Dr Lise Shields is a psychiatrist in Menaker, a high-security hospital in America, she treats some of the most dangerous patients in the country. The s Dr Lise Shields is a psychiatrist in Menaker, a high-security hospital in America, she treats some of the most dangerous patients in the country. The story begins as Lise begins to work with new patient Jason Edwards. Lise is a little concerned that Jason has been admitted to Menaker with no paperwork and no details of why he has been admitted. Her superiors at the hospital do not seem too concerned about this lack of knowledge, but there is something about Jason's case that Lise feels uneasy about.
Jason begins to open up to Lise. He tells her about his childhood, and his sister who has always protected him, but she has been gone 'for around five years now'.
There is something unsettling about Lise, something about this story and the events that unfold that don't feel quite right to the reader. This could be frustrating, you could get annoyed and say 'hey, this is pants, this wouldn't happen', but you know, you don't. Why? Well, for me, it was because the air of mystery and the feeling of unease that John Burley so cleverly portrays with his writing is just so engaging that you find yourself completely caught up with the story.
One of my favourite authors is Dennis Lehane, and from about a third of the way into The Hiding Place I got the feeling that I got when I was reading Shutter Island. Sure, it could have been that both of the stories are set in a psychiatric hospital, but it's not just that. There is that real cold feeling of dread and anticipation running throughout the book that hooks the reader that both of these authors do so very well.
There are some pretty full-on action scenes, and at times Lise becomes something of a 'Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible' character. But, then again, does she? Does she really? There are questions running throughout the story, the reader will have suspicions about every character. Who are they, are they who they say they are? What the hell is going on?
All I can really say is; read The Hiding Place. Read it and enjoy it and then sit back and consider how incredibly clever it is. How thrilling and totally mind-boggling is that plot?
I really enjoyed The Hiding Place. I had no idea what to expect from this author, and really took a chance when asked to be involved with the Blog Tour, but I'm so glad that I did. I've now bought his first novel and can't wait to read it.
The Hiding Place is most certainly on my 'highly recommended' list....more
I am a bit of a 'blurb' lover, and I ADORE the blurb for In A Dark Dark Wood. I don't know who wrote that blurb, but whoever it was, they are genius.I am a bit of a 'blurb' lover, and I ADORE the blurb for In A Dark Dark Wood. I don't know who wrote that blurb, but whoever it was, they are genius. Blurbs like that really suck me in, more than covers, more than recommendations .... a blurb sells a book to me.
Someone is getting married and Nora is really surprised to receive an invitation to the hen party. She's not seen her old friend Clare for over ten years and it comes as something of a shock to receive an email from Clare's new best friend Flo inviting her along to a house party.
Nora almost deletes the email, but doesn't, and before long she's travelling to Northumberland, in November, to a dark dark house in a dark dark wood to stay with a group of people who she either hasn't met before, or she hasn't seen for many years.
Ruth Ware skilfully creates an almost claustrophobic feeling of darkness and suspicion and anticipation, using some clever writing, drawing some fascinating characters, and most of all, building a sense of place that it totally overwhelming. That dark dark house is so damn creepy, there's not a chance in hell that I would have stayed there .... not a chance.
The reader becomes a captive guest at the party, there is absolutely no way that you can walk away from this story because it's made clear from page one that something terrible with happen. We accompany the guests as they get to know one another, as they get drunk, as they experiment with an ouija board. There are also flashbacks, or flashforwards really, as Nora lays in her hospital bed, trying her best to remember what happened. Why is she covered in bruises and scratches, and who is dead, and why are they dead, and who is the killer?
In a Dark Dark Wood is chilling and sinister and sent shivers down my spine on more than one occasion. It's not just a psychological thriller, although it is a very very good one, it's also a look at friendship and hurt and let downs. It is a study of how a jealous mind can work, it's a lesson in misunderstanding and regret.
I absolutely loved In A Dark Dark Wood, it thrilled me and chilled me and surprised me and shocked me. A really excellent debut, I'd highly recommend it. ...more
The Killing of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty was published by Faber on 7 May 2015. This is Cal Moriarty's debut novel, she is the first Faber Academy auThe Killing of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty was published by Faber on 7 May 2015. This is Cal Moriarty's debut novel, she is the first Faber Academy author to be signed by Faber.
I absolutely raced through this book. I have been tired, I have been busy at work, but I have been so caught up in the tension and thrills created in this novel, that I just could not leave it alone.
This is a proper crime story, it has a really retro feel to it and that's entirely down to the era in which it is set. It's my era; the early 1980s. The days when mobile phones and the internet were unheard of, and the police used notebooks, and pagers, and good old-fashioned detecting skills. That's not a criticism of modern-day crime novels at all by the way, it was just so interesting to realise just how quickly our world has moved on, in such a relatively short space of time.
People are being murdered in Abraham City, a small town in America, bang in the middle of the Bible Belt. Bobbi Lomax was first, and then Peter Gudsen. Clark Houseman was luckier, the bomb didn't kill him, he may hold the clues that Detective Sinclair and Detective Alvarez need so that they can work out just what is happening. This is not an easy case for the detectives as there are some pretty important people in town who are determined that their secrets will stay firmly covered up.
The beating heart of this story is religion. The Faith is a cult-like group that controls the town. Also featured is the world of book collecting and hypnosis. A strange combination you may think, but oh these themes are knitted together so well, so tightly, so perfectly.
I'd like to talk more about the plot, and the characters, but if I did then I'd spoil the novel for other readers, and I'm not a spoilsport! Be prepared for beautifully poetic writing that seems to be in absolute contrast to the genre, but yet again, is done so well that it adds more layers of greatness to this book.
Oh, and be prepared to fall for the guy who you really shouldn't!!
Exquisite, sophisticated and incredibly clever, this is a stunning debut novel.
This is a story filled with mystery and secrets and revolves around the murder of eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson. Whilst it is most certainly a thriThis is a story filled with mystery and secrets and revolves around the murder of eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson. Whilst it is most certainly a thriller; a crime story, and quite dark, it is also a novel of family relationships, hidden pasts, emerging secrets and damaged humans.
The story opens as young Rosie goes missing, it isn't too long before her body is found in the local wood, she's been murdered. The story is told through Kate's eyes. Kate has a daughter; Grace, who is the same age as Rosie, yet it is Kate that was closest to the dead girl. They shared a love of horses, and Rosie often visited Kate - usually when Grace was not about.
Kate finds herself embroiled in Rosie's family dynamics. Supporting her on-edge, nervy mother Jo and strange younger sister Delphine. Rosie's father, Neal, appears to be in control. He's a well-known news reporter and is well trained in putting on a front.
Throughout the story, the reader also hears from Rosie. Speaking from beyond the grave, Rosie gives an account of life for her leading up to her death. Her voice is so very sad, her memories are not happy, her life was not at all as it appeared to others.
The Bones of You is a difficult story to talk about in detail, to say much more would give away the secrets contained within the pages. I don't want to to do that, I want other people to go out and buy a copy and read it too.
This is an impressive novel, it's a delicately paced, fairly slow-moving story, but it is populated with intriguing characters, the narrative is compelling and it is very easy to lose yourself within the pages.
There are some very powerful observations made in The Bones of You, the author deals with emotional, dark and serious issues very very well. I highly recommend this novel....more
The Last Kiss Goodbye, like The Proposal, is a dual-time story. It is set in the early 1960s and in the modern day. The whole story centres around a pThe Last Kiss Goodbye, like The Proposal, is a dual-time story. It is set in the early 1960s and in the modern day. The whole story centres around a photograph discovered by Abby Morgan in 2014. The photograph is featured in an exhibition and christened 'The Last Kiss Goodbye'.
Abby is dealing with her own personal heartbreak and becomes consumed by the story behind the old photograph. She is determined to find out more about it, and if possible, to track down the people in it. Abby learns that the subjects of The Last Kiss Goodbye photograph are explorer Dominic Blake and journalist Rosamund Blake, she also learns that Dominic didn't return from his journey and the photograph captures their last intimate moment together.
The story travels back and forth. To the 1960s, those whirlwind days of parties and glamour and excitement. The days where women's voices can finally be heard and the world is changing quickly. Alongside the jazz and the drink and the emerging sexual liberation is the mysterious and murky world of Soviet espionage and the Cold War. Tasmina Perry delicately balances these, painting a fascinating picture of those times.
The story is set in London, Paris and St Petersburg, and the author excels in recreating these magical locations so very well. I have to admit that I did prefer the story of Dominic and Rosamund over that of Abby and her estranged husband Nick. The 1960s era is one of my very favourite times to read about, I am always attracted to the bohemian glamour of those times.
All consuming love, buried secrets, beautiful locations and flawed but exciting characters. The Last Kiss Goodbye is a satisfying read, with twists and turns and an old-fashioned love story at its heart.
Cathy and I have a few things in common. She's from Goole which is not far away from Gainsborough, where I live. Her Dad is Irish, so is my Mum. She wCathy and I have a few things in common. She's from Goole which is not far away from Gainsborough, where I live. Her Dad is Irish, so is my Mum. She went to college in Scunthorpe and she works for a charity, I worked for a charity running a project in Scunthorpe - teaching literacy skills to young offenders. There are other things too, memories of Pink Floyd lyrics, smoking and drinking under-age, village pubs and lock-ins, loving books and reading. Another major, stand-out thing ... brothers.
I have a brother. Cathy had a brother.
The Last Acts of Love is a memoir, it's a book that is written with such searing honesty that I cried twice before I reached page 40. I cried for Cathy, and I cried for her brother Matty. I cried because she talked about how close they were and how much she loved him, I cried because I tried to imagine how she felt, and it hurt.
Cathy and her brother Matty were so close, only a year apart in age, they were not just siblings, they were friends. They enjoyed the same things, they shared a sense of humour, they came from a good, hard working family. Matty was just sixteen when he was mown down by a car as he walked home with friends. Cathy prayed to a God that she didn't believe in, she prayed that he would live. He did live, he lived for eight long years. Those eight long years taught Cathy and her parents that it is possible to grieve for someone who is alive.
This could have so easily been a story of misery and sentiment, but it isn't. Cathy Rentzenbrink is an extraordinarily talented writer. Her writing is honest, and breathtaking, and touching and incredibly moving, yet it is not in the least bit dramatic or self-pitying. Cathy doesn't gloss over the facts, or try to hide her feelings and is quite brutal with herself at times.
Writing The Last Acts of Love must have been difficult for Cathy Rentzenbrink, yet she has bravely shared her story, and her brother. Her courageous decision to open up her heart and her wounds will become a lasting legacy to her brother Matty, she brings his spirit and personality to life within the pages....more
Beyond the Sea is Melissa Bailey's second novel and is published by Arrow in paperback and ebook on 16 July 2015. Melissa Bailey's first novel is TheBeyond the Sea is Melissa Bailey's second novel and is published by Arrow in paperback and ebook on 16 July 2015. Melissa Bailey's first novel is The Medici Mirror which was published in 2013.
I really didn't know what to expect from Beyond the Sea, I haven't read the author's first book, so this was my first taste of her work. I have really enjoyed the story, and whilst at times it was just a little bit slow, the detail and mystery is very beautifully crafted.
Freya is a tragic figure. She has returned to the lighthouse-keeper's cottage on the tiny island that is full of memories of happier times. Her husband and son were lost at sea, and Freya is only just beginning to feel strong enough to move her life on. She is lonely and sad, her life has changed so much, and memories can be very painful.
Discovering her son's secrets unlocks more pain, but also gives Freya some answers.
Melissa Bailey cleverly adds another dimension to the story with the introduction of some long-lost letters, and the story within these old pages slowly unfolds and adds a quite ghostly, magical, almost gothic flavour to the tale.
Beyond the Sea is quite intriguing and haunting, with strong characters and a cleverly interwoven dual-time story....more
Tammy Cohen does not shy away from the uncomfortable, or the dark. She writes about issues that most of us are aware of, but would rather not be reminTammy Cohen does not shy away from the uncomfortable, or the dark. She writes about issues that most of us are aware of, but would rather not be reminded of. She does it extremely well, and First One Missing is, in my opinion, a novel that places her firmly at the top of the list of psychological thriller authors.
Young girls have been murdered. One by one, savagely snatched from their families. First One Missing explores the impact on the family members who are left behind. Tammy Cohen takes the reader into the heart of these families and we share their heartbreak and sorrow, along with their anger and disbelief.
Central to the story is Leanne, a Family Liaison Officers assigned to the Reid family.
The novel opens as another victim is discovered and Leanne has to contact Emma Reid to inform her of the new developments. Leanne herself is a complex character, with many issues of her own. The author has intricately woven Leanne's story in with the story of the murders. This is very elegantly done, and I found myself completely in tune with all of the characters. In fact, the characters became so familiar that I had to ask myself if this was a sequel, or part of a series, as I felt that I knew them so well.
First One Missing begins slowly, allowing the reader to really get acquainted with the characters and the story. The author then presses down on the accelerator and by the end of the novel, we are hurtling around the racetrack to the shocking, but ultimately satisfying conclusion.
Once again, Tammy Cohen has created a taught, well crafted psychological thriller that is sharp, realistic, disturbing yet sympathetic and quite tender.
If you haven't read anything by Tammy Cohen yet, First One Missing is sure to convince you to try her other novels. Those of you who are already fans will certainly not be disappointed!...more
This book is one of those books that made my heart lurch about my chest, for many reasons. Not least is that it's the sort of book that sends fear thrThis book is one of those books that made my heart lurch about my chest, for many reasons. Not least is that it's the sort of book that sends fear through a blogger's head. Pure fear. The fear that as someone who is not a writer, but an avid reader and book lover, and a person who wants to shout about the books that I have loved, that I won't be able to find any words to describe the story.
Crikey this one is good. It's one of those 'hair stands up on the back of your neck' affairs. It's slow and gentle and lyrical and almost melodic.
Two people; Charlotte and Henry. Obviously in love despite their contrasting nature and opinions. The parents of two small children. Two little girls who drain Charlotte, who consume her every waking minute. She loves her children, but she yearns for her life as a painter, pre-children. She takes solace in the surrounding countryside, Traipsing the fields, delighting in the wildlife, the greenery, the silence, the open space.
Henry is also consumed. Consumed by his hatred of the cold English winter weather. Consumed by thoughts that he is not quite good enough. Aware that people treat him a little differently because of his mixed heritage. For this is 1960s Britain and despite mixing in the most cultured of company, he is aware of glances and comments. Henry is also consumed by the contents of a leaflet that describes a land on the other side of the world. The leaflet invites him to apply to emigrate to Australia - land of year-round sunshine, and warmth. A land that he is sure will accept him.
Charlotte does not want to leave the fields and the trees of England, but she is tired and she loves Henry and eventually they arrive in Australia.
Charlotte yearns. Henry realises. Australia is not the answer. It doesn't matter how many thousands of miles that you travel, you cannot leave yourself behind. Your problems, and beliefs will be there, as part of your checked-in baggage.
Stephanie Bishop writes with such apparent ease, her script flows effortlessly, taking the reader as passengers on Charlotte and Henry's journey. Her ability to describe landscapes and places is quite stunning. The cold, wild landscape of rural wintry England, to the cloudless skies and overwhelming heat of Australia; both of these settings come alive evoking such a sense of place that it can be quite startling when you look up from the book and find yourself in your own back garden, or lounge, or on the train.
This author also gets deep into the minds of her characters, both male and female. The reader is well aware of the character's failings and real issues long before they realise themselves.
There are so many strands to this story, with issues of culture and parenthood, relationships and honesty all addressed so beautifully.
A slow-moving, gently unfurling story that is sure to be a huge success for Stephanie Bishop .... oh, and that ending ......
I don't really like to compare authors, but if you love Maggie O Farrell's writing, then you are sure to love The Other Side of the World too....more