Posted in Blog Tour

Intrusion by Mary McCluskey; Meet Sarah Cherrington

intrusion blog tour banner FIXED

 

 

Yesterday I wrote a review for Intrusion by Mary McCluskey which is a psychological thriller with depth with a focus on female friendship.

To kick off the blog tour for Intrusion the author, Mary McCluskey, has kindly agreed to write an introduction to one of the main characters – so I now present Meet Sarah Cherrington

If I were to take you somewhere glamorous tonight, a celebrity party, say, or a theatre opening and introduce you to Sarah Cherrington, your first impression would most likely be – she’s beautiful.   Beauty gets our attention.  You might notice her poise and confidence, her expensive clothing.  She would be charming on first meeting. She has that quality, found in charismatic people, of making the person she is with feel like the only person in the room who matters:  the eye contact intensity, the warm smile, the ability to listen and (apparently) empathise.

When readers first meet Sarah, in the early pages of Intrusion, as she begins to intrude into the lives of Scott and Kat Hamilton, she is a successful woman with a lot of charm and a head for business. She’s clearly wealthy:  she wears designer clothing; she has a number of luxury homes.  As readers get to know Sarah better, the fact that she is beautiful and charismatic will cease to matter.  If asked to describe her, they are more likely to use words like manipulative, controlling, vengeful.   Damaged?

Yes.  Sarah is indeed damaged. A childhood of careless neglect has left scars. Not the neglect of physical abuse, or grinding poverty but the neglect of indifference – a father who moved to another country without saying goodbye, a mother with clinical depression so severe that she chose suicide, even knowing that her young daughter was the person most likely to find her body.

Imagine the loneliness of this childhood: Sarah was sent away to boarding school at a young age and in an attempt to garner attention from her remote parents, got expelled from a number of them. Her circle of friends changed constantly.  She was nervous of bringing friends home because of her mother’s mercurial moods.  Even at home she felt in the way.  Her mother’s fragile mental health and obsessive love for her husband did not leave much room for Sarah.

After her mother’s suicide, a succession of aunts took over her upbringing until the one who took her in, one who actually cared for her: Helen.  But Helen, for all her Patrician attitude lived in a kind of genteel poverty – recycled clothes, old furniture, unheated rooms.  Sarah, despite her aristrocratic background, was poorer than her school friends.

All of these factors helped create a woman both ambitious and needy.  A dangerous mix. It is this combination that has made her calculating, manipulative and now, in adulthood, determined to succeed.  She will get what she wants. Whatever it takes. And she is vengeful. Those who have wronged her, hurt her, even simply disappointed her, will pay the price.  Readers will distrust her, of course.  They should.  They may overtly hate her.  But perhaps, even as they condemn her actions, hate what she does, what she is trying to do, they will understand what is propelling her into such egregious acts.  I hope so.

Intrusion by Mary McCluskey is out 1st July (£8.99, Little A) you can check out my thoughts on this book HERE

Intrusion

Mark McCluskey Photo

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Intrusion – Mary McCluskey

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

As so often happens with my reading, this is the second book in a row I have read about a couple grieving the death of a child, although I am reviewing this book first due to the fact that it is to be published tomorrow, and I am kicking off the blog tour for this book.

In Intrusion, Kat and Scott Hamilton are reeling from the sudden death of Chris, their son, an only child, aged seventeen. While Scott has thrown himself back into his work, Kat’s job in a PR firm is more than she can handle, unable to be the chirpy person she once was to handle such a role. A few months after Chris’s death, Scott needs Kat to attend a dinner hosted by his Los Angeles law firm. Mary McCluskey’s prose captures this event without overt drama but we are left in no doubt how hard Kat finds the ordeal.

Then comes the entrance we are promised in the synopsis, Sarah Cherrington, a former friend from England surfaces and whilst Kat is initially ambivalent to her appearance, her sister Maggie has strong views on Sarah and shares them voraciously.
At the beginning of this year I said how refreshing it was to read a psychological thriller that dealt with female friendship, well there have been a few of these this year, and this is a worthy addition to the pile. It is clear from the outset that there is unresolved history between Kat and Sarah but with Kat at her most vulnerable, plus the fact that Sarah is putting a lot of work in Scott’s direction it appears that bygones are going to be left just as that.

The author shows fantastic flair in giving an undercurrent of tension whilst simultaneously presenting us with everyday events such as Kat’s interactions with her fun and flirty neighbour Brooke who bakes bread for the couple and keeps an eye on Kat, allowing her space but keeping her connected to those around her.

This of course is also the story of a marriage under immense pressure. With both parties managing their grief in very different ways, Scott on the whole is clearly being as supportive as he feels possible a fact Kat acknowledges by musing that they have almost switched roles since Chris’s death.

Inevitably with this storyline there were parts that spoke loudly to me; Kat’s scenes with her grief counsellor made me smile as she appears to have got the most unsympathetic counsellor on the planet but the words she said, I’m sure are repeated by people in similar roles the whole world over. And she is one of the people in addition to Maggie and Brooke that Kat should listen to, but of course it wouldn’t be much of a story if the characters did the sensible thing! In this book this didn’t feel unrealistic though, as we had the scene set early on to show us Kat’s fragility and therefore her blind spots are far more understandable than may otherwise be the case.

This was one of those books that I consumed at a rate of knots. The storyline moves at a pace and while the premise is not exactly novel, the execution lifts it above some similar books about female friendship. I particularly enjoyed the natural dialogue, the precise scene setting and the slow reveal of what it was that caused the rift between the two young women at the end of their years at university.

I received my copy of Intrusion from Midas PR on behalf of the publishers Little A in return for this my honest opinion.

Check out my blog tomorrow where you can read all about Sarah Cherrington in a post written by the author Mary McCluskey.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (June 22)

This Week In Books

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

June has seen me reading my own books for a change, the one exception being my current read Intrusion by Mary McCluskey, a psychological drama taking in grief, a fragile marriage and a friendship from the past.

Intrusion

To read the synopsis and a taster, please see yesterday’s post

I have just finished Other People’s Secrets by Louise Candlish, one of my 20 Books of Summer 2016 challenge.

Other People's Secrets

Blurb

Ginny and Adam Trustlove arrive on holiday in Italy torn apart by personal tragedy. Two weeks in a boathouse on the edge of peaceful Lake Orta is exactly what they need to restore their faith in life – and each other.
Twenty-four hours later, the silence is broken. The Sale family have arrived at the main villa: wealthy, high-flying Marty, his beautiful wife Bea, and their privileged, confident offspring. It doesn’t take long for Ginny and Adam to be drawn in, especially when the teenage Pippi introduces a new friend into the circle. For there is something about Zach that has everyone instantly beguiled, something that loosens old secrets – and creates shocking new ones.
And, yet, not one of them suspects that his arrival in their lives might be anything other than accidental. Amazon

Now I’ve got a backlog of books to review from my holiday reading I am ready to tackle the 641 page Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, another of my 20 Books of Summer and one that I have been looking forward to reading for some time now.

Testament of Youth

Blurb

In 1914 Vera Brittain was 20, and as war was declared she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life – and the life of her whole generation – had changed in a way that would have been unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era.
TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain’s account of how she survived those agonising years; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time, and has lost none of its power to shock, move and enthral readers since its first publication in 1933. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Do share in the comments envelope below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (June 21)

First Chapter

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

My opening this week comes from Intrusion by Mary McCluskey

Intrusion

Blurb

A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives.
Kat and Scott Hamilton are dealing with the hardest of losses: the death of their only child. While Scott throws himself back into his law practice in Los Angeles, Kat is hesitant to rejoin the workplace and instead spends her days shell-shocked and confused, unable to focus.
When an unwelcome face from Kat’s past in England emerges—the beautiful and imposing Sarah Cherrington—Kat’s marriage is thrown into a tailspin. Now wealthy beyond anything she could have imagined as a girl, Sarah appears to have everything she could need or want. But Sarah has an agenda and she wants one more thing. Soon Kat and Scott are caught up in her devious games and power plays.
Against the backdrops of Southern California and Sussex, in spare and haunting prose, Mary McCluskey propels this domestic drama to its chilling conclusion. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Chapter One

The narrow hotel bar, with its dull, disgusting light, ran alongside the crystal ballroom. Kat Hamilton, seated on a barstool at the far end of the room, slipped her fourth gin and tonic and wished that she could fade like a ghost into the wall. The formal attire pinched. She had worn only casual clothes since the funeral; on bad days she wore her nightshirt all day. On this evening, the classic black dress chafed against her skin, like a winter sweater on sunburn.

This extract comes from a proof copy.

So what do you think? Would you keep reading?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the envelope below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 29)

Weekly Wrap Up

 

Last Week on the Blog

I started the week with a review for one a contemporary fiction story with a dark edge; The Accidental Life of Greg Millar written by Aimee Alexander

On Tuesday I was part of the blog tour for Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica, an excellent read in this, her third book. You can tell I like this author as her second book, Pretty Baby is sitting in my header picture!

And on Wednesday I kept you updated on my reading choices for the week which include two big names; Mark Billingham and Sharon Bolton.

My review of My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry went up on publication day 26 May 2016

Friday saw me deciding what books I am going to read for Cathy 746 #20 Books of Summer – there is still time for you all to join in – Part 1 of my list is here

And I finished the week with what is probably my favourite crime fiction read of the year; Daisy In Chains by Sharon Bolton received the full five stars from yours truly in this review.

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News

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed my reading has slowed to a snail-like pace, this week’s excuse is I took a trip to London with my darling daughter, a birthday present to her and to get wedding accoutrements, including the dreaded hat for me. Thanks to a wonderful woman in Debenhams on Oxford Street the hat has now arrived in Jersey. The weekend saw us walk over 20,000 steps both days so exercise targets were met too.

Charlie and the Chocolate factory

In the evening we went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at The Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. It was a wonderful production with the starring role(s) definitely going to the Oompa Loompas!

Sadly the Muffin Man wasn’t in sight…
Do you know the muffin man?
The muffin man, the muffin man.
Do you know the muffin man
Who lives in Drury Lane?

On Tuesday I was thrilled to spot a tweet from Catherine Ryan Howard advertising Distress Signals with a quote from my review!

#DistressSignals

I also spotted this on Amazon for Little Bones by Sam Blake so I’m feeling just a little bit famous this week.

Product Description

Incredibly engrossing with many twists & turns along the way…I would happily recommend Little Bones to anyone looking for a fast paced crime thriller Swirl and Thread Blog The start of an exciting new crime series introducing fearless Detective Cat Connolly… one of the year’s most thrilling reads. Easons Little Bones is a fascinating story about old sins and family secrets. I found the book engrossing from the start, thanks to both the interesting story and its characters. — Magdalena Johansson A Bookaholic Swede Blog I was incredibly impressed by Little Bones. If you like your crime fiction to involve the more traditional police procedural, one that has a little more complexity to the generic, this may well be a book that you will really enjoy. Cleopatra Loves Books Blog Little Bones has suspense, mystery, suspicious death, festering families, a brilliantly executed plot, PLUS characters with plenty of flavour Little Bookness Lane Blog

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Stacking the Shelves

I’ve had a few additions to the TBR this week – with some great approvals from NetGalley

First up Truly Madly Guilty by the outstanding Liane Moriarty which will be published by Penguin UK on 28 July 2016.

Truly Madly Guilty

Blurb

Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think.
For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.
But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.
Which is how it all spirals out of control… NetGalley

Another one from Twenty7 Books is Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan which isn’t out until 3 November 2016.

Cut to the Bone

Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she’s missing. She’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video’s uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.
Who better to head up the investigation than the Met’s rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She’s leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It’s time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Superintendent Zain Harris – poster boy for multiracial policing and the team’s newest member – has his own unique contribution to make. But can Kate wholly trust him and when he’s around, can she trust herself?
Ruby’s millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares. And the videos keep coming . . . NetGalley

And… drum roll… I have a copy of Gilly Macmillan’s second book; The Perfect Girl which has already been published in eBook format but will be out in paperback on 25 August 2016 by Little Brown Book Group.

The Perfect Girl

Blurb

To everyone who knows her now, Zoe Maisey – child genius, musical sensation – is perfect. Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time, and now she’s free.
Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life.
By midnight, her mother is dead.
The Perfect Girl is an intricate exploration into the mind of a teenager burdened by brilliance, and a past that she cannot leave behind. NetGalley

In the post I have a copy of Intrusion by Mary McCluskey a psychological thriller that is being published on 1 July 2016 by Little A. Intrusion

Blurb

Kat and Scott Hamilton are dealing with the hardest of losses: the death of their only child. While Scott throws himself back into his law practice in Los Angeles, Kat is hesitant to rejoin the workplace and instead spends her days shell-shocked and confused, unable to focus.
When an unwelcome face from Kat’s past in England emerges—the beautiful and imposing Sarah Cherrington—Kat’s marriage is thrown into a tailspin. Now wealthy beyond anything she could have imagined as a girl, Sarah appears to have everything she could need or want. But Sarah has an agenda and she wants one more thing. Soon Kat and Scott are caught up in her devious games and power plays.
Against the backdrops of Southern California and Sussex, in spare and haunting prose, Mary McCluskey propels this domestic drama to its chilling conclusion. Goodreads

I also have a copy of Sabine Durrant’s latest book, Lie With Me which came unbidden ahead of publication on 5 July 2016 by Mulholland Books. I strongly suspect I was sent this ARC because I enjoyed the author’s previous books Under Your Skin and Remember Me This Way, both books that I awarded five stars.

Lie With Me

Blurb

It starts with a lie. The kind we’ve all told – to a former acquaintance we can’t quite place but still, for some reason, feel the need to impress. The story of our life, embellished for the benefit of the happily married lawyer with the kids and the lovely home.
And the next thing you know, you’re having dinner at their house, and accepting an invitation to join them on holiday – swept up in their perfect life, the kind you always dreamed of…
Which turns out to be less than perfect. But by the time you’re trapped and sweating in the relentless Greek sun, burning to escape the tension all around you – by the time you start to realise that, however painful the truth might be, it’s the lies that cause the real damage…
… well, by then, it could just be too late. Amazon

And if that wasn’t enough for someone who isn’t acquiring new books… I have also bought a kindle copy of The Mistake by Wendy James. This book was originally bought to my attention by the marvellous Margot Kinberg at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, if you haven’t done so I highly recommend visiting her blog!

The Mistake

Blurb

We all have secrets . . . Jodie Garrow is a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks when she falls pregnant. Scared, alone and desperate to make something of her life, she adopts out the baby illegally and tells nobody. Twenty-five years on, Jodie has built a new life and a new family. But when a chance meeting brings the adoption to the notice of the authorities, Jodie becomes caught in a nationwide police investigation, and the centre of a media witch hunt. What happened to Jodie’s baby? And where is she now? The fallout from Jodie’s past puts her whole family under the microscope, and her husband and daughter must re-examine everything they believed to be true. Potent, provocative and compulsively readable, The Mistake is the story of a mother and the media’s powerful role in shaping our opinions. With astonishing insight, it cuts to the heart of what makes a family, and asks us whether we can ever truly know another person. ‘The kind of novel that will have you second-guessing your own reactions and skilfully exposes the troubling expectations we resort to in the absence of hard evidence. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Oh dear oh dear! Since my last count I have read 3 books,  – I have however gained 6 books – the total this week is now standing at a shocking 181 books!
95 physical books
69 e-books
17 books on NetGalley

 

What have you found to read this week?