The Heights by Louise Candlish, published by Simon and Schuster UK. @simonschusterUK @louise_candlish #blog #review

I was so excited to receive an advance copy of The Heights by Louise Candlish. I’m such a fan and this was just as good as all her others. My review follows after the book description and editorial reviews.

Description

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF OUR HOUSE, WINNER OF THE CRIME & THRILLER BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD, COMES A NAIL-BITING STORY OF TRAGEDY AND REVENGE

‘Louise Candlish is the queen of the sucker-punch twist’ Ruth Ware

He thinks he’s safe up there. 
But he’ll never be safe from you. 

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. 

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.  

You know this for a fact.  

Because you’re the one who killed him.  

‘It twists and it turns and it twists again. The Heights by Louise Candlish is the very definition of a “just one more chapter” novel. I devoured it. And it’s full of such great writing about the ferocity of maternal love’ Hannah Beckerman, author of If Only I Could Tell You

Praise for Louise Candlish:

‘Louise is the mistress of the “Oh my God, this could be me” nightmare’ Fiona Barton

‘The queen of the urban thriller returns’ Red

‘Louise Candlish just gets better and better’ Lisa Jewell

‘Stylish, suspenseful and absorbing’ Best

‘Psychological suspense at its most elegant and sinister’ AJ Finn

‘You won’t want to put down this roller coaster read!’ Closer

‘A gripping read with a brilliant first-person narrative. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It’s so good!’ BA Paris

‘Not only is Candlish a terrific storyteller, she has the gift of making you care about unlikable characters’ Guardian

‘A must read!’ Lucy Foley

?‘Gripping from start to finish’ Bella

‘I couldn’t put it down!’ Shari Lapena

‘The layers of plot astound’ Sunday Times Crime Club

‘An instant classic’ Mark Edwards

‘A chillingly addictive and glamorous thriller’ Sunday Post

The Heights by Louise Candlish is another well-plotted, highly entertaining book from this author. I’m one of those readers who rushes out to buy the latest Candlish offering because I know it’s going to be brilliant.

Ellen Saint is a remarkable character and has all the traits of someone fit for this role. Mother to Lucas and Freya, her intuition is spot on when Lucas finds a new friend. Kieran is not the type of person Ellen wants her son to hang out with. If you could use the metaphor “chalk and cheese” this is as good as it gets. Kieran scared me right from the start. He is the type of person that makes your skin crawl and there appears to be no redeeming features. He is creepy, vulgar and secretive, all the ingredients that make up a huge disaster. Throughout the book, Ellen is desperate to end their friendship and when tragedy strikes, her despair doesn’t stop there. A pact to end all this terror is about to happen and not in the way the reader thinks.

Candlish is skilful with twists and turns, so much so, you often miss the underlying character layers that call for these clever devices. It’s the “who’d have thought” image that kept surfacing chapter after chapter and there’s no way I would have predicted the ending. Kieran is so vile, I wanted to kill him myself!

Ellen is a tough bird trying to persuade those around her that this friendship is toxic. She is protective, often a little intrusive and stalky perhaps, but none of these traits stopped me from liking her. In fact, I applauded her. But in her aloneness, there is a wretchedness with which we can all resonate. Whether you’re a parent or a friend, you’ll find this book remarkably accurate in its portrayal of an endangered family, suffering the manipulation of one powerfully equipped individual.

The writing and plotting is second-to-none. You won’t find a better collaboration of author and editor. I leave Louise Candlish’s novels disgruntled that there isn’t another book coming sooner. Quality is at the forefront of everything she writes and you know you’re in for a darkly intricate ride. As always, highly recommended.

Thank you to Netgalley, author Louise Candlish and publisher Simon & Schuster UK for the privilege of reading this book.

A bit about the author: I live in a South London neighbourhood not unlike the one in my books, with my husband, teenage daughter, and a fox-red Labrador called Bertie who is almost two and is the apple of my eye. Books, TV and long walks have been my top sanity savers during lockdown. Oh, and wine.

Get up-to-date offers by clicking on the yellow ‘Follow’ button under my pic. For more book news (and doting pictures of Bertie), catch me on Twitter @louise_candlish, on Instagram @louisecandlish or find out more at louisecandlish.com and facebook.com/LouiseCandlishAuthor. I’d love to hear from you.

More Books by this Author

The Beresford by Will Carver, published by Orenda Books. @OrendaBooks @will_carver #review #blog

The Beresford by [Will Carver]

I absolutely loved Carver’s Detective Sergeant Pace books, so I knew I’d be in for a treat with this one! Solid writing that takes you to the tipping point. There’s no subject this author doesn’t tackle. Looks are so deceiving…

Description:

Everything stays the same for the tenants of The Beresford, a grand old apartment building just outside the city … until the doorbell rings… Will Carver returns with an eerie, deliciously and uncomfortably dark standalone thriller.

_______________

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.

Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate, Sythe, no longer does. Because Abe just killed him.

In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers.

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.

Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…

Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.

I’ve read a few of Will Carver’s books and every story is dark, fresh and unique. The most memorable book for me was Nothing Important Happened Today, but I think The Beresford beats it. This mesmeric and devilish novel is otherworldly and burrows into the marrow. It’s appallingly believable and paints a thought-provoking picture of mind control. Because everyone who stays at The Beresford is running from something. The question is, do they ever really leave?

Mrs May is omniscient, even down to the 60 second run-up to the doorbell. She is the gatekeeper, the guardian of souls, almost. Things happen at The Beresford, unexplained things that make you wonder if all the violence is simply where the carrion-eating live. A stopping place, or the end of the road. You take your pick. But what this grandiose building isn’t, is a peaceful stopping place for weary travellers, even though the price is right. Perhaps if something is too good to be true, it generally is.

You can’t help liking Abe; a gentleman, eager to help, willing to befriend. A man whose restful sojourn is quickly turned upside down and a brief love affair that changes him completely. But it’s his clever and somewhat farcical concealment of his dealings that kept me glued to the pages. That, and the transformation of Gail, a new tenant, pregnant and running from an abusive man. She is certainly put to the test. Protecting the unborn child is foremost in her mind and who can blame her. The treatment she received from her partner may set off sparks — triggers — perhaps, so this book isn’t for everyone.

You know what you’re in for when you open this book. It can get a little heave-ho in parts, so leave the bathroom door open and the toilet seat up. I almost lost my dinner in a few places. The ravenous and covetous Beresford swallows another tenant and then another and then another. This roller-coaster ride of nefarious transactions doesn’t falter and I was left with one question: whose soul will be bought next and at what price?

Not everyone will bond with this gruesomely brutal story. It’s what you come to expect when reading anything remotely Carver-esque. His sharp scrutiny of human nature and black comedy kept me turning the pages. Think of a train with no driver hurtling towards a precipice, doors locked, no way out. It really is one of the most twisted rides you’ll ever take.

Will you enjoy your stay at The Beresford? There’s only one way to find out.

Thank you to the author, Will Carver, the publisher, Orenda Books, for the privilege of reading this book.  

About the Author:

Will Carver

Will Carver is the bestselling author of the January Series – Girl 4 (2011), The Two (2012), The Killer Inside (2013), Dead Set (2013) – and the critically acclaimed Detective Pace series, which includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were selected as books of the year in mainstream international press.

The books in this series have also been longlisted/shortlisted for the Amazon Readers Independent Voice Award, Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, Not The Booker Prize and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Will spent his early years living in Germany, but returned at age eleven. He studied theatre and television at King Alfred’s Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition business and lives in Reading with his children.

More books by this author:

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides, published by Celadon Books, Orion Publishing Group. #mystery #thriller @AlexMichaelides, @CeladonBooks #blog #review

The Maidens: A Novel by [Alex Michaelides]

Having read The Silent Patient last year – a hard act to follow – I was thrilled to receive a copy of The Maidens. A pool of suspects you love to hate and a protagonist willing to put herself at risk in order to solve a murder. What’s not to like?

Book Description:

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

What people are saying:

“Stunning… The intelligent, cerebral plot finds contemporary parallels in Euripides’s tragedies, Jacobean dramas such as The Duchess of Malfi, and Tennyson’s poetry. The devastating ending shows just how little the troubled Mariana knows about the human psyche or herself. Michaelides is on a roll.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A deliciously dark, elegant, utterly compulsive readwith a twist that blew my mind. I loved this even more than I loved The Silent Patient and that’s saying something!”
Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author of The Guest List

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession, that further cements “Michaelides as a major player in the field” (Publishers Weekly)

I travelled back to Cambridge, to its boathouses and punts, and to an elitist academic world. The setting? St Christopher’s College Cambridge where Mariana met her late husband. Coffee shops, the porter’s lodge, Combination Rooms, streets filled with graduates and rooms set in an older part of the college drop you right there. Interiors, where paper is everywhere, scribbled writing and mathematical formulae — all of which will be familiar to former graduates of the university.

With Greek mythology and psychology at its core, including Tennyson quotes to add an extra layer, grieving widow and group therapist, Mariana, sets out to solve a mystery. A classmate of niece Zoe has been murdered. She is part of a secret society known as the Maidens and an acolyte of Edward Fosca. Still in love with Sebastian — now a ghost in much the same way Tennyson loved Hallam — Mariana is desperate to be left alone to follow her investigation. Although her method begins in earnest, she is challenged at every turn. Postcards (or calling cards) depicting the sacrifice of Iphigenia by Agamemnon, amongst others, and handwritten in Ancient Greek add to the evidences she must wade through before jumping to her final conclusion.

Fred’s persistent premonitions were creepy. I would have dismissed him in much the same way Mariana did. The scene of her visiting his room in Trinity felt a little rushed and I’d like to have seen this developed more. Still, you will be inclined to keep him on your list of suspects. I couldn’t get the visual of Morris with Serena in the churchyard out of my mind. As for Fosca and his fragile devotees, I found myself getting more and more exasperated by his smiling face, and the Maidens’ supposed naïveté. He almost reminded me of Diomedes in The Silent Patient with his faint air of theatrical impresario.

I was surprised CI Sangha didn’t press charges towards the end. A slap on the wrist and a warning might not have been believable, especially if poking around in an investigation (and following individuals) amounts to stalking. But it did lend more time to the narrative. A few characters with painful pasts kept the red herrings going. Hidden layers make up the fabric of this crime and I say “bravo” to the author for his research and ingenuity. For me, some sensory elements were missing and at times I felt like an outsider looking in. It might have been the writing style which at times informed rather than evoked and I wasn’t as immersed with some of the characters as I’d hoped.

The Maidens is a gripping, propulsive read with all the hallmarks of being another bestseller. Thank you to @Netgalley and @OrionBooks and author Alex Michaelides for the privilege of reading an advance copy of this book.

Other Books by this Author:

Witness X by S E Moorhead, Published by Orion. @semoorhead #Blog #Review @piperverlag @TrapezeBooks @Orionboos

SOME CRIMES CAN’T BE SOLVED IN ONE LIFETIME.

“Silence of the Lambs meets Blade Runner. A dark and gripping crime novel set in a convincing near future – SE Moorhead is the future of crime writing.” STEPHEN BAXTER

Witness X: ‘Silence of the Lambs meets Blade Runner’ Stephen Baxter by [SE Moorhead]

THE PAST. Fourteen years ago, the police caught a notorious serial killer who abducted two victims during the month of February. He was safe behind bars. Wasn’t he?

THE PRESENT. But when another body is discovered, the race is on to catch the real killer before he abducts his second victim. Neuropsychologist Kyra Sullivan fights to use a new technology that accesses the minds of the witnesses.

THE FUTURE. Will Kyra discover the person behind the murders, and if so, at what cost? And how far will she go to ensure justice is served?

This is the story of how Kyra tries to save a past she cannot change and a future she cannot allow. A genre-bending thriller for readers who enjoy books by Clare North, Stephen King and John Marrs.

‘A fast-paced, near-future, psycho-thriller, Witness X has got ‘soon to be a Netflix series’ written all over it.’ Reader review

‘Thrilling, unnerving but ultimately satisfying – you will not be disappointed.’ Reader review

Set in the near-future, Witness X is an intelligent and highly inventive take on the traditional serial killer thriller.―Ashley Dyer, author of Splinter in the Blood

Nice, tightly plotted whodunit that’s both sobering and entertaining. Amazon Reviewer – S. E. Moorhead has written an excellent debut in this more than plausible sci-fi police procedural that raises questions about what’s ethical as technology advances. Dr. Kyra Sullivan is the type of character that you want more of and makes me hope for sequels.

Witness X by S E Moorhead – A mind-bending thriller – coming out in paperback in US on May 25th.

I was very excited to receive an advance copy of this amazing book. Delivered in the past, the present and the future, Doctor Kyra Sullivan finds herself the midst of mortar fire and a scene of violence and carnage. The year is 2035 and she sits on a recliner in the CarterTech lab, wearing a headset. Through Brownrigg’s body, she feels fear, sees what he sees and hears what he hears — a memory transference procedure she has invented. This makes for a compulsive page-turner with prose that moves along at breakneck speed.

Seeing into Brownrigg’s past, not only confirms how useful this technology is but how it could easily get into the wrong hands. For me, this is positively chilling and the terror mounts. Originally made for the criminal justice system, Brownrigg feels it would be better served to tackle terrorism to gain intel that might prevent an attack and save lives. Kyra isn’t so sure, while Carter, the business side of the partnership, has the interests of the company to heart. There is one devastating question; is it possible to inherit someone else’s physical traits whilst being in their memories? This would certainly be my deepest fear.  

This is a time where bio-chips and tracking devices make a subject’s whereabouts easy to spot. Brain-hacking sounds frightening, but very plausible given the speed of technology today. Haunted by the Mizpah Murderer, Kyra can’t help thinking Lomas isn’t the right man. With her profiler background, she’s charged with interviewing the man who could have butchered her sister.

The journey she takes to discover the perpetrator is viscerally exciting. Moorhead has great skill in creating believable characters and thrusting them into seemingly impossible situations. The plot is carefully layered, trapping us into the dark paranoia of her world. It’s been described as an apocalyptic dystopian thriller with hints of Blade Runner and its long-buried secrets. This is a suspense worth remembering and I believe the author has yielded her most imaginative and popular work yet.

Biography

SE Moorhead

Born in Liverpool, S.E.Moorhead has told stories since childhood and uses writing as bubblegum for her over-active brain – to keep it out of trouble. Fascinated by meaning, motivation and mystery, she studied Theology at university.


Over the last twenty five years, apart from teaching in secondary school, S.E.Moorhead has attained a black belt in kickboxing, worked as a chaplain, established a Justice and Peace youth group, and written articles for newspapers and magazines about her work in education and religion.

She still lives in her beloved hometown with her husband Seán and two sons.

Amazon Author Page

The Source by Sarah Sultoon, published by Orenda Books #review #Blog @SultoonSarah @OrendaBooks

The Source by [Sarah Sultoon]

I was so excited to take part in The Source blog tour, an unforgettable debut with sharp writing and a brilliant plot. Even more exciting that this first book is currently in development for television. Written in two points of view, it takes the reader to London in 2006 as seen through Marie’s eyes and to Warchester in 1996 in Carly’s world. With its cast of hard-hitting and uncompromising characters, I was curious to know who was behind this gruesome ring.

Book Description:

A young TV journalist is forced to revisit her harrowing past when she’s thrust into a sex-trafficking investigation in her hometown. A startling, searing debut thriller by award-winning CNN journalist Sarah Sultoon.

1996. Essex. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier…

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth … and justice.

A riveting, searing and devastatingly dark thriller, The Source is also a story about survival, about hopes and dreams, about power, abuse and resilience … an immense, tense and thought-provoking debut that you will never, ever forget.

Product details

  • ASIN : B08NXT7DL9
  • Publisher : Orenda Books (February 15, 2021)
  • Publication date : February 15, 2021

Marie is a junior TV journalist working with a crew to expose a gang of sex traffickers. Even though Dominic stashes a camera in his pants in case he gets frisked, the footage they capture on camera is only a coded exchange that doesn’t incriminate the perpetrators. Viewers need a victim. Someone they can root for. When the police commissioner reopens a billion pound investigation into the British Army, Marie knows new information on a cover-up could bring down half the government.

Carly is thirteen and struggling with a bleak home life. Her mother is unable to take care of her baby sister and the home is a wreck. Without her squaddie brother’s help they’d be destitute. The life they lead is distressing and you can’t help feeling a nudge of pity at every page. A three year-old left in dirty clothes, unchanged and covered in rashes, latterly to be taken to hospital for a high fever. Rach teaching Carly all she knows and introducing her to a dark world that forces her to grow up too fast. This is where I was desperate for Carly’s life to change and for someone to come to her aid. I wanted to slap her brother, a sergeant desperate to keep face rather than protect his sister. But he’s afraid, same as Carly.

I wasn’t sure if I liked Dominic until I realised his story mirrors Marie’s. The nugget of a bond forms around their separate lives, a friendship that embraces hidden truths. They understand what sacrifices it takes to keep secrets. Each personality is rugged, perhaps more the nature of TV journalists, and Marie’s inner monologue puts us right beside her, seeing what she sees and feeling her pain. I am truly impressed by how the threads of this book wrap so tightly around the reader, it’s impossible to let go. Even though some parts are hard to read, they are subtly described.

The writing is razor sharp and the plot is thought-provoking. I don’t think there was one thing I didn’t like about this book. The timeline is easy to read, never the distracting array of different dates and years of other books in this genre tend to depict. It flowed well. There will be that unforgetable residue long after putting the book down. Thank you to Orenda, Anne Cater and author Sarah Sultoon for the privilege of reading this book.

About the Author

Sarah Sultoon is a novelist and journalist, whose prior work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate degree in languages, chosen mainly so she could spend time itinerantly travelling the world. She likes running, Indian food, cocktails, playing sport with her children and throwing a ball for her dog, order dependent on when the cocktails are consumed. The Source is her first novel and is currently in development for television with Lime Pictures.

You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes, published by Simon & Schuster UK (1 April 2021) @simonschusterE @CarolineKepnes @penguinrandom

You Love Me: the highly anticipated new thriller in the You series by [Caroline Kepnes]
ASIN : B08CF512X8
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK (1 April 2021)

The anticipated third novel in the YOU series by Caroline Kepnes is finally here. It’s a whoop! moment for me to finally meet the deliciously addictive Joe Goldberg again.

The highly anticipated new thriller in Caroline Kepnes’s hit You series, now a blockbuster Netflix show . . . Joe Goldberg is back. And he’s going to start a family – even if it kills him.

Joe Goldberg is done with cities, done with the muck and the posers, done with Love. Now, he’s saying hello to nature, to simple pleasures on a cosy island in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in a long time, he can just breathe.

He gets a job at the local library – he does know a thing or two about books – and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco. Librarian. Joe won’t meddle, he will not obsess. He’ll win her the old fashioned way . . . by providing a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand. Over time, they’ll both heal their wounds and begin their happily ever after in this sleepy town.

The trouble is . . . Mary Kay already has a life. She’s a mother. She’s a friend. She’s . . . busy.

True love can only triumph if both people are willing to make room for the real thing. Joe cleared his decks. He’s ready. And hopefully, with his encouragement and undying support, Mary Kay will do the right thing and make room for him.

Obsessive, narcissistic, unpredictable, however you see him, Joe Goldberg is all that and so much more. I don’t believe anything can top book one: YOU. It’s still vivid in my mind and so are the characters. Some of these are mentioned in book 3, flashback moments that slide into Joe’s screwed up mind — faces haunt him, voices taunt him — he can’t expect to escape his past.

The beginning of the book gives us a lot more head-play than the last two. I yearned for more action at the outset, but parking inside that complex mind wasn’t a bad thing. After a stretch in prison, we meet Joe again, but this time he’s living on an island in the pacific North West. There’s no Love Quinn, no baby, but true to form he has gravitated towards getting a job in a local library — something he’s ace at. He’s comfortable around books, knows them inside and out and can talk books all day. What he doesn’t anticipate in his bachelor state is falling for Mary-Kay DiMarco, a librarian. She may need to look his way a little more, but he promises not to obsess or privately investigate her. He promises to do it all the right way this time. But inserting yourself into the lives of all those who surround MK is just too good to miss. But can Joe be happy in Cedar Cove? We already know we’re in for a wild ride.

Stalking is what he’s wired to do. He can try to fight his inner psychopath, but that may take several more books. Just like old times, something in Joe’s psyche warns us that his dark side may erupt when things go disastrously wrong. And that’s what makes us read on. Mary-Kay is neither here nor there even in her own mind. If I was hoping her interest/disinterest wasn’t going to play on a loop, I was out of luck. Her friends (the circle) are holding her hostage and in some cases as certifiable as Joe. I was hoping they’d be a little more routine and believable. Shortus, heroin snorting Phil, best friend Melanda, gambling addict Ivan. I have a feeling Joe will be long gone after the end and we’ll be able to follow him to another state where he will start all over again.

If you watched this series on Netflix or read the books, you’ll love this third instalment. Kepnes keeps her story arcs spontaneous and keeps her readers guessing. We can’t anticipate how her characters evolve. There are too many twists and dark holes to fall down with a smattering of humour along the way. Joe is bound to be hit and miss as he yearns for love. Will he navigate life’s obstacles in the ‘normal’ way or will he manipulate, manoeuvre and outplay his opponents to get what he wants?

A powerfully addictive read that will keep readers up at night. Thank you Simon & Schuster UK, Netgalley and author Caroline Kepnes for the privilege of reading this ARC.

#YouLoveMe #NetGalley

About the Author:

Caroline Kepnes

Caroline Kepnes is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her first novel YOU was translated into 19 languages and shortlisted for a CWA New Blood Award. Her second novel HIDDEN BODIES is a sequel that Booklist describes as ‘the love child of Holden Caulfield and Patrick Bateman’. Caroline earned a BA in American Civilization at Brown University and worked as a pop culture journalist on Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer on 7th Heaven. She now writes full-time and lives in Los Angeles. A 10 episode TV series based on YOU will premiere on Lifetime Network in 2018.

Other Books by Caroline Kepnes

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson, Published by William Morrow and Custom House (23 Mar 2021) General Fiction (Adult) Mystery & Thrillers @WmMorrowBooks @PeterSwanson3

Every Vow You Break: A Novel by [Peter Swanson]

A bride’s dream honeymoon becomes a nightmare when a man with whom she’s had a regrettable one-night stand shows up in this electrifying psychological thriller from the acclaimed author of Eight Perfect Murders.

Abigail Baskin never thought she’d fall in love with a millionaire. Then she met Bruce Lamb. He’s a good guy, stable, level-headed, kind—a refreshing twist from her previous relationships.

But right before the wedding, Abigail has a drunken one-night stand on her bachelorette weekend. She puts the incident—and the sexy guy who wouldn’t give her his real name—out of her mind, and now believes she wants to be with Bruce for the rest of her life.

Then the mysterious stranger suddenly appears—and Abigail’s future life and happiness are turned upside down. He insists that their passionate night was the beginning of something much, much more. Something special. Something real—and he’s tracked her down to prove it.

Does she tell Bruce and ruin their idyllic honeymoon—and possibly their marriage? Or should she handle this psychopathic stalker on her own? To make the situation worse, strange things begin to happen. She sees a terrified woman in the night shadows, and no one at the resort seems to believe anything is amiss… including her perfect new husband.

What people are saying:

“Probably what you need right now is a good murder mystery. One that is bookish, engrossing, not overly gory and impossible to solve. Peter Swanson delivers all of this in Eight Perfect Murders… Swanson drops in lovely clues, but good luck figuring it out. — Minneapolis Star Tribune on Eight Perfect Murders

“Fiendishly clever catnip for any lover of classic crime fiction.” — Seattle Times on Eight Perfect Murders

“Engagingly original. . . . This [is a] multilayered mystery that brims with duplicity, betrayal and revenge—all bubbling slowly to the surface. . . . Swanson has a bent for revenge and murder. Fans won’t be disappointed.” — USA Today on Eight Perfect Murders

“The wintry setting and eerily cool narration, together with trust-no-one twists and garish murders, will satisfy thriller readers; fans of classic mysteries by Agatha Christie, Ira Levin, and John D. MacDonald will enjoy… You’ll stay to the finish of this one.” — Library Journal

“With mounting tension and fraying nerves, it careens to the final stunning conclusion. A true tour de force.” — Lisa Gardner on Eight Perfect Murders

I love Peter Swanson’s books and Every Vow You Break is another brilliant read. His writing style is easy, fast-paced and with enough description to drop you right into the action.

Abigail Baskin, who works for a small press, is enjoying her bachelorette weekend. Engaged to generous, solicitous Bruce Lamb, she seems to have found her Prince Charming. Though he maybe a little dour, he’s loaded and nothing is too much for Abigail. But when she meets a handsome stranger and decides on a one-night stand days before her wedding, her life begins to unravel. Desperately trying to push the ill-fated night out of her mind, she continues with her wedding plans. But the stranger appears at a café and at the wedding ceremony. To make matters worse, he is also staying at the same island retreat as Abigail and Bruce. Evil keeps knocking at her door.

The island itself is every man’s dream. Waiters ready (rather too ready) to take her order no matter where she is and at first Abigail is outnumbered by men. A woman, Jill, shows up and begins to get a little too friendly, whispering the same frightening scenarios as Abigail’s. Something isn’t right and she’s definitely someone I would hold at arm’s length. Who wants to share a secret like that? Is this all part of a conspiracy? Or is Jill as much of a victim as Abigail? As the tension rises, Abigail is swept on a tide of deception and secrets she has no hope of escaping. It’s a question of coming clean with her husband or getting rid of the threat on her own.

This is a book I couldn’t put down. A very frightening book with a backdrop of evil you hope never to encounter. The signs were there, each ramping up to the grand finale. The helplessness Abigail and Jill face, the sheer terror of what happens next. I could only scream run! I felt sickened by the scene, almost to the point of closing the book. I was hoping that it wouldn’t turn into a ghastly assault, a fight to the death. A bow and arrow act from the Hunger Games springs to mind and men and dogs in hot pursuit.

I love this book. Not so much for its uniqueness, but because the ride was cleverly written and everybody seemed to have something to hide. As the plot unravels and more strange things begin to occur, you can’t help feeling you’ve been deceived somewhere along the line, and not necessarily by the person you thought.

A suspenseful murder mystery for lovers of classic crime fiction and fans of Patricia Highsmith. Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher William Morrow and the author Peter Swanson for the privilege of reading this book.

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About the Author:

Peter Swanson

Peter Swanson is the author of five novels, including The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and Her Every Fear, an NPR book of the year. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.

Other Books by Peter Swanson:

The Family Friend by C. C. MacDonald, published by Harvill Secker (4 March 2021) @ccmacdwriter @HarvillSecker @PenguinUKBooks @vintagebooks #TheFamilyFriend #NetGalley

From the author of Happy Ever After comes an unmissable new psychological thriller about a famous Insta-Mum influencer and what happens when a someone starts to stalk her every move…

Erin lives an idyllic life by the seaside with her baby boy and handsome Australian fiancée. She’s upbeat and happy – a natural mum. At least that’s what her thousands of followers on Instagram think. 

In the real world, Erin is struggling with anxiety and finding it difficult to connect with her screaming son. So when a famous agent offers to make her the biggest instamum out there, she’s over the moon. And when Amanda, a family friend who’s visiting from Australia, says she’ll move in and babysit to help make it happen, it seems like the stars have finally aligned for Erin’s exciting new career. 

But when a devastatingly revealing video is posted online by an anonymous troll, Erin’s brought crashing back to earth. As everything she’s worked for starts to slip away, Erin must find out how far she can trust those closest to her.

Praise for HAPPY EVER AFTER:

**Picked as a 2020 ‘Unmissable Debut’ by the Daily Express**

‘Kept me gripped and kept me guessing’ Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

‘Excellent domestic noir, chillingly plausible… I loved the ending’ Jo Spain, author of The Confession

An absorbing story, a bunch of unexpected twists, great writing. I totally lost myself in this book’ John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Erin Braune is struggling with provincial life, missing her dissolute friends and a wailing ball of rage she finds hard to love. The baby descriptions are so on point — Bobby’s face almost fluorescent, more and more mucus sludging out of his face — it’s hard not to laugh. But you can also ‘hear’ the screaming and feel Erin’s desperation. She is financially reliant on her fiancé and with no job, she is saddled with student debt.

Rafael Donadoni – Raf – spends more time with baby Bobby, sleeping with him at night and unable to understand why Erin is so disengaged. The tension in their relationship is palpable and at times uncomfortable. Eggshell-fragile Amanda’s presence doesn’t help. She’s too mellow, too good with Bobby, too in control. The whole dynamic is unnerving.

While Erin appears on brand with her parent/toddler support group, she is screaming inside. It’s her Instagram followers that keep her afloat and her posts are relatable, shareable and funny. She longs to talk to her followers, anything to numb Bobby’s constant screaming. She misses her brother, Alex, whose Richmond life is perfect and a mother, who doesn’t think much of Raf. Why was Erin’s acting career botched? It’s easy to root for Erin when there’s no one else for her to turn to.

Grace’s pitch has landed Erin a place on the MotherBoard podcast, things begin to look up. Celebrity guests and mega-influencers could be a huge thing for Erin’s profile. Again, Amanda steps in to babysit and Erin finds herself with the best agent she could possibly hope for. Until the video. The one thing she dreads the most. All eyes are on Erin and her addiction to her phone, how toxic social media is, how it’s destroying her. With coercive and controlling behaviour at the heart of this story, it’s easy to come away feeling the same trauma some of these characters have experienced and to ask yourself the question; who’s threatening who?

It’s a brilliantly written book by an author well worth watching. Thank you to Netgalley, Random House UK Vintage and author CC MacDonald for the privilege of reading this book.

C. C. MacDonald

About the Author:

Readers, hello.

I’m a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actor. I live in Margate, AKA Shoreditch-on-Sea, with my wife, two small children and a co-dependent cockapoo called Frankie.

Happy Ever After is my first novel and I’m incredibly excited to share it with you in January 2020. It’s a thrilling story about guilt, blame, how becoming a parent changes you and transforms your relationship and the pitfalls of pursuing an idealised family life. There was a huge amount I wanted to explore in this book. The seismic psychological change of parenting, the mass exodus of freelancers from London to places like Margate and Hastings, the way that childcare staff are treated by parents, the casual cruelty of privileged teenagers, my irrational hatred of pigeons… But I mainly wanted to write a book that a reader wanted to read, and an ending that had them swanning off to recommend the book to their friends.

These are my all time favourites:
Book – 1984
Film – Chinatown
TV – Succession
Album – Station to Station
Play – The Seagull
Computer game: Football Manager (I know. Awful.)
Ice-cream – rum-raisin
Pasta shape – fusilli

Other books by the author:

Girl A by Abigail Dean, published by HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction General Fiction (Adult) | Literary Fiction @abigailsdean @HarperCollinsUK @HarperFiction @VikingBooks #blog #review #literaryfiction #truecrime

I was very excited to receive a copy of Girl A. It was publicized as one of the most anticipated this year, so I had fairly high expectations from the start. It’s a remarkable book and a difficult book. Remarkable, because I read it in such a short timeframe which for me means the writing flowed, the premise kept me engaged and the characters were lifelike in their struggles. Difficult because of the subject of child poverty, abuse and mental illness. The upside is, it’s a tale of escape and empowerment.

Book Description:

Girl A: The Sunday Times best seller, an astonishing new crime thriller debut novel from the biggest literary fiction voice of 2021 by [Abigail Dean]
ASIN : B07Z5J6SJ2
Publisher : HarperCollins (21 Jan. 2021)

*THE INSTANT NO. 2 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER*

THE BOOK THAT WILL DEFINE A DECADE
‘Haunting, powerful, with a pitch-perfect ending’ THE NEW YORK TIMES
‘Sensational. Gripping, haunting, and beautifully written’ RICHARD OSMAN

‘The biggest mystery thriller since Gone Girl’ ELLE
‘Incendiary, beautifully written debut’ Guardian
‘Psychologically astute, adroitly organised, written with flair’ Sunday Times
‘An astonishing achievement.’ JESSIE BURTON
‘Gripping, beautifully written perfection.’ SOPHIE HANNAH
‘A masterpiece.’ LOUISE O’NEILL
‘Fantastic.’ PAULA HAWKINS

‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, Girl A is a story of redemption, of horror, and of love.

RIGHTS SOLD IN 29 TERRITORIES

SOON TO BE A TV SHOW DIRECTED BY JOHAN RENCK (Chernobyl)

‘Terrifyingly gripping’ SUSIE STEINER
‘Beautiful’ ADELE PARKS
‘Incredibly well written, devastating in a good way, and intriguing to the last page’ LIZ NUGENT
‘I was obsessed by it. As close to perfect as thrillers get’ JOHN MARRS
‘A gripping debut’ Oprah magazine
One of Marie Claire, Waterstones and Grazia’s best books for 2021

Told in two timeframes: Lexy now, trying to escape the media storm of the past. She is the eldest child in the Gracie family and executor of the will. After her mother dies in prison, the house is left to her and her siblings, forcing a return to Moor Wood Road. Faced with her siblings now, all of whom were adopted out, it’s time to unpack their separate journeys and past traumas. As the two timelines begin to merge, Lexy is determined to turn the house into something good.

Then there’s Lexy as a child, whose chilling experience in what the press hypes as a house of horrors is a deeply layered excavation of the past. I was chilled to the bone with ‘binding days’ and a wasteland of neglect between the beds dubbed The Territory. You can smell rot and you can see skin ingrained with filth that would take several scrubs to put to rights. Flashbacks of early memories are painful to read – the slow decline into degradation and a mother powerless to stop the violence and the unnatural isolation of hungry children chained to beds. This, and the undertones of an obsessive father caught up in a chaotic and cult-type faith, will be hard for some readers. The book will have triggers, so check the comps (My Dark Vanessa being one).

At the start of the book, Lexy is a little disengaged, which is correct for a child in such an abusive environment. Tormented day and night and desperate to protect her sister, Evie, she understands there is no one to save them unless she escapes. Her plan is meticulous and cleverly executed and the author did a fantastic job of capturing the mood. My adrenalin spiraled out of control at this point.

I understand this book is based on a similar case set in a different location, but none of that detracted from the story itself. Masterful writing coupled with the need for survival had me gripped. It gave me the shivers in places and a few tears now and then. It’s one of those books that will stay with me for a long time.

Thank you Netgalley, the author, Abigail Dean, and Harper Collins UK – HarperFiction for the privilege of reading this book.

#GirlA #NetGalley

About the Author:

Abigail Dean

Abigail Dean was born in Manchester, and grew up in the Peak District. She graduated from Cambridge with a Double First in English. Formerly a Waterstones bookseller, she spent five years as a lawyer in London, and took summer 2018 off to work on her debut novel, Girl A, ahead of her thirtieth birthday. She now works as a lawyer for Google, and is currently writing her second novel, The Conspiracies.

Girl A sold in the UK after a 9-way auction, and also sold at auction in the US. The novel has since been acquired in 27 other territories, and television/film rights have sold to Sony. Johan Renck, director of Chernobyl, is attached to work on the television adaptation of Girl A.

Abigail has always loved reading, writing, and talking about books. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AbigailSDean.

Girl A, Abigail Dean, best debut fiction, thriller book, true crime, best books of 2021, crime

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner, published by Dutton (January 19, 2021) @DuttonBooks @LisaGardnerBks #blog #review #policeprocedural #crimethriller

Before She Disappeared: A Novel by [Lisa Gardner]

WOOHOO! A great storyline, a complete knockout! More, More, More of Frankie Elkin please! In my opinion, this is another winner.

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

“In this rare standalone, the prolific Gardner has come up with one of the most original characters in recent crime fiction, a woman readers can care about even while not being entirely sure of what to make of her.”–Washington Post

“This book, the best-selling author’s first stand-alone novel in 20-years, is a sharply-written, tension-filled yarn full of twists readers are unlikely to see coming. The most compelling element, however, is the character of Frankie, a recovering alcoholic whose obsession with the missing is a penance of sorts for the burden of guilt and grief she carries over a past trauma that took the life of a man she loves.”–Associated Press

Named one of 2021’s Most Anticipated Books by “Good Morning America,” PopSugar,BookpageCrimeReads, and Mystery Tribune

“A masterpiece of post-modern noir….A riveting stunner of a tale where the rare appearance of the sun shines down on what is certain to be one of the best thrillers of 2021.”Providence Journal

“[An] outstanding crime novel…. Gardner pulls no punches in this socially conscious standalone.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

I was really excited to read a copy of Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner. The smooth writing style and deep characterization of the passionate and driven Frankie Elkin made it an entertaining read from the start. Gardner is a prolific writer whose books are well-known for their complex twists and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Hands up those who have always wanted to help out with a missing person’s case? Me! I knew this was going to be just up my alley.

An ex-alcoholic, itching to have just one more drink, inserts herself into a cold crime case of a missing Haitian teenager. Angelique Badeau disappeared in the suburbs of Boston and has not been seen since. Living above a pub — a test to her self-control — Frankie finds a job as a waitress and settles into darkest Mattapan (Murderpan) a far cry from what she’s used to. She hardly welcome with the locals or the investigators of the local police department. But the job has to be done. Frankie is certain that what the police have failed to find, she will unearth by whatever means. This is what makes me want to root for her, but with all the challenges along the way, intuition assures me she’s the right woman for the job.

Taking on cases of missing persons is nothing new for Frankie. Out of fourteen investigations, she has managed to find everyone, even though all of them have so far been dead. With that type of success rate, the Badeau family open up to her humble personality and Frankie is able to make a profile of the missing teenager who, a keen scholar, has never gone missing before.

There have been sightings of Angelique, but nothing concrete and the more Frankie digs, the more dangerous her investigations become of two missing friends, one Summer Camp and a market for fake IDs. Stirring up a hornets nest bring new encounters, but Frankie braves each trial head-on.

This is the type of book you can really get your teeth into. A well thought-out plot with all the trappings of a compelling mystery. Although it’s a standalone, I’d love to see it as a series. You can’t help liking the middle-aged Frankie Elkin; an intuitive sleuth with a multi-layered personality and sense of humor to savor. She insists on seeking the truth and I was fully invested in her all the way.

Gardner writes believable female leads, an exceptional amateur sleuth who is pulled in unexpected directions. She is definitely one of the masters of her genre. Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the privilege of reading this book.

About the Author

An image posted by the author.

New York Times #1 bestselling crime novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure, criminal minds and twisted plots into a streak of bestselling suspense novels. Her 2010 novel, THE NEIGHBOR, won Best Thriller from the International Thriller Writers. Most recently, she was honored with the Silver Bullet Award for her work with at-risk kids and homeless animals. Lisa loves to hike, travel the world, and yes, read, read, read!

Readers are invited to enter the annual “Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy” Sweepstakes, where they can nominate the person of their choice to die in Lisa’s latest novel. People have nominated themselves, spouses, bosses. It’s cheaper than therapy and twice as much fun! For more details, visit Lisa’s website.

Lisa’s latest novel BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED, is available January 19, 2021. Meet Frankie Elkin, an everyday average woman who specializes in finding missing people. When the locals have given up, when the media has never bothered to care, Frankie takes on the challenge. Her latest mission has brought her to Mattapan, Boston to find a missing Haitian teen. Eleven months later, Angelique Badeau’s disappearance remains a mystery. What happened to the quiet, studious teen? Frankie learns quickly the dangers of asking too many questions, but that won’t stop her from discovering the truth behind what happened BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED.

More Books By Lisa Gardner