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 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 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 Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Sleep Tight – Rachel Abbott

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

I have enjoyed both Rachel Abbott’s previous two books, The Innocent and the back road both of which deal with moral dilemmas so I purchased her latest book, Sleep Tight, on publication day 24 February 2014. This blurb indicates that this is a book about obsessive behaviour which is something that fascinates and scares me in equal measure.

When DCI Tom Douglas is called in to investigate a missing woman and her three children from her home in Manchester he is surprised to find that Olivia’s name has come up in previous investigations. He is left to ponder, how unlucky can one woman be?

Olivia first called the police when her partner, Dan, disappeared leaving her holding the baby, apart from a text apologising that was the last anyone heard of him. A couple of months later she calls the police after finding her parents dead in their house. All goes quiet for Olivia for a few years until she calls the police once again when her husband, Robert, disappears with her three children from their house and now two years later she has disappeared without trace. Tom Douglas is keen to put out an appeal to find them but Robert is unable to find a single photo of any of them.

This book contains everything that a good psychological thriller should; there is a great puzzle to be solved, an uncertainty about which characters can be believed as Olivia and Robert explain some of their actions the result being that some of what I read literally gave me goose bumps as I couldn’t help but imagine myself in Olivia’s shoes. Be warned some of the scenes in this book will make your heart race!

The series is now well-developed, DCI Tom Douglas and Sergeant Becky Robinson are likeable characters who work well together but this isn’t a police procedural, so although their back stories are evolving, they don’t overpower the focus of the book which centres on Olivia and Robert’s relationship. The power of Rachel Abbott’s writing is the fact that her characters behave like real people in that their reactions to events are realistic. That isn’t to say they react exactly how I would in every instance but the elements that make up the personalities are consistent which keeps the plot grounded without wild flights of fancy.

Sleep Tight is one of those rare books that deserves the moniker ‘page turner!’ one which means I have resented the intrusion of real people while my mind grappled with the events in Sleep Tight.

Although this is the third in the series which I have read in order I think this would work as a stand-alone, if like me the subject matter of obsession calls to you. Fortunately Rachel has indicated that there will be another book in the series which will tie up one of the unfinished aspects of DCI Tom Douglas’ personal life.

As an interesting (to me) aside, I have only just realised that Rachel Abbott lives in Alderney one of the sister Channel Islands to my home in Jersey. Alderney is the most northerly of the Channel Islands and I have to confess despite it being so close to home, I have never visited this tiny island of 3 by 1.5 miles which makes Jersey comparatively huge at 9 by 5 miles.

Sleep Tight – Amazon UK

Sleep Tight – Amazon US

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.

I almost wish that I’d known that this series was going to cover such a range of fantastic thrillers so that I’d started collecting them in paperback rather than reading them via eBook mainly, I have to admit for the covers, which are striking. Maybe Rachel will come to Jersey giving me the excuse to add these to my physical bookshelf too!

Contact Rachel Abbott, she has a fantastic trailer for Sleep Tight which is well worth watching!

Web : rachel-abbott.com
Blog: rachelabbottwriter.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Rachel__Abbott
Facebook: RachelAbbott1Writer

Sleep Tight

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Back Road – Rachel Abbott

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

Having really enjoyed Rachel Abbott’s first book Only the Innocent I was keen to see what she would serve up next. The Back Road didn’t disappoint. This is a book of many strands, one of which is the relationship between Ellie Saunders and her younger sister Leo. Leo has come to visit Ellie in her newly renovated house, the house where the girls were bought up with a missing father and cruel mother. Ellie wants to find out where their father is but his relationship with Leo has left her unable to trust men and she would rather leave the past behind.

The other strand centres on the village of Little Melham. This is a village with a number of secrets at its heart. When Abbie is found by the side of the road after a hit and run accident it appears that quite a large proportion of the inhabitants weren’t where they said they were.

There was plenty to keep the me entertained during this 313 page book, with affairs and secrets buried along with a spate of anonymous texts, I raced on to find out what would crawl out of the woodwork next! This book has a great plot and manages not to loose it’s way as the strands wind their way around each other and there were a good number of blind alleys to fool the reader. The ending was satisfying, although for once I had managed to work out who the perpetrator was this didn’t take any of the enjoyment away for me. A satisfying read.