Happy Friday Bibliophiles! Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in an exciting cover reveal in collaboration with HQ.
Prepare for the return of Meddy and her meddling aunties in #FourAunties and a Wedding, the hilarious sequel to Jesse Sutano’s#DialAForAunties! They vow to make it a day to remember… 👰🏻
They vow to make it a day to remember…
After Meddy Chan and her aunties got away with literal murder, she’s hoping for a quieter life. She’s happily coupled up with love of her Nathan, and excited to plan her dream wedding. She just needs to keep her family from interfering too much.
Meddy has dreamt of her wedding day but with the Chans involved, this is going to be a wedding day you’ll never forget…
Four Aunties and a Wedding is published March 3rd 2022. RSVP here.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Jesse Q. Sutanto is the author of adult, YA, and children’s middle grade books. She has a master’s degree in creative writing from Oxford University, though she hasn’t found a way of saying that without sounding obnoxious. The film rights to her women’s fiction, Dial A for Aunties, was bought by Netflix in a competitive bidding war. Her adult books include Dial A for Aunties and its sequel, Four Aunties and a Wedding. Her YA books include The Obsession, The New Girl, and her upcoming romcom, Well, That Was Unexpected. Her MG books include Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit and an untitled sequel.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this heart-pounding psychological thriller. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.
Who would you trust with your precious family?
Wanted: full-time, live-in help for expectant mother. Must be organised, friendly and willing to do anything.
Rachel is determined to be the perfect mother. She has a birth plan, with a playlist and a bag ready by the door. She’s chosen a lovely light cream paint for the nursery, and in wide-eyed, innocent Abbie she’s found the perfect person to help her with her baby.
After all, every mother needs a bit of help, don’t they?
But Rachel needs a little more than most.
She still makes sure her bedroom door is locked before she goes to sleep. She still checks the cameras that are dotted throughout the house.
Rachel trusts Abbie. Even if Abbie’s smiles don’t always reach her eyes, and the stories she tells about her past don’t always add up, it doesn’t matter.
Because Rachel knows better than to trust herself…
From the bestselling author of Her Husband’s Lover, this is a truly gripping story about how far people will go to find a family. Filled with tension and twists to keep you glued to every page, it is perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, Shari LaPena and The Girl on the Train.
Social media influencer Rachel Rodrigues is about to have her first child, so she advertises on her page for live-in help; someone who will see to her needs as well as those of her unborn child. Abbie James is Rachel’s biggest fan and can’t believe her luck when she lands the position. But her illusions are soon shattered when she discovers that Rachel’s picture-perfect, #authentic life is actually a carefully curated facade. As the anger and resentment grows, the dark secrets that both women are hiding are slowly revealed, the tension bubbling until it boils over in a heart-pounding finale that will leave you breathless.
Wow! What a ride! This was my first foray into Julia Crouch’s books but it won’t be my last. She had me hooked from the start, suspense and mystery seeping from every page. The story is narrated by both Rachel and Abbie, who are richly drawn, compelling and unreliable. Rachel is the controlling, difficult and wayward influencer whose life isn’t quite what she sells online, while Abbie is the girl from a difficult background with dreams of a better life who sees Rachel as a kind of saviour. Both women airbrush the truth about themselves to be better liked or get ahead and I liked how they seem to switch roles in terms of who is the good guy or bad guy at different times in the story.
Rachel’s job as an influencer is a big part of the story. The author not only uses this in the plot itself, but breaks up the story with sporadic ‘Instagram Posts’ that detail some of Rachel’s online content. I loved how these posts created a contrast with what was happening in the narrative, revealing the staged aspect of so-called real life on social media. The author uses Rachel’s influencer status to explore the more damaging aspects of this phenomenon, looking at the effect this can have on the mental and emotional wellbeing of both the poster and the consumer, and making you think about what you see and post online.
Taut, tense, twisty and unputdownable, I loved this gripping psychological thriller and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Julia started off as a theatre director and playwright. While her children were growing up, she swerved into graphic design. After writing and illustrating two children’s books for an MA, she discovered that her great love was writing prose. The picture books were deemed too dark for publication, so, to save the children, she turned instead to writing for adults. Her first book, Cuckoo, was published in 2011, and she has been writing what she calls her Domestic Noir novels ever since. She also writes for TV and teaches on the Crime Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. She has three grown up children and lives in Brighton with her husband and two cats, Keith and Sandra.
Happy Publication Day to this chilling thriller. Thank you Embla Books for the gifted eBook ARC.
From number one bestselling author Caroline Mitchell, comes the first chilling Slayton thriller for fans of C. J. Tudor and Stephen King.
If you open your door to the Midnight Man, hide with a candle wherever you can. Try not to scream as he draws near, because one of you won’t be leaving here…
On Halloween night in Slayton, five girls go to Blackhall Manor to play the Midnight Game. They write their names on a piece of paper and prick their fingers to soak it in blood. At exactly midnight they knock on the door twenty-two times – they have invited the Midnight Man in.
It was supposed to be a game, but only four girls come home.
Detective Sarah Noble has just returned to the force, and no one knows more about Blackhall Manor than her. It’s a case that will take Sarah back to everything she’s been running from, and shake her to the core.
Will she be ready to meet the Midnight Man?
“If you tell, you’ll go to hell.”
Five girls go to Blackhall Manor to play the Midnight Game on Halloween night. Only four of them return. Detective Sarah Noble is called in to investigate and finds herself immersed in the folklore, rumours and suspicions that have haunted Blackhall Manor ever since that Halloween Night in 1994. Is she ready to meet the Midnight Man? And can she stop him claiming more victims?
Tense, eerie, atmospheric and addictive, The Midnight Man is perfect for the spooky season. The story takes lots of unexpected twists and turns and was actually quite different to what I was expecting. But I loved the direction the author took instead, keeping me guessing the whole time with her multilayered and intricately woven tale. Expertly written, she held me hostage from beginning to end. I couldn’t stop reading and inhaled it like it was oxygen. It was my first foray into Caroline Mitchell’s books and I can’t wait to read more from her, including returning to the community she created for this novel.
Told by multiple narrators, this book is bursting with great characters who are richly drawn and memorable. Sometimes having a lot of narrators can be confusing or take away from the atmosphere of a book, but Ms. Mitchell does it so well that they add to the mystery and suspense. Each one is so compelling that you don’t question why she needed to give them a voice and I loved getting to know them all.
One of my favourite tropes is when the antagonist is a narrator, so I loved the elusive Midnight Man’s chapters in this book; his murderous intentions chillingly laid bare while his victims remained unaware. It cranked up the tension and had me looking for clues as to his identity in every sentence. I liked Sarah and thought the author represented the effects of trauma and PTSD really well through her character. She was easy to connect with and a great choice for the main protagonist. But it was Elliott, the sweet young psychic boy, who was my favourite of all the characters. He stole my heart, and any scene he was in. I challenge anyone who reads this book not to fall in love with him.
Blackhall Manor was also like a character in it’s own right. Eerily looming behind the gates and casting a shadow over all of Slayton since the murders that occured on Halloween 1994. Talk of it being haunted, rumours of the Midnight Man and kids playing the midnight game all play into the atmosphere that surrounds the dilapidated house. But what was the truth? I loved how the author was able to keep me guessing right up until the big reveal and surprised me despite all my hypotheses.
So if you’re looking for a book that will send shivers down your spine and make your heart race then this is for you. Just make sure you read it with the lights on.
Are YOU ready to meet the Midnight Man?
MEET THE AUTHOR:
New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and International #1 Bestselling Author. Shortlisted by the International Thriller Awards for best ebook 2017 and the Killer Nashville Best Police Procedural 2018. Over 1.3 million books sold.
Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, she has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.
Caroline writes psychological and crime thrillers. Her stand alone thriller Silent Victim reached No.1 in the Amazon charts in the UK, USA and Australia and was the winner of the Reader’s Favourite Awards in the psychological thriller category. It has been described as ‘brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy’.
The first in her Amy Winter series, Truth And Lies, has been optioned for TV.
Published: September 30th, 2021 Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Gothic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Horror Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Fairy Tale Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this gorgeously gothic novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Harper Collins UK for the eBook ARC.
Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse.
A lighthouse that has weathered more than storms.
Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation.
Coincidence? Or curse?
Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left.
Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . .
But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?
“I wasn’t yet wise enough to be terrified.”
A cold, sparsely populated Scottish Island, a deserted and decrepit lighthouse, strange goings on and tales of witches, curses and wildlings. What could be more perfect to read during October?
Bursting with atmosphere, mythology and folklore, this chilling and mysterious tale had me in it’s graspfrom beginning to end. There’s a sense of foreboding that pervades the pages; a haunting aura that lingers over every carefully crafted sentence. I devoured this book, unable to put it down despite the goosebumps that pricked my skin.
“The story of her past is not like other people’s, she thinks. Most people’s past can be viewed like cleaved water left in the wake of a boat. Hers? It’s a tangled weave of spider webs and nightmares, never to make sense.”
The story is told in dual timelines: 1998 when Liv Stay has moved to the isle of Lon Haven with her children Sapphire (Saffy), Luna and Clover after being commissioned to paint a mural in the Longing, and 2021 when a now twenty-nine-year-old Luna is pregnant with her first child and still searching for her mother and sisters, who went missing all those years ago. There are also flashbacks to the witch trials of 1662 in the form of a grimoire that young Saffy finds in the bothy and begins reading. The author seamlessly shifts between the three timelines, giving each a distinctive voice and perfectly capturing the different eras. While you know each timeline must be connected, the author keeps you guessing as to how, slowly and teasingly weaving the threads together until you see the full and intricatepicture she has woven. The characters are all evocative and compelling, luring you into their stories so deeply that you can’t leave until you know all the secrets they keep locked inside.
“The Longing. The name conjures such terror, such complex memories.”
Gorgeously gothic, the author makes great use of places to help create an atmosphere that sends shivers down your spine. Lon Haven is a place that conjures feelings of claustrophobia and isolation. In the middle of nowhere, it is inhabited by strange residents who tell crazy tales and there is a feeling of fear whether anyone who goes there can make it out again. And then there’s the Longing, which casts a sinister shadow over the story from the start. An eerie, haunting place that is falling apart, we soon learn that it is a place the locals avoid thanks to a history that involves women accused of witchcraft, curses and death. Liv quickly notices strange occurrences happening there and begins to wonder about the tales Isla and others have told her about the Longing. Could they be true? Could it really be cursed? And if so, what does that mean for her and her daughters?
Enthralling, immersive and filled with gothic menace, The Lighthouse Witches is the perfect read for spooky season.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
CJ Cooke, also known as Carolyn Jess-Cooke, grew up on a council estate in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the height of the Troubles. She started writing at the age of 7 and pestered publishers for many years with manuscripts typed on her grandparents’ old typewriter and cover notes written on pages ripped from school jotters.
Since then, she has published 12 works in 23 languages and won numerous awards, including an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, a Tyrone Guthrie Prize, a K Blundell Award, and she has won a Northern Writer’s Award three times. In 2011, her debut novel, The Guardian Angel’s Journal, was published by Little, Brown. The novel was an international bestseller. Her second novel, The Boy Who Could See Demons (2012), is now a cult classic. Her sixth novel, The Lighthouse Witches, is published in September 2021, and her third poetry collection, We Have to Leave the Earth, is published in October 2021. CJ’s work is concerned with trauma, motherhood, grief, and social justice.
CJ holds a BA (Hons), MA, and PhD from Queen’s University, Belfast, and commenced her academic career in 2005 as a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sunderland. Shortly thereafter, she published four academic works in swift succession on Shakespearean Cinema and Film Sequels, before establishing her career as a poet, editor, and novelist. Now Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, CJ convenes the prestigious MLitt Creative Writing and researches ways that creative writing can help with trauma and mental health. She is also the founder and director of the Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival, which is dedicated to providing people with accessible, inclusive, and eco-friendly ways to access literature. She has four children and lives with her family in Glasgow, Scotland.
Welcome to my stop on the tour for this quirky and entertaining thriller. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Karen at Orenda for the eBook ARC.
An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.
**Soon to be a major motion picture starring Steve Carell for Amazon Studios**
Just one spreadsheet away from chaos…
What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.
And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.
But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…
Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in the beauty and random nature of life.
When Insurance Mathematician Henri Koshkinen’s brother passes away suddenly, leaving him his adventure park and a last wish to make it profitable, his perfectly ordered world is turned upside down. What follows is a quirky, funny, refreshing and entertaining novel that you won’t forget.
From the tense prologue that had me reading in breathless anticipation, I was hooked and couldn’t put the book down. Both the writing style and Henri, who is our narrator, have a distinct and original voice that manages to find that sweet spot of being compelling and totally believable no matter how far-fetched and absurd the antics became. Deftly plotted, sharp and succinct, it will have you laughing out loud one moment, cringing the next, and then have you on the edge of your seat in suspense.
I’ve never met or read about anyone quite like Henri. He’s ordered, sensible and more than a little odd. He’s the sort of person you might avoid if he worked in your office, yet I soon found myself adoring this strange man and rooting for him every step of the way. I loved how he was written; so sure of himself and his way of looking at the world, yet he slowly finds himself opening up and changing in unexpected ways, while also managing to change others by being unapologetically himself. The novel has been picked up to be adapted into a film starring Steve Carrel as Henri and he truly is perfect for the role. It could have been written for him. As I read I could hear his voice speaking every word and see him like I was already watching it on the screen.
This is one of those books where saying too much about the plot will ruin your enjoyment of the book. You just need to read it and enjoy the crazy ride that it takes you on. And, boy, does this one take you on a wild rollercoaster ride.
Wacky, witty and addictive, this one-of-a-kind thriller is not to be missed.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later, in 2013, they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. Palm Beach Finland (2018) was an immense success, with The Times calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’, and Little Siberia (2019) was shortlisted for the Capital Crime/Amazon Publishing Readers Awards, the Last Laugh Award and the CWA International Dagger, and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel. The Rabbit Factor is the first book in Antti’s first-ever series. Follow
MEET THE TRANSLATOR:
David Hackston is a British translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. He graduated from University College London with a degree in Scandinavian Studies and now lives in Helsinki where he works as a freelance translator. Notable recent publications include the Anna Fekete trilogy by Kati Hiekkapelto, Katja Kettu’s wartime epic The Midwife, four novels by ‘Helsinki noir’ author Antti Tuomainen, and Pajtim Statovci’s enigmatic My Cat Yugoslavia and Crossing. His drama translations include three plays by Heini Junkkaala, most recently Play it, Billy! (2012) about the life and times of jazz pianist Billy Tipton. David was a regular contributor to Books from Finland until its discontinuation in 2015. In 2007, he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation. David is also a professional countertenor and has studied early music and performance practice in Helsinki and Portugal. He is a founding member of the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this delightful cosy mystery. Thank you to Ellie at Viking for the invitation to take part and the proof copy of the book.
THE SECOND NOVEL IN THE RECORD-BREAKING, MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING THURSDAY MURDER CLUB SERIES BY RICHARD OSMAN
It’s the following Thursday.
Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.
As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?
But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?
“Time flies when you are living it.”
We’re back with the Thursdays Murder Club.
The second installment in this charming series picks up the following Thursday after the events of book one. Elizabeth has received a cryptic message from someone from her past that sets in motion a chain of events involving stolen diamonds, mobsters and murder.
I was delighted to be back with this gang of unlikely amateur sleuths for what was one of my most anticipated books this year. I found that it not only lived up to its whip-smart, richly crafted and brilliantly written predecessor, but surpassed it. The secret? Feeling like you’re reconnecting with old friends. Not only did it feel like I was right there with them, but I felt like I could be part of the gang. Ok, maybe not one of the actual Thursday Murder Club, but an outside helper like police officers Chris and Donna, who are also back to help this intrepid quartet in their investigations.
Pensioners behaving badly is something I will never tire of reading, especially when it’s done this well. The characters are authentic, intriguing and memorable; each having that spark that makes you take them into your heart. Then when you add in the camaraderie, loyalty and love they have for one another, you have the perfect mix that just makes you want to keep reading about these people. I loved how their bonds of friendship had been strengthened bythe events of book one, and seeing how both their antics and friendship with one another has impacted them individually. Joyce in particular shone out for me in this installment and has become my favourite member of the Thursday Murder Club.
Cosy, comforting, witty and uplifting, reading this book is like a warm cup of tea on a cold day. Once again Richard Osman has knocked it out of the park with his masterful storytelling, dynamic characters, vivid world-building and funny dialogue. It is these things that make this series feel so fresh and stand out from the crowd in the saturated crime and cosy mysteries market. It was a joy to read, allowing the author to take me on a wild and entertaining ride as the story unfolded before me. I’m already excited about revisiting this lively bunch in book three.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Richard Osman is an author, producer and television presenter. The Thursday Murder Club is his first novel. He is well known for TV shows including Pointless and Richard Osman’s House of Games. As the creative director of Endemol UK, Richard has worked as an executive producer on numerous shows including Deal Or No Deal and 8 Out of 10 Cats. He is also a regular on panel and game shows such as Have I Got News For You, Would I Lie To You and Taskmaster.
Welcome to First Lines Friday, where I share the first lines from one of the books on my shelves to try and tempt you to add it to yours.
“It’s not the killing, that’s not the thing. Gotta watch, moniter, think, a lot, and – come the time – carve into the void. That’s it. Carve into the void. Find a way to make the universe shrink, to make it shrink till it’s condensed into the barrel of the gun or the point of the knife. That’s all. Don’t ask any questions, don’t be driven by anger, choose protocol, and proceed methodically.”
Today’s captivating first lines are taken from the international bestseller, The Anomaly by Hervé le Tellier., which is published in the UK on January 20th. I was fortunate to recently receive a copy along with some great book swag and I’m looking forward to diving into this one very soon.
WINNER OF THE PRIX GONCOURT. 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD. AN INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON.
What do you do if your life is no longer your own?
When flight Air France 006 enters a terrifying storm, the plane – inexplicably – duplicates. For every passenger on board that day, there are now two – a double with the same mind, body and memories.
Just one thing sets them apart. One plane leaves the storm in March. The other doesn’t land until June. For world leaders, the emergence of the June flight raises serious alarms. No science, faith, or protocol can explain this unprecedented event.
But for the passengers, a bigger question is at stake. What happens to them, now that their life is shared? What happens to those who land in June, when their March doubles make decisions that will change their lives forever?
And as the doubles prepare to meet, they have an extraordinary decision to make.
If there are two of them, and just one life – who gets to live it?
A runaway bestseller and winner of the 2020 Prix Goncourt, The Anomaly is a genre-defying, whip-smart novel that explores the very essence of who we are.
How amazing does that sound? If I’ve tempted you, then you can pre-order your copy here*
Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. See you next week for more first lines xxx
Happy Publication Day to this addictive and menacing thriller. Thank you Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.
The young friends were unaware of the man who had followed them through the park. With his trilby pulled down, he moved stealthily through the trees. He was careful and kept to the shadows. He worried it might not have been his wisest move to join the girl on the bench but hadn’t been able to resist seeing her sitting alone like that: she was his absolute ideal.
London 1949: Queenie Osbourne and her best friend Joy are walking through the bustling city streets looking forward to a bright future. The two friends have a striking beauty which draws everyone to them. Queenie dreams of making her fortune as a singer in America and Joy is engaged to wealthy bachelor Charles Gilchrist.
As they prepare for the wedding, it becomes clear that there is a spark between Queenie and Charles and soon they commit the ultimate betrayal. But Queenie’s dream is shattered in an instant when she discovers she is pregnant.
With nowhere else to turn, Queenie is told about a man named John Reginald Christie. He helps women like her and will keep her secret. But as she stands on the steps outside 10 Rillington Place, she feels instantly threatened.
On the other side of the door, Reg Christie is waiting. Queenie doesn’t know that he has been watching her for a long time. To Reg she is perfect in every way. Now, all she has to do is knock…
Inspired by the true crime story of the Rillington Place killer John Reginald Christie, this is a chilling mystery based on a fictional cast of characters. Fans of Gregg Olsen, Louise Douglas and Jess Lourey will be hooked.
“He’s a dark one, he is. A right queer fish… It seems we got him quite wrong.”
As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it. True crime mixed with a historical murder mystery? It was like it was written for me.
I think most of us are familiar with the name John Reginald Christie and the awful events that occurred behind the closed doors of 10 Rillington Place. The address alone lives in infamy; conjuring up images of helpless young women at the mercy of a sick and depraved man. In this novel the author merges fact with fiction, taking real people and real things that occurred, and combining them with fictional characters and events to create an intoxicatingthriller that reads like non-fiction. I found myself googling characters and events to double check what was fact and what wasn’t as it all felt so authentic that it could have been featured in a true crime documentary.
Atmospheric and utterly engrossing, Griffiths transported me back to post-war London with such evocative descriptions and prose that I felt like I could see the dim gaslit streets and choking smog. The story is told by multiple narrators that were richly drawn, captivating and memorable, vividly putting me in each of their shoes. But as wonderfully as they were all written, what stood out to me most of all was Christie. It felt like she really got inside the mind of this sick and twisted killer. There is a pervading sense of unease as we witness him skulking around and stalking his prey, get glimpses into his depraved fantasies, and watch as he wears a mask of ordinariness to disguise himself. He sent shivers down my spine every time he was on the page and it felt authentic and I never questioned what I was reading, except that it was fiction. It was as if she’d found his journals and transcribed them.
Part of the problem with writing a book based on a well-known serial killer, is that we know how the story ends. Or we think we do. By combining fact and fiction the author is able to surprise the reader with unexpected twists. But for me, the real talent is when they can take those familiar events and still have you on the edge of your seat with your heart in your throat. And Ms. Griffiths did that again and again. As we hurtle towards those scenes where we know how it ends, there is still that rising sense of foreboding and frisson of fear that makes it impossible to stop reading. I was so invested in the story and so connected to the characters that I wanted to jump into the pages and stop it. To find a way to travel back in time to change the course of history. To scream a warning at Queenie not to go to Rillington Place because she wouldn’t find a solution, only her doom. My heart was racing so fast I felt like it was going to beat out of my chest as I waited to see if she was saved, forgetting for a moment that history has already been written and, those who step inside Rillington Place are beyond our help.
In 1949 Britain was still recovering from the war and was in a time of great change: rationing was still in effect, homes were being rebuilt, people were readjusting to normal life, women were gaining independence and the newly established NHS was changing medicine and health for the better. But it was a time caught between the old and the new as patriarchal expectations remained prevalent and homosexuality and abortion were still illegal. The author touches on and examines these topics in varying detail over the course of the book. I was deeply moved by how she portrayed Terrance’s fear that his homosexuality will be discovered and his torment at being seen as a criminal for simply loving another man. And I found the discussion of desperate, backstreet abortions to be particularly timely with the recent legislation in Texas of the so-called ‘Heartbeat Bill’. It is a potentreminder that making such things against the law doesn’t stop them, only puts lives in danger as desperate people take desperate risks.
Deliciously dark, menacing, suspenseful and unsettling, The Girl at my Door is an addictive thriller that you won’t be able to put down. This was my first foray into Rebecca Griffiths’ books but it certainly won’t be my last.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Rebecca Griffiths grew up in mid-Wales and went on to gain a first class honours degree in English Literature. After a successful business career in London, Dublin and Scotland she returned to rural mid-Wales where she lives with her husband, a prolific artist, their four black rescue cats, two pet sheep the size of sofas and writes full time.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this gripping thriller. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.
Marissa lives alone in her tiny one-bed apartment. It’s quiet and safe; all she’s ever wanted. But when the police knock on her door with the news that her last remaining family member has died, she comes face to face with the family secret she has spent a lifetime running from.
A witness saw her car outside his house that day, but Marissa knows she’s innocent. She hasn’t seen her uncle in years and remembers going to bed in her own home that night. But she’s had blackouts before and can’t always trust her memory.
Days later, Marissa’s neighbour is found dead in his home, exactly like her uncle. It was no secret that Marissa didn’t get on with her neighbour, but she’d never want to see him hurt.
As you read, you’ll think you know where to draw the line between innocence and guilt. But blame is a dangerous thing, and nothing is ever what it seems…
Perfect for fans of C.L. Taylor, Teresa Driscoll and Lisa Jewell, What She Did is a dark and twisty crime thriller that will keep you up all night!
I am a big fan of Carla Kovach’s Gina Harte series so when I heard that she’d written her first standalone thriller, I was excited to read it. As much as I love a series I always enjoy getting to know fresh characters in a standalone and I was interested to see if this would have the same vibe as the series or feel totally different.
What She Did is a taut, tense and gripping thriller that centres around a young woman named Marissa who has a tragic backstory full of loss, heartache and trauma. When she was just five-years-old she witnessed her mother’s murder while hiding under the bed. The killer was never caught and she is still haunted by that night and lives in fear that the killer will one day come back for her too. Sadly, that night was just the beginning of her nightmare, and when she went to live with her aunt and uncle she found not solace, but cruelty and abuse. These events, and other secrets she is hiding, still linger and have left her isolated, fearful and scared to trust.
Now twenty-eight and living in an apartment and working towards her dream of owning the cottage that was special to her and her mother, Marissa’s life spirals out of control after her uncle is murdered. She can’t remember where she was or what she did the night it happened and, plagued by sleepwalking since childhood, she can’t trust her memory of events. Could she have killed him? When the neighbour she has been arguing with is also found dead just a few days later after a similar blackout, Marissa really begins to question what’s going on. She is sure she didn’t kill them. But how can she prove it when she can’t remember? And why does it seem like someone is out to frame her?
Carla Kovach has proven with this book that she can write any thriller and knock it out of the park. As much as I love the Gina Harte series and her team, this novel shows us that even with all new characters and a totally different storyline, she can keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The story moves seamlessly between dual timelines using flashbacks to significant events in Marissa’s life. This was a vital tool in helping us to understand her paranoid and skittish behaviour, inability to trust and why she has almost no friends or family. I just wanted to reach into the book, put my arms around her, and comfort her, especially in the scenes when she is a young child; I wanted to protect her from witnessing her mother’s murder or rescue her from her vile aunt and uncle’s clutches. Her pain was palpable and my heart broke for her.
But Marissa is also an unreliable narrator and we are never quite sure what is true and what is paranoia. While I was rooting for her and wanted her to be innocent, part of me was never quite sure, and I really enjoyed that. I think it’s a talent to make a reader like a character while also making it possible that they have committed awful crimes, and Ms. Kovach pulled it off expertly. This unreliability also meant that we were never sure if she really is being followed or set up, so it made it hard to know what to make of some of the other characters and know if things were red herrings. I loved the tension this added and how it kept me on my toes. And when the truth was revealed I was totally blindsided by a scenario that I had never even contemplated. Bravo, Ms. Kovach. Bravo.
Captivating and twisty, What She Did is a first-rate psychological thriller from one of my favourite writers in the genre. Definitely one not to be missed.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Carla started writing more seriously ten years ago after having flirted with musical theatre and occasional writing in her youth.
Since then she has written & produced several stage plays, has four self-published books, has acted in several independent films and is currently in the final stages of production of her feature horror film, Penny for the Guy.
She now writes full time as well as co-owning a film, photography & video production company located in the heart of Redditch town centre.
Published: September 14th, 2021 Publisher: Bookouture Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Cozy Mystery, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this lively cosy mystery. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.
When Lady Swift is invited to her old school, she walks through familiar classrooms, finds her favourite books in the library… and surely that’s not a body? Time for a lesson in murder!
Autumn, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift is invited to her old school, St Mary’s, as a guest speaker. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Wadsworth, has asked that Eleanor talk about her intrepid travels around the globe – travelling the Silk Road by bicycle, crossing the Himalayas and even befriending the Maharaja of India. But in the circumstances, perhaps it would have been a good idea to talk about her career as a daring detective…
Because no sooner has Eleanor brushed up on her times tables then she is greeted by terrible news: Mrs Wadsworth has been murdered. Eleanor is utterly devastated but she owes it to her dearest teacher to find out who killed her and why. So, alongside Gladstone the bulldog, it’s best paw forward to track down a villain.
But when the art teacher is also found dead, Eleanor is sure someone is trying to do away with the people who taught her everything. As Eleanor delves into possible motives, she discovers a clue in the most unlikely place: her mother’s old school diary. Does the route to the murderer lie within a secret passageway her mother uncovered? Can Eleanor nail the culprit in time or is the killer coming for her next?
A totally gripping and glamorous 1920s cozy! Fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Rhys Bowen are in for a treat.
“I’ve learned that a wrongdoer never gives one reason to mistrust them until they seize the opportunity they’ve been waiting for.”
A Lesson in Murder is another entertaining adventure in the Lady Eleanor Swift series. This time the ameteur sleuth finds herself embroiled in the hunt for a killer after a body is found in the Library of St Mary’s Boarding School for Young Ladies, Eleanor’s former school. Originally there to deliver an inspirational speech to the students, she is asked to investigate when the police determine that Mrs. Wadsworth’s death was not merely a tragic accident. Officials don’t want it publically known that there’s a murder investigation, so it is decided she will poses as Boarding mistress for Holly House, stepping into the late Mrs. Wadsworth’s shoes and secretly investigating while she does so.
This series has become a real comfort read for me this year. I was late to start, beginning with book five back in March, but Verity Bright is adept at succinctly catching you up on any important information throughout the books so that you never feel lost. It means you can start this series at any time, or read just one as a standalone. But I have found myself so fond of these fun historical cosy mysteries, that every book is now an auto-read for me. In fact, I’ve already signed up for the blog tour for the next book in December.
Lady Eleanor Swift is an unorthodox woman for her time. It is unusual enough to be thirty and unmarried, but add to the fact she has travelled the world and is a part-time ameteur sleuth, and you have an unusual lady indeed. But I love her. She is a breath of fresh air; strong, feisty, determined and impetuous. I love watching her do all the things she isn’t supposed to but I did like the glimpse into her more vulnerable side in this installment. Her time at St. Mary’s was lonely and painful, and she finds all these difficult memories and emotions assail her when she’s back in its halls. But she once again has her trusty butler, Clifford, on hand to assist her. Their great dynamic and witty banter are always the highlight of these books for me.
Lively, refreshing, humorous and authentic, this quick read was just the tonic I needed between darker mysteries.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery.