Book reviews, Domestic noir, Family drama

The Man Behind Closed Doors by Maria Frankland – Book Review

 

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

What could be so bad that a six-year-old stops talking?

Domestic violence isn’t only perpetrated by men. Ask Paul Jackson who is on remand, accused of stabbing his wife, Michelle. As he reveals his reality behind their troubled marriage, it seems that only his six-year-old knows what really happened. 

But she’s trapped in her own world of silence.

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MY REVIEW 

The Man Behind Closed Doors starts with Paul calling the emergency services as his wife, Michelle has been stabbed…..

 

He is arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

 

While in jail, he thinks about his life and marriage to Michelle and the story is told through flashbacks to the past. We hear of her jealousy and paranoia, her mood swings and violence when she’s been drinking, which is often. Michelle has her own issues she is dealing with but takes it out on Paul……all the while their young daughter Emily is in the middle.

This is a tale of domestic abuse, of controlling behaviour and it’s original as here the woman is the perpetrator of the abuse. You really never know what goes on behind closed doors! It deals with violence, guilt, love and self harm and all the emotional baggage in between. It’s also about the stabbing, the investigation and the courtroom drama. I found this to be a very emotional read, at times I was not sure who deserved my sympathy…..a thoughtful and engrossing read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase link: https://amzn.to/310256n

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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Maria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.

The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.

She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.

She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.

Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!

 

Twitter @writermaria_f http://www.mariastephenson.com/ 

Audiobook, Book reviews, Domestic noir

Little Whispers by K.L. Slater – Audiobook Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

You shared a secret with the wrong person.  

Janey Markham is thrilled to be moving with her family to Buckingham Crescent, the smartest address in a desirable suburban town. 

Worried she’ll be excluded by the glossy local mothers, Janey is thrilled when she meets Tanya, the kind of woman she has always looked up to. Tanya takes Janey under her wing and her teenage daughter, Angel, is amazing with Janey’s little boy. As Janey and Tanya grow closer, Janey feels she can finally leave her troubled past behind.  

But then everything changes…. 

In a weak moment over a bottle of wine, Janey finds herself telling Tanya her most shocking secret. Why wouldn’t she trust her new friend?  

The following day, Janey sees Angel, with a man old enough to be her father, pushing someone into a car. The next day a body is found, and police appeal for witnesses – and share a picture of the same car…. 

When Janey tells Tanya she is going to the police, Tanya turns threatening. She’ll stop at nothing to defend Angel, even if her daughter is guilty. If Janey says anything, Tanya will make sure that her dark secret gets out. Janey faces an impossible choice. Stay quiet about what she saw that terrible day or speak up and destroy the family she has worked so hard to protect…

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MY REVIEW 

The first half of Little Whispers is about Janey’s life. A new home, her husband has a new job which will ease their financial worries and their young son, Roman is starting a new school. But Janey has a secret….

She becomes friends with one of the other mums, Tanya and after a little wine tells her the secret.

But, Janey’s  husband seems to be changing, he’s a bit moody and his behaviour seems a bit odd too.

Then Janey sees someone being forced into a car by Tanya’s daughter and an older man. When a body is discovered she speaks to Tanya, but she threatens to tell Janey’s secret to everyone if she goes to the police.

Will Janey go to the police with what she’d seen and risk her family falling apart?

This has a slow pace as it builds the background to Janey’s life and family. She’s a bit insecure and has always tried to fit in, but there’s the secret and a few twists to make this an entertaining, engaging tale. Beautifully read by Lucy Price-Lewis who, for me, brought this to life.

Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, to listen to the audiobook and for the promotional material. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Available from Audible.co.uk

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Kim is the million-copy bestselling author of twelve psychological crime thrillers. THE APARTMENT, will be published in -April 2020 by Thomas and Mercer and is now available for pre-order. 

Kim’s titles are also published by Bookouture, Audible and are available in paperback by Sphere in the UK and Grand Central in the USA.

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband.(Courtesy of Goodreads). 

 

About Audible

 

Among the acclaimed performers who have narrated works of literature for Audible are Zachary Quinto, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Emma Thompson and Jesse Eisenberg. Audible Studios has won a Grammy Award, for its production of Janis Ian’s memoir Society’s Child, and has also been recognised with the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year, for Colin Firth’s performance of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. Audible invented and commercialised the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. On average, Audible members listen to Audible content for 2 hours a day. In 2018, Audible customers downloaded nearly 3 billion hours of content

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Psychlogical thriller

Under Your Skin by Rose McClelland – Book Review

 


PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

When Kyle’s wife Hannah goes missing, the whole town is out in force to try to find her. One person knows where she is. One person is keeping a secret.

Detective Inspector Simon Peters and Detective Kerry Lawlor have been brought in to investigate the case but Hannah has left no traces and Kyle has no clues. 

Local Belfast resident Julia Matthews joins the #FindHannah campaign and becomes friendly with Kyle, sympathising with his tragedy. As Julia becomes more involved in the case than she bargained for, she begins to uncover more secrets than the Police ever could. Julia was only trying to help but has she become drawn into a web of mystery that she can’t escape?

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MY REVIEW 

Hannah met Kyle and was swept off her feet by this handsome, charming and thoughtful man………but the minute they are married the real Kyle shows his true self.

Hannah disappears and the police begin investigating her as a missing person as they find more details about Kyle, they wonder if he is responsible for Hannah’s disappearance and more…..so much more.

This is a tale of abuse and controlling, coercive behaviour. Rose McClelland has captured the fear and tension of being in such a relationship, the way Hannah wishes her husband would have an accident just so she could be free is heartbreaking and anger inducing at the same time. You really don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.   Just what can she do to escape?

I found this to be a compelling read, full of emotion and tension. I was gripped from the start to the satisfying finish. 

Thank you to Rose McClelland for a eARC of Under Your Skin. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Purchase Link : https://amzn.to/30dxAcB

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Under your skin” is Rose’s fourth novel. Her previous three novels were romantic fiction published by Crooked Cat. She has made the genre jump from “chick lit” to psychological thriller and is enjoying delving into a darker corner of her mind! 

Rose has also written two short plays which were performed in the Black Box theatre in Belfast. 

She discusses book reviews on her You Tube channel and writes theatre reviews for her blog. 

She loves nothing more than curling up with her cats and a good book. She has two rescue cats – Toots, who is ginger with an inquisitive face and Soots, who is black and hops along on his 3 legs looking ever so cute.

 

Social media links : Rose McClelland

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52966965-under-your-skin

 

https://twitter.com/RoseMcClelland1

 

https://www.facebook.com/RoseMcClellandauthor/

 

http://rosiesrag.blogspot.com/p/home-1.html

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Thriller

Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.

She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.

As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…
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MY REVIEW 

Fran has returned home to Ash Mountain, a small town in Australia. She’s caring for her dad, who has had a stroke and needs constant care. She has a teenage daughter, Vonny and an older son, Dante.

Vonny is a typical teen, a bit moody and glued to her phone. Dante however, is happiness personified, cool and satisfied with his life.

The story revolves around a bushfire that heading for the town.

Told in two timelines, 30 years before and the few days leading up to the day of the fire. Mainly from Fran’s perspective but also some chapters from a few of the other characters, such as Rosie and Maz.

This is so full of humour, the everyday humour between friends and family that’s sharp, dark and honest. It also deals with the more serious subjects of abuse, racial and sexual, sexuality and death. Ash Mountain is domestic noir, but also a disaster thriller that literally takes your breath away…..

I love Fran, with her bonker’s humour, irreverent and hilarious and her commitment to her family is unquestionable. Ash Mountain is laugh out loud funny, (Gramps on a Stick!)….dark and tragic too. Full of emotional moments and I loved every fraught minute.  I’ll forever mourn poor Ronnie Corbett. Sheer genius and just  brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

PURCHASE LINKS

 

https://amzn.to/3d0sUui

 

https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Helen-FitzGerald/Ash-Mountain/24853306

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband. 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Thriller

The Second Wife – Rebecca Fleet – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In this dark, menacing thriller, Rebecca Fleet shows us a suspenseful, twisty yet emotionally devastating portrait of a family in turmoil.

Everyone brings baggage to a new relationship.

When Alex met Natalie she changed his life. After the tragic death of his first wife, which left him a single parent to teenage daughter Jade, he’s determined to build a happy family.

But his new-found happiness is shattered when the family home is gutted by fire and his loyalties are unexpectedly tested. Jade insists she saw a man in the house on the night of the fire; Natalie denies any knowledge of such an intruder.

Alex is faced with an impossible choice: to believe his wife or his daughter? And as Natalie’s story unravels, Alex realises that his wife has a past he had no idea about, a past that might yet catch up with her.

But this time, the past could be deadly . . .

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MY REVIEW 

Alex, Matalie and their daughter, Jade’s lives are thrown into turmoil after a fire at their home.

Jade was the only one who needed hospital treatment and her claims of a seeing man in the house before the fire are dismissed as a possible hallucination.

But Alex begins to wonder and so starts to search for the truth.

Told in two timelines, the past and present, this is a tale of secrets and obsession. It has a marvellously twisty and twisted plot that’s so well written, shocking, surprising and totally unputdownable.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

About the author:

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Rebecca Fleet lives and works in London. The House Swap was her debut thriller and her second, The Second Wife, will follow in 2020.

Rebecca’s second thriller examines love, loyalty and trust in a family torn apart by tragedy. It marries all of the suspense, tension and compulsion of the best psychological thrillers with a powerful, emotional portrait of our closest relationships.

Book reviews, Contemporary fiction, Domestic noir, Thriller

The Last Cuckoo by Maria Frankland – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Do you listen to your mother? Even after she’s dead?

Anna Hardaker is following you …

This seemingly innocent Tweet fills Jamie Hardaker with confusion and fear. After all, his mother Anna has been dead for nearly three weeks.

What follows is an orchestrated Twitter campaign to lead those Anna loved, and didn’t love so much, to the truth behind her “accidental” death.

 

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MY REVIEW 

This is a unique thriller, told by Jamie, whose mother, Anna has died after an accident. It’s told as his innermost thoughts, how he misses his mother, he talks to her all the time.

Her fiancé, Iain tries to help Jamie, but it’s all fraught and not helped by Claudia, his daughter and was soon to be Jamie’s step-sister. These two young people really don’t get on at all. 

Anna had been at the end of her tether with their constant bickering and other family members sticking their oar in really didn’t help matters.

After Anna’s funeral, Jamie receives a twitter notification, from his mother’s account. He initially ignores it, but as more tweets are added, he wonders who could have access to her account…he even wonders if it could be her ghost..but when they start to intimate that Anna’s death may not have been an accident he begins to wonder who would be so heartless.

Was there more to Anna’s death? And who could possibly know?

Not only is this a mystery, it’s also a tale of a modern family…..a step-family and it’s challenges…messy and realistic. It’s so well written, it’s hard to believe it’s the author’s debut thriller novel, with plenty of twists and surprises making this a thriller that makes you think. Very clever and totally gripping throughout. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Maria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.

The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.

She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.

She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.

Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!

 

Twitter @writermaria2017

http://www.mariastephenson.com/

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Thriller

Someone Close To Home by Alex Craigie – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.

Just how far will Annie go?

‘Someone Close To Home’ is a story of love, malice and deadly menace.

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MY REVIEW

Megan, once a famous pianist, but after a stroke she is now bed ridden in a care home. Many of the carers are lovely, friendly and really look after Megan, but others just treat her as an inconvenience. Then there’s Annie, a sadistic and cruel woman who is taking revenge for an event many, many years ago.

As Megan lies in bed, she only has her memories and the story is told in flashbacks to her past. Her mother was manipulative and controlling, but also fragile and lonely and lives vicariously through Megan. Her lies end up hurting others and this has devastating consequences.

Over the years, Megan’s childhood friend, Gideon grows closer and they finally declare their love for each other…….but Megan’s mother has other plans.

Believing Gideon has someone else, Megan marries Jordan, but this marriage is violent and just plain nasty. 

Megan really has been through a lot and now lying in her bed she is tortured by the evil Annie. Can she make herself understood before it’s too late?

This is a gripping read, full of emotion, love, spite, fear and hope. The descriptions of the care home routines is so accurate, from the lack of resources to the care they give their residents. (My mother is a resident herself due to dementia and I know first hand the pressures they are under, but the care shown to these frail people is never in doubt….luckily!)  

I cannot imagine the fear of someone being unable to communicate while being mistreated in such a way as Megan. The wonderfully emotive writing by Alex Craigie really does bring this point alive, which makes this a tense, disturbing read at times and is so compelling I read it in one sitting. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2MXRYaf

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Alex Craigie was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and all she can remember about it is that:

  • it was written in pencil in a book with weights and measures on the back
  • the two heroes were Prince Rupert and his brother (whose name was changed to Sam to facilitate the rhyming process.)      
  • as writer, producer and director she ‘bagged’ the part of female lead.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines and since then has fulfilled her ambition to write a novel.

Someone Close to Home has won two ‘Chill with a Book’ awards – The Reader’s Award and the Book of the Month Award.

Alex lives in a small village in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and knows that she and her husband are lucky to have their children and grandchildren living nearby. It’s often chaotic and noisy but these are her most treasured moments and she savours them – even if she’s reduced to an immovable heap after they’ve gone.  

As an independent author, without a big publishing machine behind her, she is very grateful to all the people who have found and bought her first book – and a huge thank you to those who’ve gone out of their way to write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. These reviews make a massive difference to ‘Indies’ and the positive ones encourage other readers to risk buying a copy.

What else can she say?  Nothing, really. Writing this personal promotion has been very, very hard and she needs to go away now and lie down in a darkened room, preferably with a big bar of chocolate…  

She looks forward to any contact from fellow lovers of books and any honest feedback is very welcome.

 

Somewhere Close To Home by Alex Craigie

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Ashford Carbonel Publishing (9 Dec. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995696608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995696600

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Someone-Close-Home-Alex-Craigie/dp/0995696608 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Domestic noir

Her Last Secret by P L Kane – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Jordan Radcliffe is found stabbed to death. 

Her boyfriend’s finger prints are on the knife and his clothes are covered in her blood. 

Case closed… Or is it?

When Jordan’s estranged father Jake learns of his only daughter’s death, he is convinced that there is more to her murder than he is being told. But Jake hasn’t seen Jordan for over three years and, with secrets of her own, she was far from the child he abandoned all those years ago.

Jake’s ex-wife Jules, is reluctant to let him waltz back into her life. But with a question mark hanging over the case, Jake knows that he must piece together the fragments of evidence before it is too late.

Will he ever discover the truth?

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MY REVIEW 

This starts with the murder of Jordan Radcliffe, stabbed and left to die…..

Her estranged father, Jake, wants answers. Who killed his daughter? 

Jake’s ex-wife Julie is distraught, her husband Greg doesn’t seem much support.

When Jordan’s boyfriend is arrested for the crime, Jake wants revenge…..but is there more to this than it seems? Can Jake find the truth?

This is a story of a family tragedy and a murder mystery. A tale of loss, grief and guilt after the death of Jordan….the what if’s and maybe’s . This is not a police procedural or thriller, it’s gripping murder mystery with an emotional heart. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you to Jess at Harper Collins for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Thriller

The Winter’s Sleep by Monica Cafferky – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Spooky and compelling – a great debut’ 

Peter James

A fast-paced thriller with a supernatural twist, The Winter’s Sleep takes the reader on a breathtaking ride from Leeds to the Yorkshire coast in a tale of ghosts, betrayal and fraud.

A handsome husband. A beautiful home. A job she loves.

Yet Brigid Raven is drowning in debts and there’s only one way out. Fake her death and walk away from everything she’s struggled so hard to build.

Can she pull off her new identity? 

How will she survive on the run?

But Brigid has another secret. She can see the dead and now they won’t leave her alone.

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MY REVIEW

Brigid and husband, Josh are in debt. Josh is out of work and Brigid is in a low paid job. They are at the point of possibly losing their home.

Due to the stress, Brigid has insomnia and her grandmother, a herbalist, gives her something to help her sleep. The death herb, called so as it can mimic death if taken in larger doses.

So, Josh devises a plan to fake Brigid’s death, claim on life insurance and they can solve all their financial problems……easy?

In sheer desperation, Brigid agrees.

All goes to plan, but she then starts to see a dark shadow and has horrific nightmares….what has she let in?

With Josh getting more and more hooked by drink and drugs, the easy life they planned is really not happening and with a private investigator snooping around the stress is building again.

This is a hard book to categorise, it’s a thriller, domestic drama and a little bit supernatural too. This does not detract from the story at all as it is all very cleverly plotted and you can feel the desperation of Brigid and how she was manipulated by Josh. 

I found this to be fast paced and utterly compelling, all set in the wonderful North Yorkshire landscape which just added more to the atmosphere. There’s death, despair and hope, it’s dark, tense and spooky and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you to Michelle at Not From This Planet for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2tZfdtP

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Monica Cafferky is an author, journalist and visiting lecturer. Her debut novel, THE WINTER’S SLEEP, is a supernatural thriller that has won praise for being ‘spooky and compelling’ whilst the writing has been described as ‘vivid and tense’.

Previously, she has co-authored three self-help books (published by Little Brown). All three books have been translated into several languages including: Japanese, Norwegian, Czech, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Slovak and Estonian.

As a journalist, Monica’s first job was on a martial arts magazine followed by a stint as a staff writer on Woman’s Own. Since going freelance, she’s spent the weekend with a coven of witches, interviewed many of her favourite authors and penned a weekly MBS page in The Daily Mirror, which ran for three years. 

In 1997, Monica won a scholarship from the Reuter’s Foundation (now Thomson Reuters Foundation) to attend a training course with Reuters at Green College, Oxford. She was the only British journalist selected for this award, which was open to all media worldwide. 

Monica lives in Yorkshire.

 

Courtesy of Goodreads

 

PRAISE FOR THE WINTER’S SLEEP

 

‘Magical and frightening. I loved it.’

Carmen Marcus

 

‘A page-turner that keeps you guessing.’

Machel Shull

 

‘The writing is superbly vivid and tense.’

Andrew Clover

 

‘Really enjoyable – a spooky, rip-roaring yarn.’

Daisy Waugh 

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Psychlogical thriller

All The Wrong Places by Joy Fielding – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

You always know who you’re meeting online . . . don’t you?

Four women decide to explore online dating, downloading an app that promises they will swipe their way to love and happiness.

But not everyone is who they seem online. Hidden behind a perfect smile and charming humour, one man appears to be the perfect date. But the night he has planned is unlike any other.

The clock is ticking, and for one woman, this date might just be her last . . .

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MY REVIEW 

This is the story of four women, Paige, Chloe, Joan and Heather who are all linked.

Paige is Joan’s daughter.

Chloe is Paige’s best friend.

Heather is Paige’s cousin and the woman who had an affair with Paige’s boyfriend.

These women are also using online dating, but one of them is in the sights of Mr Right Now, a serial killer……

Part family drama and part psychological that highlights the perils of online dating. There’s humour, drama and some dark and disturbing moments in the chapters from the killers perspective. A thoroughly entertaining thriller.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Born in Toronto, Ontario, she graduated from the University of Toronto in 1966, with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. As Joy Tepperman, she had a brief acting career, appearing in the film Winter Kept Us Warm (1965) and in an episode of Gunsmoke. She later changed her last name to Fielding (after Henry Fielding) and began writing novels.

Fielding is also the screenwriter of the television film Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story. (Courtesy of Goodreads).

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Family drama

Unprotected by Sophie Jonas-Hill – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

She’s fighting to save everyone else, but will she have anything left to save herself?

Witty, sharp and sarcastic tattoo artist Lydia’s life is imploding. Her long-term relationship has broken down after several miscarriages and she’s hiding from her hurt in loss and rage. After a big night out she wakes beside a much younger man who brings complications she could really do without. 

As her grief about her lost babies and failed relationships spirals out of control, she obsesses about rescuing a wayward teenage girl she watches from her window and gets more involved than she should with her charming but unstable young lover.

Unprotected is a raw and punchy story of love, family and accepting yourself for who you really are.

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MY REVIEW 

Well, when the publishers say this is raw and punchy they are not kidding. Lydia and Max have been trying for a baby, but after 5 miscarriages their relationship is troubled. When Max moves out, Lydia is a mess and she’s angry, hurt and when friend Cassie invites her out, she goes all out, drink, drugs and wakes up with a much younger man in her bed.

But, Martin is as troubled as she is.

Lydia also sees a young girl in trouble and tries to help.

When her sister gets pregnant, all sorts of family secrets come out.

Lydia, a tattooed tattooist tries to help everyone, but it’s her that needs the help really. 

This is an incredibly emotional tale, the heartbreak and trauma of miscarriage, the secrets in families and some gritty truths around neglected, abused and abandoned children. Not always an easy read, but there is also hope and love. A remarkable, thoughtful and utterly engrossing read. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Sophie has had what might be politely described as a varied career, which has seen her be a black-smith, silver-smith, jewellery designer, pattern-cutter and wedding dress designer, home help, teacher, extreme knitter, burlesque performer, artist and various combinations of the above. Her one abiding passion alongside drawing has always been writing, from her early work in year four producing hand bound novellas mostly written in crayon, to the inevitable fantasy epic which pushed 500 pages and, thank goodness, has never seen the light of day. She began focusing on her writing after the birth of her first child, and has been working on it ever since, losing hands down to the publishing industry’s gatekeepers and Gorgons, until she met fellow traveller Amanda Saint, who as the name suggests, was something of a shining light on the path. 

She is currently studying an MA in illustration and discovering how much she hates academic writing, and what a wise move it was to give someone else the task of designing the cover for her first book with Retreat West, Unprotected. She lives in Kent with her long suffering husband, two children and a very handsome cat. 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Science fiction, Thriller

17 Church Row by James Carol – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

For fans of J. P. Delaney’s The Girl Before comes a thriller that makes us question our relationship with technology and the lengths we would go to, to keep our family safe.

Three years ago, Ethan and Nikki Rhodes suffered a devastating loss. Their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed when she ran from their garden into the path of a car. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, while Nikki quits her job to care for their remaining child, Grace’s twin sister, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that night.

Trying to give the family a fresh start, Ethan moves them to a revolutionary house designed by the world-famous architect, Catriona Fisher. For the Rhodes’, this is a life-changing move because a key feature of the house is the state of the art security system that allows them to be completely safe from the outside world within their own home.

But what if what they fear most is actually inside the house? What if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

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MY REVIEW 

Nikki and Ethan had twin girls, but after a tragic accident, little Grace died. Bella who saw the accident has been mute ever since. Nikki has anxiety and doesn’t really feel safe among the memories in their home, so Ethan thinks they should move home for a fresh start for them all.

They find a fantastic house with state of the art security and an AI system that really makes life easy. Bella loves the house and so they move in…..but someone is watching. Is Bella safe? Are any of them?

Oh my, this is a marvellous mix of a family drama, thriller and Sci-fi that has moments of heart pounding tension and Oh the tears too…..a clever plot, which I can’t say much about for fear of spoiling it…….but if you like a claustrophobic thriller, this is a must read. 

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

James Carol was born in Scotland in 1969, where he spent his early years. He moved to England in the eighties and has lived there ever since. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor.

The character of Jefferson Winter came about because he wanted to write a series of books that gave him as much freedom as possible. He figured that the more interesting he kept things for himself, the more interesting it would be for the reader.

Although the novels are written as a series, James approaches each book as a stand-alone. Each story is set in a different location, and has a different cast of characters. The beauty of this approach is that the novels can be read out of order.

Broken Dolls, the first Jefferson Winter thriller, will be published in January 2014. This will be followed in the Spring by Presumed Guilty, the first in a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. Watch Me, the second Jefferson Winter thriller, is scheduled for publication in September 2014.

When he’s not writing, James spends his time training horses and riders. An accomplished guitarist, he relaxes by writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Family drama, Thriller

Bad Seed by Jessica Eames – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A tragic death. A dark family secret. A past you can’t escape. How well do you really know those closest to you? 

Sarah’s world has descended into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to find out the truth of what happened, and make sure the guilty are brought to justice. She is haunted by her dad’s death, consumed by her grief and the memories of a cruel day that changed her life forever… she doesn’t even know who she is anymore. But the future holds some hope for Sarah, as she tries to move forward.

Nicola’s future is not looking so hopeful. Since her husband died, the secret she’s been keeping from her family – especially her daughter, Sarah – is eating away at her. The past is catching up with her, and the consequences will be devastating. 

Inspired by the news that more people are having DNA tests to discover their heritage, BAD SEED subverts the tropes of the domestic thriller by exploring the closest relationship of all: that between parent and child. Clare Mackintosh’s I LET YOU GO meets FRIEND REQUEST, this is a story about family, and of obsession, revenge and identity.

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MY REVIEW 

Nicola, a widow, has a secret….but someone else knows.

Her husband Charlie died and left her with money issues, so she moves into brother-in-law, Ben’s annex. 

Feeling unwell, her boyfriend insists she visit a GP, but due to her being a woman in her 50’s, she is told it’s probably the menopause…..but is it?

She’s convinced something else is happening as she receives a menacing note and her possessions are being moved. Is it all in her mind?

I can’t say too much for fear of spoiling the story, but this is one of the twistiest domestic noir thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

Told from the perspectives of Nicola,  her daughter Sarah and Fion her sister-in-law, this brooding thriller tells of family secrets, lies and ultimately revenge. Brilliant.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

Book reviews, Comedy, Domestic noir

The Introvert Confounds Innocence by Michael Paul Michaud – Book Review. @MichaelPMichaud @BOTBSPublicity #TheIntrovertConfoundsInnocence

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

THE INTROVERT CONFOUNDS INNOCENCE continues the story of the eponymous anti-hero introduced in THE INTROVERT.

With his life disrupted by an unscrupulous work colleague and a bully at his son Toby’s school, things go from bad to worse when his neighbor’s abusive boyfriend goes missing, plunging the introvert into the center of a murder investigation.

Increasingly hounded by a meddlesome detective, and with his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.
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MY REVIEW 

The Introvert, our unnamed protagonist is now living with Donna and his 4 year old son, Toby and of course his dog Molly. 

He’s got a subscription to a child psychology magazine that is helping him to try and make sense of children’s minds, but he also uses it when thinking of people and how they behave, or how he thinks they behave. The introvert, thinks a lot!

He and Donna have a neighbour, Hayley who has a dog called Mr Muggles. When he sees her being rough with the dog, his thoughts turn dark…..he really is strong on animal rights.

When Hayley’s boyfriend abuses her, and comes to the introverts home to wait for her to come home….there is an altercation and some cleaning up to do….

When Josh is reported missing, an English detective begins investigating, with an odd accent and way of speaking, confusing the introvert at times. Is he under suspicion?

With young Toby being bullied at school, the introverts thoughts begin to get dark ….but can he resist making Timmy red and open? 

This is a dark, bizarre and humorous tale,  that will make you cringe but laugh at the same time….totally unique and I can’t wait to find out what happens next….

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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I am an American-Canadian citizen, a criminal prosecutor, and author of BILLY TABBS (& THE GLORIOUS DARROW) (bitingduckpress) and THE INTROVERT series (Black Opal Books). I have a B.A. in English from McMaster University, an Honors B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude) from McMaster University, a J.D. from The University of Western Ontario (with an international exchange completed at Washington & Lee). I have won awards for both my community service and my work as a criminal prosecutor. I am a member of Crime Writers of Canada and International Thriller Writers. I also strive to maintain a strong social media author presence, including at facebook.com/michaelpaulmichaud, and have made regular appearances on SiriusXM’s Canada Talks. I am an unabashed and unapologetic zealot of Twin Peaks. Literary influences are primarily Orwell, Dickens, Vonnegut, Dostoevsky.

 

I was inspired to write The Introvert after reading Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky) and The Stranger (Camus). It has been likened to Dexter and American Psycho meeting Office Space and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I also consider it the most unorthodox of animals rights books. Every dog lover should read them.

 

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/MichaelPaulMichaud/

The Introvert Book Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheIntrovertBook/

The Introvert Confounds Innocence Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheIntrovertBook2

Twitter: MichaelPMichaud

Instagram: MichaelPMichaud

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-michaud-04439311/

Goodreads page for The Introvert:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32808811-the-introvert

Goodreads page for The Introvert Confounds Innocence: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44490433-the-introvert-confounds-innocence 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Police procedural

Hands Up by Stephen Clark – Book Review. @StephCWrites #HandsUp

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

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MY REVIEW 

I’m not sure what category this fits into, it’s a social commentary, a police procedural, and a domestic drama. But it doesn’t matter really, what does matter is that it’s rather brilliant.

Ryan is a cop, he’s only been in the job a year and he’s partnered with Greg a long standing, experience cop. Oh and he’s abhorrently racist.

One day, Greg decides to pull over a young black guy, just because he wants to. Tyrell is unarmed, but Greg causes an altercation and as a result, Ryan shoots and kills Tyrell. Together they create a story, that Tyrell assaulted Greg, that Ryan believed he had managed to get Greg’s gun and so was left with no choice but to shoot.

Jade is Tyrell’s sister, and cannot believe he would ever have hit a cop. She has her own issues with self harm.

Kelly, is Jade and Tyrell’s estranged dad, he left when they were young and he’s now back and wants to help.

The story is told from Ryan, Kelly and Jade’s perspectives, it tells of their emotions and thoughts and how they can come to terms with this killing….or not!

Ryan is plagued with guilt, has panic attacks and wants to do the right thing, but he’s scared.

Jade is a mess, she wants the truth.

Kelly, he’s a homeless, ex gang member who’s now straight, but he’s angry.

This is a very topical tale of young black men being shot by police in America arbitrarily. I cannot imagine the intense emotions and fear this must cause. It highlights too, the #BlackLivesMatter movement and how high emotions run as people see the injustices happening in everyday life.

Here in the UK our cops do not routinely carry guns, so while it would be incredibly naive of me to say racism does not exist in the UK police, they do not kill young men on the streets, a daily occurrence in the US it seems. Just today, there has been a police chase, with 4 young people…I can’t say why, but armed police were there, however, not one of these young people were hurt…..It’s hard to imagine a similar situation in the US ending the same way and this is tragic and scary and so, so wrong.

Hands Up is a powerful and gripping tale, full of emotions, great realistic characters and a story with heartbreak, love and a twist or two. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Stephen Clark for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

 

You can can buy a copy here 

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir

In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael J Malone – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue. Chilling, perceptive and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash.

And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…
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MY REVIEW 

John is visiting his mum in a care home, she’s had a major stroke and is no longer independent. I felt sorry for her at this point………!

Due to costs, he is going to sell her home to pay for her continuing care, so visits his old home to start clearing it ready for sale….while in the loft he finds a picture of himself with a younger child….but has no memory of it…..

When his younger brother, Chris arrives he shows him the picture and they realise, John is the younger child, so who is the older boy? And so the mystery begins….

But, John is a mess, he’s drinking too much, missing work days and his long suffering girlfriend, Angela, has had enough. He becomes a little obsessed with finding out more about the unknown boy, but what he finds out changes his life forever….

I have been lucky to read some stunning books this year, but this has to be the most heartbreaking. It tells of the horrors of child abuse, the damage this causes physically and mentally to these young victims…..it’s a tough read at times but so utterly compelling with every page so full of emotion….it left me speechless. Magnificently immersive writing that grabs your attention from start to finish. In this darkest domestic noir thriller.. A definite must read….

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2OjH7ZT

 

AUTHOR BIO

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Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

 ‘Vivid, visceral and compulsive’ Ian Rankin ‘Michael J Malone is a massive talent’ Luca Veste