Guilty Women by Melanie Blake, published by HarperCollins, @MelanieBlakeUK, @HarperFiction @HarperCollins #blogger #review #GuiltyWomen #Bookpreneur

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER

‘If you only read one book this year, Guilty Women won’t disappoint. It will leave you breathless’ The Express

Guilty Women’s stamped it’s razor sharp, blood-stained stiletto heel firmly in the lead to be 2022’s book of the year’ The Daily Mirror

Can they get away with murder?

On a beautiful island off the English coast, four TV actresses gather.
Their fifth member is missing – and only they know why she was killed.
As the secret between them threatens to come out, tensions on set run high.
The women are determined that the show must go on – no matter what it costs.
But one of them is on the edge of telling the truth – and no show in the world could survive this scandal…

All of the women have something to hide – but the question is, are they all guilty?

The cast of RUTHLESS WOMEN is back – but this time they’re in trouble…

From start to finish, Guilty Women takes you on a dramatic ride. With a blood-stained stiletto for a book cover, it promises to be an addictive and wickedly entertaining read. Said to be about the fictitious cast of Falcon Bay, four TV actresses share a secret and a few more as the book progresses. Accidents will happen. But are they accidents?

I can see this series being one of those — And Then There Were Two — stories. Their fifth member is missing. Who’s next? What drives Madeline Kane? Falcon Bay certainly has a history, and these four actresses are a force to be reckoned with. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate relating to the age-group in this book. It’s refreshing to find older faces in glamourous places. For those of us teetering on the downside of life’s slope, this book confirms how entertaining mature women are. It says a lot for the author.

This book has secrets galore, beautiful gowns, high tension, terrible killings — some of which could be construed as accidents — and a host of well-researched detail that make it a substantial read. Thrust into the world of television and politics, these women are a lively, hedonistic bunch. But fame and fortune has a way of corrupting even the best of them, and I think that’s what kept me reading.

The ending was definitely one I didn’t see coming. Although I’m not usually into soap operas, this book has a tendency to engross its readers. You have to know what happens next. So, if you’re looking for drama and suspense, mixed with a little spice, then this is the book for you. Think Desperate House Wives meets Sex and the City. It’s a riotous read.

PRAISE FOR GUILTY WOMEN:

“You’ll laugh, cry, be shocked and left wanting more… Guilty Women is an unmissable read. Pure escapism. 5 stars!” Ok! Magazine

“Revenge, murder, sex and greed… Guilty Women has it all. Blake’s latest novel proves she’s here to stay as the new queen of the blockbuster novel. Jackie Collins would have loved it” Bella Magazine

“Not for the faint hearted! An unputdownable, revenge and lust filled romp of a read that you won’t want to end!” Heat Magazine

“The perfect killer thriller with sexy scenes that’ll keep you reading late into the night” Notebook Magazine

“If you only read one book this year, then Guilty Women won’t disappoint. It will leave you breathless”
The Express

About the Author

Bestselling author Melanie Blake’s own real life Rags to Riches story reads like the plot of an outrageous drama…

At fifteen years old Melanie Blake was told by her high school career advisors that her decision to do work experience at a local record shop was an ‘embarrassment to the school and a clear example that she wouldn’t go far in life or her career’. They were wrong. By nineteen she was working at the BBC’s iconic Top of the Pops show and by twenty-seven she had built a reputation as one of the UK’s leading music and entertainment managers, with her own agency and roster of award-winning artists who had sold more than 100 million records. During this time she also built up an acting agency from scratch which quickly became the most successful independent boutique agency in the UK where she manages clients from some of the biggest internationally syndicated shows in the world.

Her roster have won Baftas, Emmys and pretty much every best actress award going and Melanie is one of the most successful female agents in the world. In the UK alone, over 25 million people a week currently tune in to watch the very stars Melanie represents in their globally syndicated shows. In 2018 after two decades at the top of her game, Melanie decided to manage a smaller client list and concentrate on her other passion, writing – first as a columnist for a national newspaper, then as a playwright and now as a best-selling novelist.

Her first book The Thunder Girls became a Number 1 Best Seller in the summer of 2019 and the play she adapted from the novel broke box office records for a new work at the prestigious Lowry Theatre. She still represents a high profile stable of some of the best known faces on British television but is also now enjoying success in her own right as a producer, author and playwright.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @MelanieBlakeUK

Other Books by Melanie Blake

Lucky by Marissa Stapley, published by Simon & Schuster (7 Dec. 2021). @simonschuster #review #blog #writingcommunity

Book Description:

REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A thrilling roller-coaster ride about a heist gone terribly wrong, with a plucky protagonist who will win readers’ hearts.

What if you had the winning ticket that would change your life forever, but you couldn’t cash it in?

Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity–when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam.

When she discovers that a lottery ticket she bought on a whim is worth millions, her elation is tempered by one big problem: cashing in the winning ticket means she’ll be arrested for her crimes. She’ll go to prison, with no chance to redeem her fortune.

As Lucky tries to avoid capture and make a future for herself, she must confront her past by reconciling with her father; finding her mother, who abandoned her when she was just a baby; and coming to terms with the man she thought she loved–whose dark past is catching up with her, too.

This is a novel about truth, personal redemption, and the complexity of being good. It introduces a singularly gifted, multilayered character who must learn what it means to be independent and honest…before her luck runs out.

REVIEWS:

“An electric story about an unconventional heroine who is on the run from her past with a winning lottery ticket that could change her future forever. But here’s the catch . . . she can’t cash it in! I loved all the twists and turns of this adventure, not knowing where Lucky was going to end up next.”
— REESEWITHERSPOON

“[A] rollicking road-trip novel . . . With Lucky’s traumatic childhood with her conman father revealed in flashbacks, it’s no wonder the TV rights were sold to Disney with Stapley tapped to write the pilot. . . . This book club pick will no [doubt] lead to lively debates on duplicity, truth, luck, nature vs. nurture in child-rearing, and how to spot a con from a mile away.”
— Zoomer

“A compelling and thrilling road-trip novel about a talented grifter whose past comes back to haunt her.”
— 49th Shelf

“A criminal with a winning lottery ticket scrambles to elude arrest in this thrilling adventure. . . . Stapley raises the stakes through Lucky’s increasingly desperate moves while adding depth via flashbacks to Lucky’s childhood, which was full of scams and disappointments, and through Lucky’s gradual reckoning with the truth. This page-turner packs in more than its share of heart.”
— Publishers Weekly

Lucky by Marissa Stapley is a pacey read, taking you inside the life of grifters Luciana (Lucky) Armstrong and her father. It alternates between past and present, from when Lucky was left outside a nunnery in New York City in 1982, to present day in a gas station bathroom in Idaho, where she changes her appearance and name, and buys a winning lottery ticket.

Leaping back to aged 10 and her life in the Adirondacks, things aren’t so easy for Lucky. Her father is a con artist, always on the run and never putting down roots. Although the “running” is adrenaline-filled, it is not the life Lucky wants. Nor does she enjoy bilking people to get where they need to go. Imprisoned by the grifter life-style, she searches for a way out, only to find she falls back into the routine as a means to an end. Lying comes naturally because it’s all she’s ever known. But everything is about to crash, and she begins to question all the things she trusted to be true. Who is she, really?

With a father who can spin a believable yarn and get away with it, Lucky is out of luck. She must find out who she is and where she came from in order to bring closure to her journey. This is what kept me reading until the early hours. I wanted her to succeed, but the safety of the lottery ticket was an agonizing burden. The more impossible the mission, the more invested I became in the book.

For me, this was a fun read. Even though you see Cary, Lucky and her father through their dialogue — their past, and their points of view — I did crave a little more detail in order to breach the many layers of these stimulating and compelling characters. It’s a Bonnie and Cyde caper, for sure. The ending wrapped up nicely, and overall, I really enjoyed it. The paperback is short, only about 256 pages, and the writing style is informal and concise. It’s unputdownable and I can see why it is a Reese Witherspoon Bookclub Pick.

About the author:

An image posted by the author.

Marissa Stapley is an award-nominated journalist and the bestselling author of the novels Mating for Life (2014), Things to Do When It’s Raining (2018) and The Last Resort (2019), which is an Oprah Magazine, New York Post, US Weekly and Parade Magazine favourite. Her writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines across North America, including the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Reader’s Digest, Elle and Today’s Parent. She has taught creative writing and editing at the University of Toronto and Centennial College. She lives in Toronto with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @marissastapley or like her page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MarissaStapleyAuthor/) for updates and contests!

Other books by Marissa Stapley:

The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee, published by Random House UK, Vintage, Harvill Secker. @radiomukhers @PenguinUKBooks @HarvillSecker #TheShadowsOfMen #NetGalley #blog #review #TheShadowsOfMen

WOW! What a fabulous and unique crime duo. The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. Why? Read on… my review is below the book description.

Award-winning crime novelist Abir Mukherjee is back with another brilliant mystery featuring police detective Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surrender-Not Banerjee, set in 1920s Calcutta.

Calcutta, 1923

The Shadows of Men: Wyndham and Banerjee Book 5 (Wyndham and Banerjee series) by [Abir Mukherjee]

When a Hindu theologian is found murdered in his home, the city is on the brink of all-out religious war. Can the officers of the Imperial Police Force—Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant “Surrender-Not” Banerjee—track down those responsible in time to stop a bloodbath?

Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this remarkable series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08LW5CPH6
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pegasus Crime (November 11, 2021)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 11, 2021

I was thrilled to be offered a copy of The Shadows of Men as I hadn’t read anything by this author before. Although this is book 5 in the series, it reads as a standalone and certainly didn’t undermine my reading experience in the least. Set in Raj-era India, you can bet your last rupee, this author is one of the best to bring historical details about colonial Calcutta to life.

The Shadows of Men: A Novel (Wyndham & Banerjee Mysteries) by [Abir Mukherjee]

We are thrust into the life of Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee, who takes us back to 1923 and the “eternal shroud of industrial smog” of Calcutta. In his humble way, he navigates British rule (gentlemen’s clubs and cricket grounds) and although some scenes of entitlement are cringe worthy, they are strikingly accurate for the period. There are so many descriptions I loved, not to mention internal monologue and observations which, at times, made me laugh out loud. For example: “How was I to explain to Lord Taggart that, while we all might look the same to him, a Hindu following Gulmohamed into the Muslim parts of town would stick out as much as he would at a meeting of the Women’s Institute.” To see life through his eyes was a privilege, and the author’s voice served to make me feel as if I was in safe and dependable hands.

The doggedly determined Captain Sam Wyndham, whose dry British wit and eternal optimism seems to drive him to the root of the problem. No matter what challenges he faces, you can’t help having complete faith in his skill. The pressures between upper and lower castes and Hindus and Muslims continues to escalate, and with Banerjee in a jam, Wyndham’s day just got worse. How will he ever reinstate Banerjee’s freedom? By putting himself in harm’s way to save his backside, that’s how.

The case takes him to Bombay and again, beautiful descriptions abound. I was treated to vivid characters; Miss Colah, Cyrus Irani, Cecily Parsons, and I particularly enjoyed the Englishmen armed with a drink and a cigar, “the brave men of the King’s Own Bombay Gin drinkers” — another dazzling display of brilliant writing. You can’t shy away from the haves and the have nots, the sheer opulence in contrast to the simplicity of everyone else. But crammed between these sweat inducing layers is the suspense, and I couldn’t read to the end fast enough.

Sam Wyndham and Surrender-not Banerjee are one of the most unique crime duos I’ve come across in a long time. I hope they will continue for many books to come. Many thanks to the author and to Harvill Secker, Vintage and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.

Other books by this author:

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

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

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

Deadly Cry (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Book 13) by Angela Marsons, published by @Bookouture @WriteAngie

I was jumping for joy when I saw the 13th instalment of the Kim Stone series available on Netgalley. I can’t believe it’s been that many books. This time the tough, no-nonsense Kim Stone is faced with a case full of diversions that are more baffling at every page. In this book, Kim appears to have put her past behind her and she seems stable and well-adjusted, adding further charm to her thorny personality.

Book description:

You have to stop me from hurting anyone else. I don’t want to do these horrible things. Help me before I’m forced to do it again. And I will do it again because I have no choice. I’ve never had a choice.

Deadly Cry: An absolutely gripping crime thriller packed with suspense (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller Book 13) by [Angela  Marsons]

In a busy shopping centre, a little girl clutches a teddy bear, clinging to it in the absence of her mother, Katrina. Hours later, Katrina’s body is discovered in an abandoned building. For Detective Kim Stone, it looks like a quick, functional kill. But Kim’s instincts tell her there’s more to this senseless murder than meets the eye. What was the motive for killing a young mother out shopping with her child?

Days later, a second victim is found in a local park, her neck broken just like Katrina’s and her six-year-old son missing.

With her colleague, Detective Stacey Wood, working on another unsolved crime and a member of the team grieving the loss of a close relative, Kim is struggling to make inroads on what is fast becoming a complex case. And when a handwritten letter from the killer lands on Kim’s desk addressed to her, and pleading for help, she knows time is running out to bring the little boy home alive.

With the support of a handwriting analyst and profiler, Kim and the team begin to get inside the mind of the killer and make a shocking discovery.

Some of the victims have scratch marks on their wrists.

But these are no random scratches. The killer is using them to communicate with someone. The question is… with whom?

And if Kim doesn’t find them soon, another innocent soul will die.

The multi-million-copy bestselling Detective Kim Stone series is every bit as addictive, original and exciting as readers say and you’ll be hooked from the very first page. Nobody does it better than the Queen of Crime, Angela Marsons.

Our favourite Black Country detective, is bummed to be attending a meeting to discuss security arrangements for a visiting celebrity. But when a four-year-old girl is found abandoned in a shopping centre the pace begins to accelerate. As Kim says, better a missing mother than a missing child. But in this case, the tragedy is brutal. It’s a hard-hitting storyline that is gripping from start to finish.

A body found a hundred meters from Shop N Save turns out to be twenty-five-year-old Katrina Nock. Stone is angry the mother has been discarded amongst building debris with her neck broken. Was she leading some kind of double life? Charged with giving the bad news to the family, Stone learns that Katrina suffered anxiety and depression, but there is something more sinister afoot.

As Kim, Stacey, Bryant and Penn work on leads – some which include unsolved cases with other police teams – there are personal issues each must come to term with. Although there is plenty of dark humour to soften the heartbreak, this case doesn’t give the reader much of a breather. And that’s a good thing because galloping through the book to find the twisted perpetrator is all part of the challenge. We see the return of Alison, the behaviourist and the charismatic reporter Frost, who is developing into someone you can’t help rooting for. Penn’s loss was palpable, something with which every reader will resonate.

One of the things I love about Marson’s writing is the clarity. You burn through her books at lightning speed and I’m constantly having to tell myself to slow down so I don’t miss the details. She’s created wholly original characters and a story that is the very definition of a page-turner and unputdownable. The plot is thick with intense imagery and nail-biting terror. What really ramped it up for me were those who didn’t always get it right, who, although highly trained, still had their heads turned the wrong way. I’m not the only one!! Thank you to Netgalley, Bookouture and author Angela Marsons for the privilege of receiving an advance copy of this book.

What people are saying:

Whoopee The queen of crime is back…this book is a reminder to all her fans what a brilliant crime series this is…Unlike some long running crimes series, each book always brings something new to the table, whether it be its characters, the plot, or jaw dropping moments that take the reader by surprise.’ The Book Review Café, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Utterly fabulous! I loved this book so much. The whole series is fantastic and it just gets better and better with every book. Read this in one sitting as I was literally glued to it. Highly recommend, if I could give it more than 5 stars I would.’ Linda Strong Book Reviews, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Angela Marsons writes the type of books that I will literally drop everything just so I can read it.’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I honestly don’t know how Angela Marsons gets better and better with each book…My jaw dropped over and over again and I’m just sitting here so shocked at the end!’ With A Book In Our Hand, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘I could read Kim Stone books every day and never get bored, I read this in a day as couldn’t put it down.’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Angela Marsons is the Queen of Crime, and every police team needs a Kim Stone! With a strong, fast paced storyline, this book will bring tears to your eyes, then have you covering those same eyes for fear of what may happen on the next page!!’ stardustbookreviews, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Reading this series is like catching up with old friends…Yet another brilliant work by the amazing Angela Marsons!’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Oh how much have I missed Kim Stone… you are guaranteed a story that will grab a hold of you from the start and keep you invested in the outcome right to the very last page.’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quite simply, Angela Marsons is THE QUEEN of Crime Fiction…Every book of Angie’s is a masterpiece of storytelling, each so different in theme and incredibly enjoyable to read.’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author:

Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 4 million in 5 years.

She lives in Worcestershire with her partner and their 2 cheeky Golden Retrievers.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 28 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages.

Many of her books, including Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones, Fatal Promise and Dead Memories reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone and the translation of Dead Souls, La Verita Sepolte, recently won the prestigious Primo Bancarella award.

More books by Angela Marsons:

Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen, published by Orenda Books @OrendaBooks @annecater #GunnarStaalesen #review #blog

I was so lucky to receive an advance copy of Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen. A credible and dark page-turner with a relentless pace. Vivid, taut and evocative, this book had my pulse racing from start to finish.

Description:

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Vintage, classic Nordic Noir from international bestselling author Gunnar Staalesen.

Description: When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly reunited with his old friend Jakob – the once-famous lead singer of 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.

Their rekindled friendship come to an abrupt end with a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

  • Paperback : 276 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1913193063
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1913193065
  • Publisher : Orenda Books (March 1, 2021)

PI Varg Veum reunites with a former friend Jakob at the funeral of Jan Petter in Bergen. The reunion brings back old memories of former classmates, some of whom have already died, but none, as it turns out, from old age.

Deciding to go for a pub crawl with their friend Paul Finckel, they reminisce about the past. There’s a melancholy mood to the opening chapters as if the ‘group’ are trying to reclaim their youth, trapped in an eddy of musical memories of The Harpers for which Veum was a roadie. They drink and carouse the night away, while ‘valleslette’ – sleet and biting winds and a few degrees above zero – sets the tone. Even though there is no life on the fjord there is always the Beetles…

Jakob asks Veum to search for his wife, Rebecca, a girl who grew up with Veum in Nordnes in the 60s. Thinking she may have run off with Johnny Solheim, Veum makes inquiries. But Johnny has a wife and claims he hasn’t seen Rebecca.

A few hours in another Sodom and Gomorrah type watering hole ‘where Caligula would have felt at home,’ Veum finds a heap of bad news outside. Holed up in a tight space and dreaming of the Rebecca he once knew, he is forced to answer a few questions. As another picture of an angel surfaces, Veum’s sharp instincts recognise the deaths may be connected. What did happened after the dissolution of the band? Someone is carrying around an awful secret and with Staalesen’s great sense of pacing, the reveal was phenomenal.

Fallen Angels is a remarkable example of its genre. The religious and psychological aspects bring deeper layers to the novel as told in powerful prose. It’s an elegant and complex thriller, meticulously laid out with a corkscrewing plot. The characters are well-drawn and mysterious, and the protagonist takes us on a wild ride with vivid scenes of Norway in December and its snowy, sleet-grey skies. There’s no doubt about it: Staalesen belongs on every crime fiction reader’s bookshelf.

My thanks to the publisher, Orenda Books, the author, Gunnar Staalesen and Anne Cater, blog tour organiser for the privilege of reading an advance copy of this book.

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Praise for Gunnar Staalesen

‘Gunnar Staalesen is one of my very favourite Scandinavian authors. Operating out of Bergen in Norway, his private eye, Varg Veum, is a complex but engaging anti-hero. Varg means “wolf ” in Norwegian, and this is a series with very sharp teeth’ Ian Rankin

‘The Norwegian Chandler’ Jo Nesbø

‘Not many books hook you in the first chapter – this one did, and never let go!’ Mari Hannah

‘Staalesen continually reminds us he is one of the finest of Nordic novelists’ Financial Times

‘Chilling and perilous results — all told in a pleasingly dry style’ Sunday Times

‘Staalesen does a masterful job of exposing the worst of Norwegian society in this highly disturbing entry’ Publishers Weekly

‘The Varg Veum series is more concerned with character and motivation than spectacle, and it’s in the quieter scenes that the real drama lies’ Herald Scotland

‘Every inch the equal of his Nordic confreres Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo’ Independent

‘Mature and captivating’ Herald Scotland

‘One of the finest Nordic novelists – in the tradition of Henning Menkell’ Barry Forshaw, Independent

‘Masterful pacing’ Publishers Weekly

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen published the first book in the Varg Veum series in 1977. He is now the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019. 

Granite Noir fest 2017. Gunnar Staalesen.

Other Books by Gunnar Staalesen

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish @louise_candlish @simonschusterUK #blog #review #Thrillers #Mysteries

I was so excited to get a copy of The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish who has quickly become one of my favourite authors to date. I couldn’t believe anything after Our House could be quite as good, but this might have topped my 2020 reading list. It’s a corker of a book, wonderfully plotted, and a compulsive page-turner. I defy you to read anything better!

Book Description:

FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF OUR HOUSE, WINNER OF THE CRIME & THRILLER BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD

The Other Passenger is just brilliant; gripping from the first page with an incredible first person narrative and a sense of place that pulls you through the pages fast enough to make your head spin. Louise Candlish just gets better and better, I love her’ Lisa Jewell, author of The Family Upstairs 

You’re feeling pretty smug about your commute to work by riverboat. No more traffic gridlock or getting stuck on the tube in tunnels (you’re claustrophobic). Now you’ve got fresh air, an iconic Thames view, a whole lifestyle upgrade. You’ve made new friends on board — led by your hedonistic young neighbour, Kit — and just had your first official ‘water rats’ get-together.

The day after the drinks, Kit isn’t on the morning boat. The river landmarks are all the same, but something’s off. When you disembark, the police are waiting. Kit’s wife, Melia, has reported him missing and another passenger saw you arguing on the last boat home after your drinks. Police say you had a reason to lash out at him. To threaten him.

You protest. You and Kit are friends — ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is pointing the finger? What do they know about your private lives?

No, whatever coincidences might have occurred last night, you are innocent, totally innocent.

Aren’t you?

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (25 Jun. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471183440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471183447

Advance Praise

Review

 

What a helter-skelter of a read! It doesn’t get twistier than this. It’s unusual to find such a deliciously well-plotted book with ‘real’ characters you actually care about. A book you can’t wait to dive into at the end of the day.

Jamie Buckby has been living with Clare for ten years rent free. His salary hardly compares to hers which creates its own set of problems from the start. After a dinner party with a younger couple, Kit and Melia, Jamie upgrades himself to a daily commute on the Thames riverboat. Probably a smart idea after his panic attack on a stifling and claustrophobic tube. Although the tube journey is familiar to me, taking a boat is something I’ve never done and the scenery and history of London buildings is beautifully illustrated.

Kit and Jamie hit it off from the start, although I found Kit’s flaky personality wearing at times. Certainly not off-putting but skilfully drawn to reveal his grating behaviour. When he disappeared, I was almost relieved. However, a disappearance requires a police investigation and Jamie is their number one man. He was the last person to have seen him and their parting was less than harmonious. With Clare playing a super-sleuth and Jamie digging himself deeper into a hole of his own making, the book keeps you hooked.

The story is told in dual timelines: Jamie’s interrogation later in the year with two detectives, and his initial meeting with Kit in January. It takes us on a capricious journey interspersed with so many misleading and cleverly disjointed paths, it left me breathless. Jamie is likeable, although easily-led, and I wasn’t surprised by his change of direction. The curiously seductive Melia has a turbulent relationship with Kit, although I found her the most interesting of them all. The police interviews, which confirm a high level of research for a book such as this, peel away the layers of an intricate plot. But in spite of everything, the gold nugget at the centre continues to evade us.

The ending was utterly shocking, and I have to say this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you like your books shaken and thoroughly stirred, with a twist of acerbic wit, then this is the book for you. Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ARC, and to Netgalley and the author for an intense and dazzling read!

About the Author

Louise CandlishWINNER of British Book Awards 2019 Book of the Year – Crime & Thriller for OUR HOUSE

Hello and welcome! I am the author of thirteen novels, a fact I can’t quite believe myself. My thriller OUR HOUSE has sold over 200,000 copies in the UK and won the 2019 British Book Awards Book of the Year – Crime & Thriller. It was shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2019, the Capital Crime Amazon Publishing Best Crime Novel of the Year Award​ 2019, and the Audible Sounds of Crime Award 2019, and longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018. A #1 bestseller in paperback, ebook and audiobook, it is now in development for a major TV series with Red Planet Pictures, makers of ‘Death in Paradise’.

THOSE PEOPLE, about the neighbours from hell, is also out now and is described by the Guardian as being ‘guaranteed to have you vibrating with impotent fury’. It recently reached #2 on the Sunday Times bestseller list and has also been optioned for TV.

Both books have been labelled ‘property noir’, ‘property porn lit’ and ‘crib lit’, but I prefer ‘suburban noir’ because it has that mood of longing, of broken dreams, that I love so much (but don’t let that put you off…)

I live in a South London neighbourhood not unlike the one in my books, with my husband, teenage daughter, cat and a fox-red Labrador puppy called Bertie.

Get up-to-date offers by clicking on the yellow ‘Follow’ button under my pic. For more bits and pieces, catch me on Twitter at @louise_candlish or find out more at louisecandlish.com or facebook.com/LouiseCandlishAuthor. I’d love to hear from you.

Author photos ©Jonny Ring; ©Joe Lord/Archant

Other books by Louise Candlish

Louise Candlish

DEAD WRONG by Noelle Holton @KillerReads @HarperCollins #bookreview #vigilantejustice #crime

WOW! Another fabulous read from Noelle Holten. Dead Wrong is the second book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, a firecracker of a read and a solid page-turner.

Book Description:

Dead Wrong: A completely addictive and gripping serial killer thriller (Maggie Jamieson thriller, Book 2) by [Holten, Noelle]The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

Book Links:

  British flag UK here  US flag  US here

Publisher: One More Chapter (March 14, 2020)

Publication Date: March 14, 2020

Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

Review

In this second installment, the series starts with DC Maggie Jamieson’s new case involving a serial killer who has a penchant for drugging his victims and using dismemberment as a means to clean up his crime scene. Nicknamed “The Chopper,” his MO is strikingly similar to that of The Raven, someone Jamieson put behind bars a long time ago. But when another victim is found bearing his unforgettable hallmark, she doesn’t understand how he could be responsible.

There is so much wisdom in Holten’s writing. Her 18 years as a probation officer provide a good understanding of procedure and buffs up every twist and cliff hanger available. You feel as if you’re right there with Maggie and her team as she painstakingly pores through evidence, while The Raven, a monster and sadist, is appealing to be set free. You can’t help questioning whether Jamieson did, in fact, put away the right man. There are times when my brain started to work overtime, convinced that something wasn’t right. Who really is the master manipulator and who did commit these recent crimes?

Jamieson isn’t typecast. You can’t categorize her as a run-of-the-mill of crime fighter. She’s an independent, roll up your sleeves and get on with it type, even though there are small cracks in her armour. She is determined to crack a crime no matter what it takes, and with little home life to speak of, she is freer than most to achieve that goal. This characteristic is more common than people think for those working areas of justice and law enforcement. It require long hours and very little sleep, not something that pairs well with raising small children and nurturing a relationship. Without all that to clutter up the narrative, I found no distractions in the plot that other books of this type tend to use as fillers. Holten’s research and experience have given credence to the plot, giving the book the added depth most readers crave.

The support team working with Jamieson were invaluable. A special nod to Bethany, DI Rutherford, and DS Nathan. Although The Raven played Jamieson up to the bitter end, I was hoping with every page I turned that she’d have him in an arm-lock in the nick of time. Kudos to Holten for writing such convincing characters who don’t deviate from their distinctive and arresting personalities. (No pun intended.)

Overall tension is further enhanced by assertive writing, well-plotted twists and a few red herrings along the way. The ending will leaving you gasping for the next book.

Many thanks to the publisher, @KillerReads @HarperCollins and to Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. And thank you to @BOTBSPublicity for letting me be part of this fabulous Blog Tour.

About the Author:

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK, an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:
Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noelleholtenauthor/
Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/
Instagram: @crimebookjunkie

Other books by Noelle Holten

Noelle Holten