Leave Well Alone by AJ Campbell

Published: August 1st, 2020
Publisher: Code Grey Publishing
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Thriller

Today is my stop on the blog tour of this riveting debut thriller. Thank you to AJ Campbell for the invitation to take part and the finished copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

Absorb yourself in the powerful debut novel from AJ Campbell

LEAVE WELL ALONE

How far would you go to protect your family from the truth?

A broken family. Skeletons in the closet. Lives in danger.

When Eva’s brother Ben announces he has found their mother, Eva is determined to have nothing to do with the woman who abandoned them eighteen years ago to a traumatic childhood in foster care. Eva is happy now, in a loving relationship with rich and dependable Jim, and she is pregnant.

Nothing can change Eva’s mind. Her eyes are on the future, not the past. But when her baby is born with a serious hereditary illness, she is forced to confront both her mother and her past. Eva begins to find forgiveness. But as old secrets and layers of deceit emerge, she makes a shocking discovery, leaving her fearing for her baby’s, Jim’s, and her own life.

Great for fans of AJ Finn, Lisa Jewell, Paula Hawkins and K.L Slater.

MY REVIEW:

“That bone-chilling winter’s day when my brother returned home for good was when I first contemplated murdering my mother.”

“That bone-chilling winter’s day when my brother returned home for good was when I first contemplated murdering my mother.”

What an opening line! Full of foreboding, tension, mystery and sinister promise, I was instantly hooked. And from that moment I was immersed in this tense, twisty and compelling debut. I didn’t want to put it down, and the only reason I didn’t read it in one sitting was my body’s pesky need for sleep. 

This is a truly unique psychological thriller. It is so evocative that you feel everything the characters do and are taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride as they navigate trials and conflict in this dramatic story. Told in dual narratives in dual timelines, the author tackles  themes of childhood trauma, mental health issues, physical health issues, family secrets and forgiveness in a well thought out, thorough and realistic manner. The descriptions of Eva’s anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD particularly resonated with me, and I found she was the character I most connected with. What she had gone through as a child and the journey she went on over the course of the book really tugged on my heartstrings, and I could understand her reticence to forgive or reconnect with her mother after all that had happened.  While I wasn’t holding my breath, I did hope that she would find the happy ending she deserved after going through so much. 

I read a lot of thrillers and I will be honest and say I picked up this book for the blog tour at a time I really didn’t think I was in the mood for it. But what I didn’t know is how good this was going to be. Ms Campbell’s riveting and vivid writing had me under her spell from the opening line that packed a punch and dives straight into the anger and emotion of Eva’s story.  She knows exactly how to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, guessing what will happen next.

A gripping, suspenseful and thrilling read, Leave Well Alone is a fantastic debut that I would highly recommend. Just make sure you don’t have any plans, as you’re not going to want to stop reading.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Until the birth of her twins in 2005, which radically changed her life, AJ was an accountant for several investment banks in London. One of her twins was born with severe disabilities, as a result of which she had to give up work to care for him. It was during this incredibly challenging (and rewarding) time that AJ began to draw on her love of the written word, partly for day-to-day inspiration and partly for her own mental health. She started writing her debut novel, Leave Well Alone, and then enrolled in several creative writing courses with the Faber Academy where she progressed with her writing career.
AJ lives on the Essex / Hertfordshire border with her husband and three sons and splits her time between caring for her son and family and writing.

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