Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Tattletale – Sarah J Naughton

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

I love unusual settings in books and this one was stunning. Set in a renovated church which has been altered and now houses vulnerable or adults in need, the stained glass windows divided between flats giving different colours depending which part of the building you are in. Jody lives in a flat in the building as did Abe, the young man who has been found in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs. Now in a coma, his next of kin Mags (Mary Magdalene) has been summoned back from her job as a lawyer in Vegas to the UK as she is his next of kin. Mags and Abe are not close and Mags doesn’t endear herself to the nurses caring for Abe or Jodie, in large part due to her remoteness to Abe.

This is a cleverly layered psychological thriller which demands careful attention. The main mystery is was Abe, as the police believe, suicidal? Or was he pushed over the bannisters? Jody doesn’t believe her boyfriend would leave her, they’d just returned from a night out and he was checking the door was closed properly against intruders, he had no reason to kill himself.

Mags doesn’t know what to think. She didn’t know Abe but it is clear early on that the two shared a difficult childhood where the rule of divide and conquer meant the two were locked in a life of self-preservation. The obvious consequence being was that if the other was the focus of the negative attention, all the better. What happened in their early life is slowly revealed over the course of the book giving a rich background to both characters. All the more important as we only view Abe through the eyes of those around him.

Jody comes across as a fairly passive character, her devotion to Abe unstinting and she is willing Abe to recover although the prognosis is, at best, bleak but she is also damaged by her past and to boot has received a caution for falsely crying rape. What the truth of Jody’s past is another mystery.

There are some really tough scenes to read in this book and although they are integral to the plot, it does make for difficult reading at times. On balance although we hear from both Jody and Mags in depth with some excerpts which I initially attributed to completely the wrong character, this is a plot led book. The rights and wrongs of the way this plot develops giving the reader an opportunity to question the morals of the tale, which for me overshadowed to a large extent, the characters that are behind it. While I felt sympathy for the damaged inhabitants of the church building, I also felt distanced from them, this is in part due to the problem with unreliable narrators, whether that unreliability is understandable or not!

This doesn’t have the fast pace of some psychological thrillers and I did find it took me a while to ‘place’ the characters in the early part of the book until their individual voices developed. While the narration of the other inhabitants of the church adding their details to those of Jody and Mags builds to give a fuller picture of the critical moments in the plot, for a while it just felt as if the story was becoming ever more murky, but full credit to the author, the pulling together of these stories was exceptionally well done. Sarah J Naughton has produced a psychological thriller with a unique feel.

I’d like to thank the publishers Orion, for allowing me to read a copy of Tattletale, the first book for adults by Sarah J Naughton, ahead of publication on 23 March 2017.

First Published UK: 23 March 2017
Publisher: Orion
No of Pages: 336
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Put A Book On The Map, Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 11)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lipsyy 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, Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton which contrary to what I said yesterday, is actually due to be published on 23 March 2016.

tattletale

Please see yesterday’s post  for the synopsis and the opening lines from this book

I have just finished my fellow Channel Island dweller, Rachel Abbott’s latest book The Sixth Window, the latest in the brilliant Tom Douglas series, set in Manchester. The Sixth Window is going to be published on 21 February 2017. Rachel was kind enough to send me a copy but a little bird told me this is on NetGalley as of yesterday!

the-sixth-window

Blurb

Eighteen months after Natalie Gray loses her husband Bernie in a horrific hit and run accident, she finds love with his best friend, Ed Cooper, and moves into his home with her teenage daughter Scarlett. But she begins to suspect Ed has a dark side — and even darker intentions. Natalie must get her troubled child to a safer place, but when Scarlett starts to hear voices coming from the empty apartment next door it seems she has unwittingly moved them into the heart of danger.

DCI Tom Douglas is also chasing the truth. As his investigation into the suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett, will he be too late to protect them from the threat they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart? NetGalley

Next up I have one of my own books After She Fell by Mary-Jane Riley which I bought because I loved The Bad Things so much.

after-she-fell

Blurb

There are so many ways to fall…
Catriona needs help. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Elena was found dead at the bottom of a cliff near her boarding school. The death has been ruled a suicide, but Catriona isn’t convinced.
When her old friend, journalist Alex Devlin, arrives in Hallow’s Edge to investigate, she quickly finds that life at private boarding school The Drift isn’t as idyllic as the bucolic setting might suggest.
Amidst a culture of drug-taking, bullying and tension between school and village, no one is quite who they seem to be, and there are several people who might have wanted Elena to fall… Amazon

 

So that’s what I’m reading this week – what have you chosen? Do let me know in the comments box below.

Announcement

british-isles-mapThere’s another reason for me choosing After She Fell – Mary-Jane has kindly agreed to kick-start the Put A Book On The Map project which will also be linking to The Book Trail the-booktrail-logoSusan at The Book Trail is going to use the key locations for both The Bad Things and After She Fell to prepare a book trail in readiness for the launch on 4 February 2017 – If anyone wants to help out with this part, please let me know and I will pass your details onto Susan.

It is with enormous pleasure that I can confirm that the blogger post is going to be written by the lovely Katherine from BibliomaniacUK  on the locations visited in the  Alex Devlin series.  I can’t wait to see this collaboration in action!

If you’ve read and reviewed either of Mary-Jane’s books as I would love to link and feature some reviews to make this a real community event. Of course full credit will be given to anyone submitting material and you can email me at cleopatralovesbooks70@gmail.com

We’d love to hear from you to make the first book on the map a magnificent event!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 10)

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 paragraph this week comes from Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton which is going to be published on 26 January 2017.

tattletale

Blurb

One day changes Jody’s life forever.
She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.
One day changes Mags’s life forever.
After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind. But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro


BEFORE

On a clear morning the sun shines so strongly through the stained glass it looks as if the concrete floor is awash with blood.
But it’s past eight in the evening now and the only light comes from the wall lamps on each floor. Their dim illumination reveals a slowly spreading pool of pitch or tar.
Blood doesn’t look like blood in the dark.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So what do you think? A lot of mention of blood in those few lines but no real clues yet…

Would you keep reading? Have you read this book – Please add your thoughts in the comments box below?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (October 16)

Weekly Wrap Up

Thank you for those of you who sent lovely messages due to my absence, unfortunately I had a rather nasty bug followed by a business trip to Stockholm where internet access was an issue! I did however manage to make a trip to see my friend before flying back to Jersey. We talked about everything as best friends of too many years to count are wont to do but books got a mention, and as I’d lent her my copy of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (she really is a very good friend and can be trusted with my books) we decided that we’d watch the film at the cinema. It was a little disconcerting to see palatial homes backing onto train lines in the opening sequence instead of those I’d imagined from the UK scenery however all in all it was faithful to the book and far better than I’d feared. Plus it allowed us to rest our voices for a while so that a quick G&T soon had us chatting long into the night.

On my return to ordinary life I was delighted to see a quote from my review in the paperback edition of My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor which appeared alongside a number of other blogger’s wise words.

my-husbands-son-png

Picture courtesy by Abbie of Bloomin Brilliant Books

You can read the entire review here if you should so wish

This week I posted my review of Ward Zero by Linda Huber, a psychological thriller set in a hospital which kept me guessing. Sadly I think by the time I got to this one I’d overdosed yet again on the genre and have made a deliberate decision to step away for a while and have promptly fallen into a string of historical crime books, both fiction and non-fiction, so expect a different flavour on the blog while I review them all.

On Tuesday’s Post I featured an excerpt from The Two O’clock Boy by Mark Hill, a former book blogger and now a fully-fledged writer, which I’ve just started reading, and I have to say early impressions are very favourable indeed.

Wednesday’s post also had the addition of the Man Booker shortlist book His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet which I’ve now finished, a review will follow shortly.

I have also written and published my review for The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett which was excellently executed crime fiction, and the beginning of a series featuring David Hunter – I can see that I will be adding more books by this author to the TBR before too long.

This was followed on Friday with a review for a brilliant historical crime book, this one loosely based on an actual crime known as The Edgeware Road Murder in 1837. Debut novelist Anna Mazzola has added layers to the known facts creating an incredibly engrossing book, The Unseeing. I gave this one the full five stars with no reservations at all.

I then moved to the 1920s with a woman Private Investigator and my review of Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody reveals how well the author not only created a book that is set in such a good era but also has a cracking plot and a strong woman as the protagonist.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft an accomplished psychological thriller that had me captivated – it was one of those books where from the first page, there was no doubt that something awful is going to happen.

 

The Girl With No Past

Blurb

Years spent running from your past. Today it catches up.
A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.
Then, on the fourteenth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.
But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?
Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly. Amazon


Stacking the Shelves

maths-theoremSomehow despite not having read anywhere near as much as normal, see paragraph one, I am still acquiring books at a fair old rate – here is what’s appeared since by last wrap-up and I have an inkling there are a few more on the way with the postman. Discussing this in brief with fellow blogger Fiction Fan, we have decided that this is due to Cleopatra’s Theorem – the number of books that are acquired are always more than the reading rate, the slower you go the more that appear, it’s probably worked out using the picture to the right but since it’s a mathematical fact there is nothing to be done!

From NetGalley I had to request a copy of Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton because Liz of Liz Loves Books wrote such a tantalising review. I’m presuming I will be in the right frame of mind for some psychological thrillers by the time this is published in January 2017.

tattletale

Blurb

The perfect brother. The perfect fiance. The perfect lie.
One day changes Jody’s life forever.
She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.
One day changes Mags’s life forever.
After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind. But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit… NetGalley

In the post I received a copy of The Devils Feast by M.J. Carver from Penguin books, they couldn’t have known my genre of the month is historical crime – could they?

the-devils-feast

Blurb

London, 1842. There has been a mysterious and horrible death at the Reform, London’s newest and grandest gentleman’s club. A death the club is desperate to hush up.
Captain William Avery is persuaded to investigate, and soon discovers a web of rivalries and hatreds, both personal and political, simmering behind the club’s handsome façade-and in particular concerning its resident genius, Alexis Soyer, ‘the Napoleon of food’, a chef whose culinary brilliance is matched only by his talent for self-publicity.
But Avery is distracted, for where his mentor and partner-in-crime Jeremiah Blake? And what if this first death was only a dress rehearsal for something far more sinister? Amazon

And Harper Collins’ Carina offered me an exciting new debut, For All Our Sins by T.M.E. Walsh which is to be published later this month. This was original self-published by the author for the kindle so some of you may have read it.
for-all-our-sins

Blurb

Years ago there was a silent witness to an act of evil. Now, a twisted killer is on the loose fuelled by revenge.
Called to the brutal murder of a priest, it is immediately clear to DCI Claire Winters that the victim’s death was prolonged, agonising…and motivated by a lust for revenge.
The killer has been clever, there are no clues, no leads. But Claire Winters has never let a killer remain on the streets. Looking for an answer at any cost Claire begins to get closer to the victim’s family, but what it reveals turns her murder case into something far more sinister…
When one body becomes two, and then three, Claire finds herself in a race against time to connect the dots between a host of devastating secrets, before the killer strikes again. Amazon

Lastly I have a copy of Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel, a series of five novellas which is available for reading now.

manipulated-lives

Blurb

Five stories – Five Lives. Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?
Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim.
In this collection of short novellas you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Next, there is Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself and finally Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret.
All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH

Since my last post I have read 4 books, and gained 4 and so my TBR remains steady at 181 books!

91 physical books
69 e-books
21 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?