Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

REVIEW: The Institution by Helen Fields

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Hardboiled, Pscyhological Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this unflinching locked-room thriller. Thank you to Avon Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.



They’re locked up for your safety.
Now, you’re locked in with them.

Dr Connie Woolwine has five days to catch a killer.

On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse’s body is found and her daughter has been taken. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking.

Forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine is renowned for her ability to get inside the mind of a murderer. Now, she must go deep undercover among the most deranged and dangerous men on earth and use her unique skills to find the girl – before it’s too late.

But as the walls close in around her, can Connie get the killer before The Institution gets her?

A claustrophobic, haunting crime thriller that will keep you up at night, perfect for those who couldn’t put down The Sanatorium and Amy McCulloch’s Breathless.



“The people inside these walls are broken. All of them. It’s bad enough being here against your will. Imagine having so little to live for that of all the places in the world, you would choose to spend the precious years allocated to you in this godforsaken place. “

She’s done it again! A crime fiction powerhouse, Helen Fields can always be relied upon to write sinister, never-shredding stories that leave you breathless. And with The Institution she has done exactly that. This chilling masterpiece certainly packs a punch. The prose is brutal poetry, every word gleaming with malice, and there’s an undercurrent of danger and foreboding running through the pages that made dread crawl up my spine as I read. I couldn’t put it down and devoured the story whole. The many twists, turns, and red herrings left me unable to catch my breath and, as I approached the finale, the threads began to tangle together at breakneck speed. And that ending! I did not see it coming. Bravo, Ms. Fields. Bravo. 

“She turned as she walked, looking around, uncharacteristically spooked. Not that it was ghosts she feared. The killers she was profiling were so much worse than the spectres of myths and legends. Ghosts were simple in comparison.” 

How do you find a killer when you’re surrounded by them? That’s the dilemma facing Dr Connie Woolwine in this dark, twisty and unnerving thriller. Dropped inside of a nightmare, Connie is sent to The Institute, a high-security prison, to investigate the death of Tara, one of the nurses who works there. Tara has been found brutally slain, her unborn daughter ripped from her womb in the attack, and there is a ransom demand for her safe return. With one life already extinguished and another whose clock is ticking down to death, the forensic profiler goes deep undercover to try and find the killer. 

A dark, forbidding and eerie fortress, The Institute houses the criminally insane. It is a cesspit of evil where the worst of society are sent to live out the rest of their days. The saying ‘humans are the scariest of monsters’ has never been more apt, and the humans inside these walls are truly terrifying.  Violent, disturbed, depraved, repugnant and mercurial, you would be crazy yourself if you weren’t scared of these men. And it is amongst them that Connie must live and work, going undercover to find a killer. But when a frightful storm cuts them off from the rest of the world, the only person who knows her real identity is stranded elsewhere, leaving Connie even more vulnerable. 

“Don’t believe anything they tell you. Remember; the truth can be witnessed, but it can never be told.” 

Helen Fields delves deep into the darkness that lurks inside the crevices of a twisted mind in this cast of richly drawn, compelling and completely unreliable characters. Even our protagonist can’t be trusted, the PTSD from her traumatic time in a psychiatric hospital giving her nightmares and making her see and hear things that even she isn’t sure are real. I was delighted to see Connie at the heart of another book after loving her character so much in The Shadow Man. Fierce, tenacious, intelligent and unorthodox, that quirky side is what has endeared her to me so much from the start. I enjoyed how we explored her intricately layered backstory more this time around, and how it intertwines to complicate the investigation in ways she hoped to avoid. Her trauma was powerfully and evocatively written, making my heart race as everything spiralled more and more out of control. I desperately hoped she was going to make it out of this okay and that we get to see more of her in the future.

Deliciously creepy, unflinching and addictive, The Institution gives you everything you could want from a first-class locked-room thriller. It’s Ms. Fields’ best book yet so make sure to add it to your TBR.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮



An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister. Every book in the Callanach series has claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. ‘Perfect Kill’ was longlisted for the Crime Writers Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2020, and others have been longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, Scottish crime novel of the year. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and has released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’. In 2020 Perfect Remains was shortlisted for the Bronze Bat, Dutch debut crime novel of the year. In 2022, Helen was nominated for Best Crime Novel and Best Author in the Netherlands. Now translated into more than 20 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. She has written standalone novels, The Last Girl To Die, These Lost & Broken Things and The Shadow Man. Her first UK hardback, The Institution, comes out in March 2022. She regularly commutes between West Sussex, USA and Scotland. She lives with her husband and three children. 



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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: The Daves Next Door by Will Carver

Published: July 21st, 2022
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Urban Fiction, Political Fiction, Religious Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this atmospheric and compelling novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Karen at Orenda for the eBook ARC.



The lives of five strangers collide on a London train carriage, as they become involved in an incident that will change them all forever. A shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original new thriller from Will Carver…


A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care.

An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white.

A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.

Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.

Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.

Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?

Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not. 



“Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.”

Five strangers’ lives collide on a carriage on the London Underground during a shocking event.  But was it fate?  Did they have the power to change what would happen to them?  

Told from multiple points of view over three parts, The Daves Next Door is a sinister, scathing and stylish social commentary that explores the question of fate versus choice and asks if there are such things as good and evil.  It makes you question the way you think, examining our prejudices and apathy, potentially changing the way you see the world around you.

“Is there such a thing as destiny? Is the path laid out?  The story already written?” 

The characters are familiar, flawed and fascinating.  They could be our neighbour or the person next to us on the bus.  Each of them are richly drawn and complex, allowing us to find compassion for the villain and dislike for the hero in places.  The many threads of the story appear unconnected at first but are slowly woven together, keeping the reader guessing at every step.  It takes a lot of talent to make a story that opens with references to how it all ends still feel unpredictable, but Carver pulls it off expertly. 

Will Carver is a tour-de-force in fiction. His singular style is instantly recognisable, the quirky, intelligent, playful and affecting prose pulling you into the world he created and holding you captive from beginning to end. His original and visionary style make his books absolute must reads. 

Fierce, intelligent, atmospheric and unapologetic, The Daves Next Door is a must-read.  Add it to your TBR now!

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5



Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series and the critically acclaimed, mind-blowingly original Detective Pace series that includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were ebook bestsellers and selected as books of the year in the mainstream international press. Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for both the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2020 and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his children.



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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxxx

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

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday

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. I’ve not done this for a few weeks due to having multiple blog tours falling on a Friday, so I’m happy to be back sharing first lines once again.

Dorchester, Dorset, 19 August 1642
As the hour for the priests’ execution approached, the press of people heading for Gallows Hill grew denser and more impatient. Jayne Swift had expected crowds, but not such a multitude as this. It seemed every Puritan in Dorset had come to gloat at the the spectacle of Catholics being hanged, drawn and quartered, because there wasn’t a road or street in Dorchester that wasn’t thronged with hard-faced men and women, their eyes aglitter in anticipation of papist blood being spilt.”

Today’s first lines are taken from The Swift and the Harrier, the latest novel from Minette Walters, which is published on November 4th. Walters is one of my favourite authors and I’ve read her books for as long as I can remember. I think I’ve read all of her thrillers and I’m intrigued by her switch to writing historical fiction, especially as it’s become my joint favourite genre alongside what used to write, so I’m looking forward to jumping into this and reading a completely different book from her.



Dorset, 1642.

When bloody civil war breaks out between the King and Parliament, families and communities across England are riven by different allegiances.

A rare few choose neutrality.

One such is Jayne Swift, a Dorset physician from a Royalist family, who offers her services to both sides in the conflict. Through her dedication to treating the sick and wounded, regardless of belief, Jayne becomes a witness to the brutality of war and the devastation it wreaks.

Yet her recurring companion at every event is a man she should despise because he embraces civil war as the means to an end. She knows him as William Harrier, but is ignorant about every other aspect of his life. His past is a mystery and his future uncertain.

The Swift and the Harrier is a sweeping tale of adventure and loss, sacrifice and love, with a unique and unforgettable heroine at its heart.

You can pre-order here*
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Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the gorgeous gifted ARC.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx