February 1

Forget Her Name – Jane Holland

Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she?

As she prepares for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. But when she receives an anonymous package—a familiar snow globe with a very grisly addition—that happiness is abruptly threatened by secrets from her past.

Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. But Rachel was no angel: she was vicious and highly disturbed, and she made Catherine’s life a misery. Catherine has spent years trying to forget her dead sister’s cruel tricks. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe—the first in a series of ominous messages…

While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. But who? And why now? She doesn’t have the answers – and in one final question lies her greatest fear.

Is Rachel still alive?

 

My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to join the blog tour.

 

One of the tricky reviews this one…how to discuss Forget Her Name without letting slip any spoilers?  It should be easy (in theory) but I really wanted to talk about the bits of the story I particularly enjoyed. Or the “shock” bits which I didn’t see coming and which at times were a wee bit icky. You see it was those bits of the story which made it such fun to read – that reader dilemma of needing to stop but just wanting one more page. Or maybe two more pages.

Forget Her Name is about Catherine, she hails from a nice family seems to have had a comfortable upbringing and is now engaged to the hard-working, love of her life, Dominic. But in her past there is a memory which she is keeping secret from Dominic but which may now be threatening her idyllic life.

When she was a child Catherine had a sister, Rachel, who was a thoroughly unpleasant child and made Catherine’s life Hell.  However, Rachel died Catherine was suddenly free of her tormentor. Spin forward to present day and Catherine finds that unusual incidents are happening and someone has sent her one of Rachel’s most treasured possessions but with an additional nasty twist.

Nasty twists are very much in keeping with Forget Her Name. It is a tense read, well paced out and I enjoyed it a lot. If you like a thriller which will keep you turning those pages then look no further.

 

Forget her name is published by Thomas & Mercer and is available in paperback, Digital and audio format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forget-Her-Name-gripping-thriller/dp/1542046645/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1517522607&sr=8-1&keywords=forget+her+name

 

 

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September 7

Lost in the Lake – A. J. Waines

She came at first for answers…now she’s back for you

Amateur viola player Rosie Chandler is the sole survivor of a crash which sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake. Convinced the ‘accident’ was deliberate, but unable to recall what happened, she is determined to recover her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

But Rosie is hiding something…

Sam is immediately drawn to the tragic Rosie and as she helps her piece the fragments together, the police find disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? And what happened to the violin lost in the crash, worth over £2m?

When Rosie insists they return to the lake to relive the fatal incident, the truth about Rosie finally creeps up on Sam – but by now, she’s seriously out of her depth…

A stand alone novel (and the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series), Lost in the Lake is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Psychological Thriller that will leave you glancing over your shoulder.

 

My heartfelt thanks to Alison for my review copy

Last year A.J. Waines introduced us to Dr Samantha (Sam) Willerby in a brilliant and thought provoking thriller called Inside the Whispers.  I really enjoyed that book and so I was delighted to learn that Sam was going to return for Lost in the Lake.

Sam is a clinical psychologist and she has helped patients recover lost memories. It is through this skill that she encounters Rosie – a young woman who has narrowly survived a terrible ordeal and is reaching out to Sam to help her recall the events leading up to the accident which she had been involved in. Rosie hopes that by recovering her memories of the event she may understand what happened to her friends that were in the van she was traveling in. All she can recall is that the van left the road and Rosie managed to get out but her friends do not appear to have been so lucky.

Lost in the Lake begins with Rosie’s near death experience then spins forward to her first encounter with Sam. From the very first meeting of the two women it becomes clear to the reader that Rosie is a deeply troubled person and has experienced more than one terrible ordeal. However, we also get a hint that she is not being entirely honest with Sam and that she is keeping things back.

We also spend time with Sam. Events from Inside the Whispers have cast a bit of a shadow over her current personal situation (nb reading Whispers is not essential as the author deftly provides all the relevant information). Sam appears at a bit of a low ebb, her oldest and dearest friend may soon be moving away and there is a suggestion that Sam is lonely. But she is throwing herself into her work and the chance to assist Rosie is a compelling motivator.

Once the pattern of visits is established we come to see that Rosie is not behaving normally and that her dependency upon Sam is spilling out of control. Sam too is becoming aware that Rosie is becoming too needy for Sam’s attentions and she begins to wonder if she should end Rosie’s sessions.

The relationship between the two becomes a tense and intricate dance. While their conversations are professional and aimed at helping Rosie we also know how each woman is also trying to control the nature and extent of the relationship they have with each other – it is brilliantly conveyed by the author and I was gnawing at my fingernails in horrified frustration.

I cannot share too much detail over how the “dance” unfolds, however, if you are a fan of psychological thrillers and books which ramp up the tension as the characters reveal more and more of their driving forces, then you will not go far wrong with Lost in the Lake.

I read the whole book in two sittings as I had to know how events were going to play out – I was not disappointed. Lost in the Lake is available now and I urge you to read it.

 

Lost in the Lake released on 7 September 2017 and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Lake-Samantha-Willerby-Book-ebook/dp/B073W8X17W/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

 

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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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November 4

My Sister’s Bones – Nuala Ellwood

my-sisters-bones-jacket-image1Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her younger sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks.

But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

At first Kate tells herself it’s just a nightmare. But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she’s not imagining it.

What secret is lurking in the old family home?
And is she strong enough to uncover it…and make it out alive?

 

My thanks to Annie at Penguin Random House for my review copy

 

Another book that I picked up without knowing what lay ahead – no description on the cover of my proof copy so everything which happened, from the first word, was totally unexpected. It is a really refreshing way to read a story and in the case of My Sister’s Bones it made all the twists more shocking.

We meet Kate, she is a reporter and has been covering events in Syria but it quickly becomes apparent that Kate is struggling. She has been detained and her mental stability is being examined by a psychologist. If Kate cannot convince the doctor that she is of sufficiently sound mind and not a danger to the public (and herself) she may be sectioned under the mental health act. So for the first section of the book we have Kate under a microscope as her life is picked apart.

Kate’s story makes for uncomfortable reading.  A difficult upbringing in a house with a drunken father. A family tragedy. A sister she cannot connect with and who now spends her days in a drunken haze. Then there is the not-insignificant trauma of reporting from war torn Syria…Kate’s stories seem to focus on how the conflict is impacting on families and children.

As Kate is interrogated, her worst memories are exposed, analysed and discussed. She is nearing breaking point. But from a reader’s perspective it is fascinating reading – the author has brilliantly captured the horror that Kate experiences while in Syria and it makes the problems she encounters on her return home all the more upsetting.

The narrative does not just follow Kate – we get a look at her sister Sally too.  Sally the drunk. Sally the girl who alienated her sister and didn’t stand up to her dad. Sally who has her own tale to tell. Sally who has her own problems, her own demons. Sally who is possibly more complex and conflicted character I have encountered for some time.

This story of two sisters is going to be memorable, there are both going to face tough times, there are shocks a plenty and more than once I had to revise my guess as to where the story may be heading.  Well worth adding to your reading queue.

 

My Sisters Bones is published by Penguin and is available in digital format here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/My-Sisters-Bones-Nuala-Ellwood-ebook/B01HYTW6NS/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478298576&sr=1-1&keywords=my+sisters+bones

 

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October 30

Inside The Whispers – A J Waines

itwlargefinalWhere the most dangerous place – is inside your own head

Following a London Tube disaster, three traumatised survivors turn to clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby, for help – but she’s mystified when their stories don’t add up. Her confusion turns to horror when one by one, instead of recovering, they start committing suicide.

When her partner, Conrad, begins to suffer the same terrifying flashbacks, Sam is desperate to find out what is causing them and a mysterious and chilling crime begins to unravel.

Then the flashbacks begin for Sam…

 

My thanks to AJ Waines for the chance to join the Inside The Whispers blog tour

 

I love a thriller set around hospitals. Perhaps it is because both my parents worked for the NHS and I grew up surrounded by hospital chat? But give me a book with a medical theme and the threat that a place of healing is actually doing harm to its patients and I will be a happy reader.

Inside The Whispers is a perfect example of why I love these types of stories. We are introduced to Doctor Samantha Willerby (Sam) – she is a clinical psychologist and is treating patients suffering traumas and trying to help them overcome their personal demons. Sam realises that some of her patients were caught up in the same terrifying event – a fire at a London tube station. Their graphic descriptions of the horror they faced leaves Sam shaken, particularly when the first patient commits suicide. However, something seems wrong with the scenes they are describing and despite the clarity of their memories of the fire there are inconsistencies in their memory which Sam cannot explain.

Digging deeper Sam soon uncovers evidence to suggest that her patients may be lying to her,  but to what end and why would they fabricate a story so vivid and horrific that they then start to take their own lives?  Sam needs to get to the bottom of the mystery as her boyfriend starts to exhibit the same symptoms as her patients.

Away from work there are also problems for Sam at home, her sister has left the residential clinic where she has been staying for several years. Seemingly recovered from the mental problems which plagued her childhood Sam’s sister, Mimi, is determined to make a success of living back in society. But her arrival will cause friction with Sam as the long running fractious nature of their relationship cannot just be glossed over and forgotten easily.

Inside the Whispers was an absolute treat to read. The author created characters I cared about, giving them a depth and feel which kept me reading. Sam’s work and home life brought her into contact with people with hugely fascinating stories and these are explored really well through the book. The realisation that her patients are dying and that Sam is unable to prevent it gives a strong feeling of a “race against time” particularly when events come close to home for Sam.

This is a stylish, intelligent thriller with a dark and deeply disturbing premise at its core. I flew through the book in super-fast time as I was desperate to see how the story would be resolved and, when I was done, I had that conflicted satisfied sadness of “I loved it…but it’s finished.”

Inside the Whispers is highly recommended.

 

You can order Inside the Whispers through the links below:

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October 22

Her Last Breath – J.A. Schneider

ecover-herlastbreathA chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends?

Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

A heart-stopping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Alfred Hitchcock

 

My thanks to the author for my review copy.

 

I tend not to Tweet much about the books that I am still reading, but when I started Her Last Breath I took advantage of a reading break to share how much I enjoy a book that gets straight into the action.

Her Last Breath opens with Mari Gill waking in a strange room to find herself lying beside a murdered man, a man she has never seen before and she has absolutely no idea what happened the night before. Soaked in blood and on the edge of hysteria is not how most leading characters are introduced…talk about grabbing my attention from the first page! But it is not just the opening that had me gripped as Her Last Breath was an absolute joy to read.

Mari is trapped in a living nightmare, accused of murder and unsure who she can turn to for support she finds that she has to engage her estranged husband as her lawyer. Meanwhile the investigating cops, in particular Detective Kerri Blasco, are initially inclined to believe Mari is innocent. Yet there are inconsistencies in Mari’s story that are not helping clear her name and Kerri has to persuade her boss that there is more to his murder than initially meets the eye.

J.A. Schneider has done a brilliant job in keeping the tension running through Her Last Breath. I attribute this in part to the wonderful characterisation in the book. So often I can put down a novel and struggle to remember any of the character names, however, I loved both Mari and Kerri Blasco – two totally different characters but equally engaging and brilliantly realised. I kept reading as I wanted to find if Mari could have been guilty of the murder. I kept reading as I wanted to find if Kerri would be able to find a murderer. I kept reading because the story was so damned good. It hit just the right balance for me, brilliantly paced, nicely twisty and with a nicely sized supporting cast who could all have been guilty at one point in the book!

Pacey, twisty and that perfect “one more chapter” feeling – Her Last Breath is highly recommended.

 

Her Last Breath is available now. Purchase link: ‪http://getBook.at/HerLastBreath 

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