Thursday, 28 February 2019

Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend


Another emotional story features today on my stop on the blog tour for Sea Babies. Many thanks to the lovely Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for inviting me along and Wild Pressed Books for providing my review copy. 


The Blurb:

Lauren Wilson is travelling by ferry to the Outer Hebrides, about to begin a new job as a social worker. When somebody sits opposite her at the cafeteria table, she refuses to look up, annoyed at having her privacy disturbed. But a hand is pushing a mug of tea towards her, and a livid scar on the back of the hand releases a flood of memories.          
     
Some people believe in the existence of a parallel universe. Does Lauren have a retrospective choice about the outcome of a terrible recent accident, or is it the bearer of that much older scar who has the power to decide what happens to her now? 


Sea Babies was published on 21st February 2019 by Wild Pressed Books. You can purchase it using this link:
https://amzn.to/2S4gydb

My Review

Gosh, I've been through the wringer emotionally with with my recent reads! This one had me all over the place. 

I really enjoyed Sea Babies but found it a hard book to review without giving anything away, but I 'll give it a go. 

The story is told over a dual timeline, in Edinburgh in the past, and on the Isle of Lewis (and the ferry over) in the present. The Edinburgh scenes are written in the third person, but the present  day chapters are in the first person, from Lauren's point of view. An interesting idea, it threw me a little at the beginning, but as the story moved on, I appreciated it. 

We learn a lot of Lauren's back story - her large family and growing up in Ireland before moving to Edinburgh to study, and meeting Neil, the love of her life. But when we first meet her properly, on the ferry to the Outer Hebrides, we're three decades on and she's on her own, about to start a new job as a social worker.

The story is teased out little by little throughout the book, which was great as it kept me turning the pages. Lauren carries a lot of sadness and guilt, and I felt she was taking the new job to try to atone for previous perceived wrongdoings. She is easy to warm to and care about, and I felt her joy and pain.

The island scenery plays a big part in the book, almost a character in itself -  beautiful but intimidating too.

 I don't think I've done any kind of justice to the book here, but it's one you really need to read for yourself. It's a beautiful, unusual story about love, loss, grief, hope, endings, new beginnings and second chances. 

The Author:



Tracey is the author of The Last Time We Saw Marion, Of His Bones, The Eliza Doll and Another Rebecca. Sea Babies is her fifth novel. So Fast, her first poetry collection, was published in January 2018.

Tracey is also a visual artist. All her work is inspired by the emotions of her own experiences and perceptions.

Tracey is the mother of four grown-up children and now spends a lot of time travelling in a small camper van with husband Phil and their rescue dogs, Pixie and Luna, gathering her thoughts and writing them down.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

A wee change for me today as I take part in the blog tour for this wonderful book. From another author who is new to me, this book had me both cheering and crying.  Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me, and to Orion for my review copy which I received through Netgalley.


The Blurb:

Audrey's family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.

As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?


If Only I Could Tell You was published by Orion on 21st February 2019. You can buy it from Waterstones and Amazon.

My Review:

Oh my! I defy anyone not to cry at least once reading this!

I read this from beginning to end in one sitting, staying up way, way too late! It's ages since I've done that!

The story centres around five strong women across three generations of the same family. Audrey's health is failing, and she is desperate to mend the rift between her daughters Jess and Lily. But it's been going on for nearly thirty years and she doesn't know what caused it. Jess just stopped talking to her sister one day when she was ten years old. Audrey's two granddaughters, born just weeks apart, have never been allowed to meet. Audrey is determined to change all of that, she just doesn't know how yet. And she has her own battles to fight too.

Audrey is an immensely likeable character - I cared about her immediately. There were times when I cried for her, times when I cheered for her and one moment when I nearly burst with pride. You'll know the moment I mean if you read it.

Jess and Lily are initially less easy to warm to - Jess particularly. But this has a lot to do with her feelings about her sister, which make her seem hard and closed off. And it takes time for us to get to know her better. The back story is teased out, bit by bit throughout the book, and it's a long time before we learn the full story. But that didn't put me off, quite the contrary - it made me want to keep going to find out more.

This is a very different read from my usual fare of grisly crime thrillers, but I loved it. It's an exquisitely written book. The feelings of all the women involved, but particularly Audrey and Jess, are beautifully described. Similarly, the awkwardness of unplanned meetings is perfectly written. I loved that it features five strong women - there are men in the story, but it's the women who are centre stage here. The ending nearly broke me, but it was the right ending.

Just a note to say that there are some difficult issues realistically described and discussed here which might be hard for some people to read.

The Author:


Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist and broadcaster. She is a regular contributor to The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, and The Sunday Express, and was the book critic on Sara Cox's Radio 2 Show. She chairs literary events around the UK and has been a judge on numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Hannah was a TV Executive who spent fifteen years producing and commissioning documentaries about the Arts, History and Science for the BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery USA before turning her hand to writing.

Hannah lives in London with her husband and their daughter.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Death Comes To Call by Clare Chase

Today is my stop on the blog tour for this, the third outing for Tara Thorpe, journalist turned cop. I loved the first two in the series from Clare Chase, so was delighted to read this one. It didn't disappoint.



The Blurb:

Frost sparkles on the bare winter branches, as night falls over the quiet country lanes bordering the fens. But nestled beneath an ivy-covered bough, a body lies pale in the bright moonlight…

When a promising local artist disappears, the victim’s brother begs Detective Tara Thorpe to take the case. It seems there’s no evidence of foul play… he simply disappeared without a trace.

Tara agrees to do some digging… never mind that her unorthodox approach to policing has got a few of her colleagues’ backs up. Amongst them is her former supervisor Detective Patrick Wilkins… he’s had enough of Tara calling the shots and will do anything to knock her down. She must be careful.

At least she has an ally in their boss, Detective Garstin Blake. He’ll always back her hunches. If anything, they work together too well… at least, that’s the rumour around the station these days.

When a body of a young woman is found frozen near the fens, Tara’s evidence suddenly becomes key to solving a high-profile murder. Is their missing artist still a victim… or in fact a clever murderer with a deadly plan?

An unputdownable page-turner that will keep you hooked until the very last page!


You can read my reviews of the first two Tara Thorpe books bby clicking on the titles.

Death Comes To Call was published by Bookoutre yesterday.

Buy Link:

https://geni.us/B07KSCRW55Social


My Review:

Oh, it's good to have Tara Thorpe back! Death Comes To Call follows closely on from the previous book, Death on the River. It would probably be helpful if you'd read the earlier books in the series, but don't worry if you haven't. The case itself is completely new, and any back stories are explained in enough detail.

Tara is the most junior member of her team, and keen to prove herself. As an ex journalist, she is constantly inquisitive and determined to find everything out. Both these characteristics serve her well in her police work, but her desire to prove herself means she doesn't always follow the rules, sometimes putting herself and others at risk.

There is a lot going on in the case - a missing artist and his distressed brother, and the discovery of a woman's body are just the start. There are some interesting characters that Tara and the  team come across and these are all well described, even though they aren't necessarily major players. The scenery in and around Cambridge plays a part - particularly the large, flat and often desolate fen areas.

The pace is steady, picking up as the story progresses and we learn more about what's going on. I think I was as frustrated as the team as I tried to work everything out. I failed.

I was a little surprised by the 'cosy' crime label in the tour poster. Whilst this is easy to read, and definitely not the most explicit, gruesome crime novel I've read, it has its moments, and I certainly wouldn't describe it as 'cosy'.

Of course, it's all about Tara. I love her determination and tenaciousness - she just has to get to the bottom of things. Her 'complicated' relationship with boss Blake is still there, and you know, I 'm silently cheering them on. I don't know if there are any more books planned in this series, but having followed along from the beginning, I would really love to see more of Tara.


The Author:


Clare Chase writes women sleuth mysteries and recently signed a three-book deal with Bookouture for a new crime series set in Cambridge. The opening book, Murder on the Marshes, was published in July 2018. The mystery follows investigative journalist Tara Thorpe as she teams up with Detective Garstin Blake to solve the murder of a young female professor at Cambridge University. The case takes them through the dark underbelly of Cambridge and in to the murky fens that surround the centuries-old city. The second book in the series was published in autumn 2018. Death Comes To Call is the third in the series.

After graduating from London University with a degree in English Literature, Clare moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She's fascinated by the city's contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She's worked in diverse settings - from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons - and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies, with her husband and teenage children, presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people's books.

Clare’s debut novel, You Think You Know Me, was shortlisted for the Novelicious Undiscovered Award 2012, and an EPIC award in 2015. It was also chosen as a debut of the month by Lovereading.
You can find Clare's website and blog at www.clarechase.com

Author Social Media Links:









Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti (translated by Ekin Olap)

I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for this debut novel, the first in a trilogy, translated from the original Italian. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part, and to Orion for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.


The Blurb:

There's a monster lurking in these woods...

In a quiet village surrounded by the imposing Italian Alps, a series of brutal assaults take place.

Police inspector Teresa Battaglia is called in when the first body is found. Soon more victims are discovered - all horrifically mutilated - and when a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa's investigation becomes a race against the clock.

But Teresa is also fighting a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory...


Flowers Over The Inferno was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (part of Orion Publishing Group on 7th February 2019. You can buy it from Waterstones and Amazon.

My Review:

I'm always excited to read a debut novel, particularly when it's the start of a planned series. In addition to that, this was the first book I've read set in this particular part of the world.

I'm going to be careful what I say because I really don't want to give anything away.

In the village of Traveni in the Italian Alps, a series of horrific incidents take place, starting with a murder and including the kidnap of a baby boy. Superintendent Teresa Battaglia feels they are all related and tries to pull together an idea of the perpetrator and his motivation. Along the way she discovers a very different but equally horrific crime from decades earlier, and a desperately sad story.

Teresa Battaglia is marvellous. Quite ordinary really, she's in her sixties, a bit overweight and diabetic. She's gruff, independent and strong minded, but can be gentle and has occasional flashes of weakness, of which she is desperately ashamed. But what her fiercely loyal team don't know is that she is starting to have some memory issues, and that terrifies her. It is so refreshing to have a main character who is an older woman, and not a glamorous one either - bravo to the author!

I loved Battaglia's developing relationship with Marini, the new guy in the team. She is pretty merciless with him as he continually attempts to impress her and many of their exchanges provide some much needed light relief. This book is very character driven, and every single one is exquisitely drawn. I really cared about all of them - well most of them anyway. And The four young friends who feature are fabulous.

The scenery also plays an important role, with the mountains and woods appearing as imposing characters. The woodland is particularly significant, under threat as it is from development.

This is a dark tale, told  in a dual timeline - the present and the past, beginning in the seventies. The story moves backwards and forwards between the two eras as we discover awful deeds in both times and the links between the two. It wasn't always easy to follow, but some of that was due to the formatting of my review copy, which I'm sure has been corrected.

The crimes featured here are shocking and horrific, and tell a bleak tale. The action is constant and details are teased out. The story is written in a beautiful way with a very human touch. And it shows how important love is to us all. Ilaria Tuti is a fresh new voice in crime fiction and this is an assured debut. I very much look forward to reading more about Teresa Battaglia.

The Author:


Ilaria Tuti lives in Friuli, in the far north-eastern part of Italy. Flowers Over The Inferno, her debut novel and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy, was a top 10 bestseller on publication and the biggest debut of 2018 in Italy.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Inborn by Thomas Enger (translated by Kari Dickson)

Last November, at the Wee Crime Festival in Grantown-On-Spey, I was lucky enough to meet Thomas Enger. He was very gentlemanly and utterly delightful. I didn't know his work at the time, but came away the proud owner of signed copies of the first two books in his Henning Juul series. So I was excited to be invited to take part in the blog tour for this, a standalone YA/adult crime crossover.

Huge thanks to the lovely Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me and to the awesome Karen Sullivan at Orenda for my review copy.


The Blurb:

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock… for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously… and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close knit community. As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect?

It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust. But can we trust him?

A taut, moving and chilling thriller, Inborn examines the very nature of evil, and asks the questions: How well do we really know our families? How well do we know ourselves?


Inborn was published by Orenda Books on 7th February. You can buy it from Waterstones and Amazon.

My Review:

So this was my first taster of Enger's writing, and what a fantastic way for me to start!

The story opens with young Even about to be quizzed in court, but we don't know why. So immediately I was intrigued. What has happened? What has he done? Had he done anything? I just had to find out more.

The tale switches between the court case and the events leading up to it. It was a great way to present the story, as each courtroom segment gave a wee hint at what might be coming next, like the trailer for a movie.

So as the story develops, we learn what has happened, but we also learn more about Even, his history, his family and friends, and other people from the town. Some are likeable, some not so much. A stand out character for me was Yngve Mork, the police chief inspector in charge of the case. He's an older man, recently widowed and grieving. He feels his late wife's presence everywhere, hears her voice and still asks her for help. Also Imo, Even's uncle and role model since the death of his father, is a strong character, known to everyone.

The characterisation is superb, second to none, and key to the story. We really get to know the folk featured, they get under our skin and we care what happens to them. My heart broke for Even several times - his difficult home life as his mum deteriorates, his friends doubting him, his first broken heart. But he is resilient, strong and determined to get at the truth, even if it hurts.

Enger's writing is simple and concise - there are no wasted words. He draws you in completely and carries you along as he teases out the details little by little.  There are some red herrings thrown in along the way, and I was certainly barking up the wrong tree. There are several shocks, real "Woah!" moments that I didn't see coming at all.

I don't tend to read YA material, so to have a YA/adult crime crossover was a perfect introduction to the genre for me. And a perfect introduction to Enger's books too. Inborn is a dark, claustrophobic, moving thriller with plenty of surprises thrown in. Another fabulous release from the Orenda stable. And I can't wait to get into those Henning Juul books now!


The Author:

Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication, and marked the first in the bestselling Henning Juul series. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book, Young Adult). Killer Instinct, a Young Adult suspense novel upon which Inborn is based, was published in Norway in 2017 and won the same prestigious prize. Most recently, Thomas has co-written a thriller with Jørn Lier Horst. Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Russian Roulette by Keith Nixon

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I'm a big fan of author Keith Nixon. So today I'm delighted to be revisiting my review of his book Russian Roulette for the blog tour, and also to be sharing the updated blurb. The book features one of my favourite protagonists, Konstantin.

Huge thanks to Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to join the tour.


The Blurb:

A reluctant investigator, a sordid English seaside town, a criminal underbelly.

Trouble has a habit of seeking out Konstantin, whether he wants it or not. Starting from the moment he arrives in the seedy seaside town of Margate where he’s supposed to be in hiding from his ex-employers. All Konstantin wants is to keep his head down and be left alone. But it’s not to be. People have their problems and Konstantin can't help but get involved.

Konstantin has to overcome the drug dealer, the loan shark and a Liverpudlian gangster. Then there’s the so-called good guys, the councillors and lawyers who are worse than the criminals. Enter Fidelity Brown, aka Plastic Fantastic, a dominatrix who has her own mélange of secrets and lies, and nightclub owner Ken who’s connected to all the wrong people. Both help Konstantin solve the cases dropped on his doorstep.

Cue deception, murder, mayhem as the Russian settles into his new life. Margate will never be the same again. And neither will Konstantin…

Meet the enigmatic Konstantin, a man with a dark history and darker future in the start of a unique crime thriller series laced with a healthy dose of black humour. Pick up Russian Roulette to find out what all the fuss is about.


You can buy Russian Roulette from Amazon.

My Review:

This was the fourth of Keith's books I'd read (more since), and  differed from the others with its injection of black humour. It features the enigmatic Russian, Konstantin, a support cast of colourful characters and the less glamorous side of Margate. And I loved it! It's a brilliant book.

I adored Konstantin, although I'm not sure I was supposed to! He was so brilliantly described, I have a very clear picture of him in my mind. And I'm a complete sucker for a man who speaks in accented broken English.

There is a huge range of lesser characters featured throughout the book, but my favourite of them was definitely Fidelity - great name, feisty and ballsy, but with a sad story. I loved the moments when they were together - their love hate relationship. I was also intrigued by the mysterious Mr Lamb.

The chapter headings are genius. Such gems as 'Super Tramp' (you need to be a certain age), 'Morning Glory', 'Glory, Glory Man United ', 'Strap It On', 'Out on a Lamb' and my absolute favourite 'And Bob Wanted to Puke'. There are so many more, but I don't want to spoil your fun.

This is a brilliant, fun book. Violent, yes. Dark, yes. But it has black humour running all the way through it. And it made me want to visit Margate.

I loved it and was delighted to see there are other books featuring Konstantin which I can't wait to get into.  I would urge you all to do the same, once you have finished this one!

You can find my review of the third Konstantin book, I'm Dead Again here.

Keith is also the author of the fabulous Solomon Gray series. You can read my reviews of the books by clicking on the title.
Dig Two Graves
Burn The Evidence
Beg For Mercy
Bury The Bodies

And finally, my review of Keith's standalone novel, The Corpse Role is here.

The Author:


Keith Nixon is a British born writer of crime and historical fiction novels. Originally, he trained as a chemist, but Keith is now in a senior sales role for a high-tech business. Keith currently lives with his family in the North West of England.

Readers can connect with Keith on various social media platforms:
Web: http://www.keithnixon.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/knntom
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/keithnixonauthor/
Blog: https://www.keithnixon.co.uk/blog


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Where She Lies by Michael Scanlon

I'm delighted to taking part in the blog tour for Michael Scanlon's debut novel, Where She Lies. Huge thanks to Noelle Holton at Bookoutre for inviting me to take part and providing my review copy via Netgalley.


The Blurb:

In a town full of liars, who can you trust?

When Detective Finnegan Beck is demoted from his high-powered job in Dublin and relocated in disgrace to the small Irish town of Cross Beg, he predicts boredom will be his biggest threat.

But then a beautiful, local teenage girl is found strangled in the cold, dark woods a mile from town. The prime suspect is the seemingly-gentle drifter who found Tanya’s body.

Beck seems to be the only person who can’t escape the feeling that Tanya wasn’t killed at random. As he digs deeper into the shadows of Cross Beg, he begins to realise it isn’t the sleepy backwater he’d first believed. Everyone here has something to hide. Tanya had a boyfriend, whose name no one knew. A best friend with a loose relationship with the truth. And a habit she thought she’d kept hidden from everyone.

But, just as Beck believes he is making progress, the body of one of the suspects is found drowned in the river. Is the killer just getting started?

Everyone in the town seems to have something they would die to protect. But who has a secret they’d kill for?

This debut novel from a powerful new Irish voice is the first in a gripping series that will feature the brilliant, haunted Detective Finnegan Beck who won’t rest until justice is found. Perfect for fans of LJ Ross, Joy Ellis and Patricia Gibney.


Where She Lies was published by Bookoutre on 8th February 2019.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://geni.us/B07KFM66BJSocial
Apple Store: https://tinyurl.com/y8sdtzrw
Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/yakupgk2
Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/y9brnjjf

My Review:

Oooh, another debut for me! And this one is the beginning of a new series, so that's exciting.

I think this might be the first book I've read that features the Irish police force, which really interested me. And Finnegan Beck is a fabulous character.

When we meet Beck, he's been demoted and moved from Dublin to the small, seemingly quiet, town of Cross Beg.  Initially, we don't know anything about what caused the demotion, but we do know Beck's not happy about the move to Cross Beg, and determined just to keep his head down, keep under the radar, until everything is sorted out.

However, we soon discover Beck's not really one to keep his head down or even follow the rules. When the body of a teenage girl is found, Beck discovers that Cross Beg is maybe not as dull as he initially thought, and may also hold its own secrets.

Finnegan Beck is a great character with a great name! Although we don't know much about his past, we see that he's a man who is determined to discover the truth, even when it makes him unpopular. It would seem that he hasn't had a romantic relationship recently, and his tentative steps towards one here really don't go to plan. Beck also has his own demons to battle. Claire, his partner in the police force, is also brilliant, very down to earth, with a no nonsense attitude. She's a great partner for Beck - just what he needs.

The pace of the story is spot on. It hooks you in from the beginning, and keeps you turning the pages until the end. There are plenty of colourful characters and lots going on throughout. The plot builds up to a fantastic ending which I really didn't see coming.

I really enjoyed this book and found the writing style easy and entertaining, and Beck was a very engaging character, which is testament to Michael 's writing. I can't wait to see what he, and Beck, get up to next!

The Author:


Michael Scanlon is a civilian employee of the An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force), but a life threatening undiagnosed illness that struck while travelling in Spain in 2014 has rendered him on long term sick leave. He is married to Eileen and has a daughter, Sarah. He lives in the countryside outside the town of Ballina in County Mayo. The town has arguably the best salmon river in Europe, called the Moy. You can follow Michael on Twitter here.



Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Alex Michaelides' debut novel, The Silent Patient and I'm delighted to share my thoughts.


The Blurb:

The brilliantly gripping, world record-breaking 2019 thriller that everyone is talking about - soon to be a major film.

ALICIA
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet - and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can't bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

THEO
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia's silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

THE SILENT PATIENT is the gripping must-read debut thriller of 2019 - perfect for fans of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by AJ Finn and THE GIRL BEFORE by JP Delaney.


The Silent Patient was published by Orion as an eBook on 5th February 2019 and as a hardback on 7th February 2019. You can purchase it from Waterstones, Amazon UK and Amazon US.

My Review:

Oh gosh, where to begin! This is an excellent book, and I really can't believe it's a debut!

Theo is a psychologist who is intrigued, obsessed maybe, by the case of Alicia Berenson who hasn't spoken a word for six years. Hasn't spoken since she murdered her husband, the husband she loved and adored. Theo gets a job at the mental hospital where Alicia is being held, and begins to try to treat her, to make her talk.The

This is a real slow burner and, initially at least, not a lot happens. But don't let that fool you or put you off. The writing is such that from the beginning we are completely drawn in as we follow Alex's sessions with Alicia, learn about his life outside work and read Alicia's diary from before she was hospitalised. I felt I was in that room with the two of them through the sessions, watching their relationship develop, hoping to see some improvement in Alicia.

It's a rare talent to feature a main character who doesn't speak and hardly displays any emotion, but get people to care about her. But Michaelides achieves this. I was really invested in Alicia,and keen to find out more about her, why she did what she did. I wasn't entirely sure what to make of Theo, and his determination that he could make Alicia speak, and my feelings on him changed at various points in the book. The supporting cast are all wonderfully described, but I must make special mention of Diomedes and Jean-Felix, who I felt were particularly colourful.

I can't say much more as I want you to discover it for yourself! I devoured this book, and it held me completely from beginning to end. It's an extraordinary debut that's original and unusual, and I can't wait to see what Alex Michaelides has up his sleeve for us next!

The Author:


Alex Michaelides was born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother. He read English at Cambridge University and received a MA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. He wrote the film Devil You Know, starring Rosamund Pike, and co-wrote The Con is On, starring Uma Thurman and Tim Roth. The Silent Patient is his first novel.
_____

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour - it's a big one!



Sunday, 3 February 2019

You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury

As a Mark Tilbury fan, I was delighted to receive an early review copy (huge thanks to Mark) of his latest book, You Belong To Me, which is published tomorrow!



The Blurb:

Can two wrongs ever make a right?

The police never found fifteen-year-old Ellie Hutton. She vanished ten years ago after walking home from school along a disused railway track. But Danny Sheppard knows exactly what happened to her. She is dead and buried in a field near Lassiter’s Brook.    

Now Cassie Rafferty has gone missing. Same age. Similar circumstances. And Danny also knows what has happened to her.
Can Danny fight his demons and tell the truth this time?

Or will history repeat itself and leave another innocent girl dead?

Mark Tilbury is the author of dark and compelling psychological 
thrillers, including The Abattoir of Dreams, The Liar's Promise and The Ben Whittle Investigation Series. You Belong to Me is a twisty and gripping thriller which will appeal to fans of authors like Mark Edwards, John Marrs and Adam Croft.

You Belong To Me is published by Bloodhound Books and will be released tomorrow! You can pre order/buy it from Waterstones and Amazon.

My Review:

Mark is affectionately known as the sicko author for his crime novels tinged with horror and the supernatural. You Belong To Me is a bit of a departure for him. It's much more of a psychological thriller, and a wee bit tamer. But don't think it's not horrific, because it certainly is in places.

Three friends who haven't seen each other since leaving school the best part of ten years previously all receive a note from a fourth friend, stating only 'It's happened again" and giving a time and a place to meet up. The letter has a profound unsettling effect on the recipients but soon the four young men are together again.

The story starts in the present day, then flips back to ten years previously when 'it' happened the first time and the guys were just fifteen years old, before moving back into the present for the tense ending.

I have deliberately not given any details about the plot because I don't want to give anything away. But Danny, Rob, Keiran and Josh are all beautifully described, both as fifteen year old boys and twenty-four, twenty-five year old men. The story deals with kidnap, neglect, depression, suicidal thoughts and a whole lot of bullying of all four boys. I have read some comments that the story would have been more believable if the boys were younger. Well, in my opinion, those people don't understand the impact bullying can have. It certainly rang true to me.

I love to loathe characters and, in Calum, Mark has created a true, and very real, monster. I spent most of the book wanting to do significant physical harm to him, and to shake some sense into his mum.

This is a real page turner. I was drawn in right at the beginning, and just kept going. Mark's writing is fast paced and I always wanted to know what was coming next. I found a couple of examples of his writing, neither of which gives any spoilers. The first is an illustration of Mark's more upfront writing (I'm sure there will be a technical term for this that I don't know).
 "A train thundered past the platform. The back draft seduced him, teased him, sucked him closer to the edge. The 11.15am bound for Hell, calling at Hopelessness, Desperation and Don't Give A Fuck on The way. All lost souls welcome."
The other is a beautiful description of a sad situation.
"The medication helped. Before that, she had been hovering between depressed and suicidal. It was if her years had fallen to the ground and turned into eggshells."
I just love this variety in the writing.

The more gruesome elements of the situation ten years ago are teased out until we finally see the true horror of what went on. As others have mentioned, there is a twist towards the end. I did work it out, but only just before it was revealed.

This is a tale of friendship and loyalty, bullying and revenge, and wanting to do the right thing. And I loved the wee reference to The Liars Promise (my review is here)! Can Mark Tilbury write a good psychological thriller? That would be a very resounding yes. 

The Author:


Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. 

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. 

He's always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had six novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, You Belong To Me. 

When he's not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

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