiction contest.

She’s the author of the Alexandra Mallory Psychological Suspense series, Psychological Thrillers, Suburban Noir novels, The Haunted Ship Trilogy, and the Madison Keith Ghost Story series.

When she’s not writing, Cathryn reads fiction, eavesdrops, and tries to play golf without hitting her ball into the sand or the water. She lives on the Central California coast with her husband and two cats.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CathrynGrant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CathrynGrant.Writer/

Website: https://www.cathryngrant.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cathryngrant_fiction/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cathryn-Grant/e/B004G1I484?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1566901527&sr=8-3

Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater

4 Stars from me (for sci-fi fans)

The phrase ‘less is more‘ is thrown about sometimes, losing its meaning. But here, Karl Drinkwater manages to remind us just how powerful this can be by crafting an atmosphere for us that is genuinely unsettling. And I love it!

We follow our of protagonist, who is accompanied by a vastly powerful AI, as she ventures into a decaying ‘lost ship’.  What then follows is a mix of fast paced action scenes with a militaristic hunter / dangerous prey dynamic, and some slower and more horrifying parts.

Don’t be put off by me saying slower parts as these are where I find this book really shines. The sense of dread and uneasiness I got while reading this was enjoyably real, and I would have loved for there to be more of it – scare me, make me feel uneasy! Also, our story exists in what feels to be a super interesting world, and it’s unfortunate we get to see and hear very little of it throughout the book as I would have loved to read more about it… I wonder if that develops in the future?

My thanks to Anne Cater #RandomThingsTours and Karl Drinkwater for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Sometimes spaceships disappear with everyone on board – the Lost Ships. But sometimes they come back, strangely altered, derelict, and rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal is on a mission. She’s been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship.

Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star, and will soon be truly lost … forever. Legends say the ships harbour death, but there’s no time for indecision.

Opal gears up to board it. She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But perhaps with the aid of Clarissa’s intelligence – and an armoured spacesuit – Opal may stand a chance.

Can she face her demons and survive?

The Lying Room by Nicci French

5 Stars from me!

I found The Lying Room to be a highly engaging, fast paced read that I absolutely raced through as I just kept on wanting to know what happened next!

Central character, Neve, is one of those perfect people who everyone adores yet is utterly unassuming and apparently unaware of her magnetism. Friends, colleagues, even strangers are seemingly drawn to this calm, warm, efficient woman who busily spends her life making things right for others.

She treads carefully around the feelings of her husband and her daughter, she keeps a watchful eye on her sons and is the only person who ever notices that the guinea pig hasn’t been fed. She buoys up her colleagues at work and his the central pin of a decades long friendship group. She also does all the shopping, endless loads of laundry and cycles everywhere. She and her husband share most other domestic chores and their days and nights revolve around keeping all these plates spinning. So much so that she is susceptible to the attentions of a man who notices her – in a way that she hasn’t felt noticed by anyone for a very long time and they begin an affair.

As mentioned in the synopsis (full synopsis at the bottom of this page) one day she discovers that her lover has been murdered and rather than calling 999 she makes the snap decision to try and cover up any evidence that she was ever in his life.

I really liked the police character, DI Hutchings and felt thoroughly immersed in Neve’s world as I read this book. If you ignore the affairs, murders and deceit… it is a pretty enviable life.

Great book, great characters, fast paced and compelling – highly recommended.

Also, about the authors… I had no idea that Nicci French was actually two authors! Here are the details: Nicci Gerrard was born in June 1958 in Worcestershire. After graduating with a first class honours degree in English Literature from Oxford University, she began her first job, working with emotionally disturbed children in Sheffield. In that same year she married journalist Colin Hughes.

In the early eighties she taught English Literature in Sheffield, London and Los Angeles, but moved into publishing in 1985 with the launch of Women’s Review, a magazine for women on art, literature and female issues.

In 1987 Nicci had a son, Edgar, followed by a daughter, Anna, in 1988, but a year later her marriage to Colin Hughes broke down.

In 1989 she became acting literary editor at the New Statesman, before moving to the Observer, where she was deputy literary editor for five years, and then a feature writer and executive editor.

It was while she was at the New Statesman that she met Sean French.

Sean French was born in May 1959 in Bristol, to a British father and Swedish mother. He too studied English Literature at Oxford University at the same time as Nicci, also graduating with a first class degree, but their paths didn’t cross until 1990. In 1981 he won Vogue magazine’s Writing Talent Contest, and from 1981 to 1986 he was their theatre critic. During that time he also worked at the Sunday Times as deputy literary editor and television critic, and was the film critic for Marie Claire and deputy editor of New Society.

Sean and Nicci were married in Hackney in October 1990. Their daughters, Hadley and Molly, were born in 1991 and 1993.

By the mid-nineties Sean had had two novels published, The Imaginary Monkey and The Dreamer of Dreams, as well as numerous non-fiction books, including biographies of Jane Fonda and Brigitte Bardot.

In 1995 Nicci and Sean began work on their first joint novel and adopted the pseudonym of Nicci French. The Memory Game was published to great acclaim in 1997 followed by The Safe House (1998), Killing Me Softly (1999), Beneath the Skin (2000), The Red Room (2001), Land of the Living (2002), Secret Smile (2003), Catch Me When I Fall (2005), Losing You (2006) and Until It’s Over (2008). Their latest novel together is What To Do When Someone Dies (2009).

Nicci and Sean also continue to write separately. Nicci still works as a journalist for the Observer, covering high-profile trials including those of Fred and Rose West, and Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr. Novels include Things We Knew Were True (2003), Solace (2005) and The Moment You Were Gone (2007). Sean’s last novel is Start From Here (2004).

Synopsis: In this thrilling standalone from the internationally bestselling author of the Frieda Klein series, a married woman’s affair with her boss spirals into a dangerous game of chess with the police when she discovers he’s been murdered and she clears the crime scene of all evidence.

One little secret between a married woman, her lover, and a killer.

It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel.

After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting?

An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair…. 

The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

5 Stars from me

Oh my, the aching beauty that spills from these pages is just breath taking.

At 11% I adored the book, by 60% it made me cry and I simply didn’t ever want it to end.

I know of no other author who can create the emotive resonance that Amanda Jennings brings to life within the pages of a book: much like in her other excellent books Sworn Secret, The Judas Scar and In Her Wake.

All the characters (and there are only a handful) are utterly credible and I felt their emotions, their fragility their realness is if it were my own.

My favourite character? Probably Jago, although poor old Angie wins the sympathy vote. The rest of the characters weren’t particularly likeable but it was their flaws which made them so defined.

The setting and the era are flawlessly described. Who wouldn’t covet the lifestyle of the Davenports? The agony and deprivation of life for poor Angie is sensitively accurate – the grief, the loneliness, the worry are all spot on.

As for Tamsyn, the innocent mixed up teenage whose life has been turned inside out by grief, her portrayal is particularly raw and exposed – Jennings knack for honing in on the feelings of teenagers is uncanny.

A beautiful book – it literally is the perfect summer read – I want to dive into that pool and I want to go to one of the Davenport’s parties!

 

Synopsis: Some friendships are made to be broken.

Cornwall, summer of 1986.

The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.

If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.

If only her life was as perfect as theirs.

If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.

If only she lived at The Cliff House…

Amanda Jennings weaves a haunting tale of obsession, loss and longing, set against the brooding North Cornish coastline, destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

‘A beautiful, stirring story of loss and obsession’ Lisa Jewell

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

5 Stars from me!

Wow. Just wow. This is one of those books which sticks with you after you’ve finished it – and not necessarily in a comfortable way!

There is an awful lot going on within these pages, the depth of the story and the message is huge even though it is dealt with in a sensitive manner. There are so many issues, all given the lightest touch, and all jostling for their time to be considered.

Just the single thread regarding Jodie is a whole massive story on its own – how anyone copes as a teenager these days let alone with a neglectful, alcoholic mother, let alone with facial disfigurement.

Our former barrister, Zara, who now works to support victims of sex crimes, is also worthy of a story of her own as she turns her back on a glittering careers, tries to fight against decades of history and family ‘rules’ in order to tread her own path, all while battling her own demons as she risks everything to support Jodie.

The accused – their story is another one worthy to stand on its own. The complexities of friendships, the weight of responsibility upon their young shoulders.

Then there is the alleged assault. The main crux of the book, it demonstrates beautifully and painfully how incredibly difficult it is to ever prove a rape/sexual assault. I deeply admire those brave souls who endeavour to do so when they are up against the men who lie, the women who lie, the jurors who have their own preconceptions and judicial system which isn’t always stacked fairly.

I am so glad I read this book.

 

Synopsis: Take It Back is a gripping courtroom drama, perfect for fans of Apple Tree YardHe Said/She Said and Anatomy of a Scandal.

The Victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses four boys of something unthinkable.

The Defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Someone is lying.

Former barrister Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, takes up Jodie Wolfe’s case; she believes her, even if those closest to Jodie do not.

Jodie and Zara become the centre of the most explosive criminal trial of the year, in which ugly divisions within British society are exposed. As everything around Zara begins to unravel she becomes even more determined to get Jodie the justice she’s looking for. But at what price?