Genre: Psychological Thriller

Hide & Seek by MJ Arlidge

Posted August 18, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Hide & Seek by MJ ArlidgeHide and Seek (DI Helen Grace #6) by M.J. Arlidge
Published by Penguin Books (UK) on 8th September 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: ARC, Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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I was absolutely over the moon when I received the notification from NetGalley that I had been selected to receive an ARC of Arlidge’s latest book in the Helen Grace series. Little Boy Blue finished on a cliffhanger and this book picks up from where LBB left off.

Obviously I can’t say too much about the story as the book isn’t released until next month, but what I will say is that it is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!! It picks up the storyline really well, and the events which unfold once again leave the reader on the edge of their seats wanting to know what will happen next.

Thankfully, Hide & Seek wraps up the story started in LBB, but the ending will still have you racing to know what happens next.

Another fantastic book from MJ Arlidge who is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite authors!!

I See You by Clare Mackintosh (4/5)

Posted August 11, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

I See You by Clare Mackintosh (4/5)I See You by Clare Mackintosh
Published by Sphere on July 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: Hardback
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When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation, no website: just a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . .

I thoroughly enjoyed I Let You Go when I read it earlier this year, so I was really looking forward to this new book from Clare Mackintosh. Although I tend to find 2nd books a little bit hit and miss, I have to say that this one didn’t disappoint.

It’s a great thriller that has elements to which everyone can relate. It’s especially chilling when you realise how those little things you do day-in, day-out without thinking about, but which are ingrained in your daily routine, can suddenly be used against you. It definitely made the book very relatable.

The twist at the end, while not as powerful as the twist in I Let You Go, is still great and catches you unawares. I love this about Clare’s writing and it really is very cleverly done.

Another fantastic thriller which I’d definitely recommend.

The Accident by Chris Pavone

Posted May 3, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Accident by Chris PavoneThe Accident by Chris Pavone
Published by Faber & Faber on January 5th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 508
Format: Paperback
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From Edgar Award-winning Chris Pavone, author of the Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller The Expats, comes a riveting time-bomb of a thriller (fans of The Expats will be excited to see a few characters from Pavone's first book pop up here as well). Taking place over the course of twenty-four hours, The Accident draws on the rich worlds of publishing, politics and international spies to tell a suspenseful tale of intrigue in the vein of John Grisham and Laura Lippman.
In New York City, Isabel Reed, one of the most respected and powerful literary agents in the city, frantically turns the pages of a manuscript into the early dawn hours. This manuscript - printed out, hand-delivered, totally anonymous - is full of shocking revelations and disturbing truths linked to a car accident that occurred years ago, things which could compromise national security. Is this what she's been waiting for her entire career: a book that will help her move on from a painful past, a book that could save her beloved industry... a book that will change the world?
In Copenhagen, Hayden Gray, a veteran station chief, wary of the CIA's obsession with the Middle East, has been steadfastly monitoring the dangers that abound in Europe. Even if his bosses aren't paying attention, he's determined to stay vigilant. And he's also on the trail of this manuscript - and the secrets that lie at its heart. For him, quite simply, it must never see the light of day.
As Isabel and Hayden try to outwit each other, the nameless author watches on from afar. With no-one quite sure who holds all the cards, the stakes couldn't be higher: in just one day careers could be ruined, devastating secrets could be unearthed, and innocent people could die. As the manuscript moves from person to person, it leaves a trail of bodies in its wake.
Gripping, sophisticated, and impossible to put down, The Accident is a masterful follow-up to one of the most acclaimed and striking debut thrillers of recent years.

This could have been a great book. COULD. HAVE. BEEN! Instead it’s long-winded, tedious, boring and pointless.

The premise is a good one. A manuscript with potentially damaging revelations has been carefully, secretively and anonymously penned, and sent to New York literary agent, Isabel Reed, for review. She realises it’s a “once-in-a-lifetime” manuscript and sets about hiring an editor in order to publish the book. Unfortunately the person behind the revelations will do anything to stop the manuscript being released, and soon people with the slightest connection to the secretive document start to be killed by shadowy hitmen.

It sounds pretty OK. Unfortunately the baseline premise of the book – that there are potentially damaging revelations that shouldn’t be released to the public – just doesn’t hold up. A media mogul had a car accident in college and a girl was killed. The accident was covered up. The end. Do we really care if a media mogul’s deepest secret is about to be revealed?! There are meant to be scandalous links between the media mogul and “black ops CIA” but the link is tenuous at best, and is never really explored nor explained.

For a book which is based around the whole process of book publishing, I had to keep reminding myself this was NOT a debut author, it was NOT a self-published, editor-less diatribe, and it WAS released by a decent publishing house (Faber & Faber). If you want to know all about the ins and outs of book publishing and the sale of rights to movie-makers, this is probably a great book to read. Unfortunately I don’t and the endless descriptions of editors and movie producers and literary agents just got tiresome.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the “twists and turns” in the book couldn’t have been more conspicuous if they were signposted! Every single “reveal” was so obvious from 100+ pages previous, there really was no sense of tension or surprise.

On top of all of that the actual base English used by Pavone is grating. Words like “cafeination” and “more clever” (yes, really!) are interspersed with sentences up to 9 lines long. So not only is this book tiresome, boring, unsurprising and tedious, it’s badly written on top of it all!

Had Pavone sat down and watched a couple of episodes of the excellent Scandal on TV then he may have had a better idea for this premise. Change a media mogul to a president. Change a shadowy half-hearted link to a CIA black ops group to something more akin to B6-13, get a decent editor to help with the actual tension and surprise revelations in the book, and you might be on to something decent.

As it is this book is a shambles and even now, having finally crawled my way to the end, I am still bemused as to how it got published!!

The Blue by Lucy Clarke

Posted April 27, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Blue by Lucy ClarkeThe Blue by Lucy Clarke
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on July 30th 2015
Genres: Fiction, General, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
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They had found paradise.What would they do to keep it?With a quick spin of the globe, Kitty and Lanaescape their grey reality and journey to the Philippines.There they discover The Blue – a beautiful yacht,with a wandering crew.
They spend day after languorous day exploring the pristinewhite beaches and swimming beneath the stars, and Lanadrifts further away from the long-buried secrets of home.
But the tide turns when death creeps quietly on deck.
A dangerous swell of mistrust and lies threatens to bringthe crew’s adventures to an end – but some won’tlet paradise go…whatever the price.

After finishing Ruby I wanted something a bit lighter to read, that still had a good enough story to keep me engaged. The Blue by Lucy Clarke seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I had read and enjoyed A Single Breath by the same author last year, so I was looking forward to this book.

It’s similar to A Single Breath in that it’s focused around the sea and set in the Southern Hemisphere – this time mainly in the Philippines. Kitty and Lana have left a mundane life back in the UK and are enticed on to a boat – The Blue – which sails around the islands, choosing where to go next by democratic vote. The lifestyle seems idyllic with the boat able to access sheltered coves and places where no-one else can reach. It seems like the girls have found paradise.

However soon it becomes clear that all is not as it seems, and when a crew member goes missing, Lana begins to wonder what they’ve got themselves into.

The story is engaging, and has a decent number of twists and turns. It flashes between Lana in the current day, waiting in New Zealand for news of the crew after reports that The Blue has sunk; and Lana on the boat herself, and the events which unfolded. The story is revealed piecemeal in a rather effective manner.

However I couldn’t completely buy into Kitty and Lana’s “closer than sisters” friendship, and by the middle of the book Lana was coming across as a paranoid neurotic. I think this could have been toned down a little. That said, I did enjoy the read and it served its purpose well of being a “palate cleanser” after the slightly darker and harder-to-read, Ruby.

Liar Liar by MJ Arlidge

Posted April 14, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Liar Liar by MJ ArlidgeLiar Liar (Helen Grace #4) by M.J. Arlidge
Published by Penguin on September 10th 2015
Genres: Crime, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 314
Format: Paperback
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In the dead of night, three raging fires light up the city skies. It's more than a tragic coincidence. For DI Helen Grace the flames announce the arrival of an evil she has never encountered before.
Because this is no firestarter seeking sick thrills, but something more chilling: a series of careful, calculating acts of murder.
But why were the victims chosen? What's driving the killer? And who will be next?
A powder keg of fear, suspicion and dread has been laid. Now all it needs is a spark to set it off . . .

This is the fourth book in Arlidge’s Helen Grace series. This time Grace is plunged into an arson investigation. Numerous fires are being started every night in Southampton causing damage and putting lives at risk. As the nights go on, and the number of fires increases, Grace is under pressure to bring the perpetrator to justice.

I have enjoyed most of Arlidge’s books – Pop Goes the Weasel, #2 in the series, is the only exception. Liar Liar is another good, fast paced book, but I have to say it’s not quite up there with his best. The storyline is good, but I felt it tailed off a little towards the middle, and limped towards an ending that was pretty obvious way before it should have been. That said, it’s still a great thriller and well worth a read.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (4/5)

Posted March 29, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (4/5)I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Published by Sphere on November 9th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 371
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In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.
Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

Happy Easter! I must admit I was a little lax with my reviews over the bank holiday weekend, so I have two updates today!

First up is I Let You Go, the debut novel from Clare Mackintosh. After a fatal car accident, Jenna Gray’s life is turned upside down. To get away from what has happened, she moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, where she lives a quiet life, insulating herself from the local community. As she starts to soften and make friends, her past catches up with her, and she’s forced to face some hard truths.

This is a difficult book to review without giving away any spoilers. But that said, it’s a GREAT read. There are twists and turns, as there should be with any good psychological thriller, but I can honestly say I didn’t see them coming (which is unusual for me!).

As a mum, I did find the first chapter very difficult to read. But don’t be put off by that and keep going if you can. I’m really glad I did as this is a superb book. The first half sets the scene, but the second half really packs a punch and is a lot darker and edgier. By the end of the book I was on the edge of my seat and could barely put it down!

The Doll’s House by MJ Arlidge (4/5)

Posted March 20, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
The Doll’s House by MJ Arlidge (4/5)

I’m rattling through the books this weekend! I have offered my collection of MJ Arlidge books to a friend, so I needed to catch up with books #3 and #4 in the series. After a disappointing experience reading Pop Goes the Weasel, the second book in the series, but loving Eeny Meeny and Little Boy Blue, books #1 and #5, […]

Little Boy Blue by MJ Arlidge (5/5)

Posted March 15, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Little Boy Blue by MJ Arlidge (5/5)

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House and MJ Arlidge for the opportunity to read this book. Back in November last year, I read and absolutely loved Eeny Meeny, the first book in Arlidge’s Helen Grace series. However last month when I picked up Pop […]

Looking Good Dead by Peter James (4/5)

Posted March 13, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Looking Good Dead by Peter James (4/5)

This is the second Peter James book that I have read, and it was every bit as gripping as the previous one. It’s a fast-paced chilling thriller that may not be for the faint of heart! Tom Bryce finds a CD left on a train and decides to take a look to see if he can return […]

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (4/5)

Posted February 26, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (4/5)

Grace and Jack seem to be the couple who have it all. But what really goes on behind closed doors? I had heard good things about this book, so decided to pick it up on a whim (it’s currently 99p in the Amazon Kindle store). Maybe it’s because I’m having a very mediocre month when […]