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:

Her Perfect Family by Teresa Driscoll, published by Thomas & Mercer @TeresaDriscoll @AmazonPub #mysteryandthrillers #blog #review

I was thrilled to be offered an advance copy of Her Perfect Family by the author. Like all Teresa Driscoll’s books, the writing style is easy to read, fast-paced and with enough description to drop you right into the action.

Description:

A gripping psychological thriller from the bestselling author of I Am Watching You. The perfect family? Or the perfect lie?

Her Perfect Family by [Teresa Driscoll]

It’s their daughter’s graduation and Rachel and Ed Hartley are expecting it to be one of their family’s happiest days. But when she stumbles and falls on stage during the ceremony, a beautiful moment turns to chaos: Gemma has been shot, and just like that, she’s fighting for her life.

PI Matthew Hill is one of the first on the scene. A cryptic message Gemma received earlier in the day suggests someone close to her was about to be exposed. But who? As Matthew starts to investigate, he finds more and more layers obscuring the truth. He even begins to suspect the Hartleys are hiding something big—from him and from each other.

While Gemma lies in hospital in a coma, her would-be killer is still out there. Can Matthew unravel the family’s secrets before the attacker strikes again?

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08N5YFL78
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Thomas & Mercer (November 1, 2021)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 1, 2021

I was thrilled to be offered an advance copy of Her Perfect Family by the author. Like all Teresa Driscoll’s books, the writing style is easy to read, fast-paced and with enough description to drop you right into the action. You can’t help relishing such an addictive read, a brilliantly sustained psychological suspense.

From a well-chosen pink dress in the prologue to blood-red spatters in Chapter 1, this was a frightening opening for me. And at such a public occasion where families and children were present. Pomp and pageantry turned to mayhem and unspeakable horror—a parent’s worst nightmare. This is an injury that will require enormous strength to tell a patient and if that’s not enough, a heartrending mystery to unravel.

The book is written from several points of view — the mother, the private investigator (PI Matthew Hill is my personal favourite and DI Melanie Sanders), the father, the daughter, all with their own stories to tell. Yet everybody has something to hide and, as more secrets come to light, you can’t help feeling you’ve been deceived somewhere along the line, and not necessarily by the character you thought. About 78% through the book I thought I’d guessed the shooter, but I was wrong.

This is a highly accomplished thriller, a very frightening one with a backdrop of evil you hope never to encounter. Driscoll expertly weaves her stories together in unexpected and clever ways. This book has every thriller’s trifecta: love, marriage and murder.

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author Teresa Driscoll for the privilege of reading this book.

@AmazonPub @TeresaDriscoll #mysteryandthrillers

Review

“Intriguing. Different. I raced through it beyond my usual ‘lights-out’ time. You simply HAVE to read to the end to find out what happens.” —Jane Corry, Sunday Times bestselling author

From the Publisher

I devoured Her Perfect Family in one sitting, unable to put the book down! If you love twisty and gripping thrillers, then bestselling author Teresa Driscoll’s brand-new psychological suspense novel will have you sitting up all night, desperate to find out what happens next.

Can you imagine watching your daughter get shot on what is supposed to be her proudest day? Gemma Hartley is graduating from university. Rachel and Ed Hartley are in attendance and prepared for a day full of hope and glittering futures. Until their perfect moment turns into a nightmare. With a detective on the scene and a heart-wrenching mystery to uncover, PI Matthew Hill realizes that even the most perfect of families have secrets to hide…

In this fast-paced thriller Teresa Driscoll takes you on a breathtaking ride as time ticks away with Gemma’s life hanging the balance. Can the killer be brought to justice before they strike again, or will this perfect day become the Hartleys’ perfect nightmare?

—Victoria Oundjian, Editor

About the Author:

Teresa Driscoll

Teresa Driscoll is a former BBC TV news presenter whose psychological thrillers have sold more than two million copies across the world.


Her first thriller I Am Watching You hit Kindle Number 1 in the UK, USA and Australia and has sold more than a million copies in English alone.


Teresa writes women’s fiction as well as thrillers and her work has been optioned for film and sold for translation in more than 20 territories.
For decades Teresa was a journalist working across newspapers, magazines and television. Covering crime for so long, she was deeply moved by the haunting impact on the relatives, the friends and the witnesses and it is those ripples she explores now in her darker fiction.


Teresa lives in glorious Devon with her family and blogs regularly about her “writing life” at her website – http://www.teresadriscoll.com.

More Books from this Author:

The Image of Her by Sonia Velton, published by Quercus Books. @Soniavelton @QuercusBooks #reviews #blogs #writingcommunity

A HUGE thank you to Quercus Books, Netgalley and author Sonia Velton for the privilege of receiving an advance copy of this amazing book.

Book Description:

STELLA and CONNIE are strangers, brought together by two traumatic events – cruel twists of fate that happen thousands of miles apart.

Stella lives with her mother, a smothering narcissist. When she succumbs to dementia, the pressures on Stella’s world intensify, culminating in tragedy. As Stella recovers from a near fatal accident, she feels compelled to share her trauma but she finds talking difficult. In her head she confides in Connie because there’s no human being in the world that she feels closer to.

Connie is an expat living in Dubai with her partner, Mark, and their two children. On the face of it she wants for nothing and yet … something about life in this glittering city does not sit well with her. Used to working full time in a career she loves back in England, she struggles to find meaning in the expat life of play-dates and pedicures.

Two women set on a collision course. When they finally link up, it will not be in a way that you, or I, or anyone would ever have expected.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Quercus; 1st edition (July 22, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1529406498
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1529406498

I was thrilled to receive a copy of this contemporary upmarket thriller. Although I hadn’t read anything by Sonia Velton, I knew by the standard of the writing and pace it would be an enjoyable read. The plot follows two points of view, Stella and Connie — one living in England and the other an expat mother living in Dubai. I had no idea how these two lives would intersect, but I did get the sense the book would touch on many relevant and soul destroying issues.

Stella, a recluse after a near fatal accident, is healing slowly. Even makeup can’t cover the scars on her face or the fractured stranger she has become. She misses going to the library, a connection to the outside world. She has little in common with Connie, a happily married mother of two living in the UAE. Stella, written in first person narrative, confides in Connie through her thoughts, and at the same time struggles with the abuse she receives from her controlling mother. She watches Connie through the lens of social media — a privileged housewife who seems to have everything. But as the dual narrative unravels, it’s easy to see how underneath it all both women are shackled to disillusionment, their lives eroding with each page.

Connie is a mother and a wife. Her feelings of isolation are due to Mark working late and somewhat disengaged with the kids. She feels unsupported and that their once close solid relationship is unravelling. One perfect example is the school fete where Mark, partly due to a work-do hangover, is desperate to leave. Rosamie, the Filipino nanny, is working to pay for Gabriel’s education. With Marijo in trouble comes another set of problems for Rosamie. Even with the kafala system being reformed, it can’t protect all the migrant workers against abuse. But Stella has an idea. For me, this provided a tinge of excitement, a possible turning point.

What bond or common heritage do these women share? A tragic and yet inspiring read that is dedicated to an astonishingly brave woman. The compassion the reader has for each character is the mark of excellent writing and the tension kept me engaged till the emotional end.

 #TheImageofHer #NetGalley

About the Author

Sonia Velton

Sonia Velton has been a solicitor in Hong Kong, a Robert Schuman Scholar in Luxembourg and spent eight years being an expat Mum of three in Dubai. She now lives in Kent.

Her first novel, BLACKBERRY AND WILD ROSE was short-listed for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, long-listed for the HWA Debut Crown and has been optioned for film.

Her second book, THE IMAGE OF HER, is a literary thriller about two women whose lives come together in a way that is both chilling and awe-inspiring.

Other books by Sonia Velton

The Art of Loving You by Amelia Henley, published by HQ (Harper Collins Publishers Ltd) @MsAmeliaHenley @HQstories #blogger #review

Having read a few psychological thrillers by this author, I thought I’d try this lovely romance. Henley’s writing style is fluid, easy to read and she’s a marvelous story-teller. It was a pleasure to delve into Libby’s life.

Book Description:

They were so in love . . .
And then life changed forever . . .
Will they find happiness again?

Libby and Jack are the happiest they’ve ever been. Thanks to their dear friend, eighty-year-old Sid, they’ve just bought their first house together, and it’s the beginning of the life they’ve always dreamed of.

But the universe has other plans for Libby and Jack and a devastating twist of fate shatters their world.
 
All of a sudden life is looking very different, and unlikely though it seems, might Sid be the one person who can help Libby and Jack move forward when what they loved the most has been lost?
 
The Art of Loving You is a beautiful love story for our times. Romantic and uplifting, it will break your heart and then put it back together again.

* * * *

Praise for Amelia Henley:

‘A love story with a definite difference . . . intensely emotional’
Best

‘Beautifully written and plotted. Get ready for the final chapter – you have been warned’
Candis

‘Intriguing, unusual and intensely romantic’
Sunday Mirror

General Fiction (Adult) Romance Women’s Fiction
Pub Date 22 Jul 2021
EDITIONEbook
ISBN9780008375782
PRICE£3.99 (GBP)

Elisabeth Emerson (Libby) and Jack are about to start a new life together. With a new home that needs renovation, they are excited and planning their future. But when Jack meets with a tragic incident, all their dreams come crashing down. Libby, who doesn’t know what to expect, believes Jack will recover and all will go back to the way it was. But all their wishbone wishes come tumbling down and although Sid is there to comfort her, Libby is heartbroken. To add insult to injury, Jack’s parents are determined to have the last say.

This sudden change of events changed the mood of the book which is a thumbs up to the brilliant writing. As events begin to unfold, the book becomes raw and emotional. One life full to the brim with plans for the future, another heading off to his next adventure like the butterfly. The suspense of each chapter is what keeps me turning the page, and although the book is a romance novel, the pace is reminiscent of the thrillers Henley pens under different name. We can all resonate with the guilt of going out to get something for a patient, those precious few moment when something life-changing could happen and the intense what-ifs if it does. True to Henley’s style, a medical condition and a string of mood swings add to the mystery and sets her protagonist on her path to healing.

Libby’s reminder, a beautiful painting, is permission to let go for the guilt and to move on. Her journal is testament to Jack’s remarkable presence, his sacrifice and strength of helps her to recover. Liam is her project now and it’s to him she focuses all her energy. I loved Sid, although much of his backstory made me cry. Grief and restoration is at the heart of this book and the strength to move forward together. The house, a character in itself, begins to find its lustre and love may spring again in the most unexpected places.

This book brings you wonderful characters with engaging storylines and if by chance you’ve forgotten how to believe in love, forgiveness and faith in humanity, then this book’s for you!

Thank you to the publisher, HQ, the author, Amelia Henley and Netgalley for the privilege of reading an advance reader copy.

About the Author

Amelia Henley

Amelia Henley is a hopeless romantic who has a penchant for exploring the intricacies of relationships through writing heart-breaking, high-concept love stories.

Amelia also writes psychological thrillers under her real name, Louise Jensen. As Louise Jensen she has sold over a million copies of her global number one bestsellers. Her stories have been translated into twenty-five languages and optioned for TV as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestsellers list. Louise’s books have been nominated for multiple awards.

‘The Life We Almost Had’ is the first story she’s written as Amelia Henley and it’s out now.

Other 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.

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: