Archive for the ‘Lies’ Category


Published: 1 December 2016
Reviewed: 3 November 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Transworld / Penguin Random House as part of the blog tour



Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

My Thoughts & Review:

What Alice Knew first caught my attention on social media, the cleverly timed tweets by the publisher giving away snippets of information were enough to pique my interest and I immediately requested a copy for review.

The first thing that struck me about this book was the fact that it begins so benignly, an artist painting a portrait, nothing sinister there, not hint towards crime, mystery or thrills but yet it draws the reader in, promising that something sinister lies ahead.
Alice and husband Ed seem the quintessential family with their two children.  Both Alice and Ed have jobs they enjoy and excel at, a wonderful home and all the trappings of a successful life, but when Ed goes missing one night their perfect existence is called into question.

The reader is then plunged into a labyrinthine series of events that boggle the mind.  The author cleverly builds tension and confusion throughout the plot with use of unreliable narration from frantic characters who struggle with the complexities of the situations they are in.  Each action, each lie, each accusation swiftly moves this book to a new level of thriller, the skill in the writing means that the attention of the reader is held captive but all the while they are thinking “what happens next?”  “why did they do that?”  “what does this mean?”

I will admit that when I finished this book I was confused by what I had read and reached out to other bloggers to see what they thought, and the general consensus was that this was a cleverly plotted book, deviously ambiguous and allowed the reader to draw their own conclusions as to the ending.  By doing so, the author allows the reader the freedom to decide which category this thriller falls into – a very nice touch.

The use of art throughout the book is a fantastic metaphor for seeing the truth, being able to look at a subject and actually “see” what’s underneath as opposed to what is on the surface.  The details included about art techniques and styles also adds an authenticity to  Alice and her profession, as well as being generally interesting.

You can buy a copy of What Alice Knew here.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour


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Author: W.S. Barton
Published: 2 July 2016
Reviewed: 1 July 2016
Copy kindly supplied by author in return for an honest review
5 out of 5 stars
Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. 
Halloween 1983. 
When eight year old local boy Aidan Truscott goes missing, without a trace, a search for him begins.  As it continues, the once tight-knit community begins to reveal its suspicions and point fingers, unravelling hurtful secrets and accusations.  The truth, however, is far worse than anyone could have imagined…..
My Thoughts and Review:  
I unexpectedly stumbled upon this book the other night, I can’t quite remember what made me look it up, but once I’d read the synopsis something about it screamed to find out more.  
Set in the small seaside town of Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire (East England), the reader is gently eased into the who’s who of the local holiday parks, how life in the small coastal town relies heavily on tourism – the toy shop only opens when holiday season starts, and given the impression that despite small personal niggles all is well in the town, there is a strong community feel and everyone does what they can to help the townsfolk. 
That is until Halloween, with the discovery of a dead body in the town, the locals are wary about allowing the kids to go out trick or treating but agreement is reached, and soon the kids are on their merry way to high jinks and a sugar rush. 
When eight year old Aidan Truscott fails to return home the close knit community goes into overdrive.  Everyone that can help search for young Aidan is out looking, the police investigation soon picks up speed and every caravan park is searched, any likely place that Aidan could be is in the town is identified and searched but no trace of him can be found.  Believing that someone must know something, Chief Constable Doyle interviews all of the children, hoping one of them holds the vital piece of information that could solve this case.  
And that folks is about all I can say about the plot without giving anything away.  
A superbly written thriller, the plot is well thought out and captivating.  Well developed characters make this both interesting and riveting to read, with narration from multiple viewpoints it gives important insight of the situation, but also allows for great character development.  The inner struggles of Doyle with this case, with his suspicions about the culprit and his torment about doing the right thing are compelling reading.  Mark Smith’s tale is one that leaves you with mixed feelings, does his past reflect on who he has become?  These characters are very well written and you genuinely feel an element of sympathy for them at times.  
Wonderfully descriptive and atmospheric, you can almost envision the town, the beach and the camp sites etc, attention to detail is clear in the writing, ensuring that the reader gets a glimpse into the mind of Barton, seeing what he wants them to see.
The suspense of the story is well paced throughout the book, it draws the reader in through slowly revealing details through the narrative, almost forcing you to continue reading to find out what happens next.  It’s definitely one of those books what will keep you snared way past your bedtime!
W.S. Barton’s début novel Coal House is available to purchase via Amazon, and I will definitely be snagging a copy – this is an author I will be looking out for in the future, his style of writing challenges and intrigues me, I would almost award the title of a wordsmith, but I think for that he would need to pen a third novel just to be sure!  

Gripping, thrilling, full of suspense and suspicion – I would thoroughly recommend this book!  I also believe that W.S. Barton has pledged to donate a percentage of the sales to The Boatshed Charity.
You can pre order a copy of Mablethorpe here. 

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Watching Edie

Author: Camilla Way
Published: 28 July 2016
Reviewed: 24 June 2016
Copy supplied by Killer Reads at HarperCollins in return for an honest review

4.5 out of 5 stars


Edie is the friend that Heather has always craved. But one night, it goes terrifyingly wrong. And what started as an innocent friendship ends in two lives being destroyed.

Sixteen years later, Edie is still rebuilding her life. But Heather isn’t ready to let her forget so easily. It’s no coincidence that she shows up when Edie needs her most.

Edie or Heather?
Heather or Edie?

Someone has to pay for what happened, but who will it be?

My Thoughts & Review:

When you read a book in one sitting and cannot bear to put it down you know it’s a good one.  This was a surprise book for me, I had no idea it would come tumbling through the letterbox but I definitely cannot thank the guys at Killer Reads enough for sending a copy through to me.
“The most unsettling psychological thriller you’ll read this year” is quite a high  standard to set but I feel that they are just in doing so.  Not only does this book have a gripping plot, the characters are twisted and flawed, nothing pans out as you’d think it might and there are parts of the book you are literally staring at what you’ve just read in utter disbelief/shock/confusion.  For a book to inspire so many feelings in a reader is brilliance on the part of the author, Camilla Way really has written a blinder of a book here!
The alternating narration by 30 something Edie and a teenage Heather adds depth to this story like nothing else.  Seeing the past events that lead to the parting of the ways of the teenage girls through Heather’s eyes adds a youthful naivety to it all, and this I believe is so vital to understanding her much later on.
Edie’s continual allusion to a tragic event gives a little more detail with each mention.  This “something” that occurred changed her life forever, she left her home, her family and tried to make a new life for herself in London and put the past behind her.  When Heather finds her in London, Edie is shocked, she’s anxious but never envisions they will reform a friendship and just how much she will come to rely on Heather.  

Without giving anything away about the past, or the future, I will say that Camilla Way has written a very clever and twisted story.  She evokes emotion from the reader by catapulting them into a maelstrom.  Even the sub plot is fraught with intensity, but I have to add that I really enjoyed reading Edie’s interactions with Monica and her family, it added a little light relief at times.  Monica’s character gave a lovely reminder that not all characters in this book were obsessed, liars or out to betray one another.  

Complex and multi layered, this is a gripping, and all consuming read.  Almost like falling down the rabbit hole with Alice into the dark depths.     
I cannot wait to see what Camilla Way writes next, I really loved her style of writing in this book.  The way she revealed more about the two protagonists had me reeling at times, I found my judgements were rocked by what I learned each time and at one point I was speechless.   

I cannot recommend this book enough, it was brilliant.  Everything a psychological thriller should be and then some!   

You can pre order a copy of Watching Edie here.   

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Author: S E Lynes
Published: 1 July 2016
Reviewed: 14 June 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy supplied by Blackbird Digital Books in return for an honest review

4 out of 5 Stars



My Thoughts & Review

When I first heard about this book I was intrigued, it sounded fascinating so I jumped at the chance of a review copy from Blackbird Digital Books.

Set in Aberdeenshire, Shona is a new mum settling into a rural setting with her little girl, and trying to adjust to a new way of life while her partner works offshore.  She finds she is missing her old life and friends, she craves human interaction beyond the niceties of the woman on the till in the supermarket so when she meets Valentina on the steps of the nursery a much needed friendship soon blossoms.  
Initially narrated through Shona, we learn about her life up to meeting her perfect match Mikey, how they first met, the way their relationship developed and how she came to live in her idyllic cottage in Aberdeenshire.  It is also through Shona that we “see” Valentina, how charismatic, carefree and confident she is, her style is hippy yet chic, she’s daring, she’s funny and most of all she’s just what Shona needed.  
As Shona reflects back on life before her child we see that she was a strong character, standing up to bullies and taking no nonsense.  So the dramatic change to her character is startling but understandable.  As a new mother she is exhausted, but with this comes the ability for her to be easily manipulated.  At times this character does come across as naive, too trusting and you really want to nudge her, shake her, anything to make her stop, notice and see sense. 
The overall style of writing is good, impressively descriptive, well paced and the plot was well thought out.  The narration by two of the main characters lends itself well to this story, it allows the reader to not only see Shona’s point of view, but also to some extent, experience it too.  
Character development in this book is very well done, interesting and well formed characters become even more intriguing, they mould into new shapes and the transformation of Shona in particular was fascinating to read.  
This is the sort of story that stays with you after you’ve finished the last page.  Even after a few days I found myself wondering what I would have done in that situation?  Would I have done the same thing?  Why would someone do that?  How could someone really do that and think they would never be found out?  Once you’ve read it you will understand…..
For a début, this is an impressive novel, well written and full of suspense, it’s gripping at the right time, the pace stays well matched to the action throughout, and it’s a good read.  Perhaps I’ve read too many of this genre, but I did find it was a little predictable, but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment.  

I would have no hesitation in recommending this book it’s a good read.   

You can buy a copy of Valentina here. 

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Streets of Darkness

Author: A.A Dhand
Published: 16 June 2016
Reviewed: 6 June 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy supplied by Transworld Books/ Penguin Random House in return for an honest review

5 out of 5 Stars



My Thoughts & Review

A chance conversation with Ben Willis at Transworld Books brought about a copy of this beauty arriving on my doorstep, and all I can say is a massive thank you to Ben, he was right, this is an absolute gem of a book!
From the very outset I was gripped, Harry Virdee is a man with a secret, a troubled past and a very troubled present.  Stepping away from the “textbook” police procedural Dhand gives us a protagonist that breaks all the previously set stereotypes.  He’s a Sikh policeman, he’s happily married and not living on an unhealthy diet of takeaways whilst bemoaning his fate.  Instead Harry Virdee is a highly functioning, intelligent and active man, he runs when he can’t sleep and has connections that get results to solve cases.  
But when Harry finds a body when out running he knows he has to call it in, although facing his colleagues and friends on the force whilst suspended isn’t something he’s comfortable with.  When he’s asked to operate under the radar to track down the murder suspect he never envisions the secrets he will unearth along the way. That’s about all I want to say about the plot, there are too many things I could say that might give away little details and this is not a book you want spoilers for!! 
This is a gritty novel, with a heart racing pace, indeed I read it in one sitting, desperately reading on to find out what would happen next.  Lies, deception and danger are the key aspects, so when you add in a policeman operating on the edges of what is acceptable this really moves to the next level.  But there are other themes that play an important role in this book, race, religion, family and loyalty are also of equal importance here, reminding us that we are a multicultural society and that actions can affect our future more than we think.  
The characters in this are fantastic, very multidimensional and incredibly detailed.  The writing is brilliant, and for a début I am truly impressed.  Dhand has created and woven a complex plot with a clever sub plot running alongside.  He then draws it all together to wrap up the details and shocks the reader with the ending.  
I am very grateful to the author for the cultural details Things like the various Sikh and Muslim festivals that take place during the novel are not areas I have much knowledge of, so adding explanations through the narration was definitely a bonus for me.  I felt that I learned something new reading this and really appreciated the authenticity it added to the story.    
I cannot wait to see what Dhand has lined up next for Harry Virdee!  
A.A. Dhand is a name you will want to look out for in the future. 

You can buy a copy of Streets of Darkness here. 

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Solomon Creed

Author: Simon Toyne
Published: 24 March 2016
Reviewed: 3 June 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy supplied by Killer Reads at HarperCollins in return for an honest review

4.5 out of 5 Stars



My Thoughts & Review

Solomon Creed is an interesting character, for a start he emerges unscathed from a plan crash in the middle of rural America, but even more intriguing is that he has no idea who he is or why he is there.
As the narration develops and other characters are introduced, we discover that Creed is also fascinating in his physical appearance, he is an albino, something that is never seen in the town of Redemption.  
With the ability to speak numerous different languages, a wealth of knowledge and skills that surprise even himself, Creed is definitely an enigma.  But little by little, snippets of his memory clear so that by the end he has a good idea of why he ended up in Redemption, what his purpose here was and who he isThe most mind blowing answer definitely has to be the latter – once that’s revealed….wow! 

Redemption is a small town in Arizona, built around the church, and instead of the inhabitants being friendly and helpful as you might expect, they are suspicious of newcomers and locals alike.  Worse still, Creed can feel there’s something going on in the town, secrets are being buried and he is sure this is linked to why he is there.  
The links to a Mexican Crime Boss, despicable Sheriffs and desperate town mayor add a sinister edge to the goings on in this town.

With narration in the form of historical journal entries by the town founder as well as present day narration by several characters, this really does add something “extra” to the plot.  
The religious angles meld well with the almost supernatural elements of the book – indeed it helps it to stand out from other books in this genre.  The super natural aspect of the story does feel like something out of an episode of the X Files, not entirely plausible but at the same time not entirely indisputable.      
Action packed chapters ensure that the reader is kept entertained and intrigued, who is fighting for whom?  Who are the good guys?  What are they all after?  The pace of this book is also kept brisk with this style of writing, the murder mystery element makes for a thrilling read and with characters that are multi dimensional, well fleshed out and in some cases downright villainous, you’ve got a great read on your hands.  

Despite some more complicated ideas in this book, it is still an enjoyable read.  Some of the religious passages may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s definitely worth sticking with it and seeing it through to the end, in this book I would definitely say they work and go as far as to add depth to the tale. 

After finding out Solomon Creed’s identity, I cannot wait to see where the author takes this character next, a brilliant stepping stone for the next book!   

You can buy a copy of Solomon Creed here. 

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Beneath The Surface

Author: Heidi Perks
Published: 24 March 2016
Reviewed: 3 June 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy supplied by Red Door Publishing in return for an honest review

5 out of 5 Stars



My Thoughts & Review

Every once in a while there’s a book that appears in the post that just blows you away, and this is definitely one of them. 
From the beginning the author draws you in, dangling the mysterious plot of a mother walking out on one of her children and taking the two youngest ones with her, and the one left behind has no idea why or where her family has gone. It’s compulsive reading, the need to find out why teenage Abi was left to fend for herself by her mother is strong.  

I won’t lie, my maternal instincts kicked in at this point, I felt I wanted comfort Abi and pull her into a motherly embrace.  The abhorrence at what her mother had done was palpable and incomprehensible.  I needed to find out why.  

Abi’s struggles to come to terms with what happened are cleverly detailed in the form of letters to her husband Adam.  Her therapist Maggie advised her that this might be a good way to get out how she feels about what has happened between her life before Adam and where she is now.  As she recounts the tale of her life up to that point it’s difficult not to feel some compassion towards her.  The irreparable damage to her mental state and her trust issues are so deeply rooted because of that disappearing act fourteen years ago.

As the story develops, things become less clear, characters evolve and you begin to see things from other points of view.  The narration from Abi’s mother Kathryn was particularly interesting.  She was a well portrayed character, incredibly meek and highly anxious.  Her mental health definitely seemed questionable at times, the girls often mentioning about her being in a constant state of anxiety or unease about things.  The controlling influence of her mother Eleanor was too much for her to bear, and the constant need for approval from her mother was definitely heartbreaking to read.  

Whilst this story was about secrets, lies, families and betrayal, there as a lot of emotion in this too.  For a writer to create characters that you could feel an absolute loathing for, ones you desperately wanted to comfort and ones you wanted to take and shake some sense into is a mark of good writing.  
Weaving such a delicate issue into a wonderful story like this is also brilliance, for some people, the idea of a mother abandoning a child is a step too far, but this was well handled throughout.  In fact, all of the sensitive issues involved in this story were well written and thoughtfully detailed and for that I applaud the author.  

The characters were all well detailed, and three dimensional (even the flawed Kathryn), they appeared very lifelike and believable.  The writing is superb, detailed and well researched, the skill at maintaining the suspense and intrigue throughout really means that Heidi Perks is a name you want to look out for in the future.  It’s the sort of story that stays with you after you’ve read it, almost making you wonder what you would do in that situation. 
This was an all consuming and compulsive read, I would have no hesitation in recommending it to others.  

You can buy a copy of Beneath the Surface here. 

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Little Bones

Author: Sam Blake
Published: 17 May 2016
Reviewed: 30 May 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy supplied by Bonnier Publishing /Twenty7 in return for an honest review

5 out of 5 Stars



My Thoughts & Review

The discovery of tiny bones in the hem of a wedding dress is strange enough, but to then ascertain that they are a baby’s bones is enough to turn a simple break-in into a full scale investigation for the Guards in Dublin.
Detective Cathy Connolly and her boss Inspector O‘Rourke have their work cut out for them tracking down answers to solve this grisly case.
Throw in the mysterious appearance of a fugitive killer from Las Vegas, who is intent on tying up loose ends in Dublin and the Guards have more than enough to deal with.  

This is the first of instalment of the Garda Cathy Connolly series and it definitely doesn‘t hold back.  The writing it superb, the plot is interesting and gripping, characters are multidimensional and easy to relate toThe various elements of the story are well written Masterfully weaving together the tales of Mary‘s past and present dementia like struggles, Zoe‘s world slowly falling to pieces around her and the personal life of Cathy Connolly mixing with her professional dutiesIt would be easy to assume that something would get lost in the myriad of characters and details but as far as I was concerned, nothing did.  The detail in this book was incredible, even the intricacies of the art work created by Zoe was thoroughly detailed, so much so that I could almost imagine the canvases. 

The chemistry and camaraderie between Connolly and O’Rourke is a delight to read, they are a great pairing, and the hints to their shared history open up the opportunity for Sam Blake to go so many ways with this series, I cannot wait to see what she has for us with book two.   

Secrets and lies rarely follow a linear path, the ones in this book scaled the chart of complexity and just when you thought that the secret was as dark as it got, another layer is peeled away and for some characters the truth was too much to bear.  
With so many twists and turns, both expected and unexpected, this book is entirely engrossing.

I enjoyed this book so much that at just over half way in I was already recommending it to friends that I thought would appreciate it.  

You can buy a copy of Little Bones here.  

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The Bitter Season

Author: Tami Hoag
Published: 10 March 2016
Reviewed: 18 March 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy supplied by Orion Publishing Group in return for an honest review

4 out of 5 Stars



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What She Never Told Me

Author: Kate McQuaile
Published: 3 March 2016
Reviewed: 18 March 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy supplied by Quercus Books in return for an honest review

4 out of 5 Stars



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