The Intruder by P.S. Hogan

The Intruder by P.S. Hogan
Reviewed by

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EXCERPT: It’s easy to say,now, that I wish I’d drawn a line under 4 Boselle Avenue, but there are some things you cannot let go. Certainly there was something about the man with the small incontinent dog that continued to rankle. Perhaps I felt that my honor – the town’s honor – had not been quite satisfied. Or maybe I was still in the grip of excitement after the disappointment of the farcically unreliable Cooksons earlier that day. But in the great chain of things – and in view of what happened afterwards at 4 Boselle Avenue and other sites of disquiet around town – I shouldn’t understate the influence of Aunt Lillian, who has become forgotten in all this talk of property developers, wing mirrors and unwanted rowing machines.

THE BLURB: He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in – quietly, carefully – to see who lives there now, what they’re like, what they’ve been doing.

But what will happen when he gets caught?

MY THOUGHTS: The Intruder by P.S. Hogan is quietly sinister. Hogan writes with an easy humour, which serves his purpose well. He doesn’t appear to try hard to be creepy or sinister, but he succeeds in doing so. It is a relaxed kind of book, one that had me smiling one moment, and my jaw dropping the next. It is unexpected. It grows on you, and you are never really certain what is going to happen.

Hogan has done a magnificent job in portraying his main character, William Heming. He is a character who could live anywhere; you probably have one or more in your town. He is quietly unassuming, successful in his own right, a man who keeps to himself even as he supports local causes, a man about whom nobody knows much. He is just ‘there’. A man who watches. And when you pique his interest, watches even more closely.

Probably the most unsettling thing about The Intruder, is that it is all possible, it may even have happened, it may still be happening. Read this and I don’t believe you will ever again leave your precious house keys in the hands of an estate agent.

This appears to be Hogan’s debut novel. I am eagerly awaiting his next.

Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and Transworld Digital for providing a digital copy of The Intruder by P.S. Hogan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2279496485

Friday Favorite – Milk-Blood by Mark Matthews

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Milk-Blood by Mark Matthews was a very unexpected ☆☆☆☆☆ read. I don’t like reading about drug addiction, especially children who have been born addicted. I think that this was the first time an author had ever contacted me directly to ask me to read their work. I think I was so excited that I didn’t even check to see what the book was about, I just said ‘yes please!’ And I am so glad, because had I refused on the basis of the subject matter, I would have missed out on a great read.

Sorry, but I don’t have an excerpt from this book, but please believe me when I say that the writing is magnificent!

Milk-Blood by Mark  Matthews

THE BLURB: Lilly is ten years old, born with a heart defect, and already addicted to heroin. Her mother is gone from her life, and there are rumors that she was killed by her father and buried near the abandoned house across the street. The house intrigues her, she can’t stay away, and the monstrous homeless man who lives there has been trying to get Lilly to come inside.

For her mother is there, buried in the back, and this homeless man is Lilly’s true father, and both want their daughter back.

“Matthews is a damn good writer, and make no mistake, he WILL hurt you.” – JACK KETCHUM

MY THOUGHTS: MILK-BLOOD: A Tale of Urban Horror is an amazing book. Take –

One child, who should never have been born and certainly never should have survived.

Her mother, who was impregnated by one father, and wanted the other to kill the child.

Two fathers, one who is doing his drug-addled best to care for Lily, the other who simply wants her back.

Then there is Uncle Nelson who introduces Lily to his “medicine” which won’t make her better, but makes her feel better.

And the derelict house across the road to which Lily is drawn, and the voices talk to her…..

I have been sucked into this world that is completely alien to me; a world of abject poverty, of hopeless despair, of drug addiction.

This is a compulsive read; one that had me holding my breath in horror, in dismay, in disbelief; one that had my heart pounding and my fingers trembling.

Thank you Mark Matthews for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I will be seeking out your other works: On the Lips of Children,The Jade Rabbit and STRAY.

Milk-Blood has been optioned for a full-length feature film.

 

 

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
The Girlfriend 
by Michelle Frances (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: “You’re deluded. Just let go, let go of him.” He looked at her with a new distance, as if he didn’t know her. “Stop making excuses for your obsessive behavior. You’ve driven him away- you- and you’ve only got yourself to blame. ”

THE BLURB: A girl. A boy. His mother. And the lie she’ll wish she’d never told.

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping and chilling debut psychological thriller, based on the fall-out following an unforgiveable lie. It looks at the potentially charged relationship between girlfriend, boyfriend and his mother, which most women can identify with, and locates it in an extreme but believable setting.

Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura’s life.

Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.

When tragedy strikes, an unforgiveable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.

MY THOUGHTS: The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a good, but not great read. It is a little slow in places, and I was not particularly enthusiastic about the ending. The level of suspense varies, and I found that some situations that ought to have been suspenseful just weren’t. The opening chapter, a scene from later in the book, didn’t work for me. I imagine it was designed to increase the reader’s anticipation, but it did nothing to increase mine. This is one book where the story should have just started at the beginning and continued to slowly build up the tension until the final denouement.

But, having said that, the characters are well portrayed. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Laura and Izzie, Laura’s best friend. The close bonds between the two women, friends of old, is well depicted. As were the scenes where Laura and Cherry first meet. Cherry’s social awkwardness just oozed from the page, and while Laura is doing everything to make Cherry feel welcome, Cherry is almost searching for things to take offense at. And everything escalates from there, with Laura trying to be friends and Cherry pushing her away, both from herself and Laura’s adored only son, until Laura catches Cherry out in a lie and decides that there is more (or perhaps less) to her son’s girlfriend than meets the eye.

The basic storyline is good, and although The Girlfriend missed the mark with me, only just, I think that it is a good debut novel from new author Michelle Frances, and I will be a definite starter for her next book.

Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2035338920

The Agency by Ian Austin

The Agency by Ian Austin

The Agency (The Dan Calder Series Book 1) 
by Ian Austin

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EXCERPT: Such was her quiet character that Val completely amazed Edwina when she gave her the number for The Agency. They were in a dimly lit bistro one evening, enjoying an early supper soon after Edwina was given the news about the grievous nature of her illness.

‘A friend of mine used them. He wasn’t supposed to tell anyone, but he did tell me in case anything bad happened. In the end, it must have gone exactly how he wanted, and the papers reported it so well that his family will always believe he died fighting overseas,’ Val whispered.

THE BLURB: Dan Calder is an ex Brit and ex policeman looking for a fresh start in a new country but still carrying the baggage of failed relationships and a depressed, repressed past. He chose New Zealand because it was as far as he could get from his old life but did not take into account the universal six degrees of separation is no more than two or three in the land of the long white cloud.

The Agency provides a service like no other and New Zealand is the ideal location to find a new client. When Calder first encounters it by sheer chance, his life instantly changes and before long others are depending on him too.

Engaged in a deadly game with an unknown foe; this was not the new life Dan Calder planned for himself but now at stake is the ultimate reward; his own salvation.

Ian Austin was born in 1963 in Southampton, England. His very un-remarkable school life ended at 16. Drifting into and out of several jobs including hotel porter and photocopier salesman he eventually found his salvation in the Hampshire Police. A career as first a constable and then detective in the UK followed, where he also served as a tactical firearms officer, covert surveillance operative and National Crime Squad trainer.

He transferred to the New Zealand Police in 2003 having visited several times before and falling in love with the country and the Kiwi way of life.

He left the police in 2006 to set up a training and consultancy business. He now lives in Auckland with his artist partner Sallie.

MY THOUGHTS: The Agency by Ian Austin is a good introduction to Dan Calder, around whom this novel revolves and the series will be based.

Austin’s police background is evident in both the content and the style of his writing. He says in the author’s note at the end of the book ‘I have drawn on some personal experiences to try and make it believable, but rest assured, I am not Dan Calder.’ He has definitely succeeded in his aim; his character, Dan Calder, is very believeable, as is the intriguing plot.

At one point in the novel, Calder runs a marathon. I am not an exercise junkie, although I did once run daily for a period of time, and hated every step of it. But back to Calder’s marathon, I swear Austin had me run every damned step with that man; I was exhausted by the end.

The Agency is a good read. If I have any criticism, it is that the conversation between characters is, at times, a little stilted, and that, in places, the author is a little wordy. Minor details that, in the end, in no way impacted on my enjoyment and that will be rectified by experience.

The next book, The Second Grave, is due out around Easter 2018. I am eagerly awaiting its release. I can’t wait to see what new dangers await Dan Calder. Please note that a new edition  of The Agency has recently been published with beautiful new cover art by Ian’s partner, Sallie. However, due to my ineptitude with all things technical, I have been unable to reproduce the new cover here. *sigh* I will get better, I promise.

Thank you to author Ian Austin for providing a paperback copy of The Agency for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2250973825

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: The young policewoman stood in the corner of the room. Plain whitewashed walls, a heavy wooden door, a wooden table with two chairs, and one small window with frosted glass rendered the room soulless. It was a cold afternoon and she had been in the corner since coming on duty two hours ago, her only company the rumpled and bent girl sitting in the chair that faced the wall. Others had come into the room to sit in the second chair: first Detective Inspector Richard Stratton with Detective Sargeant Caldwell standing behind him; then Stratton standing while a doctor from the Maudsley Hospital sat before the girl, trying to get her to speak. The girl – no one knew her age or where she had come from because she hadn’t spoken a word since she had been brought in this morning, her blood-stained dress, hands and face showing a month’s worth of dirt – was now waiting for another person who had been summoned to question her: a Miss Maisie Dobbs. The policewoman had heard of Maisie Dobbs, but from what she had seen today, she wasn’t sure anyone could get this young scrubber to talk.

THE BLURB: In the third novel of this bestselling series, London investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful WWI memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot’s death

Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone. Alexander McCall Smith’s Precious Ramotswe. Every once in a while, a detective bursts on the scene who captures readers’ hearts — and imaginations — and doesn’t let go. And so it was with Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs, who made her debut just two years ago in the eponymously titled first book of the series, and is already on her way to becoming a household name.

A deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world.

In accepting the assignment, Maisie finds her spiritual strength tested, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission also brings her together once again with her college friend Priscilla Evernden, who served in France and who lost three brothers to the war — one of whom, it turns out, had an intriguing connection to the missing Ralph Lawton.

Following on the heels of the triumphant Birds of a Feather, Pardonable Lies is the most compelling installment yet in the chronicles of Maisie Dobbs, “a heroine to cherish (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review).

MY THOUGHTS: Pardonable Lies is my first encounter with Maisie Dobbs, a very pleasurable encounter. This novel covers a lot of different topics, including homophobia and mysticism.

Set in 1930, Maisie is a seemingly strong willed woman who has carved out a career for herself as a Psychologist/Investigator. But during the course of her investigations, Maisie is forced to confront some of her own demons, and some of her past actions may be placing her in danger.

Jacqueline Winspear has created a wonderful cast of characters and a deliciously compelling plot. Maisie Dobbs has a new fan in me.

I listened to the audiobook of Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my

Crossed Out by Malcolm Hollingdrake

Crossed Out by Malcolm Hollingdrake
Crossed Out (DCI Bennett Book 6) 
by Malcolm Hollingdrake (Goodreads Author)

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EXCERPT: . . . once he had fully comprehended what was said and what was happening, (he) was about to protest again but the unseen, first flush of fluid had hit him in the face. His vision suddenly blurred and turned an opaque yellow as the acid started to destroy his eyes. It filled his mouth, numbing and swelling his tongue. What suddenly became apparent was the smell, the smell he could not identify but in fact was the stench of melting flesh. All that could be heard was a gurgled scream as his face began to burn, blister and melt. The rain on the roof had been drowned out. As the first liquid burned, his hand frantically rubbed his eyes trying to clear away the liquid but to no avail, they too simply began to slough and blister. The pain was so intense that he did not feel the second liquid strike as it was poured specifically over his exposed genitals and thighs. It would be the final act against (him); it was all that would be needed.

THE BLURB: DCI Bennett and his team are back and called to a house in Ripon that has collapsed into a sinkhole where a body is discovered.

Soon old weathered Remembrance Crosses are found dug up. Each one numbered.

DC April Richmond is assigned to help the team due to her impressive biblical knowledge and soon makes a startling discovery.

Meanwhile, Gideon Fletcher is walking around the streets of Harrogate distributing religious texts. Is there a link between Gideon and the crosses? Do the crosses have anything to do with the body in the house?

Bennett and the team find themselves wondering if the killer is exacting revenge or punishment and whatever the answer, they soon realise the clock is ticking.

Crossed Out is an intricate and gripping crime thriller from the best-selling DCI Bennett Series. It can easily be read as a stand-alone novel and will appeal to fans of authors like Joy Ellis, Faith Martin, LJ Ross & Angela Marsons.

MY THOUGHTS: It’s complex. But oh so interesting!

Crossed Out by Malcolm Hollingdrake is the sixth in the DCI Bennett series. Although I have read none of the series previously, it didn’t take me long to find my feet with the characters. Bennett is somewhat OCD, a neat freak with trust issues. He dresses nicely and has a passion for good manners. If this makes him sound ‘prissy’, I can assure you he is not.

His sidekick, David Owen, is somewhat his opposite, scattering crumbs and wiping his nose on his sleeve. Yet despite their differences, they have a healthy respect and honest liking for one another.

The characters are all well developed and fill a role in the plot. A new character, April Redmond, is brought into the team in this book. And some of Bennett’s previously concealed past is revealed. There is a little romantic interest, but at no point does it overshadow the true purpose of the book.

There are a few references to occurrences in the previous books, but nothing that is not adequately explained. Although this may be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series in order to reap the greatest enjoyment.

All in all, a very rewarding read, one that is tempting me to go back to the beginning of the series and read them in order. A very solid ☆☆☆☆.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Crossed Out by Malcolm Hollingdrake for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2260896319

The Sunday Summary

Time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

Currently I am reading

Crossed Out (DCI Bennett Book 6)

Which is due to be published today. This is my first book by this author, but it won’t be my last.

And I am listening to

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters

I love Mallery’s characters. They are so very human, and I can always see a little bit of myself in them. This is a nice light antidote to my usual darker reading preferences.

IN THE COMING WEEK I am planning on reading

The Girlfriend

A girl. A boy. His mother. And the lie she’ll wish she’d never told.

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances is a gripping and chilling debut psychological thriller, based on the fall-out following an unforgiveable lie. It looks at the potentially charged relationship between girlfriend, boyfriend and his mother, which most women can identify with, and locates it in an extreme but believable setting.

Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura’s life.

Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.

When tragedy strikes, an unforgiveable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.

The Intruder

He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in – quietly, carefully – to see who lives there now, what they’re like, what they’ve been doing.

But what will happen when he gets caught?

Best Friends

Four friends, a terrible secret, and one week to stay alive…

Grace doesn’t have a family. That was taken away one dreadful day when she was just six, and her twin brother Peter was killed. Instead she has her best friends and flatmates – Jasper, Franklin and Aaron – and nothing can tear them apart.

Living in London, and trying desperately to make a living, the four friends are rapidly running out of money and hope. So, when they find a discarded suitcase in a skip, they can’t believe their eyes when its contents seem to answer all their prayers.

But then there is a knock on their door, and a very disgruntled thug with revenge on his mind, gives them one week to return his belongings, or they will pay with their lives. Soon the fractures in their friendships begin to show, and when one of them ends up fighting for his life, the stakes are raised even higher.

Will any of them get to the end of the week alive, or will the best of friends become the deadliest of enemies…

Aren’t all the covers brilliant! All very different, and all appealing in their own way.

And finally, MY ARC APPROVALS FROM NETGALLEY-

Anna: One Love, Two Stories

The Scent Of Guilt (Bliss & Chandler Book 2)

Hidden Seams

This last book is stepping outside my comfort zone somewhat, but I so loved The Ghostwriter by the same author, that I could not resist requesting it.

That is my reading plan for the week. I look forward to you sharing your plans with me. I love to see what everyone else is reading.

Happy reading!

Dark Angel by Helen Durrant

Dark Angel by Helen H. Durrant
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: Suddenly she fell quiet. Something was floating in the water only inches away from her. She must have dislodged whatever it was from the bottom. Megan strained to see in the dark. It was weird. At first it looked like a bin bag full of festival rubbish. Moving closer, she thought it might be a piece of old wood. In the weak moonlight, its surface looked like bark.

‘What on earth is it?’ she looked up at Leon,who had taken several steps backwards.

‘Don’t go near, babe. Look. There.’ He pointed.

Megan peered closer and recoiled, horrified. The dim light reflected off whitish bones. The remains of an arm and a hand were visible. Tendrils of dark hair floated like weed from what had once been a human head.

THE BLURB: Love gripping crime fiction? Discover Detective Stephen Greco, a meticulous policeman with a messy personal life.

Two young men break into an expensive house in Cheshire. They take money and jewellery — and a large amount of heroin. Within twenty-four hours they are found brutally murdered.

The killings have the hallmarks of a local drug baron. The two victims were also “angels” helping in a community project which seems to have been lowering the crime rate in the area.

Meanwhile, Detective Stephen Greco’s colleague and on-off girlfriend Grace is pregnant. He isn’t sure how he feels, and they haven’t told the boss.

This gripping and fast-paced crime mystery ends with a series of shocking twists.

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Mel Sherratt, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will enjoy this exciting new crime fiction writer.

THE DETECTIVES
DCI Stephen Greco is a meticulous policeman with a touch of O.C.D. Easy to admire, but difficult to like. He has created a new team after a personal tragedy threatened to end his career, and is struggling to care for his daughter.
DS Grace Harper is an ambitious young policewoman with excellent people skills. Like Greco, she is a single parent and tries to balance work and childcare.

THE SETTING
The Northern city of Manchester is a place of great diversity, from high-end restaurants and clubs for the moneyed classes to grim housing estates riven by crime and drugs.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the fourth book by Helen Durrant that I have read, the second in the DI Greco series. My very favorite was Dark Murder, the first of this series.

I like Greco, mostly. He is OCD, has trouble relating to other people, but has this clinical ability to analyze situations and see things others miss. He doesn’t really understand emotions. He knows how he should feel/react, but it just doesn’t happen, which tends to cause havoc in his personal life. His team members see him as ‘a bit of a cold fish’.

Durrant strikes a good balance between the police procedural and the private lives of the main characters. She writes consistently good books that won’t disappoint. This, in particular, has a very clever twist that, despite the clues, I didn’t see coming. And I have the feeling that we haven’t seen the last of femme fatale Ava.

This is a series that it is preferable to read in order so that you get the full benefit of the character development and backgrounds.

Thank you to Joffe Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Dark Angel by Helen Durrant for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2266744546

Friday Favorite – The Burning Man by Solange Ritchie

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

It is almost three years since I first had the pleasure of reading The Burning Man by Solange Ritchie, and it is just as clear in my mind now as it was the day I finished reading it.

The Burning Man by Solange Ritchie
The Burning Man 
by Solange Ritchie (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: All day long, Stone thought of Consuelo Vargas, wishing he would find her, now reluctant he had. His men had searched for two days, plastering her face all over the county.

‘Connie’, as she was known to her family and friends, had been a person, with kids and a future. In this August heat, no one seemed to notice or care. Stone wiped the sweat from his brow. His search had turned up nothing but more questions, leading to pent up frustration and explosive nerves. At least now that frustration would be over.

People in this community of million dollar homes had faith in the system, a false sense of security. Consuelo Vargas would shatter that. People here wouldn’t sleep for weeks.

Stone’s gut wrenched. He wasn’t sure it was a woman.

His flashlight raced across the body, the acrid smell of acid eating at his lungs. It was awful. Stone longed for a blanket of clean air, sunlight, freshness.

Pete continued speechless, backing away from the corpse, as if putting distance between him and the body would make a bit of difference.

Stone knew it wouldn’t. Like the two women before. He thought how Consuelo Vargas’s face would become a nightly, non-mortal visitor, its dark features constantly shifting, changing. Like all the others, her mouth would open in the dream, but nothing would emerge except the screams of a woman being eaten alive by acid. Just like the others.

THE BLURB: It is a summer night in upscale Orange County, California. When young beautiful Consuelo Vargas turns up horribly mutilated and left for dead in a strawberry field, the Irvine Police Department call in top FBI Forensic pathologist/agent, Dr. Catherine (“Cat”) Powers solve a string of murders.

Charged with hunting down a twisted serial killer dubbed the “The Burning Man” as more bodies turn up, Cat embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Her actions will destroy the people she holds most dear. Her decisions will forever change the lives of those she loves.

Little does she know, The Burning Man waits for her, drawing her closer into his web of death, lies and deceit, so that he can take from her the ultimate prize. He waits for her in plain sight forcing her to make a choice no mother should ever have to make.

Suspenseful from the first page, this novel traces the painfully real struggles of a driven woman torn between her career demands and single motherhood, a family saga involving Cat’s young son and his loss of innocence at the hands of a madman and explores the bond shared by a mother and child as they combat pure evil. Cat knows only that she will do anything to catch this killer and keep those she loves alive. But will it be enough?

MY THOUGHTS: ********** If I could award this book 10 stars – I would!

It is exciting to find a debut work by a new author of this calibre.

The writing is clear, concise yet incredibly suspenseful. Solange Ritchie takes us on an exhilarating journey in this compulsive and chilling novel where both characters and plot are complex without being confusing.

Dr. Catherine (“Cat”) Powers is called in to solve a string of grisly murders perpetrated by a twisted serial killer dubbed “the Burning Man’. Little does she realise that her endeavours to identify and apprehend this killer will place everything she values at risk – including her young son – as the killer watches and manipulates her.

The Burning Man should come with a warning to clear your schedule before starting to read…….I paused only to go to work – and then I took the book with me. I resented every moment I was unable to spend immersed in The Burning Man.

A definite 5 stars from me, and a note to the author –“More please!”

Thank you to author Solange Ritchie for providing a digital copy of The Burning Man for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1282183304

The Daughter by Lucy Dawson

Firstly I need to apologize for the lack of a post yesterday, and the lateness of today’s post. I have had a pretty hectic couple of days with both family and work crises! They never come in ones, do they? I may also be a little late tomorrow as I will be putting in a few extra hours at work in order to play catch up.

But on to the real business. . .  The Daughter by Lucy Dawson

The Daughter by Lucy Dawson
The Daughter 
by Lucy Dawson (Goodreads Author)

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EXCERPT: ‘If I had told you about Simon, you would never have kept Beth at that school and she would be alive now.’

The confession burned silently in my mind. I closed my eyes; I was unable to look at him.

“We’ve lost our daughter – ”

‘She’s almost certainly not your child.’

THE BLURB: You lost your daughter. You will never forgive yourself. And now someone’s determined to make you pay…

Seventeen years ago, something happened to Jess’s daughter Beth. The memory of it still makes her blood run cold. Jess has tried everything to make peace with that day, and the part she played in what happened. It was only a brief moment of desire… but she’ll pay for it with a lifetime of guilt.

To distance herself from the mistakes of the past, Jess has moved away and started over with her family. But when terrifying things begin happening in her new home, seemingly connected to what happened to Beth, Jess knows that her past has finally caught up with her. Somebody feels Jess hasn’t paid enough, and is determined to make her suffer for the secrets she’s kept all these years.

MY THOUGHTS: The Daughter by Lucy Dawson is a well written psychological-thriller that moves along at a good pace. It is written over two timelines, firstly when Jess is twenty-four and then almost twenty years later.

I have to admit that I didn’t like Jess, the main character, and in the early part of the book I had to keep reminding myself that she was very young and that, at that age, we don’t always think things through. But even twenty years later, she doesn’t seem to have matured much. She has a lovely husband and child, but remains obsessed by her dead first child. Her obsession and the accompanying paranoia are central to the success of the story.

Dawson had me really wondering just who was behind all the misfortunes that were befalling Jess and her family, and my suspicious mind was leaping from person to person – always the sign of a good read when I suspect everyone!

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Daughter by Lucy Dawson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2265719391