Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this astonishing psychological thriller. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Transworld Publishing for my gifted copy of the book.
Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:
YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?
The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.
And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.
As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.
But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?
Wow! This phenomenal novel puts the psycho into psychological thriller. It was one of those books where you just know you’re going to love it instantly. From the spine-chilling first chapter I was hooked and I devoured this book in just two sittings, staying up until daft o’clock as I needed to know what happened. Exhilarating, fast-paced, jaw-dropping and addictive, it knocked me out like ten rounds with Mike Tyson.
Dr Augusta Bloom and her partner Marcus Jameson are called in to investigate the disappearance of his sister’s friend Lana, leaving her sixteen-year-old daughter Jane behind with no money for food or bills. The police don’t think there’s a case to look into, despite the anonymous birthday card left behind daring her to play a game. As they investigate, they learn that three other people have disappeared in similar circumstances. But they can’t find any commonalities between the victims other than they disappeared on their birthdays and left behind the same card. Who is the card from? And what is so enticing about this game they’d willingly walk away from their life and loved ones?
After speaking to those closest to them Augusta has a theory beginning to take shape. But when she reveals it to Jameson he’s skeptical. As the number of players rises the police finally get involved in the search and Augusta is increasingly sure of her hypothesis. But they still don’t know who’s behind the game or what they want and Augusta begins to think the team are being watched and someone is trying to derail the investigation. Can they find the architect and the players before it’s too late?
I really liked the characters in this book. This new series focuses on Dr Augusta Bloom, a criminal psychologist and private detective, and her partner Marcus Jameson, a former spy, who have been solving mysteries together for five years. I loved this easy-to-like duo. Augusta is elusive and Marcus, her only real friend, doesn’t even know a lot about her. She keeps to herself and her job is her life. Marcus also lives for his job but is more open that Augusta. We meet his sister in the book and it’s clear how important his family is to him which is why I think the choice to have him be personally connected to their case was a good one. It added an extra layer of emotion and urgency and the odds felt higher. My favourite character was Seraphine. At just fourteen years old she knows she’s a psychopath and seems to relish it. She passes for normal by watching those around her and mimicking their behaviour. Her parts were always fun but sinister and eerie.
This was my first time reading a book by this author and it won’t be my last. It is intelligent, sharp and expertly written, and you can tell she knows her stuff as she delves into the darkness that is camouflaged amongst us and offers a fascinating insight into their minds. I loved how the antagonist was written and while I won’t go into specifics to avoid spoilers, I will say they were revealed to be truly twisted and calculated. Another aspect of her writing I enjoyed was the small clues she hid for us to find that you don’t really recognise until much later. For instance, I couldn’t shake a feeling of discomfort about two of the characters. It felt like there was something underlying and hidden. But it wasn’t until towards the end that I pieced it together from the subtle trail of breadcrumbs the author had left behind. She knows how to keep her readers hostage and captivated me from the start right until the last page.
Gone is an immersive, arresting, heat-stopping and clever thriller that is fraught with tension from the first page. Unputdownable can be overused by book bloggers but I can’t think of a more appropriate time to use it than for this book. Insanely twisty, there were shocking and unexpected revelations that left me speechless. 2019 has been a great year for thrillers and Gone has snook in at the last minute to be one of my top books this year. I can’t wait for the second installment and could see this becoming a contender for my favourite crime series. Anyone who loves psychological thrillers needs to read this now!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Leona draws inspiration for her writing from her own experiences having started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police and her successful work in psychology since. She is now an occupational therapist and lives with her family in Leeds. This is her debut thriller.