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Dead Hope

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DEAD HOPE is the new thriller by Nicky Wells, bringing you a delicious cocktail of crime, suspense, and romance:

Cat Hope doesn’t want to go to prison. She needs a job, and she needs it fast: judge’s orders.

Kay Mahon, office worker by day and hacker by night, is on the run from a past life that he’d rather not remember.

When their paths cross, they begin to investigate the truth behind the deaths of Cat’s parents, the successful rock star couple Jackie and Adam Hope. Little do they know that their quest is putting Cat in grave danger.

415 pages, Paperback

Published February 2, 2017

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About the author

Nicky Wells

9 books153 followers
Nicky Wells writes captivating romance and breathtaking thrillers featuring famous (or infamous!) feisty heroes and extraordinary villains.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. She loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s hopelessly addicted to reading crime novels by the truck load.

Find Nicky on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and http://nickywells.com/ where she'd love to hear from you. Nicky is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and signed by Sapphire Star Publishing. Rock on!

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Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
4,001 reviews58.9k followers
February 12, 2017
Dead Hope by Nicky Wells is a 2017 publication.

Nicky Wells’ first foray into the mystery thriller genre is an ideal combination of mystery and romance.

In order to keep herself from going to jail, Cat Hope followed the orders of the judge by completing rehab, starting community service and getting a job, which is where she meets Kay Mahon.

Kay lives the double life of a mild mannered office worker by day, and hacker by night. When he takes Cat under his wing, the two discover they have a few things in common. After hearing Cat’s true story, Kay vows to help her find out what really happened the night her rock star parents died.

This is one of those books that will appeal to a wide audience, ranging from traditional mystery, cozy mystery, romantic suspense and maybe even contemporary romance lovers.

Nicky is a big fan of rock music, and has written several novels with rock music backdrop, so it was only fitting she kept that theme running in the background. But, the story is centered clearly around Cat, who need to find out what actually happened to her parents so that she can find peace and move on with her life.

Kay turns out to be the perfect person to help her investigate. He has real skills with a computer, although he does crossover a few blurry lines with the law on occasion.

As the couple begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the simmering chemistry between them begins to burn hotter and hotter.

There are a few laugh out loud moments along the way, and some quick witted banter and dialogue, as well as a few jaw -dropping twists I never saw coming!

Overall, this novel mostly comes down on the light side, with little graphic violence, and is infused with humor and romance to round things out, making this a very easy to read, entertaining mystery.

4 stars

Profile Image for Marina Sofia.
1,152 reviews245 followers
June 5, 2017
This will please both readers of romance and crime fiction, although it is not an all-action thriller or a fiendishly difficult puzzle. Perhaps it would be fairer to describe it as a contemporary romance with rock star elements and a healthy dose of mystery.
Profile Image for Rachel Gilbey.
2,724 reviews497 followers
February 23, 2017
If you asked me to suggest a genre for this book there is no way I would be able to pinpoint it. There are elements of romance, suspense, women's fiction, thriller, crime and mystery in it, it is some of all of those and yet not one part really takes over.

This is a story that is so well put together it keeps you reading, from the time Cat Hope receives her rather unusual sentencing at the start of the book, to the investigation she carries out into her parents deaths almost 20 years on, when she is finally able to start questioning things.

There is are romantic elements with Kay, who is a top notch computer hacker who works at the company that Cat is working for her in her first ever job. There are also sorts of bits of high action and ways to get adrenalin pumping as everything comes together.

I'll admit I did have a fairly strong inkling for a lot of the book as to some of what the outcome would be, but actually some of my theories were more wild than what actually occurred. Regardless I really enjoyed the journey and all of the story telling and description.

I found that Dead Hope was a book that intrigued me from the opening and as it proceeded I became more and more gripped, until I could barely put it down.

This is to my knowledge Nicky Well's first book that deals with more thriller like elements, and it has been written really well. It won't necessarily appeal to die hard crime/thriller fans, but for those that like those harder hitting elements in with their story, you have come to the right book.

It starts off not sedately, but by appearing to be a completely different sort of story to what it turns into. From a book about two people that are both hiding things, but have realised they may have some sort of connection, and happen to work together, into something that had my heart racing, as the danger level ramps up.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Hope from start to finish, and found it was just the book I needed to get myself out of a slightly reading slump, that I was falling into. It has completely revitalised my enjoyment of reading, and I can only thank Nicky Wells for that.

Thank you so much to Nicky Well for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Profile Image for Coral McCallum.
Author 7 books125 followers
February 23, 2017
I was fortunate enough to be given an ARC copy of Dead Hope a couple of weeks back and devoured it over one weekend. (I have since bought a copy too)
In a move away from her previous rock star romance genre, Nicky Wells has written her first suspense thriller. And a great job she’s done too!
Dead Hope is a tricky book to tag by genre. I’ve wrestled with this thought for a day or two and “rock’n’roll thriller” is the best description I’ve come up with so far.
Without giving the plot away, Dead Hope sees Cat Hope, spoiled little rich girl, given a somewhat unique sentence, a fresh start in the real world and an introduction to all sorts of things the rest of us would take for granted, like a mundane 9-5 job. It’s at work that she meets Kay. Both of them have ghosts in their pasts. I love the connection that Nicky has created between them.
You can’t take the rock chick out of Nicky entirely though as throughout the tale Cat seeks to learn the truth around her rock star parents’ deaths almost two decades before.
Dead Hope moves along at a fast, easy to read pace with plenty of twists to the plot. As a debut effort in the highly competitive thriller market, Nicky is off to an impressive start here. She has also maintained the right level of romantic interest to ensure fans of her previous seven books remain engaged. (I’ll admit to developing quite a crush on Kay as the tale progressed.)
One minor criticism, and it’s my own personal curiosity perhaps, but I’d have liked to have had more of an insight into Cat’s guardian, Ron. I couldn’t help but feel his character was a little “light”.
All in all, a fantastic first venture into the suspense thriller market. Highly recommend this one!
And, Nicky, what about more of what happens next? (Hint! Hint!)
Profile Image for Brandee (un)Conventional Bookworms.
1,328 reviews134 followers
February 20, 2017
I had the privilege of reading Dead Hope early and while I've read Wells before, this was something different. Wells took a new path with Dead Hope - that being the path of a thriller - and she delivered the goods. Dead Hope is compelling with great character development and although you know whodunit throughout, she keeps you turning the pages needing to see how it all shakes out.

Cat Hope is the daughter of a famed rock duo, one who has it all with, the exception of her parents who died tragically, and she's found herself in a bit of trouble. Her punishment, as strange as it is, is to be relegated to a new life - as a "normal" person. That being having no access to her trust fun - working for a living.

Cat starts out as a self-centered, spoiled woman - Wells seems to have a talent for creating heroines that have to win us over - but over the course of the story, she grows emotionally and it was a delight to witness even if learning things about her childhood - the things that caused her to be how she was - were troubling.

Cat meets Kay in her new job and as their friendship blossoms, they come to find they have some things in common in their childhood. This brings about Cat and Kay investigating Cat's parents deaths, opening a whole new can of worms.

The character growth wasn't limited to Cat although she grew the most. Kay, a very smart and talented man, having skills useful to investigating on the sly, was also rather prickly - not allowing anyone in...that is no one until Cat.

Wells did a fine job in creating suspense throughout - what would happen? Would Cat and Kay get caught? Everything flowed together naturally, keeping the pace even, despite knowing who the villain was. There were a few instances where my suspension of disbelief was strained but all-in-all everything worked. There was, of course, a romantic element - Wells didn't completely ditch her roots. And the romance between Cat and Kay was sweet, building naturally from their friendship.

I was rather impressed with Wells' foray into suspense writing. The nods to Bourne and other was a nice touch. Wells laid a nice foundation, used her skills in crafting a good story with characters I became invested in, and succeeded in delivering a thriller worth reading.
Profile Image for Sophie.
566 reviews33 followers
July 14, 2017
I have enjoyed reading several books written by Nicky Wells but all of them have been sweet romance novels, with an irresistible blend of romance and comedy and a hero to swoon over. Dead Hope brought something different to the table with a story that was more romantic suspense than anything else. It’s a difficult novel to categorise, with some romantic elements, some crime and mystery, some thrilling elements particularly in the build up to the finale… Personally I would call it romantic suspense with a mystery at its heart, but there is truly something for everyone to enjoy in Dead Hope.

I’ve always found Nicky has a recognisable tone to her writing. Most of the books that I have read from Nicky involve a quirky sense of humour, a rock-and-roll tinge to the story and really memorable characters. Despite the change in genre, Dead Hope is absolutely no different. The story had me gripped from the first chapter. I did find it was a bit of a slow-burner in progressing to the tense, edge-of-seat read I had been expecting but I was still hooked even before then in anticipation of what was to come.

At the beginning of the book we meet Cat, who has been caught with cocaine in her possession. She’s not sure what happened, but she’s even more confused by her ‘sentence’, which instead of the typical punishment sees her having to hold down a normal job and completing a long amount of community service, under a new identity. Holding down a job is enough of a challenge for Cat who has never worked before, instead living off the brand and funds of her rockstar parents. At the office she’s now working in, she meets Kay, office-worker by day and hacker by night. When they discover they might have something in common – something related to the death of Cat’s parents – things begin to heat up and the suspense is raised.

The beginning of the book goes along nicely as we see a connection form between Cat and Kay. I was drawn to Kay instantly and really enjoyed the way both his and Cat’s characters develop throughout the book. There was much more that what meets the eye with both Cat and Kay and as we learn about certain events that happened when they were younger, I grew to like and connect with them both a lot more. Early on, Cat is quite spoilt and Kay is pretty standoffish and I was interested to see what kind of impact the events later on in the book would have on them both.

It is the second part of the book where Nicky really had her hold of me and I was engrossed in what was a compelling and pacy mystery that was suspenseful despite the strong hints we have towards the answers throughout. There were a couple of reveals in Dead Hope which were a little difficult to believe but for pure entertainment value I quickly saw past them. The story became more gripping with every page and by the end I wasn’t sure I was ready to let Kay and Cat go. With Cat’s storied past and antics and Kay’s extreme hacking ability, I was convinced they were characters who had several more books left in them, but as the danger levels increase towards the end, there’s a real possibility that one or more of the characters won’t be coming out alive…
Profile Image for Cathy Ryan.
1,149 reviews64 followers
July 24, 2017
At thirty-one Cat Hope is the archetypal spoilt little rich girl, living off the legacy of her deceased rock superstar parents. Until one day she finds herself in front of Judge Peterson on a drugs charge. Given the choice between the judge’s idea of rehab or prison, Cat opts for rehab.

The conditions of her sentence require her changing her home and name, getting a job in order to support herself and committing to community service. Cat can’t believe it. She’s been in and out of rehab so often but never like this. And why does she need to change her name?

So here she was, renamed Annabelle Smith, in a small, nondescript town, working at a lowly paid and mundane office job and living in a small basic flat. Not at all what she was used to. The only bright spot is the mysterious Kay, one of her co-workers, who was more than surprised when ‘Annabelle’ stuck with the job when a succession of previous employees left after a few weeks. The deepening friendship between Kay and Cat, despite both resolving to remain aloof, lead to discoveries about their pasts and a deadly conspiracy.

An easy, enjoyable read, Dead Hope is a well paced romantic suspense novel with likeable main characters. Erstwhile bad boy, Kay, with his shaved head and tattoos was an immediate winner and Cat became more sympathetic as the story progressed. Kay and Cat work well together as they unravel the mystery of how and why Cat’s parents died and how it ties in with Kay’s recurring nightmare.

Well written with realistic dialogue, flashes of humour and snappy banter, this was a nice change of pace. If you’ve enjoyed previous books by Nicky Wells, I’m sure this won’t disappoint. The mystery/suspense/crime element gives it that added extra.
1,451 reviews24 followers
March 2, 2017
I was very excited about receiving this book to read. I have read Nicky's books before and those ones are rock star romance, this one is her first suspense thriller. Nicky has done a grand job I couldn't put it down. It is a good fast paced, but easy to read thriller. I wasn't sure if it would work but it truly has and Nicky needs to continue with this genre as it was absolutely amazing and written so well.
Profile Image for Melanie Robertson-King.
Author 16 books70 followers
October 17, 2017
I've read all of Nicky Wells's previous books and haven't been disappointed. This, her first foray into crime, makes me wanting the next book ASAP.
Profile Image for J.B (Debbie).
391 reviews8 followers
February 27, 2017
One of the things I love about being a book blogger is that I sometimes get the opportunity to read some fantastic books as they are being written or are in the very early stages of development. Dead Hope was one such book and I've seen it evolve from a first draft manuscript to the amazing novel it is today! I've been a huge Nicky Wells fan for quite a while, loving her romances. But, she has managed to pull off a change of genre very successfully and Dead Hope is going to prove to be one of many books in this genre that Nicky Wells will gift to the world!

The book introduces us to Cat Hope who has been a spoiled, rich brat, her parents having been a famous rock star couple. However, when they are tragically killed when Cat is a kid and this is when she begins to go off the rails. Raised by her legal guardian and parents business partner, Cat as an adult is continuing with her out of control lifestyle and another court appearance proves to be one too many and Cat is sentenced to the strangest type of rehab............move away, assume a new identity, help others less fortunate and get a job! Not being used to living in the 'real world' Cat finds herself lonely and a little bit poorer than what she is used to. Even her legal guardian can't save her as even he doesn't know where she is! Its not long before Cat wishes she'd been given a prison sentence instead!

Cat's new life soon has her questioning all that was familiar to her and the reason behind her parent's deaths. There is so much she doesn't know about her past. Then, she meets computer genius and hacker Kay in her new job and with a dubious past of his own, Kay and Cat are drawn together to find answers into the secrets that surround their past lives. Secrets that now threaten their very future!

This book has it all. Romance, suspense, intrigue and thrills! Nicky well has packaged up everything that readers of all genres will love in this book. Lots of unexpected things in the book that made me sit with my mouth open, trying to digest what I'd just read! The book is nicely paced and leads us into a false sense of security because by the end you will be holding on by the seat of your pants! Lots of surprises and a roller coaster ride! Bravo Nicky Wells! Another fantastic book to have book lovers locking themselves away to devour this book. I fell in love with Kay a little bit too! Ooops! Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Nikki.
138 reviews3 followers
February 28, 2017
Written for of BestChickLit.com:

I was definitely hooked to this book! I know people always say they couldn’t put a story down all the time, but I honestly absorbed this one in two sittings. A really addictive thriller with a darkly different (and fabulous) heroine.

Cat Hope isn’t a bad person, but after the tragic deaths of her superstar parents, she seems to go off the rails – drugs, rehab and spending her hefty legacy seem to sum her up. But when a judge rules she starts over with a new name, in a small town and with an actual job, Cat starts to learn there’s more to her than she ever believed…or was led to believe. Especially when she meets henched computer geek (yup, that’s book boyfriend material, right there) Kay, who’s shadowy past is bizarrely linked to her own. Together they start investigating what really happened in Cat’s past, but do they fully understand what trouble they might be stirring up in the present?

OK, so don’t look too deeply into how some of the law and court workings are handled here…it’s really not important. Wells has written a fully enthralling crime novel, and more than that, it’s a really touching coming of age story for Cat, a voyage of self-discovery that is both fascinating and bold and will make you cheer for her every step of the way. I’m really going miss her now I’ve finished!
Profile Image for Vicki Bowles.
Author 1 book18 followers
March 6, 2017
I'm delighted to be part of the Brook Cottage Books Blog Tour for Nicky Wells's new book, Dead Hope. Thank you to Debbie Johnstone and Nicky Wells for the ARC. This review is my honest opinion.

I first discovered Nicky's books about 4 years ago when I started writing my own rockstar romance, and I loved them! Full of humour and fun, not to mention hot rockstars, they are some of the most entertaining books I have read. So when Nicky said she was going in a different direction with her new book, I just knew it would work.

Dead Hope is Nicky Wells at her best yet. A dramatic storyline, a feisty heroine and a sexy hero, Dead Hope is full of suspense and kept me biting my nails until the very end.

When we first meet Cat, she has all the makings of a very irritating spoilt brat, living off the riches of her dead parents, who had been successful rockstars (yay! I love rockstars!). She has never had to work, thanks to the estate left to her under the guidance of her parents' manager, Ron. But Cat shows herself to have nerves of steel as her life as she knew it begins to unravel around her. Under a new identity of Annabelle Smith, and with the help of her enigmatically-named co-worker, Kay, she opens a can of worms.

Kay is drawn to new girl Annabelle, despite his own determination to keep himself private. She is a mystery to be solved and he senses an opportunity to put his skills into practice. He's a great character, strong but with a vulnerable side, and definitely swoon-worthy!

Together they are drawn into a murky world full of secrets and danger. Nicky Wells has proved she can write in more than one genre. I'm looking forward to the next rollercoaster ride!
Profile Image for Dave Green.
1 review
February 25, 2017
I wouldn't call myself an avid reader but I am partial to the occasional crime thriller, with Lee Child being a particular favourite (I have read all the Reacher series). By chance, I came across this latest novel by Nicky Wells and read it from cover to cover in just 24 hours - it was a real page turner and I found it difficult to put down. This was quite a revelation for me as I tend to read books in small bite sized chunks, for example it had taken me a number of weeks and sessions to digest the latest Lee Child book. The story was quite thrilling with two believable and likeable main characters - the focus allowing real depth to develop in our interpretation of their personalities. In summary, a really good book and well recommended.
Profile Image for Jessie.
77 reviews
February 23, 2017
A book so great I read it twice! And noticed all sorts of extra tidbits on the second time through! It's a little bit of a mystery with several more twists and turns and suspenseful moments than I ever expected. Cat Hope might be my favorite Nicky Wells heroine - incredibly relatable even though she had a spoiled "rock star kid" upbringing. She really gives her all to every new experience thrown her way. And her leading man - Kay - is that magical mix of sweet and caring plus rugged and tough plus smart as a whip. But the investigative trail they find themselves on? Whoa! I won't even say anything because I don't want to spoil the story but - whoa! What an adventure!
(Very well paced and a few chapters are the "can't put this book down" variety. Probably a 2-day read for most people.)
Profile Image for Rosie Amber.
Author 0 books115 followers
July 26, 2017
Dead Hope is a romantic suspense/ thriller. Thirty one year old Cat Hope, spoilt socialite daughter of rock star legends, finds herself in front of a judge when caught in possession of class A drugs. She's been in and out of rehab for years, so when the judge enforces a sentence which entails her getting a proper job, supporting herself and doing five hundred hours of community service rather than the expected prison sentence, Cat is rather shocked.

Sent immediately from the hearing to a small northern town with a new identity, Cat finds herself living her life as Annabelle Smith. With no educational qualifications the only job she can find is a lowly job in a digitisation company. Fellow worker Kay takes pity on her and helps her get settled, she intrigues him, it is obvious to him that she's running away from something. Not that he can judge, his own background isn't very rosy.

Kay helps Annabelle after a heroic day at the office and a stiff drink for the shock turns into a deeper conversation about the past. Annabelle tells Kay about her parents and together they decide to find out more about an event which happened more than twenty years ago and which has been haunting lives ever since. However soon their search triggers red flags amongst others who have been keeping secrets and as events unfold, Cat is exposed to danger and Kay will do anything to rescue her.

An easy read, slight twist on a rags to riches storyline. A well paced suspense probably more for romance readers looking to spread their reading wings a little wider than those into deep dark thrillers. The rock theme which this author is known for is thread throughout the storyline. Enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Jane.
Author 18 books164 followers
June 19, 2017
Enjoyable read, unusual plot well written and kept me reading right to the last word. I had the pleasure of advising (musical aspects) on Nicky's novel Sophie's Encore which I really enjoyed reading and so was looking forward to her foray into crime writing. I wasn't disappointed.
Profile Image for Lana.
1,063 reviews
March 28, 2017
"It was all so confusing, so very annoying. She knew things didn't look good for her, but something told her that she was missing something."

And so a dangerous journey for the truth begins. Part one started out quite slowly as you are gently eased into the story. Once that was over I was completely hooked and I couldn't put it down. This book isn't just a thriller, but also a mystery and a romance novel and that made me enjoy this even more.

I really liked Cat's character. She was very feisty, yet naive and blindly trusting. Compared to the beginning, she definitely grew the most throughout the entire novel and I loved how she came out of her shell. I had a hard time figuring out Kay's motives at the beginning but he's just such a cinnamon roll, I couldn't help but fall for him and his hacker skills! His continues support for Cat, no matter what, was very admirable and I really liked their connection and witty banter.

Next to Cat and Kay's point of view, there is another point of view that I wished was left out of the novel. While that particular point of view created a lot of tension and suspense, it also made me figure out most of the storyline quite early on. I do fear/feel that people who mainly read thrillers and crime novels won't find that much entertainment in this. However, I highly enjoyed the ride and was pretty much engaged from the first page.

The writing style flows very well and carries you through a story that was quite intriguing and at times very action packed!

** I received this book through Goodreads First Reads. This in no way affects my review. **
Profile Image for Geoffrey West.
Author 5 books39 followers
April 4, 2017
This is an extraordinarily original kind of book. It is partly a love story, partly a thriller, but most of all it’s an enthralling mystery. The heroine, Cat Hope, is engaging in a variety of ways. She seems to be a spoilt little rich girl with drug problems, yet she’s also confused and scared, when she is suddenly cast into a world where she has few friends and has to face tough choices. You soon warm to her, as her true nature emerges and she turns out to be kind and thoughtful, in no way spoilt and selfish: she ‘comes of age’ with a bang, and in the process becomes an eminently likeable heroine.
The story starts with Cat narrowly avoiding a custodial prison sentence for drug offences, instead being forced to move to a new area, get a tedious job she hates, and grapple with the sort of gritty day-to-day realities she has never had to face before.
However, at work she meets the enigmatic K, a shaven headed man of mystery, who has tattoos and an attitude, but who ultimately turns out to be fiercely intelligent, resourceful and thoroughly decent.
Suddenly Cat realises that her present is inextricably linked with her past. It transpires that the death of her mega-rich rock star parents, years ago, may be much more complicated than she has always supposed, and that dark forces may have had a hand in their fates. The successful rock duo died when their car plunged into the Thames, years ago. But were they stoned and insensible, as she’s always been told?
The story moves at a cracking pace, and Cat quickly finds out who she can trust and who she can’t, and sets out on a journey into the unknown, to try to put right the wrongs of the past, not realising that her life is in danger.
Saying more might spoil the story, but if you like ‘woman in a mess’ mysteries with lots of thrills, twists and romance, this is one for you. I read it quickly, because once I started I simply had to know what happens.
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