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Archive for the ‘psychological thriller’ Category

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Published: 26 January 2017

Description:

She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start. Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.

Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.

But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie. And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.

Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

My Thoughts & Review:

Her Husband’s Lover is a psychological thriller that deserves to be read with your full attention – turn off your mobile, unhook the landline, send everyone out of the house for the day and get comfy because this is a book that once started will draw you in and keep you reading all day.

Without regurgitating the plot, I will say that Crouch sets up the intensely twisting tale with a wonderful opening gambit – a woman frantically fleeing a pursuer, she is desperate, she is scared and is running for the freedom of herself and her children.  An opening like that instantly grabs the attention of the reader and draws then in.
Louisa does escape, but the subsequent crash is devastating for her, it claims the life of her children and the husband she had been fleeing.  And her injuries were so severe that she was comatose and then had to undergo intensive physio and psychotherapies as part of her recovery.  However her recovery is hampered somewhat by the vendetta of Sophie, the girlfriend of her late husband.  Sophie refuses to believe any of the “lies” that Louisa tells at the inquest about Sam, and the ruling that his death was not her fault is the catalyst for a dark and twisted quest for vengeance against Louisa.

Julia Crouch writes with a wonderful ability to get under the skin of her readers, her characters are superb creations that evoke great emotion from the captive audience.  She writes scenes that cause a reader to squirm uncomfortably but all the while they are powerless to put the book down, driven on by the urge to know what happens next.
Cleverly weaving narration by Louisa and Sophie that encompasses the past and the present, Crouch builds tension and suspense effortlessly.  This slow build allows for an incredibly powerful climactic ending that will stay with the reader after finishing.

You can pre-order a copy of My Husband’s Lover here.

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Published: 15 June 2017

Description:

A chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller set in the Lake District, centring on the obsessive relationship that develops between two writers…

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.

Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.

When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?

Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

My Thoughts & Review:

Never before has a book been so perfectly titled, the writing, the plotting, the characterisation, the setting are all utterly exquisite.  There is a raw intensity in this book that is so thought provoking and continuously challenges the reader.  I absolutely loved this book and devoured it in a day, it’s always a good sign with me when I cannot bear to put a book down.

The plot is so clever and so sinister.  All the time I was reading it I was mindful of the passages from the Women’s Prison in Yorkshire, wondering which of the characters had ended up there, guessing and second guessing after reading the chapters that followed.
I loved the way that the reader is left wondering which of the lead characters is the unreliable narrator, and by giving the reader Bo’s point of view initially,  Stovell has very cleverly set the groundwork for her masterful plan.   The flaws of both characters are laid bare for the reader to judge as they chose.  The juxtaposition of how fate plays out for both of these characters is almost poetic – both are from broken backgrounds, neither has a good relationship with their mother and indeed suffered directly and indirectly by their hands, and the psychology of it is well played out through the development of Bo and Alice.

The way that this leaves a reader feeling so disturbed whilst reading is key, it almost drives the reader on to find out if they are right, to see whether their suspicions are right, and the way in which it builds to the penultimate section, so intense and riveting, if readers can guess what is going to happen next I’d be amazed!  I didn’t see what was coming at all, and I’ve read many thrillers (too many in some cases!) but this caught me well and truly off guard and I absolutely loved it!

The descriptions of settings in this are perfection, having been to the Lakes many times I felt that the writing really conjured some amazing imagery in my head, the way in which Grasmere was described made me feel that I was transported to the village and was craving Grasmere gingerbread.
I have no doubt that this book will feature heavily in the top books of 2017  with many readers, and it absolutely deserves to!  A truly magnificent debut from a promising author, and quite possibly one of the finest thrillers I’ve read this year!
You can buy a copy of “Exquisite” via:
Follow the blog tour:
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Published: 25 May 2017

Description:

Ben Whittle’s father, a private investigator, has been taken captive by a cult whilst investigating the case of a missing girl. When Ben receives a desperate call from his father asking for help he is drawn into a dark underground world.

As Ben retraces the last known steps of the missing girl he discovers his only option left is to join the cult and rescue his father from the inside.

The leader of the cult, Edward Ebb, is a psychopathic egocentric who uses his position to control his small group of followers in The Sons and Daughters of Salvation. When he initiates Ben into the group it soon becomes apparent how sick and twisted Ebb is.

Ben must find his father and the missing girl, but the odds are stacked against him and time is running out.

Can Ben rescue his father and the girl and escape with his life?
And what is the gruesome secret concealed in the Revelation Room?

The Revelation Room is the first in a new series of psychological mystery thrillers.

My Thoughts & Review:

“The Revelation Room” is the first book in the Ben Whittle series penned by Mark Tilbury and has recently been relaunched by the brilliant Bloodhound Books.  For those already familiar with Tilbury’s work this series will not disappoint, this is a gripping and highly enjoyable psychological thriller.

Ben Whittle’s father Geoff is a private investigator, and has been kidnapped by a dangerous cult called the Sons and Daughters of Salvation.  His only hope of survival is shy and unassuming Ben.  With the help of his friend Maddie, Ben hatches a plan to rescue his father,  but in order for the plan to work he and Maddie will have to infiltrate the cult.
The cult in question is under the control of Edward Ebb, a seriously evil character.  He is a psychopath  that uses his position to brainwash his followers and control them to do his bidding, the rules of the cult are simple, conform to the ways of the Sons and Daughters of Salvation or cease to exist.

Characterisation in this is superb, Ben is a great character that many readers will have a liking towards, his lack of confidence is endearing and seeing him confronting his fears makes for great character development.  His crush on Maddie helps drive him on, she is the embodiment of the confidence and bravery he doesn’t have.  Edward Ebb, is quite possibly one of the best evil characters I’ve read for a while, so disturbing and he left me with a sense of dread whenever he appeared (in a good way!).
Coupled with the foreboding darkness is some wonderful humour, I don’t quite know how Tilbury does it, but he masterfully offsets the grim and evil air in this book with some impressive dark humour that just tops this book off perfectly.

The pacing of “The Revelation Room” is akin to a whirlpool.  Once it’s grabbed hold of you there is no letting go, it’s a gripping read that I devoured quickly, I was so keen to find out what would happen next that I could not put it down.
Now on to book two of the series “The Eyes of The Accused”……

You can buy a copy of “The Revelation Room” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to Mark Tilbury and Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read this and take part in the blog tour.

Follow the blog tour – today over on Crime Book Junkie Noelle is hosting a chapter extract that I am sure will hook your interest!  Why not pop over and check it out!

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Published: 4 May 2017

Description:

How far would you go to save your reputation? The stunning new noir thriller from the author of the bestselling The Missing One and The Other Child. Perfect for fans of I Let You Go and Lie With Me.

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?

My Thoughts & Review:

“The Night Visitor” is the first book by Lucy Atkins that I’ve read, and if I’m honest I really had no idea what to expect when I picked this up.  I’d seen a fair bit of praise for this book and was curious to see if it lived up to the hype.

Following two characters, Olivia Sweetman and Vivian Tester, the author expertly weaves an intricate plot that will leave readers stunned, the story makes for uncomfortable reading in places but it is also spectacularly clever.  The way in which this book has been written is magnificent, each word, each phrase, each nuance is used for maximum effect and is perfectly placed to ensure that readers are entranced under Atkins spell.
Olivia Sweetman is an interesting character who on the surface appears to have the quintessential perfect life.  She is a highly successful academic, a minor celebrity, has a happy marriage and three children.  But below the surface there is tension bubbling, from the very beginning it is clear there is something bothering her, and the relationships around her are not as stable as they might seem.
Vivian Tester, well there’s a character that I found incredibly difficult to work out.  A true hat tip to Atkins here, as this must have been a character that took time and work to get just right on paper.  Vivian Tester is cold, distant, blunt and for want of a better word, strange.  She likes routine, and does not like anyone upsetting it.  She clearly has a secret or two to hide, but what could be behind her sinister aura.
Both of these women make for unreliable narrators, but it’s up to the reader to decide which is the most unreliable……

At times there is a claustrophobic feel to reading this book, suspicion runs rife throughout the plot, there are secrets being kept that could potentially ruin the lives of many and there is an underlying menace that presents in many forms – the book perfectly titled when you consider the events in the tower in France and Vivian’s terrifying nightmares.  All of this combines to form an incredibly rich and atmospheric read, and one that is filled with intrigue.

The attention to detail in the writing absolutely blew me away, Lucy Atkins has clearly spent a lot of time researching her subject matter, intricate details given about dung beetles, the publishing world and academia add a real feeling of authenticity as well as providing fascinating in-depth reading.

A wonderfully gripping thriller, that haunts the reader long after they’ve turned the final pages.

My thanks to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou and Quercus Books for the opportunity to read this book and take part in the blog tour.

You can buy a copy of “The Night Visitor” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, guest posts and extracts!

 

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Hello and welcome to one of the two stops on the blog tour for “Watching You”, the third instalment of the Detective Kerri Blasco series by J.A. Schneider.  I am honoured to be sharing the tour spot with one of my favourite bloggers, the lovely Chelsea over at The Suspense Is Thrilling Me, don’t forget to head over to her blog & check out her reviews!

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Published: 25 April 2017

 

Description:

A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Kerri isn’t convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life. 

My Thoughts & Review:

“Watching You” sees the much anticipated return of one of my top detectives, Kerri Blasco.  For fans of The Quiet Knitter you will know that I have followed this series since the publication of book one, “Fear Dreams” and have eagerly waited for updates from J.A. Schneider on the following books and thankfully she’s been frantically writing and weaving a tale that will wow her readers in the latest book of the series.

Kerri Blasco is a fantastic character who has developed well through the books so far, she’s tough and hard working, determined to catch the killers that prey on innocent victims and never thinks twice about putting herself in harms way to ensure the safety of those around her.  This plays well into the hands of the serial killer she’s hunting in this case, his next target is her.

The plotting of this feels very current, the advancements of modern technology and social media make it easier for people to find out information about others and Schneider uses this to her advantage, highlighting vulnerabilities of her characters as well as giving the reader a chilling idea of how realistic this storyline could actually be.
Combined with the riveting plot are short and snappy chapters which keep the pace brisk and intense, making this a book to become utterly immersed in.  Red herrings and plethora of possible culprits keep readers guessing throughout this thrilling novel.  I’m loathe to say too much about the plot, it’s a book you really need to read without any spoilers from me!  I will say that the alternation between the investigation and the point of view of the killer is brilliant and had me sitting on the edge of me seat, frantically reading on to find out what happened next!

Although this is book three of a wonderful series, this can be read as a stand alone book, but I would definitely recommend reading the books in order.

Now I just need to sit patiently and hope for more Kerri Blasco……..

You can buy a copy of “Watching You” via:

Amazon

About the Author:

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J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek. Once a Liberal Arts major (French Literature), she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and human psychology. Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means that there’ll be medical angles even in “regular” thrillers that she writes. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

Connect with Joyce:
Website: http://jaschneiderauthor.net
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832782.J_A_Schneider
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoyceSchneider1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyce.schneider.142?fref=ts


Check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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Published: 6 January 2017

Copy provided by HarperImpulse & Netgalley

 

Description:

Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Claire: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

Claire thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life.
Alice thinks Claire is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family.

One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac.
Two sisters. One truth.

My Thoughts & Review:

Sue Fortin is a new author for me, so I had the luxury of starting this book with no idea of her style of writing (or skill!).  “Sister Sister” immediately caught my attention with such a short and intriguing description, and I loved that this was psychological thriller was rife with secrets, betrayal and intrigue.

Twenty years ago sisters Claire and Alice were separated, their father took Alice to America on a holiday and never returned.  During that time, Claire and her mother never stopped looking for Alice.  Finally, Alice makes contact with their mother and the family can reunite, but the passing of so many years means things aren’t the dream scenario that Claire might have hoped for.
Claire believes that something isn’t right about Alice,  but everyone is just glad to have her home and so brushes off Claire’s comments as jealousy and insecurity.  Determined to find out what is going on, Claire decides to dig into Alice’s private life.

The way in which Sue Fortin builds tension with this storyline is brilliant, keeping the reader on their toes and second guessing everything.  There’s a feeling of paranoia that emanates from this book, Claire is labelled as paranoid and in turn the reader begins to feel the tendrils of this crawling towards them.  Why is Claire acting to erratically?  Is she a reliable narrator?  Is she telling the truth?  As soon as the reader starts asking themself those questions you know it’s the sort of book that tries to play tricks on you and makes you question everything, adding to the tension perfectly.

A fantastic psychological thriller that had be guessing right up to the finale, and most of my guesses were completely wrong!  This book went in directions I didn’t think of and I absolutely loved it!

You can buy a copy of “Sister Sister” via Amazon here or via Wordery here.

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Published: 26 January 2017

 

Description:

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit that I stumbled upon “Rattle” quite by accident on social media one day, lots of fellow book bloggers were chattering about an amazing psychological thriller that needed to be read and savoured – what more encouragement did I need to get reading?

Fiona Cummins is a new author to me, and so in this respect I had little idea what to expect when I picked up a copy of “Rattle”, but happily I was hooked from the opening pages.  The plot is intriguing and cleverly woven through the novel, there is a prevailing darkness that leeches from the pages of this book, making this an incredibly addictive and gripping read.

Because I hate giving spoilers I will avoid saying too much about the plot, but I will mention the Bone Collector.  The Bone Collector is a serial killer like no other I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of encountering (perhaps not the best word to use but I will certainly give you an idea of the malevolence of this character).  He’s the sort of character you should only read about in daylight hours, sinister doesn’t begin to describe this psychopath.  Utterly terrifying and lacking in empathy as any decent psychopathic serial killer is, the reader is then given a glimpse into the mind of the Bone Collector through his thoughts – oh how I appreciate a well written killer.
All of the characters are interesting in their own respects and the way in which they are written makes the reader feel empathy towards their fates.

As far as thrillers go, this is definitely one that raises the bar.  Fiona Cummins has written an incredibly sinister debut that moves swiftly and enthrals the reader.  She introduces an unnerving antagonist that creeps out most readers, and creates a cast of characters that readers become so invested in that they are driven to keep reading despite the evil emanating from the Bone Collector.
The writing itself it atmospheric and the vivid descriptions make this book stand out for me.

You can buy a copy of Rattle via Amazon here or Wordery here

 

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

 

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