Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this tense and twisty locked-room mystery. Thank you to Jenny at Hodder and Stoughton for the invitation to take part and gifted copy of the book.
Zoey enjoys her life. She fills it with travel, casual work and partying with friends, and tries not to think about what’s gone wrong in the past.
But after a night out clubbing in New York to celebrate her best friend’s birthday, Zoey wakes in a stifling white room she’s never seen before, with no memory of how she got there. Filled with panic, she searches the luxurious house for someone who can tell her where she is, only to find herself entirely alone in what appears to be vast, unending desert.
Until, in the distance, she hears a woman screaming…
“In that moment I know I can’t just leave the Sanctuary – not until I’ve got to the bottom of whatever is going on.”
I love a good locked-room mystery, and The Sanctuary certainly fits that bill. Fast-paced, tense and addictive, I was putty in the palm of Emma Haughton’s hand as she wove her clever, twisty and intricate tale. There are many layers of mystery in the story: who is Zoey’s mysterious benefactor? Why are residents leaving in the middle of the night? And what is the secret Zoey can’t face?
Haughton transports you into the story, making you feel Zoey’s disorientation and fear as she wakes in this strange place. These feelings only deepen, and are joined by anger and frustration, as she adjusts to her situation. And as she begins to get to know the other patients and staff, it seems things only get more cryptic and strange. Something is clearly not right about this place, and Zoey can’t resist delving deeper into the mystery, the tension escalating alongside the danger they are facing. I was reading with my heart pounding in my chest as I tried to predict the answers to my many questions.
Atmospheric, claustrophobic and utterly compelling, this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a well written thriller.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
From Emma’s Website: Emma Haughton grew up in Sussex; after a stint au pairing in Paris and a couple of half-hearted attempts to backpack across Europe, she studied English at Oxford University then trained in journalism. During her career as a journalist, she wrote many articles for national newspapers, including regular pieces for the Times Travel section.
Following publication of her picture book, Rainy Day, Emma wrote three YA novels. Her first, Now You See Me, was an Amazon bestseller and nominated for the Carnegie and Amazing Book Awards. Better Left Buried, her second, was one of the best YA reads for 2015 in the Sunday Express. Her third YA novel, Cruel Heart Broken, was picked by The Bookseller as a top YA read for July 2016.
The Dark, Emma’s chilling new thriller for adults, was published by Hodder in August 2021.
We’re edging closer to the end of the year and the number of releases is slowling down a little, but there are still a number of exciting books to look forward to. Here are the ones I’m most excited about being released next month.
SYNOPSIS: Secrets. Suspicion. Survival. No one writes relationships better than B.A. PARIS
Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a career for herself in the magazine industry, she meets, and agrees to marry, Ned Hawthorne.
Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Ned?
In true B.A. Paris style, The Prisoner is a gripping survival story, a twisted love story and at its dark heart a thriller to keep you up all night.
SYNOPSIS: A book with all of life’s answers, if only you can find it…
‘Extravagant, sexy and compelling. I loved it.’ LAUREN BEUKES
Rare book dealer Lily Albrecht has just been given a tip-off about The Book of the Most Precious Substance, a 17th century manual rumoured to be the most powerful occult book ever written, if it really exists at all.
With some of the wealthiest people in the world willing to pay Lily a fortune to track it down, she embarks on a journey from New York to New Orleans to Munich to Paris.
If she finds it, Lily stands to gain more than just money. This could erase the greatest tragedy of her life. But will Lily’s quest help her find some answers, or will she lose everything in search of a ghost?
Published: November 8th Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: I am the monster. I am the shield. I am the knife in the dark.
Ranka is tired of death. All she wants now is to be left alone, living out her days in Witchik’s wild north with the coven that raised her, attempting to forget the horrors of her past. But when she is named Bloodwinn, the next treaty bride to the human kingdom of Isodal, her coven sends her south with a single directive: kill him. Easy enough, for a blood-witch whose magic compels her to kill.
Except the prince is gentle, kind, and terrified of her. He doesn’t want to marry Ranka; he doesn’t want to be king at all. And it’s his sister – the wickedly smart, infuriatingly beautiful Princess Aramis – who seems to be real threat.
But when witches start turning up dead, murdered by a mysterious, magical plague, Aramis makes Ranka an offer: help her develop a cure, and in return, she’ll teach Ranka to contain her deadly magic. But as the coup draws nearer and the plague spreads, Ranka is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her power, her past, and who she’s meant to fight for. Soon, she will have choose between the coven that raised her – and the princess who sees beyond the monster they shaped her to be. But as the bodies pile up, a monster may be exactly what they need.
Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory(Fairmile Series Book 3)
Published: November 8th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Historical Fiction, Myths, Fairy Tale, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: The spellbinding Fairmile series continues as the fiercely independent Alinor and her family find themselves entangled in palace intrigue, political upheaval, and life-changing secrets in seventeenth-century England.
It is 1685, England is on the brink of a renewed civil war against the Stuart kings and many families are bitterly divided. Ned Ferryman cannot persuade his sister Alinor that he is right to return from America with his Pokanoket servant Rowan to join the rebel army. Instead, Alinor has been coaxed by the manipulative Livia to save the queen from the coming siege. The rewards are life-changing: the family could return to their beloved Tidelands, and Alinor could rule where she was once lower than a servant.
Alinor’s son, Rob, is determined to stay clear of the war, but when he and his nephew set out to free Ned from execution for treason and Rowan from a convict deportation to Barbados, they find themselves enmeshed in the creation of an imposter Prince of Wales – a surrogate baby to the queen.
From the last battle in the desolate Somerset Levels to the hidden caves on the slave island of Barbados, this third volume of an epic story follows a family from one end of the empire to another, to find a new dawn in a world which is opening up before them with greater rewards and dangers than ever before.
Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan (The Celestial Kingdom Book 2)
Published: November 10th Publisher: Harper Voyager UK Genre: Fairy Tale, High Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Myths & Legends, Fantasy Series
SYNOPSIS: The stunning conclusion to the Celestial Kingdom Duology
An unspeakable terror is sweeping across the realm as the Celestial Emperor tightens his grip on power. The fragile peace Xingyin fought so hard for when freeing her mother is under threat.
Forced to flee her home, Xingyin ventures into the unexplored lands of the Immortal Realm to seek aid in her fight, but, with alliances shifting quicker than the tides, she has to overcome past grudges and enmities to forge a new path forward, seeking aid where she never imagined.
Xingyin must uncover the truth of her heart and claw her way through devastation – to rise against evil before it destroys everything she holds dear, and the worlds she has grown to love … even if doing so demands the greatest price of all.
The stunning sequel to the Sunday Times bestselling Daughter of the Moon Goddess delves deeper into beloved Chinese mythology, concluding the epic story of Xingyin – the daughter of Chang’e and the mortal archer Houyi – as she battles a grave new threat to the realm, in this powerful tale of love, sacrifice, and hope.
Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict
Published: November 10th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Holiday Fiction, Adventure Fiction
SYNOPSIS: **COULD YOU SOLVE THE CASE? PRE-ORDER NOW FOR THE PUZZLING CHRISTMAS MYSTERY OF THE YEAR**
Eighteen passengers. Seven stops. One killer.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve, the sleeper train to the Highlands is derailed, along with the festive plans of its travellers. With the train stuck in snow in the middle of nowhere, a killer stalks its carriages, picking off passengers one by one. Those who sleep on the sleeper train may never wake again.
Can former Met detective Roz Parker find the killer before they kill again?
All aboard for . . . Murder on the Christmas Express
Published: November 10th Publisher: Orenda Books Genre: Thriller, Medical Thriller, Police Procedural
SYNOPSIS: A young man wakes from a coma to find himself targeted by the men who killed his parents, while someone is impersonating a notorious New Zealand serial killer … the latest chilling, nerve-shredding, twisty thriller from the author of The Quiet People…
James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.
But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help … especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…
Published: November 10th Publisher: Orion Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Horror Fiction, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: AN OLD ENEMY IS LAID TO REST . . . AND A NEW CRIME IS DISCOVERED
Florence Lovelady, the most senior serving policewoman in Britain, visits convicted serial killer Larry Glassbrook in prison. Larry is coming to the end of his life but has one last task for Florence: to learn the identity of the remains discovered at children’s home Black Moss Manor. The town Florence escaped narrowly with her life still holds many secrets. Will she finally learn the truth? Or will time run out for her first?
The latest Florence Lovelady thriller, set shortly after the bestselling first novel The Craftsman in the chilling, new series from Richard and Judy bestseller Sharon Bolton
Published: November 10th Publisher: Scribe UK Genre: Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Could you marry a man you’ve never met? Three Korean women in 1918 make a life-changing journey to Hawaii, where they will marry, having seen only photographs of their intended husbands.
Different fates await each of these women. Hong-ju, who dreams of a marriage of ‘natural love’, meets a man who looks twenty years older than his photograph; Song-hwa, who wants to escape from her life of ridicule as the granddaughter of a shaman, meets a lazy drunkard. And then there’s Willow, whose 26-year-old groom, Taewan, looks just like his image …
Real life doesn’t always resemble a picture, but there’s no going back. And while things don’t turn out quite as they’d hoped, even for Willow, they do find something that makes their journey worthwhile ― each other.
Published: November 10th Publisher: William Morrow Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Adventure Fiction
SYNOPSIS: For fans of Lucy Foley and Liane Moriarty, a twisty, escapist suspense about a mysterious retreat center harboring violent secrets.
A perfect paradise? Or a perfect nightmare?
On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when Paul mysteriously dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left not to Kali, but to his estranged niece Sveta.
Shocked and confused, Sveta travels from New York City to Mexico to pay her respects. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, and transcendent vibe. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on promises of an impossible utopia, guided by a disturbing belief system and a charismatic, dangerously capable leader.
As the sinister forces surrounding Sveta become apparent, she realizes, too late, she can’t escape. Frantic and terrified, she discovers her only chance of survival is to put her confidence in the very person she trusts the least.
Published: November 10th Publisher: Apollo Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Regency Romance
SYNOPSIS: The rich and atmospheric new novel from prize-winning author Sally Gardner, set in the 18th century between the two great Frost Fairs.
Neva Friezland is born into a world of trickery and illusion, where fortunes can be won and lost on the turn of a card.
She is also born with an extraordinary gift. She can predict the weather. In Regency England, where the proper goal for a gentlewoman is marriage and only God knows the weather, this is dangerous. It is also potentially very lucrative.
In order to debate with the men of science and move about freely, Neva adopts a sophisticated male disguise. She foretells the weather from inside an automaton created by her brilliant clockmaker father.
But what will happen when the disguised Neva falls in love with a charismatic young man?
It can be very dangerous to be ahead of your time. Especially as a woman.
Murder Most Royal by S. J. Bennett (Her Majesty Investigates Book 3)
Published: November 10th Publisher: Zaffre Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Mystery Series
SYNOPSIS: THE ROYALLY BRILLIANT THIRD BOOK IN THE HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN INVESTIGATES MYSTERY SERIES ____________________
Christmas at Sandringham is going to be murder . . .
A human hand and a bag of drugs are found washed up on a beach next to the Queen’s estate at Sandringham
The Queen identifies the 70-year-old victim, Edward St Cyr, from his signet ring. But the search for his killer is not so straightforward. Suspects include the Queen’s horse groom, a shady land agent, an aristocrat neighbour, as well as the victim’s many cousins and relations.
The investigation leads the Queen – and her trusted assistant, Rozie – to a local pigeon racing club, back to London, and to the ancient, moated Godwick Hall. But how do the seemingly disparate pieces of the puzzle fit together? And who is the next victim?
Agatha Christie meets The Crown in MURDER MOST ROYAL, the much-anticipated third book in the ‘Her Majesty The Queen Investigates’ mystery series by SJ Bennett – for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin.
Published: November 10th Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Humorous Fiction, Holiday Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Ever wished it could be Christmas every day?
Newly single lawyer Gwen Baker is hoping that a family Christmas – countryside, a mountain of food and festive films – will salve the sting of her career hanging by a thread and her heart being trampled on. Because everyone else has their life sorted: even Dev, her boy-next-door crush, is now a tall, dark and handsome stranger with a fiancée. She can’t help wishing her future was clearer.
Then Gwen wakes up to discover it’s Christmas day all over again. Like Groundhog Day but with turkey. And family arguments. On repeat.
As she figures out how to escape her own particular Christmas hell, Dev is the one bright spot. He might be all grown-up but underneath he’s just as kind and funny as she remembers.
Maybe, just maybe, her heart can be mended after all.
But how do you fall in love with someone who can’t remember you from one day to the next?
SYNOPSIS: Olivia fled her abusive marriage to return to her hometown and take over the family beekeeping business when her son Asher was six. Now, impossibly, her baby is six feet tall and in his last year of high school, a kind, good-looking, popular ice hockey star with a tiny sprite of a new girlfriend.
Lily also knows what it feels like to start over – when she and her mother relocated to New Hampshire it was all about a fresh start. She and Asher couldn’t help falling for each other, and Lily feels happy for the first time. But can she trust him completely?
Then Olivia gets a phone call – Lily is dead, and Asher is arrested on a charge of murder. As the case against him unfolds, she realises he has hidden more than he’s shared with her. And Olivia knows firsthand that the secrets we keep reflect the past we want to leave behind - and that we rarely know the people we love well as we think we do.
SYNOPSIS: SHE WAS THE LAST PERSON TO SEE THE BABY…
You may not know Betty Gow’s name – but ‘the Lindbergh nanny’ is infamous.
In 1932, all eyes are on Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the most glamorous and intriguing couple in America. But who was paying attention when, one evening in early March, their baby son was stolen from the family home?
The Lindbergh nanny is the first person to discover Charlie missing… and the last to see him that night.
With the world watching on, Betty must discover the truth about what really happened to young Charlie, to clear her own name – and to find justice for the little boy she loves.
A propulsive re-imagining of America’s most notorious crime of the twentieth century, told through the eyes of the young woman who found herself at the heart of the case.
SYNOPSIS: Ruby Mills is ruthlessly ambitious, strikingly beautiful – and one of the Forty Thieves’ most talented members.
Harriet Littlemore writes the women’s section in a local newspaper. She’s from a ‘good’ London family and engaged to an up-and-coming Member of Parliament – but she wants a successful career of her own.
After witnessing Ruby fleeing the scene of a robbery, Harriet develops a fascination with the elusive young thief that extends beyond journalistic interest. As their personal aspirations bring them into closer contact than society’s rules usually allow, Ruby and Harriet’s stories become increasingly intertwined.
Their magnetic dynamic, fraught with envy and desire, tells a compulsive, cinematic story about class, morality and the cost of being an independent woman in 1920s London.
SYNOPSIS: A disenchanted man struggles to get beyond the first chapter of the books he’s writing, and to separate fact from fiction in his own life. His friend’s suicide changes everything … The mind-blowing, heart-rending new thriller from cult bestselling author Will Carver.
Eli Hagin can’t finish anything.
He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a story beyond the first chapter.
Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction.
When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike did…
Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended … and a series of text messages that Mike received before his death point to something much, much darker…
SYNOPSIS: Very few people get the opportunity to stay here. And some don’t get to leave …
Zoey doesn’t remember anything about last night. But she knows something went badly wrong. For she is no longer in New York. She’s woken up in the desert, in a white building she doesn’t recognise, and she’s alone.
When she discovers she’s been admitted to The Sanctuary, a discreet, mysterious, isolated refuge from normal life, to avoid jail, she is stunned. She knows she has secrets, troubles, but she thought she had everything under control. But as she spends more time with other residents, she begins to open up about what she’s running from. Until she realises that not everyone in The Sanctuary has her best interests at heart, and someone might even be a killer . . .
Published: November 24th Publisher: HQ Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
Childhood betrayal casts a long shadow…
From the author of The Haven and The Cliff House, this is a devastating thriller set in a Cornish boarding school.
‘A gripping page-turner’ Tammy Cohen, author of The Wedding Party
At a bleak boys’ boarding school in Cornwall in the eighties when bullying is rife, Will and his best friend, Luke, are involved in a horrific incident that results in Luke leaving.
Twenty-five years later their paths cross again and memories of a painful childhood come flooding back to haunt them both.
Will’s wife, Harmony, is struggling after a miscarriage that has hit her hard, and wishes Will would open up about what happened. But as Will withdraws further, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic stranger from her husband’s past, Luke, and soon all three are caught in a tangled web of guilt and desire . . .
From Amanda Jennings, author of The Cliff House, comes a haunting thriller about betrayal and revenge.
Published: November 29th Publisher: Tor Genre: Contemporary Romance, Disability Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.
Everything else, however, is slightly different.
Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.
Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake is a glimpse into the nature of love, what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken.
Published: November 29th Publisher: Literary Fiction Genre: Scribner UK
SYNOPSIS: From the author of A Little Hopecomes an enormously powerful and life-affirming novel about three individuals whose lives intersect in unforeseen ways.
Set in a close-knit Pennsylvania suburb in the grip of winter, A Quiet Life follows three people grappling with loss and finding a tender wisdom in their grief.
Chuck Ayers used to look forward to nothing so much as his annual trip to Hilton Head with his wife, Cat–that yearly taste of relaxation they’d become accustomed to in retirement, after a lifetime of working and raising two children. Now, just months after Cat’s death, Chuck finds that he can’t let go of her things–her favorite towel, the sketchbooks in her desk drawer–as he struggles to pack for a trip he can’t imagine taking without her.
Ella Burke delivers morning newspapers and works at a bridal shop to fill her days while she anxiously awaits news–any piece of information–about her missing daughter. Ella adjusts to life in a new apartment and answers every call on her phone, hoping her daughter will reach out one day.
After the sudden death of her father, Kirsten Bonato set aside her veterinary school aspirations, finding comfort in the steady routine of working at an animal shelter. But as time passes, old dreams and new romantic interests begin to surface–and Kirsten finds herself at another crossroads.
In this beautifully crafted and profoundly moving novel, three parallel narratives converge in poignant and unexpected ways, as each character bravely presses onward, trying to recover something they have lost. Emotionally riveting and infused with hope, A Quiet Life celebrates humanity in the midst of uncertainty.