He Said / She Said – Erin Kelly

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Don’t be left in the dark.

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden . . . something she never could have guessed.

 

I must have a thing about eclipse stories at the moment, because this comes hot on the heels of Frances Brody’s eclipse set Death in the Stars.  Two novels, which could not however, be any more different.  After the cosiness of the 1920’s, I have been catapulted into the late nineties with a story the begins in Cornwall during the 1999 total eclipse, and continues on right until 2015 spanning the lives of Kit, Laura and Beth, along with the lives of the people surrounding them, affected over the years by their actions.

During the total eclipse of 1999  Laura witnesses an event that will follow her around from that moment on, one she struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of, the impact on the lives of all of those involved, and the ultimate unravelling of history.  As truths about those who share the ordeal become known, Laura struggles to come to terms with everything, hiding from the past seems her only option, striving to live a full life in the shadows, just as the sun hides behind the moon during an eclipse.

Switching back and forth between her current life and the unfolding memories of the past 15 years, He Said/She Said is told with all of the amazing ability I have come to expect from Kelly, ensuring that you are compelled to keep reading because you can’t wait to see how the tales intertwine, and slowly unwind all whilst combined with a reminder of how there are often many sides to every story…

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#Blogtour Death In The Stars – Frances Brody

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Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.

During the eclipse, Selina’s friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can’t help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths – and whether there is a murderer in the company.

When Selina’s elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame . . .

This may well be the ninth book in Francis Brody’s series featuring Kate Shackleton, but as I have discovered with both Death In The Stars and indeed with each of the previously delightfully written Shackleton mysteries I have read, this is no barrier to picking up this book to read as someone new to the series.

Suspenseful, and living every bit up to the description of ‘mystery’, it keeps you guessing all the way between clues, red herrings, characters complicit in the story and those included to misguide you along the way.

With a background that clearly creates the atmosphere of this twenties tale, this charming read is a great way to while away a pleasant few hours.

#Blogtour The Secrets You Keep – Kate White

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You’ve lost your memory. A woman has been murdered. Your husband is keeping secrets. How do you know who to trust?

Months after a being involved in a terrible car crash, Bryn Harper is physically healed but her emotional scars remain raw. She has no memory of the accident and is plagued with bad dreams.

When Bryn and her husband, Guy, host a dinner party Bryn swears money has been stolen while Guy seems unfazed. Bryn confronts the caterer that night and is horrified to discover the woman’s brutally slain body the next day.
As the case is investigated, Bryn is dragged into a fresh nightmare and learns that Guy is keeping things from her. Another murder occurs and Bryn realises the danger is getting ever closer to home. How well does Bryn really know the man she loves?

Another page turner of a read I’ve picked up in the last week or so.  I’m often confounded by female characters who have whirlwind romances and end up married to someone they don’t truly know, but then their stories often make for compelling reading.

The Secrets You Keep was no exception to this rule. The difference being that in this tale Bryn has not just the mystery of her own husband to unravel, but also the mystery of her missing memory.  Fighting nightmares, trying to make new friendships in her summer home town,  all while discovering the brutally murdered body of her caterer, and trying to get to the bottom of the inconsistencies and concerns she faces in her life.

It’s got a delicious twist on the killer and it was someone I didn’t see coming from a mile away, I had it pegged as a whole different character for most of the book, and if you can get one past me you’re on a major winner. 🙂

Highly recommended.

#blogtour Little Boy Found by L K Fox

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WHEN HE FOUND HIS LITTLE BOY, NICK THOUGHT THE NIGHTMARE WAS OVER . . . IT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING.

One rainy morning, just after Nick drops off his young son Gabriel outside the crowded school gates, he has a minor collision with another car. The driver won’t surrender his insurance details, so Nick photographs the licence plate. When he gets home, he enlarges the shot on his phone and spots something odd about the picture – Gabriel in the back seat, being driven away by a stranger. Nick needs to know what happened to his boy, but losing Gabriel turns out to be far less terrible than the shock of finding him. Now, to discover the truth, he must relive the nightmare all over again…Be warned, this is not another missing child story: what happened to Nick and his son is far more shocking.

 

When you hear one of your favourite authors has taken up a pen name and written a new book, in a different style it often casts the authors shadow over your thoughts, when you decide to read the new novel.  So I was really happy that I was already over half way through my advance copy before I became aware that it had been written by Christopher Fowler. It was great to be able to form my opinions without prior knowledge and meant I had a genuine feel for the writing and its flow.

With a distinctly different take on the usual crime of a missing child, Little Boy Found is a gripping read, that really didn’t take long for me to become completely addicted to with regard to discovering what really happened to Nick’s son, and determined not to put the book down until I knew the truth for myself.  I felt I was just as determined as Nick was to put the pieces together and solve the riddle of Gabriel’s last day, and often as amazed by each revelation along the way.

Little Boy Found is told from the perspective of two central characters, both of whom are broken, struggling with their lives,  their relationships with family, friends and partners whilst trying to understand and come to terms with the tragedies that have befallen them. It’s a well paced read and has plenty twists and turns to keep you off kilter as you try and figure out who was responsible for what happened, how and why.

If you are looking for your next lazy day read Little Boy Found comes highly recommended by me.

 

 

 

Blurb is the word #2 – Robert Bryndza

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It took me a while to ‘warm up’ to ‘frosty Foster’ but she’s a cracking character and this is a brilliantly written thriller, that will keep you guessing right to the end.

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

 

Jeepers of all creepers! This one will have you double checking all your doors are locked at night.

Another twisting , turning, tale that will keep you enthralled from the moment you pick it up.

If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

My favourite of the series so far, and yet another step up in style, these books just keep getting better and better.  

This time round, it’s a cold case for feisty DCI Foster, who is doggedly determined to find the culprit, but just for once she might have bitten off more than she can chew…

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

Melody Bittersweet & The Girls Ghostbusting Agency – Kitty French

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Life’s tricky for Melody Bittersweet

She’s single, she’s addicted to sugar and super heroes, her family are officially bonkers and … she sees dead people. Is it any wonder no-one’s swiping right on Tinder? 
Waking up lonely on her twenty seventh birthday, Melody finally snaps. She can’t carry on basing all of her life decisions on the advice of her magic 8 ball; things have got to change. 

Fast forward two months, and she’s now the proud proprietor of her very own ghostbusting agency – kind of like in the movies but without the dodgy white jumpsuits. She’s also flirting with her ex Leo Dark, fraternising with her sexy enemy in alleyways, and she’s somehow ended up with a pug called Lestat. 

Life just went from dull to dynamite and it’s showing no sign of slowing up anytime soon. Melody’s been hired to clear Scarborough House of its incumbent ghosts, there’s the small matter of a murder to solve, and then there’s the two very handsome, totally inappropriate men hoping to distract her from the job… 

Welcome to Chapelwick, home of the brand new and hilarious Girls Ghostbusting Agency series, where things really do go bump in the night.

Take some Janet Evanovich, mix it up with some classic Scooby-Doo mysteries, throw in some Ghostbusters, some of M Knight Shyalaman’s Sixth Sense along with a pair of devilishly handsome but totally inappropriate suitors, and you’ve got your next funtastic read.  If anything can take a grey, miserable time and turn in on its head into one filled with smiles and laughter, this book can do it

Melody Bittersweet is a hilarious narrator, and absolutely adorable, you can’t help but fall for her charms as she converses with ghosts, translates their thoughts and words to the “I-don’t-see-dead-people” folks, and solves mysteries, all while caught between an outrageous ex-boyfriend and an all too desirable complete non-believer out to discredit her at all times.

Her sidekick’s are just as much fun, and I’m really struggling to decide who I like the most.  Feisty Italian descended Marina, loyal and innocent Artie, Melody’s interfering family or LeStat the pug, there’s so much to look forward to from this interesting bunch that I’m already keen to find out what’s next.

With an interesting and tragic family mystery to solve, there’s plenty in here to keep the cosy crime fanatic in you enthralled, just enough romance to spice it up, and some great wisecracks, and while you let yourself go in the company of Melody Bittersweet, I will be eagerly awaiting the next instalment…..

 

The Step-Mother – Claire Seeber

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Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.

No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.

And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.

But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.

Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.
After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending… doesn’t it?

 

As an unofficial (but officially as of next year) step mother I’m always keen to read novels about blended families, as whilst my own situation has been an easy one to accept due to the age of my fiancé’s son when we met, it’s still a subject close to my heart. So when I was offered an advance copy of The Step-Mother, the latest novel by an author of whom I have long been an admirer, I accepted it with glee.

As I said I’ve been an admirer of Claire Seeber’s novels for a long time, but have to say that The Step-Mother is a fantastic step up in her skills, and deserving of all the advance praise I have been seeing on GoodReads, and from other reviewers.  I was hooked from the very beginning, and immediately all I wanted for Jeanie was the happy ending she was desperate for.

Told alternately between the narratives of Jeanie and her sister Marlena, it is an ingenious web of intrigue, so cleverly and intricately plotted that you’ll constantly change your mind as you who is up to no good, go through just about every possible culprit and still be left guessing by the end of it all.

What I enjoyed most about this novel was the profound emotional response I felt towards the characters as I was reading.  I wanted to scream at Matthew for being a useless dick, shout at her sister for being to wrapped up in her own problems, and felt every moment of shock, fear and helplessness of Jeanie as her happy ever after unraveled before her.

It’s a gem of a book that I read in just two sittings, and that was only because I had to go to bed.  It’s highly recommended by me.