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 Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (February 10)

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’ve just started the latest book by fellow Channel Islander Rachel Abbott; Kill Me Again.

Kill Me Again

When your life is a lie, who can you trust?
When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced.
But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone, or why. And then she discovers she’s not the only one looking for him.
When a woman who looks just like Maggie is brutally murdered and DCI Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate, Maggie realises how little she knows about Duncan’s past. Is he the man she loves? Who is he running from?
She doesn’t have long to decide whether to trust him or betray him. Because one thing has been made clear to Maggie – another woman will die soon, and it might be her. Amazon

I have just finished Chosen Child by Linda Huber which is going to be published on 15 February 2016

Chosen Child

You can read the synopsis and a taster from this book in yesterday’s post

Next on my spreadsheet is one of my books from ‘I should have read this ages ago’ pile. In fact this book was purchased way back in March 2013! Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale deserves to be read after being so patient.

Mrs Robinson's Disgrace

Blurb

On a mild winter’s evening in 1850, Isabella Robinson set out for a party. Her carriage bumped across the wide cobbled streets of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town and drew up at 8 Royal Circus, a grand sandstone terrace lit by gas lamps.
The guests were gathered in the high, airy drawing rooms on the first floor, the ladies in glinting silk and satin pulled tight over boned corsets; the gentlemen in tailcoats, waistcoats and neckties. When Mrs Robinson joined the throng she was at once enchanted by a Mr Edward Lane, a handsome medical student ten years her junior. He was ‘fascinating’, she told her diary, before chastising herself for being so susceptible to a man’s charms. But a wish had taken hold of her, which she was to find hard to shake… Amazon

So that’s my choices for this week. What do you all have to read at the moment? Do share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (February 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.

My resolve not to acquire too many new books is going so well, here is the latest batch to make their way onto the TBR!

Firstly, after joining BOOKERTALK in her Read into 2016 post, I was lucky enough to be the winner and have a beautiful copy of The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies, a collection of short stories.

The Redemption of Galen Pike

Blurb

In a remote Australian settlement a young wife with an untellable secret reluctantly invites her neighbour into her home. A Quaker spinster offers companionship to a condemned man in a Colorado jail. In the ice and snows of Siberia an office employee from Birmingham witnesses a scene that will change her life. At a jubilee celebration in a northern English town a middle-aged alderman opens his heart to Queen Victoria. A teenage daughter leaves home in search of adventure. High in the Cumbrian fells a woman seeks help from her father’s enemy…… Goodreads

Another collection of short stories caught my eye on the excellent blog written by Marina Finding Time to Write, The Blink that Killed the Eye by Anthony Anaxagorou. She made it sound so appealing with her statement:
We come back to the grey shores of Great Britain, except there is nothing ‘great’ about it. It is perceived as a diminished, impoverished island, with fearful people and dysfunctional families, in this collection of loosely related short stories.
How’s a girl supposed to resist?

The Blink that Killed the Eye

Blurb

The Blink That Killed the Eye is a stunningly crafted debut short story collection, taking a poetic torch to the shadows of daily life – illuminating the characters, situations, emotions and dilemmas that pour into even the most ordinary existences. From building sites to prison cells; from the birth of love to the last moments of breath – Anthony Anaxagorou navigates expertly through the tangled nets of invisibility, desperation and power to bring us time-defining tales of tragedy and hope; commenting on the irony of our shrinking capacity to really see ourselves or each other in a world increasingly defined by appearances and dangerous preconceptions. Goodreads

I have been approved of some good looking books on NetGalley too – of course I have, I can’t stay away!

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon was published on 5 January 2016 by Revell

Thin Ice

Blurb

After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail–addressed in her sister’s handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.
FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he’s coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive–who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game–or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.
Bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist Irene Hannon warms readers’ hearts as they root for a romance between Lance and Christy, but she pulls out all the stops as this high-stakes thriller chills to the bone in a race to the finish. NetGalley

One of my favourite authors, Helen FitzGerald has written a new book, Viral which also made it’s way onto my pile:

Viral

Blurb

So far, twenty-three thousand and ninety six people have seen me online. They include my mother, my father, my little sister, my grandmother, my other grandmother, my grandfather, my boss, my sixth year Biology teacher and my boyfriend James.
When Leah Oliphant-Brotheridge and her adopted sister Su go on holiday together to Magaluf to celebrate their A-levels, only Leah returns home. Her successful, swotty sister remains abroad, humiliated and afraid: there is an online video of her, drunkenly performing a sex act in a nightclub. And everyone has seen it.
Ruth Oliphant-Brotheridge, mother of the girls, successful court judge, is furious. How could this have happened? How can she bring justice to these men who took advantage of her dutiful, virginal daughter? What role has Leah played in all this? And can Ruth find Su and bring her back home when Su doesn’t want to be found? NetGalley

and Debbie Howells, author of The Bones of You, also has a new book; The Beauty of the End and for the second time this year, my wish on NetGalley was granted!

The Beauty of the End

Blurb

“I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . .”
So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose–and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.
While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April’s name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.
Or so everyone believes. . .
Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love. NetGalley

Lastly, Channel Islander, Rachel Abbott has a new book out on 17 February 2016, Kill Me Again and she has kindly passed me a copy to my absolute delight.

Kill Me Again

Blurb

When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced.
But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone, or why. And then she discovers she’s not the only one looking for him.
When a woman who looks just like Maggie is brutally murdered and DCI Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate, Maggie realises how little she knows about Duncan’s past. Is he the man she loves? Who is he running from?
She doesn’t have long to decide whether to trust him or betray him. Because one thing has been made clear to Maggie – another woman will die soon, and it might be her. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 6 books, and gained, it yes, 6, so the total stands at 174 books!
85 physical books
75 e-books
14 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

 

You can check out the books I have read  and reviewed in 2016 on my new page in shades of green!

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 Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (October 7)

This Week In Books

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

This week I am currently reading The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft

The Girl With No Past

Please see yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this book which is due to be published on 15 October 2015.

I have recently finished reading Nowhere Child by Rachel Abbott, the sequel to Stranger Child giving loyal readers an explanation of what happened to Tasha after the end of the book.

Nowhere Child

Blurb

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

Next I am planning to read Thursday’s Child by Nicci French, the fourth in this duo’s wonderful series featuring clinical psychotherapist Frieda Klein.

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

What are you reading this week? Please share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (October 3)

Stacking the shelves

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

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

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

As Good As Dead

Blurb

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

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

The Good Neighbor AJ Banner

Blurb

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

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

Nowhere Girl

Blurb

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

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

Nowhere Child

Blurb

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

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

The Yellow Wallpaper

Blurb

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

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (February 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them! Here is January’s top five in case you missed it: January 2011 to 2015 but now to February!

2011

Read while holidaying in the Bahamas was another great read from one of my favourite authors, Kate Morton with The Distant Hours.  This wasn’t as popular as her previous two novels The Distant Hours and The Forgotten Garden but I liked the change in style and time period.

The Distant Hours

Blurb

Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret. Evacuated from London as a thirteen year old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family. Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it . . . Amazon

2012 yr

In February 2012 I read Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton, the second in the Lacey Flint series.  This series quickly became a fixture on my ‘must-read’  list and I eagerly await the latest addition as soon as I’ve read the last.

Dead Scared
Blurb

When a rash of suicides tears through Cambridge University, DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover as a student to investigate. Although each student’s death appears to be a suicide, the psychological histories, social networks, and online activities of the students involved share remarkable similarities, and the London police are not convinced that the victims acted alone. They believe that someone might be preying on lonely and insecure students and either encouraging them to take their own lives or actually luring them to their deaths. As long as Lacey can play the role of a vulnerable young woman, she may be able to stop these deaths, but is it just a role for her? With her fragile past, is she drawing out the killers, or is she herself being drawn into a deadly game where she’s a perfect victim? Amazon

2013yr

In February 2013 I read Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes which features Police data analyst, Annabel, in a disturbing dark thriller.

Human Remains

Blurb

When Annabel, a police analyst, discovers her neighbour’s decomposing body in the house next door, she’s appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed that anything was wrong.
Back at work, she feels compelled to investigate, despite her colleagues’ lack of interest, and finds data showing that such cases are common – too common – in her home town. As she’s drawn deeper into the mystery and becomes convinced she’s on the trail of a killer, she also must face her own demons and her own mortality. Would anyone notice if she just disappeared? Goodreads

2014yr
February 2014 was full of some of my favourite books of the year with many strong contenders so I have decided pick one of the two five star reads by a debut author; A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan.  For some reason this book has been given a new wacky cover which I don’t like so I’m featuring the old one!
A Pleasure and a Calling

You won’t remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key.
That’s absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine?
The answer to that is, he has the keys to them all.
William Heming’s every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it – perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours… Amazon

2015yr
The end of February 2015 reading has seen a clutch of five star reads with a number of contenders for the top spot but I have decided to plump for an author whose fourth book was as ingenious and as satisfying as her previous three; Rachel Abbott with Stranger Child.

Stranger Child

Blurb

One Dark Secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six-year-old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and for her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe they’re right.

5 Star Reads

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 Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (17 February)

Kindle,jpg

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

Stranger Child

Blurb

One Dark Secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six-year-old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and for her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe they’re right. Amazon

My Teaser

Her husband’s first wife had been beautiful. There was no doubting that at all. Her delicate features and pale, almost translucent skin had been captured to perfection in a painting commissioned by her father on her twenty-first birthday. Emma tried so hard not to make comparisons between this fragile beauty and her more prosaic, if not unattractive features. But it was difficult.

So what do you think? Want to know more?
Please leave the link to your teasers in the comments box below.

Posted in Uncategorized

Musing Monday (February 16)

Musing Mondays

Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I am currently reading Stranger Child by one of my favourite authors Rachel Abbott
and I’m not just saying that because she has used one of my quotes from a review of a previous book as part of her publicity for this one!

Stranger Child

Blurb

One Dark Secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six-year-old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and for her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe they’re right Goodreads

I have just finished reading Hidden by Emma Kavanagh a tense psychological thriller which centres on a gunman in a hospital with engaging characters and a true mystery at its heart.

My review will follow soon

Hidden

Next up is The Iron Necklace by Giles Waterfield

The Iron Necklace

Blurb

The wedding of Thomas, an idealistic German architect, and Irene, an English artist, brings together the Curtius and Benson families. But their peace is soon shattered by the outbreak of war in Europe. While Irene struggles to survive in a country where she is the enemy, her sister Sophia faces the war as a nurse on the Western Front. For their brother Mark, diplomatic service sees him moving between London, Washington and Copenhagen, all the while struggling to confront his own identity. Against a backdrop of war and its aftermath relationships are tested, sacrifices are made and Irene and her siblings strive to find their place in an evolving world. Amazon

What are you reading this week?