Genre: Suspense

No Way Back by MJ Arlidge (3/5)

Posted August 11, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

No Way Back by MJ Arlidge (3/5)No Way Back Published by Penguin UK on August 11th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Crime, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, General, Suspense
Pages: 40
Format: Kindle
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A treat for fans of DI Helen Grace: an ebook short story from Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author M. J. Arlidge.
Jodie's arriving at her third children's home. She's only fifteen.Maybe this time will be different. She'll be safe. Looked after.
But the truth is Jodie has no one left to protect her.She must defend herself. She must change.
'Helen Grace is one of the greatest heroes to come along in years' JEFFERY DEAVER'The new Jo Nesbo' JUDY FINNIGAN
'Fast paced and nailbitingly tense ... gripping' SUN
'DI Helen Grace is a genuinely fresh heroine ... MJ Arlidge weaves together a tapestry that chills to the bone'Daily Mail'Chilling stuff' Fabulist
'A chilling read' My Weekly 'A grisly, gripping thriller' Sunday Mirror
'Gruesomely realistic, intriguing and relentless. Arlidge's fledgling army of fans is about to grow' Sunday Sport
'Eeny Meeny debuts one of the best new series detectives, Helen Grace. Determined, tough and damaged, she must unravel a terrifying riddle of a killer kidnapping victims in pairs. Mesmerizing!' Lisa Gardner
'Expertly pulled off. It has a devious premise. DI Helen Grace is fiendishly awesome. It's scary as all hell. And it has a full cast of realistically drawn, interesting characters that make the thing read like a bullet' Will Lavender
'A fast-paced, twisting police procedural and thriller that's sure to become another bestseller' Huffington Post

I’m a huge fan of MJ Arlidge and have read and reviewed all his books released up until now. With the exception of one, I have loved them! I’m also eagerly awaiting the 6th book in the series – Hide and Seek – which is due to be released next month. So when I spotted on Twitter that there was a new short story out, I bought it straight away.

This is a prequel to the Helen Grace series, and as such really needs to be read after the main series of books in order to give the necessary background and context. Without wanting to give away too much about the stories in the series, it covers Helen’s time in a children’s home immediately following the death of her parents.

It’s a very short book – 40 or so pages, which I read in about 20 minutes. But priced at 99p it’s not the biggest financial outlay and it was an entertaining story. I could have done with it being longer – but that’s only because I love Arlidge’s writing so much and wanted to get more into the characters. But even at such a short length, it still packs a punch.

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

Posted July 19, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmonsThe Short Drop by Matthew Fitzsimmons
Published by Amazon Publishing on December 1st 2015
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Espionage, Suspense, Political
Pages: 388
Format: Kindle
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A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard--then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency--disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation's history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession.
For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal--Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him. On the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, the former head of Benjamin Lombard's security asks for Gibson's help in a covert investigation of the case, with new evidence in hand.
Haunted by tragic memories, he jumps at the chance to uncover what happened all those years ago. Using his military and technical prowess, he soon discovers multiple conspiracies surrounding the Lombard family--and he encounters powerful, ruthless political players who will do anything to silence him and his team. With new information surfacing that could threaten Lombard's bid for the presidency, Gibson must stay one step ahead as he navigates a dangerous web to get to the truth.

I chose this as one of my Kindle First picks, and I’m really glad that I did. This debut author has produced a fantastic tight-knit, political thriller, which was pretty unputdownable once I got into it.

If I had any criticism it would be that the ending dragged just a little too much. But overall this is a face-paced, well thought-out thriller, which is well worth reading if you like this kind of genre.

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (3/5)

Posted July 8, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (3/5)The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
Published by Hachette UK on January 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Thrillers, General, Psychological, Contemporary Women, Suspense, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.
My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family's holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.
When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.
But what really happened to Coco?
Over two intense weekends - the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father - the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed...
Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable 'ripped from the headlines' novel that you will want to talk about with everyone you know.

I must admit, this was my second attempt at reading “The Darkest Secret” after previously giving up on it. This time I persevered and I’m kind of glad I did.  It took me a while to realise the timeline was jumping between past and present events, as the present events aren’t dated, but the characters are the same, but once I’d untangled the characters and the style (jumping from emails to witness statements to storyline) I started to get into it and found it was quite gripping. Unfortunately I found the story tailing off somewhat from that point until it limped towards its “not very surprising” ending.

The characters are mostly unpleasant, self-centred, selfish and downright unlikable; so it’s hard to find something to hold on to as the story progresses. I also figured out the “twist” at the end way before it was revealed, so there wasn’t anything to really draw me in and keep me gripped to the storyline.

It was an OK read, and I may read more from Marwood, but not any time soon.

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry (2/5)

Posted July 5, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry (2/5)My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry
Published by Penguin UK on May 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Contemporary Women, Crime, General, Psychological, Young Adult, Action & Adventure
Pages: 528
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A little white lie never hurt anyone...OR DID IT?The addictive psychological thriller everyone's talking about!'My head's still spinning from all the twists!' Mark Edwards
When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she's determined to make a fresh start. To leave the past behind. Even if it means a little white lie or two.
But then she meets a convicted murderer, who reminds her of someone she used to know. And soon Lily will risk anything to free him.
Where does the lying end...and murder begin?
MY HUSBAND'S WIFE is a thriller with so many twists you won't be able to put it down, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Clare Mackintosh and C. L. Taylor.
'Twisty, feverish and utterly gripping, My Husband's Wife is the perfect summer read' Eva Dolan
'This thrilling page-turner kept me guessing till the very end' Katerina Diamond
'A fantastic and powerful novel of heart-pounding suspense, expertly written to draw the reader in and never let go!' Kathryn Croft
'I have been thoroughly immersed in this novel...full of unexpected twists I didn't see coming! ' Luana Lewis
'My Husband's Wife had me gripped from the first page to the last. A fascinating cast of characters, each concealing a dark secret...' Ava Marsh
'Gripping and compelling, My Husband's Wife is a fascinating tale that you will think about long after turning the final page' Rowan Coleman
'My Husband's Wife is a thrilling page-turner that chronicles the nightmarish dynamics within a marriage.' Sarah Ward
'Corry has written a very impressive debut. I couldn't put it down!' LJ Ross
'A dark and gripping thriller that vibrates with tension. Jane Corry has created an exciting and complex tale that sank its teeth into me on the first page and never let go...A must-read for thriller lovers' Kate Furnivall
'[A] roller coaster of suspense and intrigue... A cleverly constructed novel in which we have no idea who we can trust' Rosanna Ley
'The two strong women characters and the twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat right through to the surprising and shocking ending' Mavis Cheek
'Pick up this book and you won't be able to put it down. A fast-moving story of drama, suspense and emotional entanglement with a good sprinkling of evil threaded through' Sandra Howard
'A compelling thriller! I thoroughly enjoyed every fast turning page' Vanessa Ronan, author of The Last Days of Summer
'A gripping page turner that twists and turns right until the very end' Catherine Alliott

The title of this book drew me in initially, and I had high hopes for it as a psychological thriller. Unfortunately it was a distinctly average read.

The book is slow to start and jumps between the stories of the two main female characters – Lily, a married London lawyer, and Carla, a young school-girl who lives next door to Lily and her husband, Ed. The pace doesn’t really pick up until you’re a good part way through the book, and by then it’s obvious what’s going to happen. There’s no tension or thrill, and I found the relationships – between all the characters – tiresome and unrealistic and the storyline implausible.

In short – I just couldn’t buy into this book.

The Fire Child by SK Tremayne (2/5)

Posted July 1, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Fire Child by SK Tremayne (2/5)The Fire Child by S. K. Tremayne
Published by HarperCollins on June 16th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, General, Suspense
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
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The chilling new psychological thriller by S. K. Tremayne, author of the Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, THE ICE TWINS.
When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.
But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?
As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:
‘You will be dead by Christmas.’

I thoroughly enjoyed The Ice Twins by the same author when I read it last year. So I was excited to receive a copy of Tremayne’s second book, “The Fire Child”, through NetGalley.

This time the story is set in Cornwall, around the history behind the old disused mines that pepper the landscape. Just like in “The Ice Twins”, the setting is very atmospheric and draws the reader in.

However this is where the similarities (for me) end. The characters are, on the whole, unpleasant, unlikeable and unrelatable. The relationship between Rachel and David is unrealistic, and without any background or history, it’s hard to engage with the characters. The “disturbing predictions” made by Jamie aren’t really all that disturbing, and don’t have the chilling, psychological effect that they’re meant to have.

Overall the book feels rushed and just isn’t as cohesive as “The Ice Twins”. I’ll still look out for Tremayne’s next book, but this one was a disappointment.

Six Years by Harlan Coben

Posted December 16, 2015 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Six Years by Harlan CobenSix Years by Harlan Coben
Published by Orion on February 27th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 358
Format: Library Book, Paperback
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Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.
But six years haven't come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd's obituary, he can't keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd's wife he's hoping for... but she is not Natalie - and Jake's world is turned completely inside out.
As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can't be found or don't remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake's search for the woman who broke his heart - and who lied to him - soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction.

I picked this up in the library as I usually love Coben’s books. However this lacked the drama and pace of other works of his that I have read.

It starts off promisingly with Jake trying to find out the truth behind what’s happened to the love of his life, Natalie. Natalie left Jake six years previously to marry an old boyfriend, Todd. However when Jake sees Todd’s obituary he decides to pay his respects, only to discover that Todd and Natalie’s marriage was a sham and that Todd was actually happily married to someone else.

So starts Jake’s investigations into the truth behind Natalie’s disappearance and her supposed marriage to Todd.

The story progresses quite slowly from here, with lots of twists, turns, storylines and characters, only some of which have anything to do with Natalie’s disappearance. By the time I’d got to a point where the truth behind Natalie’s disappearance started to become apparent, I’d really lost all interest in the whys and wherefores of the disappearance in the first place. The story just dragged and overall was a disappointment.

Usually I find Coben’s books are great thrillers. But this is a let-down. The only up-side is that it’s ticked off another state in my 51 US States’ challenge.

A Single Breath by Lucy Clark

Posted December 10, 2015 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
A Single Breath by Lucy Clark

I loved this book. It follows the story of Eva, whose Australian husband Jackson drowns in a tragic accident in Devon. Her life is ripped apart and she doesn’t know where to turn. In order to find some closure she decides to go to Tasmania to meet Jackson’s friends and family, who she has never […]

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Posted November 13, 2015 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year! Every morning Christine wakes up, not knowing where she is, who is lying in bed next to her, and not recognising the middle-aged stranger looking back at her from the mirror. Every morning Christine’s husband, Ben, explains she has amnesia, fills in the blanks in […]

The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

Posted October 10, 2015 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

I absolutely loved this book! It’s a fantastic page-turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat right up until the end. It’s dark and twisted in places, but the characters are great and the setting of Skye is very atmospheric. Sarah and Angus are the parents of identical twins. When one dies in […]