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Author: Claire Douglas

Published: 11 August 2016
Reviewed:  12 September 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Penguin in return for an honest review

 

Description:

The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.

Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie’s brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can’t keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn’t relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn’t the only one there hiding truths.

My Thoughts & Review:

Local Girl Missing is Claire Douglas’ second novel, her first The Sisters was a compulsive and and gripping read with an explosive ending so the bar was set pretty high , knowing that Douglas is an accomplished and skilled writer.

The story revolves around two friends, Sophie and Francesca (Frankie) who were best friends.  Sophie and her mother fled from an abusive home life and settled in Oldcliffe in Somerset where the two girls met at school.  Their friendship is tested one night when they witness the death of the hotel’s chef Jason.  The trio had stolen some booze from the hotel and were all very drunk when Jason fell into the sea and drowned.  Deciding it was better to race back to the hotel and agree to keep the details of Jason’s death secret than to be honest with authorities etc, the girls unknowingly set in motion a chain of events that will forever change their lives.

Sophie tragically goes missing some years later,  vanishing after exiting a nightclub.  She is presumed dead, classed as an accidental death as there were no witnesses, the only evidence of her is her favourite trainer wedged between the safety railings on the dilapidated pier.  It makes no sense for those that knew her, things were falling into place for her.
Life moved on for Francesca, now known as Frankie, living in London and working in the hotel industry and doing well for herself.

Frankie receives a call from Daniel, Sophie’s brother who asks her to return to Somerset to help him work out what happened to Sophie all those years ago.  Feeling torn, Frankie finds she cannot refuse to help Daniel, but equally, she would rather not return to the place of her childhood.  The knock on effect of Frankie’s return brings about discoveries that lead Daniel to answers about what happened to Sophie.

With narration from Frankie in the present as well as in the form of flashbacks to memories the reader is faced with a complex web of lies, abuse, betrayal and insecurities to name but a few.  Cleverly, Douglas also adds narration from Sophie in the form of diary in alternating chapters which helps to add to the tension and increase the anticipation of what will happen next.

The characterisation fantastic, the descriptions of settings were wonderful – you could almost imagine the seaside town and the little pub, the storyline is well written and the ending was completely unexpected.

Despite being slow to start off, this book really made up for it with the intensity of the dark twisting thriller that played out on the pages within.  Claire Douglas is an author I will be keeping an eye out for in the future.

You can buy a copy of Local Girl Missing here.

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Author: Jane Corry

Published: 25 August 2016
Reviewed: 27 August 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Penguin in return for an honest review

 

Description:

What if your life was built on a lie?

When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind.

But when she takes on her first criminal case, she starts to find herself strangely drawn to her client. A man who’s accused of murder. A man she will soon be willing to risk everything for.

But is he really innocent?

And who is she to judge?

My Thoughts & Review:

When a book opens with the report of a stabbing you know it’s going to be one that doesn’t hold back.  That coupled with those three sentences on the front cover instantly grab the attention of the reader.

The clever use to the radio broadcast at the beginning of the novel sets the bar high for plotting.  Corry really shows her flair for this style of writing by hitting the reader with a shot of information that shrewdly gives nothing unintended away but all the while allows the imagination to start racing ahead and so makes this a gripping and thrilling read.

Taking the reader back fifteen years, Corry then sets about laying the foundations that will lead to demise of Ed.  We are introduced to some fascinating and secretive characters, who are superbly created and intriguingly flawed.  As well as recounting the tale up to the radio broadcast, Corry competently brings her readers back to current time, never once losing her audience while increasing the intensity and twisting the plot.

Jane Corry’s writing is fantastic, she knows just how much of a hint to add in to the narrative to keep a reader hooked but give nothing away.  Once I’d finished this book I sat there thinking “how did I not guess that?!” and I will admit to being surprised by the twists – a sign of good writing and expert plotting.  With so many topics touched upon in one book you might think that there would come a moment where it drags or feels like there’s too much going on but instead it’s fascinating and draws it all together to make a well rounded and thrilling read.

Definitely a book worthy of the domestic noir tagging, and it holds its own against the rst of the books on the shelf.

You can buy a copy of My Husband’s Wife here.

About the Author

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Author image and information courtesy of Amazon

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist who has written regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines including The Daily Telegraph Weekend section, the Mail on Sunday and Woman. She has spent time working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men – an experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her début thriller. ‘I love twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the very end! My husband says I’m a nightmare to watch dramas with as I love to work out who did it before the final revelation!’

Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world, including The Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy. Until her recent move to Devon, she was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University. She is also an associate member of the Royal Literary Fund.

Many of Jane’s ideas come during her morning dog-jog along the beach followed by a dip in her wetsuit. (She’s an all-year-round swimmer provided the sea isn’t dangerous.) Jane also loves tennis, walking, reading, yoga, the ‘Quiet’ train carriage (a great ‘office’ for writing) and her family. She’s still coming to terms with being an empty-nester but makes up for it with lots of long-distance nagging! Jane’s second husband was a bachelor family friend who is also Godfather to her children. He makes her laugh every day although they can’t agree on how to load the dishwasher!

You can find Jane on Twitter at @JaneCorryAuthor and on Facebook at JaneCorryAuthor.

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