August 17

Block 46 – Johana Gustawsson – Audio

Evil remembers…

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

 

Another from my unexpected (but very enjoyable) Audiobook Season – today I get to rave about Block 46.

First the audiobook experience.  Very positive!  The narration duties are split for Block 46 – the majority of the book is delivered by Patricia Rodriguez with the “historical” elements (which I shall come to shortly) picked up by Mark Meadows. The two voices work wonderfully – both actors are to be commended for bringing the story to life around me.

Block 46 is a modern day murder mystery but it holds a link to 1944 and a concentration camp in Germany (the aforementioned Historical element of the tale). In London Alexis Castells attends the launch of a new jewellery collection designed by her friend Linnea Blix – despite the importance of the night Linnea does not appear. Alexis travels to Sweden where Linnea would often stay “on retreat” but as she arrives in snowy Falkenberg Linnea’s body is found.

While Alexis gets swept up in the investigation into Linnea’s murder – kept in the loop through a friendship with criminal profiler Emily Roy – the reader gets to slip back in time where we encounter Erich Hebner.  A German national in a German concentration camp.  Erich is doing what he can to survive but when Johana Gustawsson begins to outline some of the terrors which Erich, and the other prisoners, endure each day it becomes impossible to see how he will escape from this Hell.

Narrative swings to present day, the murder investigation reveals some unexpected connections to London. Then we are back in wartime Germany and Erich’s story moves on…he has been granted a rare opportunity to contribute to the German “war effort” but how will he feel about helping when he learns he is going to Block 46. Nobody every comes out of Block 46 alive.

I cannot praise this book enough – at times harrowing but always compelling. It threw up the classic reading dilemma – so good I want to reach the end to find out what happened. But I don’t want to reach the end as I was enjoying it so much.

 

Block 46 is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback, digital and audiobook.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Block-Roy-Castells-Johana-Gustawsson/dp/1910633704/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502917618&sr=1-1

 

 

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August 6

The Girls in the Water – Victoria Jenkins

When the body of Lola Evans is found in a local park on a cold winter’s morning, Detective Alex King and her new recruit Chloe Lane are called in to lead the hunt for the killer.

Days later, a second girl goes missing. It seems the two shared a troubled history, and were members of the same support group. Who is the monster preying on these vulnerable girls?

As the detectives start to piece together the clues, Chloe realises that she too is in danger – as she uncovers secrets about her own brother’s death which someone will kill to keep hidden.

Alex and Chloe are soon fighting for their lives, and in a race against time to reach the next victim before it’s too late…

 

My thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for the chance to join the tour.

I love knowing that the book I am about to read is going to be part of a series. I usually prefer to read about recurring characters than a stand-alone thriller (mainly because I buy in to the characters more readily when I see them grow from book to book).  So when I turned to The Girls in the Water and spotted “Detectives King & Lane, Book 1” my heart soared – a serial killer tale with two cops that look like they may become a regular feature in the release schedules – good start!

Happily The Girls in the Water did not let me down. King and Lane are strong characters in their debut outing – King with a “complicated” home life and Lane with a troubled past which will spill over into her work as she reaches out to King to assist with a private investigation into a murder from years earlier.

More pressing for the two is the fact that someone seems to be killing vulnerable young girls. As a reader we get to watch the killer with his victims.  He uplifts them and takes them to a remote room “you can scream, nobody will hear you” then subjects them to some extremely unpleasant ordeals before finally snuffing out their life. Potentially disturbing scenes warning for those of a nervous nature!  Victoria Jenkins is not going to draw a curtain over the peril that the girls face and it makes her book darker and more intense.

Getting a series established cannot be an easy task but this is a very promising opening and I will certainly be looking out for the next book.

 

The Girls in the Water is available in paperback and digital format and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girls-Water-completely-detective-Detectives-ebook/dp/B0722TFLVW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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August 1

The Pinocchio Brief – Abi Silver

A schoolboy accused of a brutal murder. A retired lawyer with secrets to hide…

A 15-year-old schoolboy is accused of the murder of one of his teachers. His lawyers, the guarded veteran, Judith, and the energetic young solicitor, Constance, begin a desperate pursuit of the truth, revealing uncomfortable secrets about the teacher and the school. But Judith has her own secrets which she risks exposing when it is announced that a new lie-detecting device, nicknamed Pinocchio, will be used during the trial. And is the accused, a troubled boy who loves challenges, trying to help them or not?

The Pinocchio Brief is a gripping, very human thriller which confronts our assumptions about truth and reliance on technology.

 

Click here to view a one-minute trailer for The Pinocchio Brief http://bit.ly/2uHzCzk

 

A murder mystery in a prestigious school leads to a fascinating courtroom drama and we also have an accused that is something of an enigma.

Ray is a schoolboy, quiet, bullied and a genius. He is also accused of the murder of his maths teacher after being found in his room, hands covered in blood and unable (or unwilling) to provide police or his legal representatives with any information which may help clear him of the crime.

The aforementioned legal representatives are Constance, a young and diligent solicitor and Judith. Judith is a courtroom veteran who retired from practice some years previous to the Ray’s trial.  Constance persuades Judith to come out of retirement to help defend Ray, but can the two combine the best of their skills to persuade a jury that the awkward loner did not kill his teacher.

What may be the biggest hurdle to overcome is the new Pinocchio technology which is being introduced to the courtroom.  Developed as a more reliable “lie detector” the Pinocchio machine is intended to read the movements and mannerisms of witnesses or defendants in court and provide accurate feedback on whether they have lied to the court.  Ray’s trial is the first big public test of the technology and Judith, for reasons of her own, is keen to have Pinocchio removed from the process.

Can a machine replace a jury? Why does Judith want the technology removed from the court? Why is Ray so unwilling to communicate with Constance and Judith? Who really killed the teacher, could it have been Ray – despite Judith’s conviction he is innocent?

All those questions kept me reading. Several hooks which all drew me in.  The Pinocchio Brief is a cracking courtroom drama but the murder story is also really well thought out. Shades of classic Christie with the murder in the school, a small suspect pool who all have very different backgrounds and each of the suspects has a reason for bumping off the teacher. This is the type of book I love to read.

Thoroughly enjoyed The Pinocchio Brief and hope this finds its way into many homes – seek it out…there is a handy link just below. 

 

The Pinocchio Brief is published by Lightning Books and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pinocchio-Brief-Silver-Abi-ebook/dp/B073QCN77F/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

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July 22

In The Still – Jacqueline Chadwick

When Ali Dalglish immigrated to Canada she left behind her career as Britain’s most in-demand forensic pathologist & criminal psychologist. Now, eight years later, Ali feels alone, and bored, and full of resentment. Suffocated and frustrated by her circumstances and in an increasingly love-starved marriage, Ali finds herself embroiled in a murder case that forces her to call upon her dormant investigative skills.

As she’s pulled deeper into the case of ‘The Alder Beach Girl’ and into the mind of a true psychopath, Ali is forced to confront her fears and to finally embrace her own history of mental illness. In an increasingly febrile atmosphere Ali must fight hard to protect those she loves from the wrath of a determined and vicious predator and to ultimately allow the woman she once was to breathe again.

 

My thanks to Chris at Fahrenheit Press for my review copy

 

Lets start with an important word for this review:

benchmark
noun
noun: benchmark; plural noun: benchmarks
  1. a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared.

 

In The Still is the book that all my forthcoming reads will be compared to for the considerable future. I absolutely-bloody-loved it. Ali Dalglish is the smart, in-your-face protagonist who made me want to keep turning the pages.

Having left Britain 8 years prior to events in In The Still, Ali has left a successful career and emigrated to Canada with her family.  Her husband works for the local fire service but Ali is home schooling her son and seems to be living a reasonably unfulfilling life. Home tensions will come to the fore during the telling of the story and it helps make Ali and her family appear much more authentic and gives some break from her pursuit of a killer.

Oh yes there is a killer at loose and Ali (along with her irritating neighbour) have found the body. Ali’s initial exposure to the corpse gives her the opportunity to consider the victim – her previous training as a forensic pathologist kicks in and Ali begins to formulate some ideas as to what may have happened to the unfortunate young woman who would become known as The Alder Beach Girl. Ali is not convinced that the local police have the skill (or competence) to investigate the murder and pushes for a reliable investigator to become involved.

It needs to be noted that In The Still is quite graphic in places and as far from “cozy crime” as you could hope to be. Exactly how I like them.

Jacqueline Chadwick provides great detail on Ali’s profiling rationale. The technical and background information which is considered during Ali’s investigations gives a depth to the story and established Ali’s status and her ability to push the investigation forward. But Ali doesn’t suffer fools gladly so there are some fabulous conversations to enjoy as an angry Scottish woman vents at the world around her.

In The Still totally grabbed me, I couldn’t put it down and it was one of those brilliant reading experiences where everything just worked for me. The killer is sadistic and deploys horrible methodology, the investigation to track down the killer is well paced, fun to read and extremely gripping. The lead character won me over from virtually the first page and the suspicion as to the identity of the killer swings between different contenders as the story unfolds – it kept me guessing and I am not ashamed to admit I called it wrong.

Every time I pick up a new book to read I hope it will be a story which enthrals, entertains and excites. I want it to be the book I will recommend to all my friends and I want it to be a story I will return to (and know I will enjoy reading it more than once). In The Still is that book.

 

In The Still is published by Fahrenheit Press and is available now in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Still-1-Ali-Dalglish/dp/1548611956/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500741390&sr=1-1

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July 22

The Art of Fear – Pamela Crane

A life no girl should endure. A father no daughter could love. A twist no one would predict.

From award-winning author Pamela Crane comes a terrifying tale of small-town secrets and murder.

Ari Wilburn’s life ended long ago–the day she watched her little sister die in a tragic accident and did nothing to stop it. Crippled with self-blame and resented by her parents, she stumbles through life … and onto an unexpected clue that casts doubt on whether the death was accidental.

Now a psychological wreck, Ari joins a suicide support group where she meets Tina, a sex-enslaved escapee who finds her long-lost father dead. Suicide, police ruled it. But Tina suspects foul play. As a bond develops between the women in their shared loss, they’re dragged into playing a dangerous game with a killer.

Faced with a murderous wake-up call and two possibly linked deaths, Ari’s investigation puts her next on the killer’s list. But she’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Needing closure, Ari must face her demons and the killer behind them … or lose everything she loves.

 

My thanks to Kate at Thick as Thieves for the opportunity to join the blog tour

 

At a suicide support group Ari meets Tina Alvarez.  Ari is struggling to contend with the guilt associated with the death of her younger sister ten years earlier, however, Tina comes to her group fresh from learning of the suicide of her father. Ari and Tina bond and Tina tells Ari that she does not believe that her father took his own life – the two women begin to investigate the suicide.

As the story develops it becomes clear to Ari that Tina’s father did not take his own life. Yet as Ari becomes drawn deeper into Tina’s life we learn more of the horrific ordeals she has had to suffer. Sold to a sex trafficker by her father, subjected to the worst abuse over a number of years Tina has managed to escape from her captor but he is looking to take her back – claiming that she has not yet earned back the money he paid for her.

Meanwhile Ari is spurred on to reconsider the events surrounding the death of her sister.  Her family firmly placed the blame onto Ari and it drove a wedge between Ari and her parents which could never be broken down.  However, as Ari reconsiders the events which led to her sister’s death she begins to question whether the blame was entirely her own.

As you can tell there are some dark topics holding the narrative together during The Art of Fear; but full credit to Pamela Crane for keeping it engrossing and tacking these difficult subjects with compassion and sympathy. She also writes a cracking story which features some very nasty people and you will get drawn into the lives of Ari and Tina.

One of the most disturbing elements of the story is that Ari has a countdown to her death in the chapter headings. As you read the story will switch timelines to show current events, circumstances from the time Ari’s sister dies and other key points in her (and Tina’s) life. However, when the narrative returns to the current time there are chapters which begin with the number of days that Ari has to live – and it is not many!  The deeper you get into the story and the more you come to like Ari the more worrying the death-clock is – lovely wee touch to keep me hooked.

So in summary – dark themes which are woven into a thrilling and engaging story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

The Art of Fear is published by Tabella House and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fear-Little-Things-That-Kill-ebook/dp/B071R3M2J5/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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July 17

The Last Place You Look – Kristen Lepionka

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.

Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

With echoes of Sue Grafton, Dennis Lehane and the hit podcast Serial, The Last Place You Look is the gripping debut of both a bold new voice and character.

 

My thanks to Lauren at Faber for my review copy and the chance to join the tour.

 

I feel bad when I devour a book in just two sittings.  I know how much time and effort goes into the writing and editing and publication of a novel so to sit down and race through The Last Place You Look in just 4/5 hours of reading – I get a bit guilty. But when I read a book I am enjoying I just want to keep going so The Last Place You Look is a victim of its own success – it was too good to not read.

Roxane Weary is a Private Investigator.  As the book opens she is still reeling from the death of her father, a cop killed in the line of duty. Roxane has a fondness for whisky, a diminishing bank balance and a potential client who wants Roxane to find a missing girl.

But the “missing girl” (Sarah) has been assumed dead for 15 years – her boyfriend of the time (Brad) is on death row, guilty of the murder of his Sarah’s parents and, despite no body being found, of killing Sarah too.  Roxane’s client is Brad’s sister. She believes that she has spotted Sarah and that if Roxanne could find Sarah then it may be possible that Sarah could provide an alibi for Brad which would save him from his impending execution.

Realising that the chances of success are slim Roxane begins her investigation. Happily for readers it is not long before Roxane realises that she has taken on a challenge more complex than just finding a missing person.  Her investigations will overlap with a case her father had been looking into prior to his death and looking back into events which occurred more than 10 years ago will give Roxane the benefit of seeing other, seemingly unconnected, events which may actually have an impact on her case.

At the risk of spoilers I cannot give much more detail, however, I will confirm that Roxane is a fun lead character and she carries the story brilliantly. The investigation is really well structured and kept me guessing where it may lead next. The initial missing person search is never forgotten, however, Roxane’s digging will result in her search branching into unexpected areas and I got hooked.

The Last Place You Look is highly recommended, fun, thrilling and some nasty twists to keep a reader enthralled.  Go get this one!

 

The Last Place You Look is published by Faber & Faber and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Place-You-Look-ebook/dp/B06XCRC4W6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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June 30

The Boneyard – Mark Sennen

BoneyardMalcolm Kendwick is charming, handsome – and a suspected serial killer.

When the partially clothed body of a woman is discovered on Dartmoor, all eyes are on one man.

There wasn’t enough evidence to convict Kendwick of his suspected crimes in America, but DI Charlotte Savage is determined to bring him to justice. She’s certain the woman’s murder, so soon after Kendwick’s return to Devon, is no coincidence. But Savage hadn’t anticipated one thing: Kendwick has a perfect alibi.

When more human remains are discovered at an isolated dumping ground, a full-scale murder investigation is launched. Savage realises it’s up to her to uncover the truth before the killer strikes again.

She knows Kendwick is hiding something.
Is there a limit to how far she’ll go to find out what?

 

My thanks to Sabah at Avon for my review copy and the chance to join the tour

As I was nearing the middle of The Boneyard I had decided that I really liked Mark Sennen’s writing and Charlotte Savage was a character I could get behind.  Then I hit a twist to the story I’d not expected and I suddenly realised that The Boneyard was going to get really dark – Fan-bloody-tastic. That’s how we like ’em.

Background – I own all the Charlotte Savage books, but this was the first I’d read.  One of the best bits about blogging is seeing what your pals read (and what they enjoy)! I bought the earlier books in the series on recommendations of friends but I just hadn’t found time to start reading them. Now I will need to make time and get caught up, I loved how Mark Sennen built up The Boneyard and he kept me hooked.

A  British man has been released from prison in the United States. He was accused of the murder of a number of young women but released on a legal technicality (his confession was obtained under dubious circumstances).

*no spoilers*

The killer (Kendwick) elects to return to the UK and Savage finds herself on escort duty, bringing him in to settle in her area in the South West. She is far from happy about the situation – particularly when Kenwick displays extreme contempt and arrogance and virtually goads the police about his background and the crimes he seems to have committed.

It is not long before a dead girl is found on the moors and suspicion inevitably points to Kendwick.  Is he so self assured that he believes he can get away with murder right under watchful eyes of the police?  Savage thinks so but proving it will be tricky.

Kendwick leaps off the pages and you cannot help but be repulsed by him. The reader is willing Savage to find the evidence she needs to have him returned to prison, but does she have the right man? The feisty interchanges between K and Savage make for captivating reading. As I eluded to above, this is a dark take on the behaviour of a serial killer and Sennen has spun a brilliant tale.

Got a holiday coming and want a cracking read for the beach?  Take The Boneyard with you, you’ll not be disappointed.

 

The Boneyard is published by Avon and is available now in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boneyard-Mark-Sennen-ebook/dp/B01MFI395K/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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June 5

Kill The Next One – Federico Axat

Kill The Next OneTed has it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after he is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger. That’s when the doorbell rings.

A stranger makes him a proposition: kill two deserving men before dying. The first is a criminal, and the second is, like Ted, terminally ill, and wants to die. If Ted kills these men he will then become a target himself in a kind of suicidal daisy chain—and won’t it be easier for his family if he’s a murder victim?

Kill The Next One is an audacious, immersive psychological thriller in which nothing is what it seems.

 

My thanks to Sophie Goodfellow for my review copy

Cards on the table here – I have no idea how to review Kill The Next One. Read the description above and I will pick up from here when you jump back down.

Okay – The book opens with Ted preparing to kill himself.  He has a brain tumour and while his wife and kids are away on a trip he plans to lock himself in his study, leave a note for his wife warning her to keep the kids away then shoot himself in the head. As you can see Ted has not had the best of times.

But just before he can squeeze the trigger someone comes knocking at his front door. The man is shouting through the house to Ted that he knows what Ted is planning and he has a better offer.  Unable to carry on until he finds out what this person may be offering (and how he knew what Ted was planning) Ted opens his door.

The stranger suggests that Ted can do one last good deed and kill a criminal who has escaped justice on a legal technicality. Ted will then kill a second man who (like Ted) is looking to die…at that point Ted will become the next potential victim of another person who also wants to die.  A chain of suicides – rather than take their own life they will be killed by a stranger. The theory being that a “terrible accident” is easier for surviving families to deal with and it could also mean insurance policies pay out (that is possibly not in the book but I work in insurance so I may have mentally added that).

At this point (and we are only a few chapters into the book by this stage) everything went in a totally different direction to what I was expecting.  I had anticipated Ted would hunt down the criminal, eventually bump him off, kill the second person and set himself up to be the next victim in the chain and then we wait to see how his death happens.  Nope. That’s not the story. Am I going to tell you what DOES happen? Nope, well not in much detail.

How about I say that Ted decides the offer has some merit and he looks into the possibility of killing the criminal?  But can he be sure that the criminal has actually done the crime that the stranger at Ted’s door has accused him of?  Also Ted seems like a good, decent and honourable man – can he really take on a killer and expect to have the nerve to end a life?

Federico Axat has made Ted into one of the most troubled and complex characters that I think I have ever read about.  His story is complicated and makes for difficult/troubling reading at times. But his story is important and it really got me thinking about the importance of life choices.

Go back to the book description and focus on the end of that last sentence: “nothing is what it seems” I have alluded to the fact the book did not take the direction I had anticipated, well for Ted it may just be that not everyone is being entirely honest with him – or is Federico Axat not being entirely honest with the reader and keeping secrets from us?   Only one way to find out – purchase link is below.

 

Kill The Next One is published by Text Publishing and is available in paperback and digital format. Order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kill-Next-One-Federico-Axat-ebook/dp/B01KEBZP40/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1496696318&sr=1-1&keywords=kill+the+next+one

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May 31

One To Watch – Rachel Amphlett

One To WatchSophie Whittaker shared a terrifying secret. Hours later, she was dead.

Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues are shocked by the vicious murder of a teenage girl at a private party in the Kentish countryside.

A tangled web of dark secrets is exposed as twisted motives point to a history of greed and corruption within the tight-knit community.

Confronted by a growing number of suspects and her own enemies who are waging a vendetta against her, Kay makes a shocking discovery that will make her question her trust in everyone she knows.

 

My thanks to Emma Mitchell and to Rachel Amphlett for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.

 

If you are not reading Rachel Amphlett’s books yet – you really should be.  One To Watch is the third in the Kay Hunter series and my favourite thus far.

At a private party the guest of honour is found brutally murdered. Her close friend knows the victim had a big secret which she was going to announce to her family the next day but could this secret have been the reason she was killed?

I don’t say this lightly but there were shades of Dame Agatha in One To Watch.  We have a small group of potential suspects:  the Lady seeking to protect the family name and ancestral home. Her husband, who has a more down-to-earth outlook on future prospects.  There is the American Businessman, he holds aspirations of joining the gentry. Their children, their minister and a rogue “bit of rough” that has invaded their idyllic life.

As you would expect the first impressions of all of these characters may be misleading and at various stages in the story you will start to doubt what they are telling the police. Some will seemingly have a very good motive for killing Sophie but did they have the opportunity.  As Kay Hunter and her colleagues start to unpick the lies and half-truths it becomes clear that some secrets will be revealed and they will have devastating consequences for those involved.

The pacing of One To Watch matched the feel of a Golden Age crime story too. There is no need for a series of high-octane set piece scenes as everything is investigated and discovered with careful shrewdness. This is a story driven by the characters, how they live, the choices they made and how they interact with those around them.

Where One To Watch also excels is when Amphlett returns to the ongoing problem that has spanned all the books in the series thus far – someone is out to get Kay Hunter.  While the “no spoilers” rule is very much in place I can hint to some incidents in One To Watch which will further develop the ongoing story arc that someone is trying to undermine her position at work and to possibly end her career permanently.  It is a delightfully eerie shadow which will hang over the whole book and I loved that.

I inhaled One To Watch and read it in two sittings. Very much the kind of book that I can get utterly lost in – a 5 star read and I immediately start looking forward to the next one.

 

One To Watch publishes on 8 June and you can order a copy here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/one-to-watch/id1232535445

 

One to Watch BT Banner(1)

 

 

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May 25

Don’t Wake Up – Liz Lawler

Don't Wake UpAlex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table. The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.

The choice he forces her to make is utterly unspeakable.

But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.

And then she meets the next victim.

So compulsive you can’t stop reading.

So chilling you won’t stop talking about it.

Don’t Wake Up is a dark, gripping psychological thriller with a horrifying premise and a stinging twist . . .

 

My thanks to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.

 

When books are battling for my attention and I can have half a dozen (or more) on the go at any one time then what I really need is to pick up a book which will grab my attention from the first page.  Big love for Don’t Wake Up for doing just that – the opening chapter was chilling and I wanted to keep reading.

Alex Taylor is a doctor. She had been about to meet her boyfriend but she wakes on an operating table. A strange man is standing over her wearing surgeon mask and scrubs – she doesn’t recognise the room she is in nor does she recognise the surgeon. She is absolutely terrified over what may be about to happen to her and the man forces her to make an horrific choice. The next time Alex awakes she is back in familiar surroundings and there is no evidence that anything untoward has happened.

Alex cannot make anyone believe what has happened to her and it starts to impact upon her work. Liz Lawler has done a great job of building a world around Alex and then she starts to pull it apart around her. We see Alex desperate to find a sympathetic ear, her colleagues cannot trust her judgement and as she becomes increasingly frustrated.

At the risk of exposing too much detail (avoiding spoilers) another “attack” victim will cross paths with Alex and the police will become involved. As a reader I started to wonder if I could trust what I was reading – was Alex a reliable narrator or was much of what was happening to her just a figment of her imagination?  There were times I was frustrated with how she behaved and one character (who was dismissive of everything Alex tried to explain) made me “pure raging” at several times during the book. I don’t always get that emotional involvement with characters so this is a definite plus for Don’t Wake Up.

Remember all those books demanding my attention?  Well they were all ignored while I read Don’t Wake Up. It was sufficiently nasty in places, had some good twists which I did not see coming and I realised that I had to find out what was going to happen to Alex.  Well worth hunting this one down – there’s a link below so you won’t need to look too hard.

 

Don’t Wake Up is published by Bonnier and is available now in digital format – paperback shall follow later in the year. You can get a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Wake-Up-terrifying-thriller-ebook/dp/B01NBFD4YR/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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