Genre: Thrillers

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.

Follow you Home by Mark Edwards (3/5)

Posted July 4, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Follow you Home by Mark Edwards (3/5)Follow You Home by Mark Edwards
Published by Amazon Publishing on June 30th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Thrillers, General, Crime
Pages: 400
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It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down.
After a perfect start, Daniel and Laura's travels end abruptly when they are thrown off a night train in the middle of nowhere. To find their way back to civilisation, they must hike along the tracks through a forest...a haunting journey that ends in unimaginable terror.
Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what they saw that night. But as they try to fit back into their old lives, it becomes clear that their nightmare is just beginning...
Follow You Home is a chilling tale of secrets, lies and deadly consequences from the author of #1 bestsellers The Magpies and Because She Loves Me.

I was recommended this book as being a spine-tingling thriller. I hadn’t come across this author before, so I was interested to see just how “spine-tingling” this book really was!

It starts off well, if a little slowly, with Daniel and Laura being thrown off a train in the middle of nowhere in Romania. From there things take a twist and turn until we’re back in London with Daniel and Laura unable to talk about what they found in the dark Romanian countryside that night.

From here the book plods steadily along, revealing the “unspeakable truth” about what happened.

However the writing is a little slow, and with so many ups and downs and twists and turns and ins and outs, it soon became a little tedious. By the time of “the big reveal” as to what actually happened, I was so disengaged with the book that I didn’t really care that much.

It didn’t thrill or scare me. It was a good story, but I wouldn’t pen it as a true psychological thriller, nor a horror story. The writing is good, and I’ll probably read more by this author. But the story just didn’t stack up for me.

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.

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 […]

Disclaimer by Renée Knight (2½/5)

Posted February 19, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
Disclaimer by Renée Knight (2½/5)

This is yet another book marketed with a comparison to Gone Girl – something which is getting rather tiresome now, I have to say. That said, this is a decent psychological thriller. It’s all about unearthing secrets in the past, although Catherine doesn’t know how anyone knows her secret as she didn’t tell anyone. As the secret […]

The Widow by Fiona Barton (3½/5)

Posted January 16, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
The Widow by Fiona Barton (3½/5)

I was fortunate enough to win a copy of this in a giveaway on the Good Housekeeping Book Room on Facebook, and it was tempting enough for me to start reading it almost straight away. The premise is good – a man is implicated in the disappearance of a young child, but subsequently dies. How […]

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Posted January 5, 2016 by Babs in Book Review / 0 Comments
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

My first book of the year and what an absolute corker! The main character “Pilgrim” is an ex-special forces intelligence agent who worked for a division that “didn’t exist”.  Before retiring he writes the definitive guide to forensic investigation, covering the crimes he worked on. Originally intended for the professional community, it soon becomes clear his […]