Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Shape of Lies – Rachel Abbott #BlogTour


Crime Fiction
5*s

 

I’m going to start by saying I’m a huge fan of Rachel Abbott’s writing and of Tom Douglas in particular. This series of books set in Manchester is now up to number eight. Now there will be some book-lovers who will say, ‘the series is already too far through, I can’t start now!’ I disagree (although don’t tell the author) as although I have read these books, eagerly, in order, the stories are all unique and so although we have DCI Tom Douglas to lead the way through the mysteries, he doesn’t have a huge back story to keep track of and therefore I am certain that these books would all work really well as standalone reads. Of course once you’ve read one you may well need to catch up on the rest but that’s a book lover’s problem for another day, right?

As with all crime fiction you probably don’t want me to spend too much time rehashing the synopsis so instead I am going to talk about why I enjoy this series so much with a few hints along the way to let you know what The Shape of Lies has in store for you.

I like books where even though my life is (thankfully) far more boring than the chief protagonist, Anna Franklyn, I could put myself in her shoes with no problem at all. We’ve all listened to variations of the cheesy radio shows where people ring in with tales of lost loves… in this version called ‘The One That Got Away’ well how would you feel if one day it seemed to be your story? What’s worse the man Scott is threatening to tell all, and the thing is he’s dead! I tell you I read this part and could feel the hairs on the back of my neck raise, and at that point I had no idea quite what Anna had to fear.

Books that have a moral dilemma, something to make me think about what I would do in the same situation, or more prosaically at what point in a relationship do you come clean about some of those big things in the past, always get me thinking, and I like thinking whilst I read.

There is a lot made these days of crime fiction being full of twists and turns and while I’m not sure I set as much store on this aspect as the marketing bods seem to think I should, I can’t deny there is a certain amount of pleasure in being surprised. Rachel Abbott always surprises me. The entire premise of this book takes a look at an aspect of crime that hasn’t been covered in any of the previous books by this author, and it isn’t one of those that comes up frequently in crime fiction either.

In amongst the lies, deceit and quite frankly odd coincidences that are unsurprisingly preoccupying Anna as she tries so desperately hard to keep a lid on things at home in front of her stay at home husband and two small children, DCI Tom Douglas and DI Becky Robinson have two murders to solve… oh yes, this is crime fiction at its most complex.

But one of the key things after the basics of plot and pacing is the characterisation. Now I don’t need to like the character, after all they are created to be judged, aren’t they? I wasn’t a huge fan of Anna’s but I think she was pitched perfectly. Professionally she is extremely capable, a headteacher of an Academy, respected by staff and children alike but she has another side, one that doesn’t seem to have moved on all that far from the days when she was in a relationship with Scott and she lives caught between the stories she’s told so often that she almost believes them herself. As my mother would have quoted ‘What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive’

In short this is a book that had me gripped! It is a great author that leads you to the edge of the story and then immerses you in a world you never really knew existed.  My poor emotions  see-sawed as the revelations made me re-evaluate what I knew to that point. This is not a book to start if you don’t have time to finish it!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Rachel and Maura for providing me with an advance review copy of The Shape of Lies and allowing me to marvel at Tom Douglas once more. This unbiased review is my thank you to them.

First Published UK: 12 February 2019
Publisher: Black Dot Publishing Ltd
No of Pages: 339
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

The Rachel Abbott DCI Tom Douglas Books in order:

Only The Innocent
The Back Road
Sleep Tight
Stranger Child
Nowhere Child (Novella)
Kill Me Again
The Sixth Window
Come a Little Closer

Psychological Thriller

And So it Begins

 

About Rachel Abbott

Author of one of 2018’s Times crime books of the year, Rachel Abbott, the UK’s no.1 bestselling independent author, proves once again why she is ‘the queen of psychological thrillers’ with an intense and compelling examination of the toxic impact of lies, deception and guilt.

Rachel Abbott, born and raised in Manchester, founded her own interactive media company in the 1980s, before selling it and retiring in 2005. She then moved to Italy where she worked on the renovation of a 15th century Italian monastery, and it was here that, one day, she found herself snowed in and decided to begin writing for pleasure. This became her debut novel, Only The Innocent, which she went on to publish via Kindle Direct Publishing, topping their chart for 4 weeks.

A true self-publishing pioneer, The Shape of Lies is Abbott’s ninth novel. She splits her time between Alderney in the Channel Islands and Italy.

Rachel Abbott is available for interview and to write articles.

http://www.rachel-abbott.com • @RachelAbbott • http://www.facebook.com/RachelAbbott1Writer

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

And So It Begins – Rachel Abbott

Psychological Thriller
5*s

An entire rug woven with complicated relationships is the best way to describe And So It Begins, the first psychological thriller to be shared from the pen of the hugely talented Rachel Abbott.

Mark, Evie and Cleo (great choice of name) are all too bound up in each other’s lives for any sort of common sense to prevail, and there is a dead wife hovering over Mark’s shoulder to ensure the intensity is driven to the highest level.

But first lets go to where it begins. A phone call from a woman in distress alarms the local Cornish police and so Sergeant Stephanie King races to the impressive house of Mark, or Marcus North. It isn’t the first time she’s been there, last time his wife was found dead, in the basement. This time it is Mark that’s dead and we know who did it, Evie, his girlfriend, the mother of his daughter. She freely admits that’s the case but our tenacious Sergeant wants to know why.

Mark was married to Mia, hence the impressive house, the money was hers. But his sister Cleo didn’t approve, she barely disguised her dislike of Mia who didn’t give Mark the encouragement and praise he deserved (in her eyes) over his photographic genius. Mia died in what is assumed to be a tragic accident having tripped up running downstairs by an undone shoelace – see our mother’s always warned us that this could happen!

While Mark is in the depths of depression after Mia’s death, Evie walks into the gallery managed by Cleo that showcases his art. She wants to commission a series of photos of herself for her father. Cleo seeing an opportunity to make money and raise Mark’s profile insists that he meet with the young woman with connections, and it is from here that we move towards those opening pages.

This story was pleasingly partly set in the courtroom where Evie stands charged either with murder or manslaughter and it is here that we begin to see how the relationship between the three has been based upon secrets and lies.

Rachel Abbott’s books are so satisfying. This is an author who is able to tell a story and one that is relevant to contemporary life. Her characters, as in the previous books, are fully rounded and although I wasn’t particularly a fan of my namesake I can’t deny she was interesting! Great characterisation isn’t just confined to the key protagonists, from the police, to the lawyers and those that only get a brief look in through the story, they are all ‘real’.

There is no doubt that this is an engaging tale and one that I read compulsively, I needed to know if what I believed was the truth at the beginning was actually the truth but as my reading progressed, like all good psychological thrillers, the writer made me change my opinion, time and time again. However this isn’t a book of trickery, you know the type, when you finally turn that last page and contemplate what you’ve read, you feel like the writer has been playing with you. Not Rachel Abbott, the clues were there, no trickery involved, you just need to look at the puzzle through the right prism.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the author for arranging an advance copy of And So It Begins to be sent to me. This unbiased review is my thanks to her for a hugely absorbing and entertaining read. This is one psychological thriller that you don’t want to miss!

First Published UK:  11 October 2018
Publisher: Wildfire
No of Pages: 416
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Come A Little Closer – Rachel Abbott #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview

The publication of another DCI Tom Douglas always provokes excitement and so I was thrilled to take part on the BlogTour to promote its publication on 15 February 2018.

Before we get to my review of the latest thrilling episode Rachel Abbott kindly agreed to tell me about her last five reads – spookily so many of these, well all in fact, also sit on my own bookshelf. How many are on yours?

My Last Five Reads by Rachel Abbott

I have just finished a book called Hell Bay by the wonderful Kate Rhodes. I have been a fan of her books for a number of years, and nobody gives a better sense of place or character than this author. The body of a teenage girl is washed up on the shore of a small island in the Scilly Isles and a new detective – DI Ben Kitto – is asked to investigate. I suspect this is not the last we will see of Kitto – I certainly hope not.

 

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is another of my recent reads. Such a clever plot, and the strands slowly come together to a dramatic conclusion. It’s another story about a teenage girl who goes missing, but ten years later, when her mother has given up all hope of finding Ellie, she meets a new man and her heart almost stops when she meets his daughter. She is the image of Ellie. It is rare when a thriller also breaks your heart, but this one does just that.

This book isn’t out until April, but it’s available for pre-order now. I was lucky enough to be able to get a pre-release copy. As with all books by Sharon Bolton, one of my favourite authors, The Craftsman delivers compulsive reading. Dark and disturbing, it is the story of a Larry Glassbrook who confesses to a series of child murders. But now he is dead, and the young policewoman who originally arrested him returns to the scene. Did she get it wrong all those years ago, or is history about to repeat itself?

Although there is nothing current about this book, I recently reread Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I was asked to run a workshop on How to Write Suspense, and I wanted to use examples from a single book. Rebecca was the first novel to come to mind, and reading it with the specific purpose of focusing on the language was a wonderful experience. I have always loved the story – which I suspect needs no introduction to readers of this blog – but this time I enjoyed it for du Maurier’s amazing choice of words.

One of the books I have been looking forward to since I first heard of it is Anatomy of a Scandal (and what a brilliant title!). It is the story of a junior Home Office minister, James, who is accused of rape by one of this colleagues. The point of view shifts between James, his wife and the prosecuting barrister, and author Sarah Vaughan manages to combine all the elements of a psychological thriller with a tense and exciting court room drama. It was certainly worth waiting for; the plot twists and turns to the very end.

 

All I can say is that Rachel Abbott has very good taste in books!

My Review

Crime Fiction
5*s

Well we are already up to number seven in the DCI Tom Douglas and all I can say is Rachel Abbott keeps coming up with original ideas for our dear detective to solve. This book is dark and yet delicious.

I’ll admit I was a tad confused at the beginning. First there is a dead body in a twitcher’s hide with no clue how she got there, next there a young woman is jetting away from her awful boyfriend to visit Myanmar in memory of her dearly missed grandfather and lastly and most confusingly there are some women, who don’t talk and listen for footsteps. All very weird and if I didn’t trust Rachel Abbott as much as I do, I’d swear she’d lost the plot so to speak. Fortunately she hasn’t, it’s all under control, careful control with more than a dash of inspirational writing.

As always I was drawn into the story, ok I might not have had a clue what was unfolding but that doesn’t mean that each separate strand wasn’t compelling in its own right and I was more than happy to follow wherever it took me. Well that was a mistake, this book freaked me out! This author knows how to pull the spook out of the bag without any warning. Give me blood and gore any day to something that is completely crazy on one level, but absolutely believable on another. This is all the harder because the book is jam-packed full of action and so you barely have time to catch your breath following revelations in one strand when you are hit with something big in another strand.

As you can probably tell, I’m not able to give much away of what the plot consists of as that would entirely spoil the surprise for you. What I can say is we have the same characters in the Manchester CID. Becky is pregnant and not willing to sit back and watch Tom have all the excitement, the junior officer is a clever cookie and will clearly go far sitting back and putting the clues together to move the investigation forward and the chief is still urging Tom to attend meetings about crime figures. The other characters are brilliantly drawn with Ian the awful boyfriend being a composition of men you will have met in your lifetime however lucky you’ve been. Callie his girlfriend is far too nice but just finding the guts to do what she wants, hence the solo trip to Myanmar. The women in the shadows are also real women, once they speak, underlining one of the trademarks of these books that even the minor characters are not skimped. The look and behave as people you meet do. Ok so hopefully the people you meet aren’t in quite so much danger, but you know what I mean.

If you’re reading this series you really don’t want to miss out on this episode, it starts well and builds into such a crescendo it had me gasping for breath. If you aren’t reading this series and you enjoy brilliant crime fiction, why not?

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Rachel for providing me with an advance review copy of Come A Little Closer and for agreeing to provide an insight into her own reading habits. This unbiased review is my thank you to her.

First Published UK: 15 February 2018
Publisher: Black Dot Publishing Ltd
No of Pages: 406
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Discover Rachel Abbott here

Web : http://www.rachel-abbott.com
Blog: rachelabbottwriter.com
Twitter: @RachelAbbott
Facebook: RachelAbbott1Writer
Video: https://vimeo.com/253996703

 

The Rachel Abbott DCI Tom Douglas Books in order:

Only The Innocent
The Back Road
Sleep Tight
Stranger Child
Nowhere Child (Novella)
Kill Me Again
The Sixth Window

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Sixth Window – Rachel Abbott

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

I have followed this series since first discovering it soon after becoming a kindle owner back in 2010 and have eagerly awaited each new book ever since. Rachel Abbott creates believable scenarios which touch on the important, and gritty subjects, that we might like to close our eyes to but never forgets that what the reader wants is a cracking good story. Better still her lead detective, the handsome and caring DCI Tom Douglas, creates an attractive backdrop, well, in my mind anyway.

In The Sixth Window Natalie Grey finds something disturbing on her partner’s laptop which throws her into a panic. So much so that she wants to scoop up her daughter Scarlett and take her to a place of safety. But part of her can’t believe that what she’s seen is true. After all she’s known Ed Cooper since she was a teenager, all through her marriage to his best friend Bernie and he was the person she turned to when he was killed in a hit and run accident.

As a temporary measure Natalie finds Scarlett and herself a furnished flat to rent in an old building in Manchester. Scarlett is bored, it is the summer holidays and she is far from her friends but hey she’s got plenty of school-work to be getting on with and the library is close by. Yes, that isn’t what happens at all. As I said Rachel Abbott writes believable stories, not fairy tales! Instead Scarlett mooches around her new home bored and angry with her mother until she hears voices… having discovered that the apartment is built on the site of an old workhouse, Scarlett wonders if she is hearing echoes from the past, needless to say she decides to investigate.

Meanwhile the disturbing suicide of a young girl is keeping our favourite DCI busy and there is a link to Natalie and Scarlett which he can’t ignore and as Bernie’s name keeps coming up in his investigations Tom Douglas has to face the fact that the former policeman may have been hiding a secret that his wife isn’t ready to confront. By this point in the plot I was well and truly hooked and found myself turning the pages ever faster as my brain whirred around trying to cling onto the facts while the suspicions swirled all around. This really is a fast-moving plot with plenty of the intrigue which I love. The characters are well-drawn and even if Natalie is prone to putting her head in the sand over some of the discoveries made, I liked the fact that she was determined to protect her teenage daughter no matter what. This combined with the recent loss of her husband meant that I was able to sympathise with her, which was in direct contrast to some of the other characters I met during The Sixth Window, who were downright creepy, none more so than the janitor of the building, the description Rachel provides of this dear soul is far from flattering, I do hope it wasn’t based on anyone she knows!

As with all my favourite crime fiction novels, The Sixth Window has a number of strands which are deftly pulled together to provide a scary picture which sadly isn’t quite as far from the truth as we may like to believe. I don’t normally mention the endings of books, for obvious reasons, but this one had me literally gasping with disbelief as my jaw dropped. In conclusion this book is the best in the series yet, brilliant plot, contemporary storyline, great characterisation which culminates in what on reflection seemed to be the only ending possible.

I’d like to thank the author Rachel Abbott who kindly gave me a copy of The Sixth Window, not for review purposes, although how could I not review this! For any of you who use NetGalley it is available for request and you will be able to pre-order the kindle copy from Amazon soon. The publication date for this being 21 February 2017.

First Published UK: 21 February 2017
Publisher: Black Dot Publishing
No of Pages: approx 350
Genre: Crime Fiction Series

Amazon UK

Discover Rachel Abbott here

Web : http://www.rachel-abbott.com

Blog: rachelabbottwriter.com

Twitter: @RachelAbbott

Facebook: RachelAbbott1Writer

The Rachel Abbott DCI Tom Douglas Books in order:

Only The Innocent
The Back Road
Sleep Tight
Stranger Child
Nowhere Child (Novella)
Kill Me Again

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Kill Me Again – Rachel Abbott

Crime Thriller 5*s
Crime Thriller
5*s

I am a huge Rachel Abbott fan and have been since I read the first book in this series which features Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas back in 2012. I have been eager to get each subsequent book full of anticipation to see what is served up next. This may be a series but the ‘feel’ of each of the books is quite different, often looking at a different type of criminal or victim and really getting to the heart of the thoughts of those involved.

In Kill Me Again we first witness a woman opening the door to two figures, their faces covered by Chinese masks and speaking with surprisingly refined accents. We don’t know who the woman and this is a chilling opening and intimates that the crimes that are going to be revealed are scary on a whole different level!

Next we meet Maggie Taylor, a defence lawyer, new to the firm and Manchester and being the chosen one to speak to a man she believes ‘is the devil himself.’ Maggie’s ambition to work with more complex criminal cases has got off to a tough start, after all she’s there to figure out the best defence possible for Alf Horton. Already spooked when she is driving back home she receives a call from her son, her husband has left eight-year old Josh and five-year old Lily alone in their secluded vicarage. Duncan it seems had received a message and just walked out, where he has gone and why, is a complete mystery. Over the next few days Maggie is forced to contemplate just how much she knows about her husband.

We don’t have too long to wait until we are back with the police and a corpse has been found and the victim looks like Tom’s ex-girlfriend Leo, DI Becky Robinson doesn’t know what to do but decides that involving their boss Detective Superintendent Philippa Stanley is her only option.
As all this is going on we also have some excerpts which appear to relate to crimes committed some twelve years ago, crimes that Tom was investigating on and yet remained unsolved.

As in her previous books the crimes are complex, the story-lines interesting and appealing. Not only is there a puzzle to be solved, a murderer to be found but as the storyline unfolds there is also plenty to ponder on obviously the motives of the perpetrator and in this instance how easy it can be to become a victim of lies whilst appearing to be the least likely person to be taken in by an out-and-out liar. Kill Me Again explores the psychology of psychopaths and sociopaths, it poses some good old-fashioned moral dilemmas and allowed me to play the game of ‘what would I do?’ Yet it does all this without once dropping a thread in the at times seemingly disparate threads, slowly weaving the tale together all the while ramping up the tension and giving a more than a few heart-stopping moments with some furious action.

I’ve given all this authors books five stars, they are my favourite kind of read with plenty to think about, and believe me that doesn’t stop when you’ve turned the last page, but this surpasses the previous novels, I was wowed by Kill Me Again on many different levels and the fact that I got one small piece of the puzzle figured just made me feel like perhaps I wouldn’t make a completely rubbish detective after all!

I have to say a huge thank you to Rachel Abbott who provided me with the advance review copy of this book to read, believe me you could do much better than pick up a copy of this book which will be published on 17 February 2016.

You can also contact Rachel Abbott at the following places and if you act quickly you can join in with her launch party next week which I will be attending, the previous ones have been loads of fun!

Web : http://www.rachel-abbott.com

Blog: rachelabbottwriter.com

Twitter: @RachelAbbott

Facebook: RachelAbbott1Writer

The DCI Tom Douglas Books in order:

Read more about the previous books in the series:

Only The Innocent

Only The Innocent

Blurb

When Laura Fletcher approaches her home in Oxfordshire to find hordes of photographers crowding the gates, she knows there is something terribly wrong. She is faced with the shocking news that her husband is dead –
brutally murdered – and according to Chief Inspector Tom Douglas, there is little doubt that the murderer is a woman.
In a marriage that has taken her from the glamorous five sar luxury of London, Venice and Positano to a bleak and draughty manor house in rural Oxfordshire, Laura has learned to guard her secrets well. She is not alone. It would appear that all the women in her husband’s life have something to hide.
But there is one secret that she has never shared, and when the investigation reaches its dramatic and horrific climax, she realises that she has no choice. She has to give Tom Douglas the final piece of the puzzle. And this changes everything, leaving Douglas with a terrible dilemma: whether to punish the guilty, or protect the innocent.


The Back Road

Back Road

Blurb

A girl lies close to death in a dark, deserted lane.
A driver drags her body to the side of the road.
A shadowy figure hides in the trees, watching and waiting.
The small community of Little Melham is in shock.
For Ellie Saunders, last night’s hit and run on the back road could destroy everything she has. She was out that night, but if she reveals where she was and why, her family will be torn apart. She is living on a knife-edge, knowing that her every move is being observed.
Ellie’s new neighbour, former Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas has moved to the village for some well-deserved peace and quiet, but as he is drawn into the web of deceit his every instinct tells him that what happened that night was more than a tragic accident.
As past and present collide, best-kept secrets are revealed and lives are devastated. Only one person knows the whole story. And that person will protect the truth no matter what the cost.

Sleep Tight
click on the book cover to read my review

Sleep Tight

Stranger Child
click on the book cover to read my review

Stranger Child

Nowhere Child
click on the book cover to read my review

Nowhere Child

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Nowhere Child – Rachel Abbott

Novella - Crime Fiction 5*s
Novella – Crime Fiction
5*s

In Rachel Abbott’s fourth book, Stranger Child, published earlier this year we met Natasha Joseph, or Tash as she is more normally called. Tash had returned to the home of her father, six years after she had disappeared without trace where she meets her father’s second wife Emma. In this short follow up Rachel Abbott, after calls from her many fans, allows the reader learn what happened to Tash after the open ending as far as her part of the story is concerned.

I met Rachel in our local Waterstones in the summer when she told me of this plan, and to be honest I was unsure. I was quite happy with the admittedly open ending, and not entirely sure that we need to know everything, but then I got my copy and I changed my mind…

Rachel has managed to keep up the high standards and weave an evocative tale for Tash who we first meet sheltering in a tunnel, cold and hungry, but she has a most appealing friend Andy who is helping to keep her safe on the streets of Manchester, unaware that she was caught up in the kidnap of her father’s son, Ollie, a dear little baby who got caught up in a plot that began when Tash’s mother died and she disappeared for six years.

DI Tom Douglas of course, plays his role to perfection, I admit I am becoming increasingly fond of this decent policeman who features in all of Rachel’s books. Emma is out on the streets offering cake to the homeless in the hope that someone will tell her where to find Tash but nine months on and she is no closer to finding her. Then someone offers Andy serious money to tell them where she is. Tash wonders if the police are offering money so that she can be arrested or perhaps they want her to testify at the trial of the man arrested following the kidnap plot. Or even more terrifying perhaps her original captors want her back! With Andy’s help Tash makes more concerted efforts to hide, but will she succeed?

This short book paints a picture of life on the streets for young teens, which felt realistic, the descriptions of hunger cold made me feel guilty as I was curled up in my nice warm house with a plentiful supply of food. Despite being an addition to the previous book, this one doesn’t have a pedestrian feel, the tension mounts to a high level as the hunted Tash desperately tries to avoid being captured.

To enjoy Nowhere Child, you really do need to have read Stranger Child, but if you haven’t you can read this back to back for a fully rounded tale although I’m almost tempted to ask Rachel to give us Andy’s backstory – a wonderful secondary character, bought to life in a few but well-chosen words.

Nowhere Child will be published on 14 October 2015.

Rachel Abbott has been named as Amazon’s bestselling #1 independent author in the UK over the last five years and #14 of all authors on kindle over the same period – we can’t all be wrong, if you haven’t tried her books, you really should!

Previous Books in the series:
Only The Innocent
The Back Road
Sleep Tight
Stranger Child

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Stranger Child – Rachel Abbott

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

Stranger Child is Rachel Abbott’s fourth book but rest assured, she hasn’t run out of good ideas yet.

Emma Joseph is married to David a successful man whose first wife, Caroline, died in a car accident six years before. Emma lives with the reminder of her beauty in a painting and the memories of the long years where she supported him with his grief because David didn’t just lose his wife in the accident before the emergency services arrived his six-year-old daughter, Natasha, disappeared, seemingly into thin air. Finally life is looking up and Emma and David have had baby Ollie and Emma is enjoying motherhood and then one day everything changes,

What would you do if you were at home gazing out of the kitchen window and this happened?

It was a pair of eyes. A pair of eyes that were behind her, watching. Close behind her. In her kitchen. A beam of sunlight burst through the black clouds, hitting the kitchen window and obliterating the reflection as if it had never been there. Emma’s fingers gripped the edge of the sink. Had she imagined it? But as quickly as the sun had come out, it was chased away by the squally clouds and the mirror image returned. Locking eyes with the ghostly reflection that ebbed and flowed as the light outside adjusted from black to grey, Emma groped along the draining board, searching with her fingers for a weapon. Reaching up to the cutlery holder, she felt a sharp pain and a rush of liquid warmth as her fingers grasped the blade of a sharp boning knife, and she followed the steel down to grip the handle with damp, sticky fingers.

It doesn’t take long before Emma calls on her friend DCI Tom Douglas, who readers of Rachel Abbott’s previous books will remember. In my mind’s eye he is dashingly gorgeous and a thoroughly upright Police Officer who really cares about the victims in the cases he investigates. Anyway I digress, Emma soon realises that perhaps in this situation she shouldn’t have involved the Police as things get much, much worse.

I love a good psychological thriller and this one definitely has the thrill aspect at its heart assisted by the fast pace full of tension from the opening sentence.This is one of those books that I shelve under compulsive reading, I know from the start that I’m in for a treat and I just have to keep flicking the pages to see what delightful twist will present itself on the next page, to observe each character adapt as they accustom themselves to new pieces of information the events unfold. One of the things I love about Rebecca Abbott’s writing is that her characters feel realistic because they react like real people even in extraordinary situations, although there are several people in this book that I wouldn’t fancy meeting on a dark night, or even in broad daylight! As in the previous books Tom Douglas is working with Becky Robinson and it is lovely to have such a supportive working relationship within crime fiction and although we only ever get snippets of their personal lives it is clear that Tom is still struggling to come to terms with his elder brother’s death some years before.

The only complaint I have is that the short chapters that break up the 350+ pages meant that I felt like a child again as I murmured to myself, just one more chapter, at least a dozen times after I should have been fast asleep and saying to your colleagues that you’re tired because you read too much the night before didn’t really garner me much sympathy.

If you haven’t read any of Rachel Abbott’s earlier books in this series, you really should although each one can be comfortably be read as a stand-alone as no reference is made to previous cases so once you’re hooked you can start at the beginning.

I was given a copy of this book to read and review prior to the publication date of 24 February 2015.

Rachel Abbott is the UK’s most successful independently published author. She was born just outside Manchester. She became a systems analyst, forming her own software company in the mid-80s and selling it in 2000. She then moved with her husband to Italy and bought a small ruined monastery with its own chapel, restoring it and making it into a home. In 2009 she decided to try writing a novel. Only The Innocent was published in 2011 and was a number 1 e-book bestseller for four weeks from mid-February 2012. Her subsequent books, The Back Road and Sleep Tight, were also bestsellers. Her work is translated into seven languages. Following the report of her million sales in The Sunday Times, Rachel Abbott declared herself ‘astounded’ by the numbers, and by the fact that her first three  books had remained in the Amazon Kindle top 100 for the best part of six months.

Buy your copy from  Amazon

You can also contact Rachel Abbott at the following places and if you act quickly you can join in with her launch party next week which I will be attending to try and win one of the prizes!

Web :               rachel-abbott.com

Blog:                rachelabbottwriter.com

Twitter:           @Rachel__Abbott

Facebook:        RachelAbbott1Writer

The Rachel Abbot Books in order:

Read more about the previous books in the series:

Only The Innocent

Only The Innocent

Blurb

When Laura Fletcher approaches her home in Oxfordshire to find hordes of photographers crowding the gates, she knows there is something terribly wrong. She is faced with the shocking news that her husband is dead –
brutally murdered – and according to Chief Inspector Tom Douglas, there is little doubt that the murderer is a woman.
In a marriage that has taken her from the glamorous five sar luxury of London, Venice and Positano to a bleak and draughty manor house in rural Oxfordshire, Laura has learned to guard her secrets well. She is not alone. It would appear that all the women in her husband’s life have something to hide.
But there is one secret that she has never shared, and when the investigation reaches its dramatic and horrific climax, she realises that she has no choice. She has to give Tom Douglas the final piece of the puzzle. And this changes everything, leaving Douglas with a terrible dilemma: whether to punish the guilty, or protect the innocent.


The Back Road

Back Road

Blurb

A girl lies close to death in a dark, deserted lane.
A driver drags her body to the side of the road.
A shadowy figure hides in the trees, watching and waiting.
The small community of Little Melham is in shock.
For Ellie Saunders, last night’s hit and run on the back road could destroy everything she has. She was out that night, but if she reveals where she was and why, her family will be torn apart. She is living on a knife-edge, knowing that her every move is being observed.
Ellie’s new neighbour, former Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas has moved to the village for some well-deserved peace and quiet, but as he is drawn into the web of deceit his every instinct tells him that what happened that night was more than a tragic accident.
As past and present collide, best-kept secrets are revealed and lives are devastated. Only one person knows the whole story. And that person will protect the truth no matter what the cost.

Sleep Tight
click on the book cover to read my review

Sleep Tight

Stranger Child

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Sleep Tight – Rachel Abbott

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

I have enjoyed both Rachel Abbott’s previous two books, The Innocent and the back road both of which deal with moral dilemmas so I purchased her latest book, Sleep Tight, on publication day 24 February 2014. This blurb indicates that this is a book about obsessive behaviour which is something that fascinates and scares me in equal measure.

When DCI Tom Douglas is called in to investigate a missing woman and her three children from her home in Manchester he is surprised to find that Olivia’s name has come up in previous investigations. He is left to ponder, how unlucky can one woman be?

Olivia first called the police when her partner, Dan, disappeared leaving her holding the baby, apart from a text apologising that was the last anyone heard of him. A couple of months later she calls the police after finding her parents dead in their house. All goes quiet for Olivia for a few years until she calls the police once again when her husband, Robert, disappears with her three children from their house and now two years later she has disappeared without trace. Tom Douglas is keen to put out an appeal to find them but Robert is unable to find a single photo of any of them.

This book contains everything that a good psychological thriller should; there is a great puzzle to be solved, an uncertainty about which characters can be believed as Olivia and Robert explain some of their actions the result being that some of what I read literally gave me goose bumps as I couldn’t help but imagine myself in Olivia’s shoes. Be warned some of the scenes in this book will make your heart race!

The series is now well-developed, DCI Tom Douglas and Sergeant Becky Robinson are likeable characters who work well together but this isn’t a police procedural, so although their back stories are evolving, they don’t overpower the focus of the book which centres on Olivia and Robert’s relationship. The power of Rachel Abbott’s writing is the fact that her characters behave like real people in that their reactions to events are realistic. That isn’t to say they react exactly how I would in every instance but the elements that make up the personalities are consistent which keeps the plot grounded without wild flights of fancy.

Sleep Tight is one of those rare books that deserves the moniker ‘page turner!’ one which means I have resented the intrusion of real people while my mind grappled with the events in Sleep Tight.

Although this is the third in the series which I have read in order I think this would work as a stand-alone, if like me the subject matter of obsession calls to you. Fortunately Rachel has indicated that there will be another book in the series which will tie up one of the unfinished aspects of DCI Tom Douglas’ personal life.

As an interesting (to me) aside, I have only just realised that Rachel Abbott lives in Alderney one of the sister Channel Islands to my home in Jersey. Alderney is the most northerly of the Channel Islands and I have to confess despite it being so close to home, I have never visited this tiny island of 3 by 1.5 miles which makes Jersey comparatively huge at 9 by 5 miles.

Sleep Tight – Amazon UK

Sleep Tight – Amazon US

Read more about the previous books in the series:

Only The Innocent

Only The Innocent

Blurb

When Laura Fletcher approaches her home in Oxfordshire to find hordes of photographers crowding the gates, she knows there is something terribly wrong. She is faced with the shocking news that her husband is dead –
brutally murdered – and according to Chief Inspector Tom Douglas, there is little doubt that the murderer is a woman.
In a marriage that has taken her from the glamorous five sar luxury of London, Venice and Positano to a bleak and draughty manor house in rural Oxfordshire, Laura has learned to guard her secrets well. She is not alone. It would appear that all the women in her husband’s life have something to hide.
But there is one secret that she has never shared, and when the investigation reaches its dramatic and horrific climax, she realises that she has no choice. She has to give Tom Douglas the final piece of the puzzle. And this changes everything, leaving Douglas with a terrible dilemma: whether to punish the guilty, or protect the innocent.


The Back Road

Back Road

Blurb

A girl lies close to death in a dark, deserted lane.
A driver drags her body to the side of the road.
A shadowy figure hides in the trees, watching and waiting.
The small community of Little Melham is in shock.
For Ellie Saunders, last night’s hit and run on the back road could destroy everything she has. She was out that night, but if she reveals where she was and why, her family will be torn apart. She is living on a knife-edge, knowing that her every move is being observed.
Ellie’s new neighbour, former Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas has moved to the village for some well-deserved peace and quiet, but as he is drawn into the web of deceit his every instinct tells him that what happened that night was more than a tragic accident.
As past and present collide, best-kept secrets are revealed and lives are devastated. Only one person knows the whole story. And that person will protect the truth no matter what the cost.

I almost wish that I’d known that this series was going to cover such a range of fantastic thrillers so that I’d started collecting them in paperback rather than reading them via eBook mainly, I have to admit for the covers, which are striking. Maybe Rachel will come to Jersey giving me the excuse to add these to my physical bookshelf too!

Contact Rachel Abbott, she has a fantastic trailer for Sleep Tight which is well worth watching!

Web : rachel-abbott.com
Blog: rachelabbottwriter.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Rachel__Abbott
Facebook: RachelAbbott1Writer

Sleep Tight

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Back Road – Rachel Abbott

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

Having really enjoyed Rachel Abbott’s first book Only the Innocent I was keen to see what she would serve up next. The Back Road didn’t disappoint. This is a book of many strands, one of which is the relationship between Ellie Saunders and her younger sister Leo. Leo has come to visit Ellie in her newly renovated house, the house where the girls were bought up with a missing father and cruel mother. Ellie wants to find out where their father is but his relationship with Leo has left her unable to trust men and she would rather leave the past behind.

The other strand centres on the village of Little Melham. This is a village with a number of secrets at its heart. When Abbie is found by the side of the road after a hit and run accident it appears that quite a large proportion of the inhabitants weren’t where they said they were.

There was plenty to keep the me entertained during this 313 page book, with affairs and secrets buried along with a spate of anonymous texts, I raced on to find out what would crawl out of the woodwork next! This book has a great plot and manages not to loose it’s way as the strands wind their way around each other and there were a good number of blind alleys to fool the reader. The ending was satisfying, although for once I had managed to work out who the perpetrator was this didn’t take any of the enjoyment away for me. A satisfying read.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 29)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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.

On 12 February 2019 The Shape of Lies by Rachel Abbott will be let loose to the eagerly awaiting fans of its chief protagonist DCI Tom Douglas. This is the eighth book in this series set in Manchester and for reasons only another booklover will understand, I’m unreasonably proud of the fact that I ‘discovered’ this author shortly after her first book was published, around the time that I first owned a kindle. Ever since, I have eagerly awaited the latest instalment. Furthermore it wasn’t until later that I realised that she is a fellow Channel Island dweller.

Blurb

Yesterday, Scott was dead. Today, he’s back.
And Anna doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Scott was Anna’s boyfriend. She loved him, but he ruined her life. When he died, she should have been free, but today Scott is on the radio, threatening to spill her secrets.

Anna is a mother, a wife, and head teacher of a primary school.
And she’s a good liar.

She made one mistake, and now she is having to pay for it. Scott is the only person who knows the truth about her past, but how can he be alive?

Soon, DCI Tom Douglas is going to knock on her door looking for answers. But Anna is already running scared: from the man she loved; the man she watched die; the man who has come back to life. Amazon

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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Monday

1

We all lie. To ourselves and to each other. We make excuses by referring to our untruths as fibs or white lies, trivialising them as harmless. Or we claim that they are necessary to shelter others from hurt. However we try to justify them, whatever their shape or form, they are still lies.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

I can’t disagree with this opening and when coupled with the synopsis (and title) it’s obvious that lies are at the heart of this novel.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?