Behind Closed Doors – Elizabeth Haynes

Crime Fiction 4*s

Crime Fiction

Scarlett Rainsford has been missing since that morning ten years ago when her family woke up on the last day of their holiday in Greece to find her missing. DCI Louisa Smith was a DC at the time and worked on the case, it was one of those she never forgot, after all Scarlett was a vulnerable fifteen year old girl! When she receives the call to tell her not only is Scarlett alive but she is back in Briarstone, having been found by Lou’s colleagues during a raid on a local brothel, Louisa is keen to find out what has happened in the intervening ten years. But Scarlett is only a part of the investigation into local gangs but the police suspect some factions to be involved in people trafficking, if so are they linked to the reappearance of Scarlett?

This harrowing story which delves into the murky world of people trafficking is neatly told from two viewpoints, in the present day from Lou’s point of view detailing the investigation into what happened to Scarlett in order to take some of those involved in her disappearance off the streets, and then in the past from Scarlett’s point of view working from 2003 forward. I liked the format, with the questions raised by the police, who to be frank aren’t getting much cooperation from Scarlett despite their best officers, and best efforts, are answered in Scarlett’s story. Scarlett’s part is simply told, and all the more shocking for that, as she details how she was spirited away and how she made it back to Briarstone, the place where her family live. But lots of questions are raised early on, such as why she is refusing contact with her parents?

Elizabeth Haynes worked as a police analyst and the procedural part of this tale, as that in Under a Silent Moon, has intelligence forms inserted into the text, which gives the reader a feeling that they are in on the investigation, although at times I found it hard to work out the links between the names given in this documentation and the crimes being investigated, as that was all they were – pieces of information which is a far cry from actual characters.

Scarlett’s tale is horrifying, I’m not a squeamish reader and although there are minimal descriptions of gruesome violence, and the story is never ‘over-egged’, this is a difficult one to read, all the more powerful because it has such a feeling of reality.
The structure of the book alone begs the reader to do the ‘just one more chapter’ bit, but Elizabeth Haynes also manages to make us care about the characters. DCI Louisa Smith portrayal is everything that we hope are in charge of an investigation like this; tenacious, caring and thorough and as a plus she gets on really well with her team. OK, she may be a bit of a commitment-phobe in her personal life but she’s well-rounded and likeable. Conversely, although she has the role of the victim and we are able to empathise with Scarlett, we are also able to admire her too.

A well-told tale and I like author’s who deliver something different each time. Despite this being the second in the series, it had a unique feel with less emphasis on the roles of the police which dominated Under a Silent Moon. Although I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series, this story works perfectly well as a stand-alone read.

I’d like to thank the publishers Little, Brown Book Group UK who let me read a copy of this book ahead of the publication of the paperback on 8 October 2015.

Other books by Elizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth Haynes first book Into the Darkest Corner was one of those books that everyone seemed to be reading.
Into the Darkest Corner

This book leaps straight in with a transcript from a court case in May 2005. After this most of the book is written in two alternate stories, one starting in 2003, the other in 2007. The story of Cathy is about a young woman struggling to cope with OCD which causes her to spend much of her life checking and counting.

This is amazingly well written which gives the reader an insight into how OCD rules the lives of those that live with it. Tension is built and each time Cathy seems to be getting a grip on things something else happens to disturb her both in the past and the present. This is one of those stories which stay with you long after you have read it.

Her second Revenge of the Tide was not my cup of tea at all

Revenge of the Tide

Genevieve is former pole dancer had a good job and was pole dancing for exercise and money to buy the boat. Her former life in London was full of shallow people (except her fellow pole dancer friend) and the boat people are the most generous she’d ever met, Genevieve then finds herself in the most predictable of situations given that she was hiding something on the boat…..

However her third Human Remains was another outstanding read. Please click on the book cover to see my review.

The fourth, Under a Silent Moon was our introduction to DI Louisa Smith and a far more traditional police procedural than any of her other novels. Please click on the book cover to read my review.

Under A Silent Moon


Filed under Books I have read

Five of the Best (September 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them!


My favourite read of September 2011 was one that I still recommend widely today, for those who missed it the first time around! Into The Darkest Corner was the debut novel by  Elizabeth Haynes and it is a book that has haunted me ever since with its realistic portrayal of domestic violence and OCD.

Into the Darkest Corner


When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.
But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.
Until the day the phone rings . . . Goodreads

2012 yr

In September 2012 my favourite book was by an author whose work I’ve enjoyed over many years, don’t let the pretty cover fool you, this book covers some serious issues; The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach


Every love story has a dangerous twist.
Tamia Challey is horrified when her husband, Scott, is accused of something terrible – but when she discovers who his accuser is, everything goes into freefall. Backed into a corner and unsure what to think, Tamia is forced to choose who she instinctively believes. But this choice has dire consequences for all concerned, especially when matters take a tragic turn.
Then a stranger arrives in town to sprinkle rose petals in the sea in memory of her lost loved one. This stranger carries with her shocking truths that will change the lives of everyone she meets, and will once again force Tamia to make some devastating choices… Goodreads


My choice for September 2013 is a really emotional book, I Came To Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington, a story told exceptionally well and mainly by letter, in reverse.

I Came To Say Goodbye

Click on the book cover to read my review

It was a crime that shocked the world.
The CCTV footage shows a young woman pushing through the hospital doors.
She walks into the nursery, picks up a baby and places her carefully in a shopping bag.
She walks out to the car park, towards an old Ford Corolla. For a moment, she holds the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smells her.
Then she clips the baby into the car, gets in and drives off. This is where the footage ends.
What happens next will leave a mother devastated, and a little boy adrift in a world he will never understand. Amazon


In 2014 I revisited an old favourite, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, sadly no other books stand the test of time quite so well as this one.

Murder on the Orient Express

Click on the book cover to read my review


Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Goodreads


For a change choosing my favourite read of the most recent month has proved simple, without a doubt it has to be The Night Watch by Sarah Waters!

The Night Watch

Click on the book cover to read my review


Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners—three women and a young man with a past—whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event. Goodreads

I hope you have enjoyed my trip through my June reads, if you missed the previous months you can find them here although sadly I didn’t manage to do the list for July and August so it looks like this series may continue into 2016 after all!

January Five of the Best
February Five of the Best
March Five of the Best
April Five of the Best
May Five of the Best
June Five of the Best


Filed under 5 Of the Best

Stacking the Shelves (October 3)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Since I am getting so little reading done at the moment I really shouldn’t be adding any new books to my shelves, but I am!

From my beloved NetGalley my first choice is a tale which concentrates on secrets and lies; As Good As Dead by Elizabeth Evans from Bloomsbury Publishing Plc which will be published on 19 November 2015.

As Good As Dead


Endearingly flawed and battered-around-the-edges, Charlotte has managed to fashion herself a life that balances marriage and a writing career, but now Esmé, the charming friend Charlotte betrayed at university, stands at Charlotte’s door: Surprise!
Charlotte yearns to make amends, but she’s wary. Esmé makes no mention of Charlotte’s old betrayal and the two resume their friendship, but soon enough a request from Esmé will upend Charlotte’s careful world.
Suspenseful, witty, with spot-on evocations of university life in the late 1980s, As Good as Dead performs an exquisite psychological high-wire act, exploring loves and friendships poisoned by secrets and fears. NetGalley

I also have a copy of The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner which was published on 1 September 2015 by Lake Union Publishing.

The Good Neighbor AJ Banner


Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.
Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love? NetGalley

I was especially delighted to receive an invitation to read Ruth Dugdall’s latest novel, Nowhere Girl which will be published on 31 October 2015.

Nowhere Girl


Probation officer, Cate Austin, has moved for a fresh start, along with her daughter Amelia, to live with her police detective boyfriend, Olivier Massard. But when she realises just how casually he is taking the disappearance of Ellie, Cate decides to investigate matters for herself. She discovers Luxembourg has a dark heart. With its geographical position, could it be the centre of a child trafficking ring? As Cate comes closer to discovering Ellie’s whereabouts she uncovers a hidden world, placing herself in danger, not just from traffickers, but from a source much closer to home. NetGalley

I also have a copy of Nowhere Child by fellow Channel Islander Rachel Abbott, this is the follow up to her last book Stranger Child.

Nowhere Child


Eight months ago Tasha Joseph ran away, and her stepmother, Emma, has been searching for her ever since. She is desperate to give Tasha the home and security she deserves. The problem is, Emma isn’t the only one looking for Tasha. The police are keen to find her too. She could be a vital witness in a criminal trial, and DCI Tom Douglas has a team constantly on the lookout for her. But Tasha remains hidden, and nobody appears to have seen her. Suddenly, the stakes are raised. Somebody is offering money – a lot of money – for information about Tasha’s whereabouts. Tom and Emma know they have never been closer to finding the young girl. But they also recognise that she has never been closer to danger. Can they find her first? She can run – but for how long can she hide? Emma, has been searching for her ever since. She is desperate to give Tasha the home and security she deserves. The problem is, Emma isn’t the only one looking for Tasha. The police are keen to find her too. She could be a vital witness in a criminal trial, and DCI Tom Douglas has a team constantly on the lookout for her. But Tasha remains hidden, and nobody appears to have seen her. Suddenly, the stakes are raised. Somebody is offering money – a lot of money – for information about Tasha’s whereabouts. Tom and Emma know they have never been closer to finding the young girl But they also recognise that she has never been closer to danger. Can they find her first? She can run – but for how long can she hide

Lastly following my review of Little Girl Gone which had a storyline that explored postpartum psychosis, Elena of Books & Reviews helpfully suggested that I read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, so I have a copy of that too!

The Yellow Wallpaper


The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story that, despite its length, is largely regarded as one of the most important feminist texts ever written. The story itself follows a woman’s slow descent into madness when she and her husband spend the summer in a large mansion. The text discusses many themes that would not come to light until years later, such as male dominance and women being trapped in the home. Through this, The Yellow Wallpaper masterfully blends story and theme, showing many attitude surrounding women’s health as well as their physical and mental well being. Amazon

What have you found to read this week?


Filed under Weekly Posts

Boxes – Pascal Garnier

Contemporary Fiction 4*s

Contemporary Fiction

I chose this book principally because this author came to my attention through Guy Savage’s fascinating blog where he has reviewed a number of this author’s books. As they sounded dark and different I was delighted when Boxes appeared on NetGalley.

From what I’ve gathered Pascal Garnier’s book Boxes was published posthumously following his death in 2010, also little birds have indicated that this probably isn’t the best example of his work, but I found plenty to enjoy, if enjoy is indeed the right word for such a grim and gloomy book.

Brice is moving to the country from the apartment he shared with his wife Emma in Lyon to the countryside, hence the title, all their lives are packed into labelled boxes ready for the removal men to arrive:

Perhaps it was an occupational hazard, but they were all reminiscent of a piece of furniture: the one called Jean-Jean, a Louis-Phillippe chest of drawers; Ludo, a Normandy wardrobe; and the tall, shifty looking one affectionately known as The Eel, a grandfather clock. This outfit of rascals with bulging muscles and smiles baring wolf-like teeth made short work of surveying the flat.

But despite the efficient way his life is hauled from Lyon to a small village there is something missing, Emma. At first Brice makes a stab at unpacking his boxes but not for long, he wants it to be right for Emma, his younger wife, a woman he isn’t entirely sure he deserves.

But women’s hearts are unfathomable and full of oddities as the bottom of their handbags.

And then we learn that she isn’t just away, she’s missing presumed dead in a terrorist attack in Egypt, while working as a journalist. Brice knows no-one in the small village although he gets adopted by a cat but his isolation from other humans aids his descent into depression, and worse, as he fails to accept the loss of his wife or to carry on with his illustration work for a children’s book. Illustrating Mabel Hirsch’s books about Sabine had been his bread and butter but Brice dislikes Mabel, Sabine and children.

The little brat, whose face he riddled with freckles for sport, was seriously taking over his life. As for her creator, he must have killed her at least a hundred times in the course of troubled dreams. He would throttle her until her big frogspawn eyes burst out of their sockets and then tear off all her jewellery. She could no longer move her poor arthritic fingers, they were so weighed down with gold and diamonds. Strings of pearls disappeared into the soft fleshy folds of her double chin. Old, ugly and nasty with it! Al that emerged from her scar of a mouth, slathered in bloodred honey, were barbed compliments which would themselves around your neck, the better to jab you in the back.

With Emma’s parents concern is spurned and it looks like Brice’s life can’t get any worse he meets Blanche, who is at best a little eccentric and constantly impresses on Brice how much he looks like her father who was also an artists. Let’s just say the story becomes even more weird!

This is a short book, easily read with wonderful language, especially considering that it is a work of translation which evokes many feelings, most of which are, admittedly at the grimmer end of the scale. I am absolutely sure I will be seeking out more of Pascal Garnier’s books as this evoked memories of the dark short stories written by the late Roald Dahl, that I loved in my teens.

I’d like to thank the publishers Gallic Books for my copy of this book in return for this honest review. Boxes was published in English in May 2015.


Filed under Books I have read

This Week In Books (September 30)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

This week I am currently reading 24 Hours by Claire Seeber

24 Hours


Here today. Dead tomorrow?
My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.
But it was meant to be me.
Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.
Before he finds out I’m still alive. NetGalley

I have recently finished Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

Behind Closed Doors

Check out yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book, my review will follow shortly.

Next I plan on reading The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan

The Good Neighbor


Things are a little rough for Izzy Lane. Still reeling from the break-up of her marriage, the newly single mom moves back to the Philadelphia home she grew up in, five-year-old Noah in tow. The transition is difficult, but with the help of her best friends—and her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Feldman—Izzy feels like she’s stepping closer to her new normal. Until her ex-husband shows up with his girlfriend. That’s when Izzy invents a boyfriend of her own. And that’s when life gets complicated.
Blogging about her “new guy” provides Izzy with something to do when Noah’s asleep. What’s the harm in a few made-up stories? Then, her blog soars in popularity and she’s given the opportunity to moonlight as an online dating expert. How can she turn it down? But when her friends want to meet the mysterious “Mac,” someone online suspects Izzy’s a fraud, and a guy in-real-life catches her eye, Izzy realizes just how high the stakes are. That’s when Mrs. Feldman steps in, determined to show her neighbor the havoc that lies can wreak. If Izzy’s honest, she could lose everything, and everyone. Is the truth worth any cost? NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here


Filed under Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (September 29)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening comes from Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes, the second in the DCI Louisa Smith series which began with Under a Silent Moon.

Behind Closed Doors

‘To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror . . .’
Ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished without a trace during a family holiday to Greece. Not being able to find Scarlett was one of the biggest regrets of DCI Louisa Smith’s career and when Scarlett is discovered back in her home town after all this time, Lou is determined to find out what happened to her and why she remained hidden for so long. Was she abducted or did she run away?
As Lou and her team delve deeper into Scarlett’s past, their investigation throws up more questions than it answers. But as they edge closer to the truth about what really went on behind closed doors, it is more sinister and disturbing than they had ever imagined. NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

SCARLETT – Rhodes, Saturday 23 August 2003, 04:44

To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror.
Darkness, and stifling heat, so hot that breathing felt like effort, sweat pouring off her so her skin itself became liquid and she thought she would simply melt into a hot puddle of nothing. She tried crying out, screaming, but she could barely hear her own voice above the roar of the engine, the sound of the wheels moving at speed on tarmac. All that did was give her a sore throat. Nobody could hear her.

Please note that this excerpt is taken from a proof copy

Do you want to know more? Or perhaps you’ve already read this book?


Filed under Weekly Posts

The Night Watch – Sarah Waters

Historical Fiction 5*s

Historical Fiction

I’m really not quite sure why I didn’t read this book when it was first published in 2006, an error I only realised when I read the fabulous The Paying Guests last year, as I had read and enjoyed all of her previous books. This was her first departure to a more modern setting, that being the 40s with all the details of London life during the war.

Part One starts in 1947 where we meet the lonely Kay, Viv and Helen who both work in a dating agency, and Viv’s brother Duncan who we find out was imprisoned but what for, we don’t find out until much later. The characters are fantastically painted, I felt that I was on the roof with Viv and Helen exchanging the very edges of their secrets whilst having a cigarette during their lunch break. Likewise the scenes of Duncan working at a factory joining in the banter as best as he can, then returning home to Uncle Horace, gave a real insight into his character. As in all of Sarah Waters novels, there are plenty of homosexual characters, but I wouldn’t say that the book is ‘about’ that, rather it deals with the human emotions of desire, guilt, betrayal and regret, the sexuality of the participants matters little although in this novel we do get a sense of the secrecy and deception that was a necessary part of life at this time.

Part Two then takes us back in time to 1944, with rationing and bombs at their peak we see Kay as a practical ambulance driver whilst Vivian works as a secretary at the Ministry of War and Helen works at the town hall. The changes that have been made in Kay’s life in the intervening years is particularly shocking; in three years she has gone from playing an important role to being reduced to sitting at home watching the world go by from her window.

Part Three takes us further back again to 1941 where we finally learn why Duncan was imprisoned and how the lives of the main characters became intertwined. The three parts as a whole show us the consequences of actions in the past impacting lives in the present in a heart-breaking way.

Knowing the ending, or at least part of it, before you get to the beginning of a story lent this book a peculiar feeling of poignancy, as well as inevitably giving the reader a few ‘ahh’ moments as the actions of our main characters begin to make a little more sense once we know what had happened in the past. This way of revealing the story also meant that I wanted to go back to the beginning, willing the 1947 part to go just that little bit further, to give me some sense of completeness to the character’s lives that hold the promise of a future never to be told.

This isn’t a fast moving book and nor does it have any great mystery, the delight is in the assured writing style, the everyday nuggets that in lesser books I would term padding, but for some reason for this author each scene adds something to the atmosphere that unfolds and so despite being a fairly long book, I certainly didn’t feel it was too long – I was left wanting more. The depiction of a ruined London was so evocative, I could easily imagine myself hearing the bombs and seeing, and smelling the fires that came in their wake. The London streets seen through the eyes of someone walking in the darkness of the blackout had a truly eerie feel to them. As always Sarah Waters has done her research, and for anyone with an interest in this period of history her acknowledgement page contains a huge list of books that she used to make sure the scenes that she so wonderfully bought to life were based on fact.

I still feel that The Paying Guests is my favourite of this author’s books to date, but this is definitely a book that I can quite easily see myself re-reading in the future to further explore the beautiful and often tragic narrative. This isn’t a book for readers who want plenty of action and I did find it got off to a bit of a slow start, but as a whole this is one that I will remember and ponder over for some time to come.


Filed under Books I have read

Stacking the Shelves (September 26)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

First up this week I have a copy of 24 Hours by Claire Seeber which is due to be published on 9 October 2015.

24 Hours


My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.
But it was meant to be me.
Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.
Before he finds out I’m still alive. NetGalley

I have a copy of The Shadow Life by Hannah Richell
borrowed from a friend after enjoying her debut novel Secrets of the Tides back in 2012.

The Shadow Year


1980. On a hot summer’s day five friends stumble upon an abandoned cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. Isolated and run-down, it offers a retreat, somewhere they can escape from the world. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise…
Three decades later, Lila arrives at the remote cottage. Bruised from a tragic accident and with her marriage in crisis, she finds renovating the tumbledown house gives her a renewed sense of purpose. But why did the cottage’s previous inhabitants leave their belongings behind? And why can’t she shake the feeling that someone is watching her? Amazon

Lastly after being engrossed by The Go-Between last Sunday evening on BBC One I have a copy of the book by L.P. Hartley

The Go-Betweeen


When one long, hot summer, young Leo is staying with a school-friend at Brandham Hall, he begins to act as a messenger between Ted, the farmer, and Marian, the beautiful young woman up at the hall. He becomes drawn deeper and deeper into their dangerous game of deceit and desire, until his role brings him to a shocking and premature revelation. Goodreads

So there are my finds – What have you found to read this week?


Filed under Weekly Posts

Where They Found Her – Kimberly McCreight

Psychological Thriller 4*s

Psychological Thriller

I was very tempted by this author’s previous novel Reconstructing Amelia but sadly didn’t get around to reading it, so when I saw this one on NetGalley I was keen to give it a try.

And boy does this book start with a bang! Molly Anderson has joined the local paper in Ridgedale, a big step since she had suffered a stillbirth eighteen months earlier and had suffered with severe depression as a result. With the help of her husband Justin and a move to a new area Molly is slowly becoming more confident in parenting her daughter Ella and hoping to make new friends in the area when she is asked to stand in for the chief reporter as he is in hospital. Molly makes her way to the edge of Ridgedale University campus where a body has been found – to her horror the body is that of a very small infant. The question is whose baby is it? Will Molly be able to put her grief to one side and report on the issue without it compromising her recovery?

This book uses one of my favourite devices, the links of various characters to tell a story and in this book, all the key characters we meet are connected in some way and the way their stories are intertwine as the plot unfolds. Although much of this tale is revealed through Molly’s eyes we are also treated to transcripts from her psychiatrist, a mother of a classmate of Ella’s and a teenage girl as well as a diary dating back nearly twenty years. I am a real fan of multiple viewpoints in books, but only when it is well executed, and this one is done superbly. Every switch was easy to follow and each piece had something to add to the overall story with the pieces of the past colliding with the present until all the information comes together and the truth is revealed. As well as the multiple viewpoints we also have different ways of reporting the story including some of Molly’s reports for the paper complete with comments which I have to admit felt a little bit forced in this instance, although I am an avid reader of these in ‘real life.’

With the truth being revealed in pieces the author cleverly maintains the tension and this story had me gripped as I wanted to know the secrets that were hiding in the various strands because this book isn’t just about the baby’s body, this small community where crime is rarely committed is hiding a lot more. I enjoy it when books have a decent range of characters both in terms of age and situation, and the Rigedale community is well represented in this tale. Kimberley McCreight presents us with a wide range of characters including some that first appeared to be real horrors, although through the excellent writing I later grew to understand some of them, if not like them.

A very satisfying and intricate novel which I really enjoyed, this is very much a character driven novel and although the police are involved to be honest it is lucky for them that they have someone who is as keen to get answers as Molly because they don’t seem to have much of a sense of urgency, or even the most basic detection skills.
I’d like to thank the publishers Simon & Schuster for my copy of this book in return for my honest opinion. Where They Found Her was published yesterday 24 September 2015 here in the UK.


Filed under Books I have read

Little Girl Gone – Alexandra Burt

Psychological Thriller 3*s

Psychological Thriller

Estelle Paradise woke up one morning to find baby Mia missing from her cot, not only that but her clothes, nappies and all the other paraphernalia that goes along with a small baby has disappeared too.

As the title doesn’t just beg comparisons, it actively behaves like a teenage cheerleader to make sure we don’t miss them, to the recent hit books in the psychological thriller/domestic noir genre of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, it would be remiss of me not to comment on them; this definitely fits into the psychological thriller genre, there is an unreliable narrator and someone is missing! That said, this is actually a far more thoughtful book, dealing with postpartum psychosis although efforts have been made to create the tension and twists and turns required to match these books. More of that later…

We first meet Estelle when she is in a hospital bed following a car accident, oh and part of her ear is missing! She has police guards at the door and her husband Jack is firing questions at her about what has happened to baby Mia, there is just one problem, Estelle has amnesia and can’t remember.

The media goes wild when the news breaks that Estelle didn’t report Mia missing and the assumption is made that one or both parents are involved in her disappearance, after all, what other explanation could there be? Estelle is quickly packed off to psychiatric hospital to help recover her memory and vast swathes of the book are taken up with her sessions with Dr Ari and Estelle and Jack’s history told through flashbacks. What the public doesn’t know and the reader does is that Estelle struggled with motherhood and her biggest fear is that she did have something to do with Mia’s disappearance, and as such this is a fascinating look at postpartum psychosis. So to the characters: I was quite ok with not liking many of the characters, I did have some sympathy with Estelle especially as her history was revealed, but I found Jack lacked depth, if you want a portrayal of the most emotionally absent husband, this is your book.

So back to the twists and turns, despite a strong start I found these to get progressively more far-fetched and at that point I found this book harder to engage with. The biggest surprise is when we find out the solution to the mystery the book carries on for a considerable amount of time, this to me felt like overkill and is the part that made me decide that I won’t be recommending this one to other readers, simply it should have finished at what I consider to be the right time.

I was lucky enough to receive my copy of this book through Amazon Vine in return for my honest opinion. Little Girl Gone also appears to being published under the title Remember Mia, which to my mind is a far more appropriate title, and is due to be published today, 24 September 2015.


Filed under Books I have read