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

First One Missing – Tammy Cohen

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

Being a huge fan of Tammy Cohen’s I was thrilled to spot a copy of this on NetGalley and gave a little (well quite loud) squeal of excitement when the approval email came winging its way into my in-box. What I like about her writing is that each book I’ve read has felt very different, Tammy is certainly not a one-trick-pony, yet they all have in-depth characters and a sense of humour. However I was slightly nervous about this one with the subject matter of this one being about four murdered young (under-tens) girls, I did wonder what the pages were going to hold. I needn’t have worried, this is a great book, and the wry observational truths lighten the dark subject matter without ever venturing into a dismissive attitude to the crimes being described.

In North London we meet Poppy Glover’s mother who is wishing she could turn back time, two days before her daughter was safe, the day before she was only missing, there was still hope, but today she has been found dead on Hampstead Heath the scene of the previous three ‘Kenwood Killer’ murders, named after the nearby Kenwood House.

The same morning Emma Reid wakes up with her distant husband Guy, soon after the day has begun she will receive a phone call from the Family Liaison Officer assigned to them, Leanne Miller who will visit with the terrible news that another child has been murdered by the same perpetrator. Two other families, Fiona and Mark Botsford and the mother of the first victim Helen Purvis will receive similar calls. Meanwhile Sally Freeland, journalist for the Chronical is determined to get an exclusive. She’s well placed having persuaded Helen Purvis to let her write articles in the hope that they would find the killer of her daughter Megan and as Helen has set up a support group for the bereaved parents she has no doubt that Poppy’s parents will soon be welcomed into Megan’s Angels.

So Helen sprang into action gearing her family, teenage son Rory and husband Simon up for a meeting of Megan’s Angels along with the other FLOs and first three families, not something she is looking forward to as she describes in this perceptive and realistic paragraph:

People always expected the families to be a harmonious little group, bound together by tragedy, supporting each other through the nightmare they’d stumbled into. But they were just like everyone else. Some were prickly (Fiona Botsford), some overbearing (Simon Hewitt). They didn’t stop having personalities just because of what had happened to them – they could still get right up each other’s noses, despite the horrible thing that had brought them together.

The author has written this book from the character’s perspectives, we get an insight into their lives through their own perspective, as well as the police investigation from Leanne’s and a different viewpoint from the despicable Sally’s as she uses her own contacts to try and beat the police to finding the perpetrator. Although there is a mystery, and a very good one at that, this is a character driven book which gives the reader a great variety of sub-plots that cross the age spectrum. As always with Tammy Cohen, these are realistic people, all flawed which makes for an interesting read and helps when trying to keep straight which girl belonged to each family group.

I highly recommend this book for lovers of psychological novels with a strong domestic bent. The plot was superb with plenty of plausible suspects, and even though I worked this one out (by some fluke) I wasn’t certain enough not to get thoroughly caught up in the tension as the novel hurtled around some tight corners, dodging and swerving towards the finishing line.

First One Missing will be published by Random House UK on 2 July 2015, don’t miss out!

Previous books by Tammy Cohen (some written under her given name of Tamara Cohen)
The Mistress’s Revenge
The War of the Wives (note to self I NEED a copy of this one)
Someone Else’s Wedding
The Broken
Dying for Christmas

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (June 24)

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 have just started First One Missing by Tammy Cohen .

First One Missing

Blurb

There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:
– You are haunted by her memory day and night
– Even close friends can’t understand what you are going through.
– Only in a group with mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.
But as the bereaved parents gather to offer support in the wake of another killing, a crack appears in the group that threatens to rock their lives all over again.
Welcome to the club no one wants to join. NetGalley

 

I have just finished reading Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff which was an unusual read and I seem to fall into the middle ground; I didn’t hate it but I have to admit to skipping some parts, which I rarely do so I didn’t love it either.

Fates and Furies

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

My review will be posted shortly

Next I plan to read My Sunshine Away by Milton O’Neal Walsh

my sunshine away

Blurb

Welcome to Woodland Hills, Louisiana: a place of lush, sweltering summers, neighbourhood cookouts in every backyard and vats of chilled beer under the crepe myrtles. A terrible crime is just about to take place…
One day Lindy Simpson cycles home from school and straight into a trap: someone is lying in wait for her, a wire strung between lampposts blocking the path. She is raped just yards from her front door. No one sees a thing and the perpetrator is not caught.
Her fourteen year old neighbour has cherished a crush on Lindy, the ultimate girl next door, since they were kids. After her assault he becomes determined to solve the crime, investigating each suspect in the neighbourhood. But before this long, hot summer is out, it will become clear that the friendly community of Woodland Hills has much to hide. Behind every white picket fence in suburbia lies a tangled web of darkness. In his zeal to solve the mystery, the teenage detective stumbles across a sinister world he doesn’t recognise, drawing ever closer to a terrifying denouement. NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (June 6)

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!

Well after a week’s break to share my 20 Books of Summer 2015! challenge post I seem to have acquired a few more books!

First up from NetGalley I am thrilled and delighted to have a copy of After The Fire by Jane Casey featuring the brilliant Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent, this book is due to be published on 18 June 2015.

After The Fire

Blurb

Arson, accident or murder?
After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in their 11th floor flat. But is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad. It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue. But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?
As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide… NetGalley

and I’m equally as thrilled and delighted to have received a copy of First One Missing by Tammy Cohen which is due to be published on 2 July 2015.

First One Missing

Blurb

There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:
– You are haunted by her memory day and night
– Even close friends can’t understand what you are going through.
– Only in a group with mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.
But as the bereaved parents gather to offer support in the wake of another killing, a crack appears in the group that threatens to rock their lives all over again.
Welcome to the club no one wants to join. NetGalley

Now comes the naming and shaming for all of you bloggers who have made me stray…. First up is The Book Trail who are constantly tempting me with their original reviews complete with maps. They had a competition to win a copy of The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas and I was lucky enough to win!

The Illusionists

Blurb

London, 1885
As a turbulent and change-filled century draws to a close, there has never been a better time to alter your fortune. But for a beautiful young woman of limited means, Eliza’s choices appear to lie between the stifling domesticity of marriage or a downwards spiral to the streets – no matter how determined she is to forge her own path.
One night at a run-down theatre, she meets the charismatic Devil Wix – showman, master of illusion, fickle friend. Drawn into his circle, Eliza becomes the catalyst of change for his colleagues – a dwarf, an eccentric engineer, and an artist – as well as Devil himself. And as Eliza embarks on a dangerous adventure, she must decide which path to choose, and how far she should go when she holds all their lives in her hands. Goodreads

or click on the link to read The Book Trail review

And then there is Sonya at A Lover of Books who also has a wonderful selection of books on her blog. She had a competition to win a copy of Set Me Free by Daniela Sacerdoti and I won that too.

Set Me Free

Blurb

In London, Margherita’s marriage has slowly been falling apart since her little Lewis’ birth, a surprise baby much wanted by her but not by her husband. To add to her problems, her adopted daughter, Lara, is going through a rough patch and all of a sudden she’s gone from quiet and introverted to constantly angry, burdened by the unhappy memories of her early childhood. Then Margherita’s husband, Ashley, suddenly announces he needs a break from the marriage and from family life. He couldn’t have chosen a worse time, just when Lara needs him most.
As Margherita struggles to come to terms with what’s happening to her, she decides that maybe this is the chance for Laura to spend some time away from London, and for her mother and daughter to reconnect. So, together with three-year-old Lewis, they decide to spend the summer in Glen Avich, where Margherita’s mum and stepfather have opened a coffee shop, La Piazza. To keep herself busy, Margherita agrees to help Torcuil Ramsay get his crumbling estate in order, with Lara’s help. And as her plan begins to work, Lara increasingly finds peace in the beautiful house and its huge library, and in a new friendship with a mysterious local boy, Mal.
And as Margherita discovers, Glen Avich can have a strange effect on people and soon her heart is reawakened by shy, awkward Torcuil in a way she’d never thought possible again. But Mal is hiding a secret, and the summer won’t last forever . . .
Spellbinding and emotional, Set Me Free is a beautifully written story of a family in crisis and a secret that will change their lives forever. Goodreads

And then I’m blaming Fiction Fan for the next book which I purchased on her recommendation following my review of The Magnificent Spilsbury and the case of the Brides in the Bath by Jane Robins, so I have a copy of The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams by the same author.

The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams

Blurb

‘Was rich Mrs Gertrude Hullett murdered at her luxurious 15-room home on Beachy Head? Detectives are tonight trying to establish the cause of the 50-year-old widow’s sudden death…’ Daily Mail, 1957
In July 1957, the press descended in droves on the south-coast town of Eastbourne. An inquest had just been opened into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs Bobbie Hullett. She died after months of apparent barbiturate abuse – the drugs prescribed to calm her nerves by her close friend and doctor, Dr John Bodkin Adams.
The inquest brought to the surface years of whispered suspicion that had swept through the tea rooms, shops and nursing homes of the town. The doctor’s alarming influence over the lives, deaths and finances of wealthy widows had not gone unnoticed – it was rumoured that the family doctor had been on a killing spree that spanned decades and involved 300 suspicious cases. Superintendent Hannam of Scotland Yard was called in to investigate.
The Curious Habits of Dr Adams brilliantly brings to life the atmosphere of post-war England, and uses a wealth of new documents to follow the twists and turns of an extraordinary Scotland Yard murder enquiry. As expertly crafted as the best period detective novel, this book casts an entertainingly chilling light on a man reputed to be one of England’s most prolific serial killers. Amazon

When Kay from Kay’s Reading Life started reviewing the Days of the Week series by Nicci French she reminded me that I still hadn’t read Thursday’s Child, you can read her review here

Thursday's Child

Blurb

Two crimes, generations apart . . .
Twenty years ago teenager Frieda Klein was brutally attacked in her own home. No one believed her – not the police, not her mother, not her friends. She left town, trained as a psychologist and never went back.
Now an old classmate has shown up. She wants help with her daughter, who claims to have been attacked at home. An attack eerily similar to the one on Frieda. No one else believes the girl’s story.
Now – with a school reunion in the offing – Frieda returns to the darkness she fled. To the small town which refused to help her and which hides a terrible secret. Because someone at the reunion knows what happened.
And they’ll stop at nothing to prevent Frieda discovering the truth . . . Amazon

Search as I might I can’t find a culprit for my purchase of You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz but I’m sure one of you are guilty.

You Should Have Known

Blurb

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to examine their first impressions of men for signs of serious trouble later on. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself. Goodreads

Lastly I was delighted that Lovereading saw fit to provide me with a copy of A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah which will be published on 13 August 2015.

A Game for all the Family

Blurb

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…
After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.
Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be… Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below