Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Let Me Lie – Clare Mackintosh

Psychological Thriller
4*s

Anna Johnson lives in Cleveland Avenue, the house where she grew up in her happy family, just her, her mother and father. But all that has changed. Anna now lives in the house with her partner Mark, a grief therapist and her baby daughter Ella her mother and father having both committed suicide, jumping from Beachy Head within six months of each other.

Anna is getting used to being a new mother to baby Ella when on the first anniversary of her mother’s death she receives a disturbing anonymous letter that makes her question whether her death was suicide after all. Taking the letter to the police she meets the wonderful Murray Mackenzie, a former detective but one who’s employed as a civilian who works on the front desk at Lower Meads police station. Let me just say this book would not have been half as captivating without Murray and his back-story. Anyway, Murray decides to take up the challenge and looks into the deaths of both Anna’s parents.

This is a slow build novel, enjoy the calm while part one unfolds because all of that will soon change. As is common in this genre, the story is told from multiple viewpoints and part one concentrates on the lead up to the suicides. The day Anna found out her father was missing through her meeting of Mark, taking in the Chaplain that had tried to dissuade Caroline away from the cliff edge via the impact on Billy Johnson, her father’s brother and owner of the car dealership that Anna is now a co-owner of. All of this is background and a chance for the reader to put their own stake in the ground on whether someone is messing with Anna or was foul play involved.

I love books with twists and turns, and Clare Mackintosh delivers plenty, so many that at times she could have made me believe up was down. The book, given the subject of suicide, necessarily focusses on Anna reassessing the people that she thought she knew best, her parents, and putting what she knew into context with the memories she’d held so dear. She’s a young woman who has gone through turmoil over the last year and a half which means that those around her tend to treat her with care but her mother’s Goddaughter Laura has decided that the time has come for Anna to start tackling the outstanding paperwork. Will she come across more secrets?

This book is entirely built around secrets and lies – some were hiding in plain sight, other’s less so and the excerpts from an unknown writer only serve to remind the reader that no-one is to be trusted. Of course this means that you distrust everyone more or less from the start and oh my goodness that gives a lot of doubt for one novel!

I did enjoy this latest offering from someone who I consider one of the top writers in this genre. I needed to know what was true, and this is an author who isn’t so determined to keep us spinning that she forgets the link she has forged for us to the characters which means that there are some emotional moments to go with the draw-dropping twists.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Little Brown Book Group who kindly allowed me to read a copy of Let Me Lie prior to publication today, 8 March 2018. This unbiased review is my thanks to them, and the mistress of the twist, Clare Mackintosh.

First Published UK: 8 March 2018
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
No of Pages: 416
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Other books by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go
I See You

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (February 28)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy 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

I have just finished reading Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh which will be published on 8 March 2018 and I predict will swiftly become a best-seller.

Blurb

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.

Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to ask questions about her parents’ deaths. But by digging up the past, is she putting her future in danger? Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie . . . Amazon

I have just started reading And The Birds Kept On Singing by Simon Bourke a book from my own collection and enjoying it immensely.

Blurb

Pregnant at seventeen, Sinéad McLoughlin does the only thing she can; she runs away from home. She will go to England and put her child up for adoption. But when she lays eyes on it for the first time, lays eyes on him, she knows she can never let him go.

Just one problem. He’s already been promised to someone else.

A tale of love and loss, remorse and redemption, And The Birds Kept On Singing tells two stories, both about the same boy. In one Sinéad keeps her son and returns home to her parents, to nineteen-eighties Ireland and life as a single mother. In the other she gives him away, to the Philliskirks, Malcolm and Margaret, knowing that they can give him the kind of life she never could.

As her son progresses through childhood and becomes a young man, Sinéad is forced to face the consequences of her decision. Did she do the right thing? Should she have kept him, or given him away? And will she spend the rest of her life regretting the choices she has made? Amazon

Next I plan on reading Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley which will be published on 16 March 2018. This is the third in the Alex Devlin series which began with the brilliant The Bad Things and was followed by the equally captivating After She Fell.

Blurb

Secrets lie beneath the surface…

Two men, seemingly unconnected, are discovered dead in a holiday boat on the Norfolk Broads, having apparently committed suicide together.

Local journalist Alex Devlin, planning an article on the dangers of internet suicide forums, starts digging into their backgrounds.

But Alex’s investigation soon leads her to a much darker mystery – one that will hit closer to home than she could possibly have imagined, and place the lives of those she loves in terrible danger. Amazon

What are you reading? What do you think to my choices this week? Do share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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

I See You – Clare Mackintosh

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

I loved Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel I Let You Go I really did wonder whether her second book would reach anywhere near the same standard, I’m delighted and relieved to say there is no doubt that it does – if anything I was even more glued to I See You.

Not being a Londoner but having visited my Grandmother there many times over my formative years I am someone who has a great deal of affection for the underground, albeit from afar. When I take a trip these days I admit I’m less enamoured by the endless stairs, rushing on the escalators and sweaty bodies but I have never tired of working out the length of time my journey will take using her prescribed average of three minutes per stop, a ruse I think she employed to make doubly sure that every journey was packed full of maximum learning opportunity, and this was the mental maths section! Childhood memories of feeling the warm rush of air telling me the next tube was on its way and to ‘stand well away from the line or you’ll get sucked in’ will now be replaced with a whole different perspective because of I See You.

The premise of the book centres on Zoe Walker, a woman in her early forties who sees an advert in the London Gazette in amongst the escort services and chat lines which seems to be her picture. Slightly flustered she takes the paper home to her family who are less convinced than she is that it is her picture, but the seed has been sown and Zoe is unable to dismiss it. She tries the phone number which only returns a single tone indicating it is not in use and the website link only has a white square in the centre of a black page. Zoe turns herself into a bit of a Nancy Drew character when she realises that there is a series of similar adverts.

More than that I can’t tell you about the plot because this is one of those books where you rush along a straight road of a plot-line only to have to swerve an obstacle at high-speed before doubling back on yourself and ending back at the beginning. There is misdirection aplenty so that if even like me you manage to work out the smallest of mysteries you feel like whooping as if you’ve passed an extremely difficult exam under pressure.

The tension created in this book is enormous so prepare to do some extreme mystery solving and the author raises it almost subtlety with the scenes switching between Zoe and a British Transport Police officer who is following up on some missing property from the tube. With Zoe unravelling under her suspicions and Kelly Swift trying to convince her superiors that an unfortunate event in the past should not be holding her career back any more than it already has, both women are motivated by their investigations. With the stakes being raised almost imperceptibly this is proper on the edge of your seat reading.

Clare Mackintosh doesn’t just manage an imaginative plot she also manages to portray her characters with real insight making their foibles and motivation absolutely believable in a way that goes far beyond the identikit police officer or victim. We have a wide range of characters from a journalist, local businesswoman, aspiring actress and estate agent all of whom are fleshed out, almost while the reader isn’t watching, and yet without seeming to depend on the preconceptions we may have about their profession, ages or gender. This is an exceptional skill which I think marks this author out from many others who are battling this increasingly popular genre and one which makes her books a joy to read beyond the thrill of the ride.

My advice, don’t miss out go get your own copy of I See You and read it for yourself, although perhaps not on the tube!

I want to say a huge thank you to The Little Brown Book Group who allowed me to read an advance copy of this book, in return I offer this unbiased review.

 

Published UK: 28 July 2016
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
No of Pages 384
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 22)

Weekly Wrap Up

 

Last Week on the Blog

I started the week with a review for one of my favourite contemporary crime series; Play Dead by Angela Marsons which I awarded five stars for this brilliant fourth book.

On Tuesday I featured the intro from my favourite series of all time featuring Roy Grace in readiness for publication of the twelfth book in the series later in the week.

And on Wednesday I kept you updated on my reading choices for the week which include the exciting looking My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

My review of Love You Dead by Peter James went up on publication day 19 May 2016 and this book met all my expectations and more – a superb read!

Friday saw me looking at the recent phenomenon of authors producing short stories to tie-in with longer novels. What’s your opinion?

Yesterday I looked at book discoveries I’d found by chance and for which I’m eternally grateful.

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News

Bloggers Bash Awards 2016

On Thursday I was thrilled, and quite frankly amazed, to find out I’d been nominated at 2nd  Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2016 in the category Best Book Review Blog Award

Which book reviewer do you love? This isn’t about being prolific this is about quality reviews. Who’s the most thoughtful reviewer? Perhaps their thoughts on a book persuaded you to read it, maybe they use their blog as a platform for authors as well, or perhaps you love them for their scathing honesty!

If you click on the logo you can view all the categories and the nominees.

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Stacking the Shelves

I’ve had a few additions to the TBR this week – I confess to a NetGalley splurge but in my defence the publication dates are for the most part way away.

First up I have a genealogy mystery which the author M J Lee kindly gave me called The Irish Inheritance and it will be published on 16 June 2016

The Irish Inheritance

Blurb

June 8, 1921. Ireland.
A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.
November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.
Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.
How are the two events linked?
Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past
The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.
It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective. Amazon

I also pounced before the sale ended in the kindle sale and bought the second in the Callum Doyle series; The Helper by David Jackson on the strength of my enjoyment for A Tapping At My Door

The Helper

Blurb

An anonymous caller is willing to give you clues that will help you solve a series of murders.
But there’s a catch: You can’t tell anyone about the help you’re getting.
What do you do?
If you turn the offer down, you will have nothing to go on, and more people could die.
But if you accept it, and fail to interpret the clues correctly, they will still die, and you will have concealed information that could have stopped a killer.
Such is the dilemma faced by New York detective Callum Doyle.
The decision he takes will have consequences that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Amazon

Too Close by Gayle Curtis is to be published in eBook format on 30 June 2016 by Twenty7 books, who publish debut novelists.

Too Close

Blurb

A devastating and unsettling story of a powerful and unshakeable twin bond, Too Close is a twisty and gripping tale of secrets and lies. For fans of The Twins by Saskia Sarginson.
Cecelia and Sebastian have a connection like no other – more than just brother and sister, they’ll go to any lengths to protect each other. Growing up in a bleak old farmhouse, their mother gone and their father violent and abusive, the twins have only each other to keep them alive.
But when the secrets of their mother’s disappearance start to emerge, and truth and lies are thrown into question, events take a terrifying turn . . .
As Cecelia tries to break away from the ties that bind her to her brother, Sebastian is determined that the twins should be together – whatever the costs. Amazon

I also have another from Twenty7, this time due for publication in eBook on 16 June 2016; My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor, another psychological thriller

 

My Husband's Son

Blurb

Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.
Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.
By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.
But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.
Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . . . NetGalley

From the publishers Zaffre (also part of the Bonnier publishing house) I have yet another psychological thriller The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe – so my vow to cut back on this genre seems to have fallen by the wayside! But how could I resist this compelling sounding synopsis?

The Ice Beneath Her

Blurb

The Ice Beneath Her is a gripping and deeply disturbing story about love, betrayal and obsession that is impossible to put down. Fast-paced and peopled with compelling characters, it surprises at every turn as it hurtles towards an unforgettable ending with a twist you really won’t see coming . . .
A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway. The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.
But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete? Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation. As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover? NetGalley

Lastly from NetGalley I was extremely surprised and excited to be invited to read a copy of I See You by Clare Mackintosh, the author of I Let You Go which was a huge hit last year.

I See You

Blurb

You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . . NetGalley

I See You will be published on 28 July 2016!

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 2 books, discarded 1 as I’d already read it and shifted 3 shorts – I have however gained 6 books – the total this week is now standing at 178 books!
94 physical books
68 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week? Please don’t tempt me too much!

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

I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

Wow, April is turning out to be a great month for reading! I Let You Go has such a fresh feel it could have been hung on a line to dry in the spring sunshine. This is a book that defies my (very) simple genre split, feeling part psychological thriller and part police procedural which apart from making me pause to check I was still reading the same book on my kindle the first time the switch happened, works exceptionally well.

The book opens with a police investigation into the death of five-year-old Jacob who was killed by a hit-and-run driver capably led by the principled Detective Inspector Ray Stevens, his Detective Sergeant Jake Owen, better known as Stumpy and the new addition to the team, the eager Kate. The team are soon given some extra resources as the media and the top brass heap pressure on the team to find the culprit.

We then meet Jenna who following the accident has retreated from life and she’s taken herself just about as far off the beaten track as she can to a small cottage in Wales where she takes time to heal away from the memories taking one small box of precious items that she simply couldn’t part with.

The pacing of this book is fantastic as the switching between viewpoints as the police become more dispirited while Jenna slowly begins to heal, keeps the momentum going and had me longing to know how the story was going to play out. All I can say is although I identified some aspects I couldn’t predict more than a couple of pages ahead of me at any point, especially when the book moves to the second half, by which time it was impossible to put the book aside for anything or anyone.

The characters are extremely well-drawn and realistic and for those readers who need to identify with their protagonists Jenna whilst damaged, is extremely likable, the police for the most-part agreeable a crew that you would happily sit down and have a chat with. In the newer traditions of police procedurals we get to know Ray through his home-life as well as the investigation and see him balancing the job with the demands of family life with his wife Mags left to run things while he works long hours. It was no surprise when I read up on the author to find that she had worked in CID for twelve years, as the small touches can only ever have come from someone who has lived the life.

In Wales we also meet some brilliant characters with the locals cautiously welcoming Jenna from Iestyn whose cottage she rents to the woman who runs the local grocery store and Beth Morgan owner of the caravan park, empty due to it being out of season, who takes the newcomer under her wing and is one of life’s nice people, are all well-rounded and life-like characters. There is even a bit of romance thrown in. This leads me to one of the reasons this book works so well, there is plenty of detail which is written into the story-line naturally so that I was kept constantly interested in what was going on. Refreshingly, this is a book that is far from formulaic but doesn’t rely on style to get it noticed, it doesn’t need to the talent is obvious from the tragic opening until the very last page.

I’d like to say an enormous thank you to Little Brown Book Group UK for not only publishing this excellent debut novel but allowing me to read a copy ahead of publication on 23 April 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (April 15)

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

I am currently reading The Lie by C.L. Taylor as I enjoyed her first psychological Thriller,The Accident, last year.

The Lie

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post.

I have just finished How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

How I Lost You

Blurb

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied?
I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don’t you?
My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my shattered life.
This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he’s dead?
If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back? NetGalley

My review will follow soon

Next I plan to read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go

Blurb

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.
DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.
As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . . Goodreads

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 9)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

It’s been a while since my last Friday Finds and I have some great additions to share with you. Through NetGalley I have been lucky enough to receive copies from three authors whose previous books I’ve enjoyed.

Firstly, Second Life by S J Watson, the author of Before I Go To Sleep which I awarded 4 stars to back in 2011 and has recently been made into a film.

Second Life

Blurb

She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger.
She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything.
She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control.
She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin.
She’s living two lives. She might lose both . . NetGalley

Second Life is being published by Random House UK on 12 February 2015

Secondly, Follow The Leader by Mel Sherratt is being published by Amazon on 10 February 2015 and is the second in the DS Allie Shenton series, a shame because I haven’t read the first one, Taunting the Dead although I did enjoy Watching Over You last year

So I purchased Taunting The Dead Taunting The Dead

Blurb

Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, D.S. Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.
Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.
As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim. Goodreads

… to enjoy Follow The Leader

Follow The Leader

Blurb

A man’s body is found on a canal towpath. In his pocket, a magnetic letter in the shape of an E.
Days later, a second victim is found, this time with the letter V tucked into her clothing.
As the body count rises, the eerie, childlike clues point to a pattern that sends DS Allie Shenton and her colleagues into full alert.
The race is on. Allie and the team must work quickly to determine where the killer will strike next. The rules are simple but deadly—to catch the killer, they must follow the leader. NetGalley

And lastly The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer. Amazon kindly informs me that I purchased Blacklands by Belinda Bauer back in August 2010, I then read all of her subsequent novels including the fantastic Rubbernecker although I haven’t yet read The Facts of Life and Death which was published in 2014.

The Shut Eye

Blurb

Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.
And now they are all his mother has left.
Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.
When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…
But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?
Or is he something far, far worse? NetGalley

The Shut Eye will be published by Random House UK on 12 March 2015

I also have a copy of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh which is due to be published by Little Brown Book Group UK on 23 April 2015.

I Let You Go
Blurb

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.
DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.
As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . . Goodreads

I have also been lucky enough to receive a proof copy of Sarah Hilary’s second book No Other Darkness after her wonderful debut Someone Else’s Skin, the first in the Marnie Rome series (and one of the top ten reviews most read by you guys)

No Other Darkness

Blurb

No Other Darkness finds Marnie on a case that hauntingly echoes her own family tragedy. Detective Inspector Marnie Rome and her partner Detective Sergeant Noah Jake are investigating the recent discovery of two dead boys in a bunker beneath a London garden. Terry and Beth, under whose garden the bodies were discovered, have two children of their own, and are also fostering a difficult boy named Clancy. Clancy reminds Marnie of her foster brother Stephen, who murdered her parents. Is Marnie’s past blinding her to the truth? Only one thing is certain: when Terry and Beth’s biological children vanish, Marnie can’t waste a moment finding them. Goodreads

So that concludes my finds for this week!

What have you found to read? Please share in the comments box below.