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Blog Tours book reviews

BLOG TOUR: The Phone Call by A. J. Campbell

Published: June 26th, 2022
Publisher: Code Grey Publishers
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle

Today is also my stop on the tour for The Phone Call. Thank you to A. J. Campbell for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

Sometimes the guilty are innocent

Joey Clarke was just fifteen when his dad died, leaving him to raise his much younger siblings as his mum dealt with the trauma of bereavement and her failing health. Ten years on, Joey’s only pleasure is spending time with his friend Becca, the love of his life. It’s the one escape from his dead-end job, his ever-increasing debts, and the fear that enforcement agents will knock on his front door any day.

So when a phone call brings Joey the chance to ease the burdens of his life, he grabs the opportunity, even though he knows things are not entirely as they should be. He justifies it to himself as a way to get back on his feet. But when he finds himself party to a crime involving Becca, he panics.

As Joey tries to find a way out, he becomes further embroiled in a web of secrets, lies, and deceit. At risk of losing everything and everyone he holds dear, Joey must consider the unthinkable.

A psychological suspense thriller, full of twists and turns, perfect for readers of Lisa Jewell, Frieda McFadden, Shari Lapena, Adele Parks, Miranda Rijks, Jackie Kabler, Lucy Foley, Sally Hepworth, and Daniel Hurst.

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MY REVIEW:

Joey Clarke receives a phone call from a friend that offers the chance to make some easy money.  With the bills piling up and debt collectors about to knock on his door he feels he has little other option but to take the opportunity.  

All he has to do is deliver two packages.  The first delivery goes fine, but when he goes to deliver the second package things go wrong and he finds himself an accessory to a shocking crime.  Even worse, the crime is linked to people he knows.  Should he confess or keep quiet and hope his secret is never discovered?

A tangled web of secrets, lies and desperation that simmers with suspense, The Phone Call is a tense and twisty psychological thriller.  I’ve read all of A. J. Campbell’s books and this one had the most intense atmosphere yet as Joey’s desperation and despair leap from the page.  He is drowning in hopelessness with no life raft to save him, though I wished I could throw him one.  It was painful to read as he struggles to bear the part he played in what happens and wrestles with his conscience while trying to decide what he should do.  It feels like an impossible dilemma, particularly when combined with the threats of what would happen to him and his family if he dared to go to the police hanging over him.  Campbell has a skill for writing characters who are relatable and real, something that shines in this book as they pull you in and make you feel for them.  The combination of this with familiar life struggles, drama and sinister secrets, raise the tension and make this a book that will have you on the edge of your seat. 

On the subject of characters, I want to take this opportunity to thank the author.  Joey’s mum has Fibromyalgia, a condition I also live with.  To see someone with this condition written in a realistic way that doesn’t contain the usual cliches about painkiller addiction, hypochondria or laziness was refreshing.  This is the kind of representation of chronic illness we need in literature and it was wonderful to see. 

Fast-paced, suspenseful and twisty, this intense thriller is a quick and compelling read that I’d recommend. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

AJ CAMPBELL is the author of the Amazon bestselling debut novel Leave Well Alone. She writes in the psychological suspense genre and promises stories full of twists, turns and torment. Her fourth book The Phone Call was released in July 2022. AJ draws inspiration for her novels from seemingly unbelievable situations in which ordinary people find themselves. She creates compelling characters that resonate with her readers. AJ lives in the UK on the Essex / Hertfordshire border with her husband, sons, and cocker spaniel, Max. A dog lover, Netflix junkie, wine and Asian food enthusiast, either reading or writing, AJ enjoys nothing more than getting stuck into a twisty book!

Website

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxxx

Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

*All purchase links are affiliate links

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Search No Further by A.J. Campbell

Published: December 8th 2021
Publisher: Code Grey Publishing
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Crime Series
Format: Paperback, Kindle

I’m closing out the year with a review for a heart-pounding thriller by an author I’ve loved reading this year. Thank you A.J. Campbell for the invitation to take part in the tour and the gifted eBook ARC.

SYNOPSIS:

Someone is dying. Everyone is lying.

Glamorous Cara De Rosa has it all: a rapidly expanding chain of family-run Italian restaurants, friends aplenty and an imminent marriage to a much younger man.

When she collapses during a family party, all signs point to a heart attack. But Cara knows better. She confides in her beloved granddaughter, Sienna. Someone wants her dead.

Sienna, a troubled single parent, is exasperated with the police for failing to find the culprit of her husband’s death five years earlier. Her lack of confidence in the justice system leads her to delve into Cara’s chilling allegation.

It’s a race against time to save her grandmother’s life. The more Sienna searches for the truth, the more she discovers her family is riddled with dark secrets, lies and deceit.

But who would want to see the end of the popular Cara De Rosa?

A psychological suspense thriller full of twists and turns

Great for fans of Lisa Jewell, Harlan Coben, Shari Lapena, Adele Parks, Mark Edwards, Miranda Rijks, Daniel Hurst and Lucy Foley.

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MY REVIEW:

When De Rosa family Matriarch, Cara, collapses at her great-granddaughter’s birthday party all signs point to a heart attack. But while in hospital Cara confides in her granddaughter Sienna that she has been poisoned, and she knows who wants her dead…

A thrilling mystery skillfully interwoven with compelling family drama, Search No Further is a story of family, secrets, lies and betrayal. It will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, breaking your heart as Cara fights for life in her hospital bed and Sienna continues to grapple with the devastating loss of her husband five years earlier, making you smile as young Lola shares the wisdom only children can possess, and making your heart race as you work to untangle the web of mystery surrounding them all to discover if one of them is a potential killer.

I’ve now read all of A.J. Campbell’s novels and she just keeps getting better. This book is a departure from her Eva Barnes series but I found the De Rosa family utterly compelling. Even without their deep cavern of family secrets this family is entertaining enough for multiple books, a colourful cast of characters who leapt from the page. I especially loved Cara and the sweet relationship she and Sienna shared. It reminded me of the close relationship I enjoyed with my own Grandmother, who I lost earlier this year, right down to how Cara dotes on her great-grandchild, just as mine did. This made me feel even more invested in the story and whether or not Cara would pull through. As we approached the finale I couldn’t read fast enough, my heart pounding so hard I thought it might beat out of my chest right up until the shocking truth was revealed.

A pacy and twisty psychological puzzle that will keep you guessing, read this book if you enjoy a well-written thriller.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

AJ Campbell is the debut author of the bestselling novel Leave Well Alone, which readers describe as ‘a gripping story with a killer twist’. An alumna of the Faber Academy, AJ writes in the psychological suspense, thriller and mystery genres. Her latest novel Don’t Come Looking, although a standalone story, is a sequel to her debut and was released in April 2021.

The human mind and how different people react to each other and interact in society fascinates AJ. She draws inspiration for her novels from many facets of everyday life. Asking, ‘How can that have possibly happened?’ AJ loves to immerse herself in developing threads, plotting and letting her creative energy help her characters evolve.

Until the birth of her twins in 2005, which radically changed her life, AJ worked as an accountant 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.  During this incredibly challenging (and rewarding) time, AJ began to draw on her love of the written word, partly for daily inspiration and partly for her own mental health. 

Reading or writing, AJ loves nothing more than settling down with a good book. She enjoys reading most genres, especially thought-provoking novels that beg the question – what would I have done in that situation?

AJ lives on the Essex / Hertfordshire border with her husband, two of her three sons, and her cocker spaniel, Max. She is a firm believer in daily exercise for mental health and enjoys walking Max in the local fields. AJ also loves cooking oriental food while sipping a good glass of white wine.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon*
*This is an affiliate link

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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx