Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Night She Died – Jenny Blackhurst

Psychological Thriller
4*s

I have read far fewer psychological thrillers in 2018 than previous years and those that I have chosen have been of a high quality with the successful authors using a premise which is a little out of the ordinary. That is exactly what Jenny Blackhurst has done in The Night She Died as she builds on her outstanding success of her previous books in this genre.

Picture the scene of lovely wedding between a happy couple. Move to the next frame and you see a woman in her wedding dress looking over the bay and then she is gone. Below the clifftop she stood on are rocks so the outcome doesn’t look great. And sure enough after that there is no trace of Evie, no body and no one knows quite why, or do they?

Evie White is the bride who disappears, she leaves no note and so her heartbroken groom is left with nothing except unanswered questions. Evie’s best friend is Rebecca and it is obvious to the reader that she knows something, but what it is she is keeping quiet about.

The book is told in two narratives, the past by Evie going back to her childhood to explain the woman she became, and the present, by Rebecca. Rebecca is propping up the groom who became a widower before he had any chance to enjoy his marriage. Unsurprisingly he isn’t coping too well especially as the police are trying to unravel the mystery of Evie’s apparent suicide which inevitably means that Richard finds out about the aspects of Evie’s life that she had kept hidden from him. It probably won’t surprise you to be told that both women are soon revealed to be what could be considered ‘complex characters.’

For those readers who love a tense and imaginative foray, this will be a book that you’ll enjoy and fortunately the author keeps the magic and the surprises coming from the first to the very last page. If I was going to be picky I’d probably state that I’m not sure that the police would expand quite so much energy on a suicide even if they did suspect foul play at the outset but if a book is well written and engaging then I’m prepared to overlook such quibbles.

Jenny Blackhurst hasn’t just come up with a good premise here she follows it through by writing appealing characters. Admittedly both women are complex but there is something appealing about them both and they are real. Most of us have met both an Evie and a Rebecca in our lives and so the author’s obvious investment in her characters pays off. I cared about them both even while trying to work out what had happened to cause Evie to throw herself off the cliff.

The timing is also impeccable. For me the joy of reading a psychological thriller is that hook that keeps you turning the pages. I tend to read this kind of novel faster than other types of books and the author has the format down to a tee. The short chapters the alternating time periods and narrators works so well to keep me turning the pages to find out the next piece of information and has me constantly changing my mind about what is relevant to the plot and what is not.

I’d like to thank the publishers Headline for allowing me to read an advance review copy of The Night She Died, and to Jenny Blackhurst for providing me with a compulsive read!

First Published UK: 6 September 2018
Publisher: Headline
No of Pages: 368
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Previous Books by Jenny Blackhurst

How I Lost You
Before I Let You In
The Foster Child

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (September 5)

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

With August having been a decidedly mixed bag in terms of reading I’m thrilled to be starting September with a great set of books which have relight my fire so to speak!

I am currently reading The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward, the fourth book in the DC Childs series set in Derbyshire which is simply fab. The Shrouded Path was published yesterday, 4 September 2018.

Blurb

The past won’t stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home. Amazon

The last book I finished was a psychological thriller The Night She Died by Jenny Blackhurst which had me gripped in its twists and turns. The Night She Died will be published tomorrow, 6 September 2018.

Blurb

On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.

What drove her to commit this terrible act? It’s left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.

Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie’s darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all… Amazon

And next up is another book that will be published tomorrow; Gallows Court by Martin Edwards promises a blend of a Golden Age mystery with modern suspense and is written by a man whose knowledge of the history of crime fiction is phenomenal!

Blurb

LONDON, 1930.

Sooty, sulphurous, and malign: no woman should be out on a night like this. A spate of violent deaths – the details too foul to print – has horrified the capital and the smog-bound streets are deserted. But Rachel Savernake – the enigmatic daughter of a notorious hanging judge – is no ordinary woman. To Scotland Yard’s embarrassment, she solved the Chorus Girl Murder, and now she’s on the trail of another killer.

Jacob Flint, a young newspaperman temporarily manning The Clarion’s crime desk, is looking for the scoop that will make his name. He’s certain there is more to the Miss Savernake’s amateur sleuthing than meets the eye. He’s not the only one. His predecessor on the crime desk was of a similar mind – not that Mr Betts is ever expected to regain consciousness after that unfortunate accident…

Flint’s pursuit of Rachel Savernake will draw him ever-deeper into a labyrinth of deception and corruption. Murder-by-murder, he’ll be swept ever-closer to its dark heart – to that ancient place of execution, where it all began and where it will finally end: Gallows Court. Amazon

So admittedly this is a crime heavy week but one that has so much promise… What do you think? Any of these books take your fancy?

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 22)

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

My current read is The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett which was my pick on the Classic Club Spin #18. There are echoes of the garden from The Secret Garden but I have to be honest, I’m not exactly racing through it but I now need to get a move on to have it read and reviewed by the end of the month.

Blurb

The Shuttle is about American heiresses marrying English aristocrats; by extension it is about the effect of American energy, dynamism and affluence on an effete and impoverished English ruling class.

Sir Nigel Anstruthers crosses the Atlantic to look for a rich wife and returns with the daughter of an American millionaire, Rosalie Vanderpoel. He turns out to be a bully, a miser and a philanderer and virtually imprisons his wife in the house. Only when Rosalie’s sister Bettina is grown up does it occur to her and her father that some sort of rescue expedition should take place. And the beautiful, kind and dynamic Bettina leaves for Europe to try and find out why Rosalie has, inexplicably, chosen to lose touch with her family. In the process she engages in a psychological war with Sir Nigel; meets and falls in love with another Englishman; and starts to use the Vanderpoel money to modernize ‘Stornham Court’.

The book’s title refers to ships shuttling back and forth over the Atlantic (Frances Hodgson Burnett herself travelled between the two countries thirty-three times, something very unusual then). Goodreads

The last book I finished was This is Not a Novel by Jennifer Johnston one of my reads for 20 Books of Summer 2018 Challenge  which I am failing at.

Blurb

Johnny, an outstanding young swimmer, went missing nearly thirty years ago: drowned, or so everyone except his sister Imogen believes.

How could this have happened? Encouraged, pushed even, from a child by his father, Johnny could have made the Olympic team, couldn’t he?

As Imogen gradually pieces together bits of her family history, we hear the tragic echoes that connect her with the Great War and Ireland in the nineteen-twenties Amazon

And then I have a whole stack of great looking books to read for 6 September so I think next I will pick up Jenny Blackhurst’s, The Night She Died.

 

Blurb

On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.
What drove her to commit this terrible act? It’s left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.

Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie’s darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all… Amazon

So what do you think? Any of this mixed bunch take your fancy?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (August 5)

After my less than sterling reading performance in recent weeks I finally got back into the swing of things again with 4 books read! Yay. In addition I have been hooked (belatedly) on the Netflix series The Staircase which although clearly not an unbiased account of a murder trial in the US, makes for riveting watching.

This Week on the Blog

A busy week on the blog with my reviews of books I read back in June still being written and posted – I really do need to get on top of these – with this in mind the week started with a review for Child’s Play by Reginald Hill, the 9th in the Dalziel and Pascoe series.

My excerpt post came from a genealogical mystery series; Letters from the Dead by Steve Robinson.

Then it was 1 August (already!) and time for my Five of the Best featuring my reviews written in July from 2014 to 2018.

Thursday was publication day of the eBook of Little Liar by Lisa Ballantyne and I timed my review to coincide with this date.

The result of the Classic Club Spin #18 was number 9 so Friday’s post shared my pre-reading thoughts on The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The second of my backlogged reviews, Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge was shared yesterday.

And finally, earlier this morning I was part of the Blog Tour for the Ngaio Marsh Awards 2018. Sadly I didn’t manage to read a book this year so I was even more delighted to be included.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Before the Poison by Peter Robinson, one of his standalone mystery stories featuring a fictional murder trial set in 1950s Yorkshire in England. This story comes to the attention of Chris Lowndes a composer for films who has bought the house which was the scene of the murder on 1 January 1953  of Dr Ernest Fox.

This fictionalised account of a murder trial in the 1950s hit just the right note with the details about the key players really coming alive, it was hard to believe that all this was fictional perhaps because the author had clearly done his research so the details were spot on with key references such as Albert Pierrepoint, the most famous of hangmen, adding hooks to hang the case on.  

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover

Blurb

After years of Hollywood success composer Chris Lowndes wanted only one thing: to take his beloved wife home to the Yorkshire Dales.

But Laura is gone, and Chris is on his own.

He welcomes the isolation of Kilnsgate House, and the beauty of the dale. And it doesn’t surprise him that a man died there, sixty years ago.

That his wife was convicted of murder.

That something is pulling him deeper and deeper into the story of Grace Elizabeth Fox, who was hanged by the neck until she was dead . . . Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

My final book token spent means that I now own a copy of a book that had been on my wishlist for quite some time. A non-fiction book Family Secrets by Derek Malcolm.

Blurb

‘Some people’s secrets should never be told. The secret, though, that surrounded my parents’ unhappy life together, was divulged to me by accident . . .’

Hidden under some papers in his father’s bureau, the sixteen-year-old Derek Malcolm finds a book by the famous criminologist Edgar Lustgarten called The Judges and the Damned. Browsing through the Contents pages Derek reads, ‘Mr Justice McCardie tries Lieutenant Malcolm – page 33.’ But there is no page 33. The whole chapter has been ripped out of the book.

Slowly but surely, the shocking truth emerges: that Derek’s father, shot his wife’s lover and was acquitted at a famous trial at the Old Bailey. The trial was unique in British legal history as the first case of a crime passione, where a guilty man is set free, on the grounds of self-defence. Husband and wife lived together unhappily ever after, raising Derek in their wake.

Then, in a dramatic twist, following his father’s death, Derek receives an open postcard from his Aunt Phyllis, informing him that his real father is the Italian Ambassador to London . . .

By turns laconic and affectionate, Derek Malcolm has written a richly evocative memoir of a family sinking into hopeless disrepair. Amazon

From NetGalley I have a couple of very exciting looking books.

A Double Life by Flynn Berry is already available in eBook format and will be published on 9 August 2018 in physical format.

Blurb

Some wounds need more than time. They crave revenge.

Claire’s father is a privileged man: handsome, brilliant, the product of an aristocratic lineage and an expensive education, surrounded by a group of devoted friends who would do anything for him.

But when he becomes the prime suspect in a horrific attack on Claire’s mother – an outsider who married into the elite ranks of society and dared escape her gilded cage – fate and privilege collide, and a scandal erupts.

Claire’s father disappears overnight, his car abandoned, blood on the front seat.

Thirty years after that hellish night, Claire is obsessed with uncovering the truth, and she knows that the answer is held behind the closed doors of beautiful townhouses and country estates, safeguarded by the same friends who all those years before had answered the call to protect one of their own.

Because they know where Claire’s father is.

They helped him escape.

And it’s time their pristine lives met her fury. Amazon

I was also lucky enough to receive a copy of The Night She Died by Jenny Blackhurst which will be published on 6 September 2018 in eBook format and in November as a physical copy.


Blurb

On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.

What drove her to commit this terrible act? It’s left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.

Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie’s darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all… Amazon

What have you found to read this week?

tbr-watch

Since I managed to read 4 books this week and only acquire 3 the total is dropping like a stone back to 170!
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 41
NetGalley Books –16
Audio Books –1

 

I have added 2 reviews of my own books this week so even though I spent 1 token last week I  1 book token in credit!