The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

EXCERPT: Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me. 

Someone has written in my diary. I didn’t recognize the handwriting. It was thin and spiky, written with what we used to call an italic pen. I keep thinking of that bit in I Claudius where Caligula drives his father to madness and death by, amongst other things, writing his name on the wall in tiny letters. One letter less each day until, by the time he got to the G in Germanicus, his father was dead.

Who is my Caligula?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

MY THOUGHTS: Elly Griffiths never fails to impress me, entertain me, educate me and, in this case, make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Deliciously creepy is an apt description of The Stranger Diaries.

The story is told from multiple points of view, most notably: that of Clare, in whose diary the messages are being found; Harbinder, one of the investigating officers; and Georgia (Georgie), Clare’s teenage daughter. The narrative is also interspersed with extracts from Clare’s diary and the story The Stranger by author R.M. Holland, who used to live in the school where Clare now teaches, and on whom Clare is writing a book.

There are mysteries within mysteries, mysteries that cross the boundaries of time.

An excellent read, not to be missed. So why, you ask, only 💖💖💖💖.5 instead of the full five 💖? Two minor, and they were very minor, things irked me. The first: with the story being told from multiple points of view, we sometimes get to see the same incident again. But in one part of the book an interview is related again from another character’s point of view, word for word as it was narrated the first time. The second: As I have already said, the current story is interspersed with the story The Stranger by R. M. Holland. At the end we get the story in its entirety, not just the ending, but the whole thing again. I have to admit to skipping most of it to get to where the last extract had ended, and beginning again from there.

💖💖💖💖.5 very admiring stars

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton. Though not her first novel, The Crossing Places was her first crime novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths 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/2590945275
You can also read a preview of The Stranger Diaries at
https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/…

Resistance by Val McDermid

Resistance: BBC Radio 4 full-cast drama

ABOUT THIS AUDIOBOOK: It’s the summer solstice weekend, and 150,000 people have descended on a farm in the northeast of England for an open-air music festival. Reporting on the event is journalist Zoe Meadows, who files her copy from a food van run by her friends Sam and Lisa.

When some of Sam’s customers get sick, it looks like food poisoning, and it’s exacerbated by the mud, rain and inadequate sanitary facilities. It’s assumed to be a 24-hour thing until people get home and discover strange skin lesions, which ulcerate and turn septic. More people start getting ill – and dying.

What looked like a minor bug is clearly much more serious: a mystery illness that’s spreading fast and seems resistant to all antibiotics. Zoe teams up with Sam to track the outbreak to its source; meanwhile, can a cure be found before the disease becomes a pandemic?

MY THOUGHTS: I went into this audiobook entirely blind. It definitely was not what I was expecting, but by the time I realised that this was not McDermid’s normal ‘crime’ fare, I did not have time to download anything else to listen to. This is not something I would have listened to by choice but, having said that, it was a reasonable story, well written and narrated, and – the scariest thing of all – entirely possible.

😨😨😨

THE AUTHOR: Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook version of Resistance by Val McDermid, the original BBC Radio 4 radio drama full cast recording, published by BBC Worldwide Ltd. The quality was, as always, excellent. 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/2732066151

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom by Beth Miller

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom by Beth  Miller

EXCERPT: What happened next, Leah used to ask.

It’s a good question.

It was adorable, how fascinated she was by our love story when she was little. She still is fascinated in a sense, if last night was anything to go by. Maybe horrified is a more accurate description. Anyway, I don’t want to think about last night. I don’t want to think about Leah’s face as she stood in the doorway, the black eyeliner she favours making her seem even less childlike, looking at me with that cool, clear way she has. I prefer to think about Leah when she was little, and I could do no wrong as far as she was concerned. Not now, when she is fourteen, and angry, and has been missing for five hours.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Meet Eliza Bloom: She likes to live life by the rules: long, blue skirt on Thursdays, dinner with mother on Fridays and if someone tells you a Valentine should be anonymous, give your new husband a blank card. Nothing is out of place in her ordered life…

But last night her teenage daughter found something in a hidden shoebox that no-one was supposed to see and started asking questions. Questions that might just change everything in Eliza’s carefully constructed world.

Join Eliza as she shows you how to run away with the love of your life (quite fast actually, as your family are coming after you), how to make your grandfather happy (this might involve a little bit of lying), how to let someone you love go (actually, this never gets easier) and how (now, this is a bad idea) to keep secrets from your new husband.

The only way to truly live is to learn how to open your heart.

MY THOUGHTS: I. Loved. This. Book.

I didn’t want it to end. Ever.

I wanted to stay with Eliza, the Scarlet Woman of Hackney E5, as she muddled her way through life. She made me smile. And laugh. And shed a few tears. And Alex? (‘My name is Alex Symons and I’m an idiot. It’s been a few weeks since I was last a complete idiot.’) Lord, I love that man! I want a friend like Deborah. One who is not afraid to call it like she sees it, and who loves you no matter what. And Leah? The glue that holds the package together, the tsunami that tears it apart.

Six hours after I finished reading The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom, I am still not ready to say goodbye. I want to stay immersed in the world of this unconventional family. I am not ready, nor willing, to return to the ‘real world’.

More please, Beth Miller!

THE AUTHOR: Beth Miller’s first novel, When We Were Sisters, was recently published by Ebury Press. Her second novel, The Good Neighbour, will be published in September 2015, also by Ebury. She is currently writing her third novel, The Privacy Room, and is also working on a book about the world’s greatest radio show, called For The Love of The Archers. She is a columnist for The Chap magazine, and the rest of the time she runs courses about writing, works with fellow writers as their book coach, and drinks tea while staring vacantly into space. She has been a sex educator, alcohol counsellor, and inept audio-typist. She has a PhD in psychology, which has yet to come in handy.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you, thank you, thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom by Beth Miller 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/2726960119

A Taste of . . .Tuesday – The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries

Happy Publication Day for The Stranger Diaries to Elly Griffiths and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!

I can’t wait to read this latest stand alone by one of my very favorite authors, Elly Griffiths. Here is an extract to whet your reading appetite. . .

Clare’s Diary

Monday 23rd October, 2017

Ella is dead. I didn’t believe it when Rick told me. And, as the words began to sink in, I thought: a car crash, an accident, even an overdose of some kind. But when Rick said ‘murdered’, it was as if he was talking a different language.

‘Murdered?’ I repeated the word stupidly.

‘The police said someone broke into her house last night,’ said Rick. ‘They turned up on my doorstep this morning. Daisy thought I was about to be arrested.’

I still couldn’t put the pieces together. Ella. My friend. My colleague. My ally in the English department. Murdered. Rick said that Tony already knew. He was going to write to all the parents tonight.

‘It’ll be in the papers,’ said Rick. ‘Thank God it’s half-term.’

I’d thought the same thing. Thank God it’s half-term, thank God Georgie’s with Simon. But then I felt guilty. Rick must have realized he’d got the tone wrong because he said ‘I’m sorry Clare,’ as if he meant it.

He’s sorry. Jesus.

And then I had to go back to my class and teach them about ghost stories. It wasn’t one of my best teaching sessions. But ‘<i>The Stranger</i> always does its bit, especially as it was dark by the time I finished. Una actually screamed at the end. I set them a writing task for the last hour: ‘write about receiving bad news’. I looked at their bent heads as they scribbled their masterpieces (‘The telegram arrived at half past two. . .’) and thought: If only they knew.

As soon as I got home, I rang Debra. She’d been out with the family and hadn’t heard. She cried, said she didn’t believe it, etc, etc. To think that the three of us had only been together on Friday night. Rick said that Ella was killed some time on Sunday. I remember I’d texted her about the  <i>Strictly</i> results and hadn’t had an answer. Was she already dead by then?

It wasn’t so bad when I was teaching or talking with Debra, but now I’m alone, I feel such a sense of. . . well, dread. . . that I’m almost rigid with fear. I’m sitting here with my diary on the bed and I don’t want to turn the light off. Where is Ella? Have they taken her body away? Have her parents had to identify her? Rick didn’t give me any of these details and, right now, they seem incredibly important.

I just can’t believe that I’ll never see her again.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.
To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”
Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

I hope that I have tempted your reading tastebuds with this morsel from the Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths.

Happy reading, my friends! 💕📚

The Housewife by Valerie Keogh

The Housewife by Valerie Keogh

EXCERPT: She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. This wasn’t possible. Opening them, she looked across the road, squinting to make out the details. It was her, the woman from the shop, staring directly at her; the same navy coat, the same sleek bob she had admired. It was definitely her.

Disbelief and a sudden choking fear made her jerk back, the mug falling from her hands, hot coffee spilling as it fell. Ignoring it, and swallowing the lump in her throat, she reached for the blind cord with shaking fingers and closed them with a snap. But she didn’t move away. She was imagining it, she had to be. Holding her breath, she lifted one slat and peered through. She was still there.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: “There’s no place like home” – that’s what I tell myself as I pull another flawless meal from the oven. This perfect house on a quiet street was supposed to be my sanctuary, a place to recover. But everything changed the moment I saw that woman in the charity shop. She triggered something dark, buried deep within my memory…

Now I’ve started forgetting small things, like locking the front door.

And bigger things, like remembering to pick my little girl up from nursery.

I feel terrified every time I pass through a particular spot in our living room.

And sometimes, when I’m alone, I’m sure I can hear a baby crying…

I think the woman in the shop knows what happened to me. But if I can’t trust myself to believe she’s real, who will?

MY THOUGHTS: Another book that failed to live up to the hype of ‘a completely addictive and gripping psychological thriller’.

The writing is not terrible, and the general idea is good, but it never quite all pulled together. In places it is a messy and frustrating read.

The characters are not well developed. A lot of chances to develop this into a deeper, more substantial story were missed. Implausible and improbable were two words that were constantly in my head as I read, and I did seriously consider, more than once, abandoning this read, hence the two star rating.

There are a lot more things I would like to say, but to do so would create spoilers for others.

A disappointing read.

Love the cover, though I cannot recall the main character (not even 24 hours since I finished reading The Housewife, and I can’t remember the name of the main character!) sewing on buttons. . . and I do like the cover to be relevant.

It was not until I checked out the author’s profile while writing this review that I realized that Valerie Keogh is quite a prolific author and that I have previously read two other books by her, and rated both two stars. Not an author I will be reading again.

😕😕

THE AUTHOR: Valerie Keogh is a qualified nurse with a BA in English and an MA in American Literature. She qualified as a nurse but nowadays writes full-time. She has written two different series.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Housewife by Valerie Keogh. 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/2710275805

Watching What I’m Reading

I am currently reading

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom

which I have to admit has enchanted me from the outset.

Meet Eliza Bloom: She likes to live life by the rules: long, blue skirt on Thursdays, dinner with mother on Fridays and if someone tells you a Valentine should be anonymous, give your new husband a blank card. Nothing is out of place in her ordered life…

But last night her teenage daughter found something in a hidden shoebox that no-one was supposed to see and started asking questions. Questions that might just change everything in Eliza’s carefully constructed world.

Join Eliza as she shows you how to run away with the love of your life (quite fast actually, as your family are coming after you), how to make your grandfather happy (this might involve a little bit of lying), how to let someone you love go (actually, this never gets easier) and how (now, this is a bad idea) to keep secrets from your new husband.

The only way to truly live is to learn how to open your heart.

And listening to

The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway, #6)

This is a series that I love, and this is one of the earliest books in the series that I have read .

Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of what might be a notorious Victorian child murdress and a baby snatcher known as “The Childminder” threatens modern-day Norfolk in the latest irresistible mystery from Elly Griffiths.

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of a Victorian murderess while a baby snatcher threatens modern-day Norfolk in this exciting new entry in a beloved series.
Every year a ceremony is held in Norwich for the bodies in the paupers’ graves: the Service for the Outcast Dead. Ruth has a particular interest in this year’s proceedings. Her recent dig at Norwich Castle turned up the body of the notorious Mother Hook, who was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children. Now Ruth is the reluctant star of the TV series Women Who Kill, working alongside the program’s alluring history expert, Professor Frank Barker.

DCI Harry Nelson is immersed in the case of three children found dead in their home. He is sure that the mother is responsible. Then another child is abducted and a kidnapper dubbed the Childminder claims responsibility. Are there two murderers afoot, or is the Childminder behind all the deaths? The team must race to find out-and the stakes couldn’t be any higher when another child goes missing.

This week I am planning on reading

Between the Lies

The truth is hiding between the lies.

A page-turning psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until last page, this addictive read will be loved by fans of Shari Lapena’s A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE and Liz Lawler’s DON’T WAKE UP.

What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets – and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able trust are lying to you?

The Stranger Diaries

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.
To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”
Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

I have had 5 ARCs approved from NetGalley this week. . . I know, I know. I wasn’t going to request more than I can read in a week, but I had a bad case of book envy. . . The books I received this week were

The Woman at 46 Heath Street

Death Of A Doll

The Third Mrs. Durst

Run Away

 

Don't Let Go

Have a happy week of reading. 💕📚

Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain

Breaking The Silence by Diane Chamberlain

EXCERPT: She knew the instant she entered her father’s room that he was not at peace. He was clearly worse than when she’d seen him that afternoon. His breathing was raspier, his skin greyer, and he was agitated. As he reached for her, his long arms trembling in the air, he wore a look of desperation on his once handsome face.

She took his hand and sat on the edge of the bed.

“I’m here, Dad.” She guessed he had not wanted to die without her at his side and wished she’d ignored those red lights to get to the hospital sooner.

He held both her hands in his weak grasp, but even with her there the desperate look did not leave his eyes. He tried to speak, the words coming out between his gasps for air. “Should…have…told…”he said.

She leaned close to hear him. From that angle she could see the stars of Aries through the hospital window. “Don’t try to speak, Dad.” She smoothed a tuft of white hair away from his temple.

“A woman,” he said. “You need…” Her father’s face, gaunt and grey, tightened with frustration as he struggled to get the words out.

“I need to what Dad?” she asked gently.

“Look…” His lips trembled from the strain of speaking. “Look after her,” he said.

Laura drew away to study his face. Could he be delusional? “Okay,” she said. “I will. Please don’t try to talk any more.”

He let go of her hand to reach toward the night table, his arm jerking with the motion. Laura saw the scrap of paper he was aiming for and picked it up herself. Her father had written a name on the paper in a nearly illegible scrawl that threatened to break her heart.

“Sarah Tolley,” Laura read. “Who is that?”

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Laura Brandon’s promise to her dying father was simple: to visit an elderly woman she’d never heard of before. A woman who remembers nothing—except the distant past. Visiting Sarah Tolley seemed a small enough sacrifice to make.

But Laura’s promise results in another death. Her husband’s. And after their five-year-old daughter, Emma, witnesses her father’s suicide, Emma refuses to talk about it…to talk at all.

Frantic and guilt ridden, Laura contacts the only person who may be able to help. A man she’s met only once—six years before. A man who doesn’t know he’s Emma’s real father.

Guided only by a child’s silence and an old woman’s fading memories, the two unravel a tale of love and despair, of bravery and unspeakable evil. A tale that’s shrouded in silence…and that unbelievably links them all.

MY THOUGHTS: I have very mixed feelings about this book. I am immediately drawn to anything relating to mental disease, or that is set in a psychiatric facility, which this is, partly. Not that I was aware of this when I chose to read Breaking the Silence.

On one hand we have a moving tale of a daughter carrying out her father’s dying wish that she look after and visit an elderly lady with dementia. On the other hand we have a story set in St Margaret’s psychiatric hospital; a story of medical experimentation, bullying and government cover ups.

The story is told from two timelines, in the present with Laura, and in Sarah’s past. This works well. As always with Diane Chamberlain’s writing, I ran the full gamut of emotions. I was so angry at Ray for committing suicide when he was home alone with his small daughter. I cried at Emma’s pain and confusion, and Sarah’s. But for some reason, I found it really hard to connect with Laura – at times she was like a bull in a china shop! And Dylan, Emma’s biological father? Well, he was just too good to be true.

I had issues with the ‘bad guys’ in the story. I have no trouble in believing that the experimentation happened, or that the doctors are sometimes madder than the patients. That I know for a fact. But I don’t believe that they would have been as lenient on Sarah’s family as they were, and that slightly spoiled the read for me. I guess I expected something a little harder hitting from this author.

😑😑😑

THE AUTHOR: Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 26 novels published in more than twenty languages. Her most recent novel is The Dream Daughter. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of her books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, her stories usually feature a combination of drama, mystery, secrets and intrigue. Diane’s background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create her realistic characters.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. She also lived for many years in San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.

Diane received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, Diane worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria Virginia specializing in adolescents. All the while Diane was writing on the side. Her first book, Private Relations was published in 1989 and it earned the RITA award for Best Single Title Contemporary Novel.

Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie, Cole. She has three stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. She’s currently at work on her next novel.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook version of Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain, narrated by Justine Eyre, published by Tantor Audio 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 Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/988354659

Five Star Friday – Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar screaming read me?

Then take a look at Five-star Friday recommendation. It may be old . It may be new. But it is a book that is special to me one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

EXCERPT: ‘You know who I have and you know who I want. Come alone or she dies. You know where I am. ‘

Enough people had died this week because of one person’s vendetta against her. She couldn’t risk one more person getting hurt.

And the person who had sent the text message was right.

She did know where (they) would be.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: ‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

MY THOUGHTS: Early on, as I was reading Dead Memories, I had the random thought that reading it was rather like being a rubik’s cube, with Angela Marsons twisting the reader this way and that. Then lo and behold. . . but I can’t tell you, because that would spoil it.

I don’t know how Marsons does it, but by the tenth book, I could understand (not like, but understand) if the series were to go slightly off the boil or become a little formulaic. But no, that definitely doesn’t happen. The pace is on, the suspense high.

In Dead Memories we revisit some previous cases and villains we have met before as the killer recreates traumatic events from Kim’s past. In order to catch the villian, Kim has to examine both her personal past and cases she has worked, because someone hates her enough to want to torture her, then kill her. The list of suspects is not short.

I don’t even try to guess the perpetrators in this series. I am perfectly happy just to go along for the ride.

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Dead Memories by Angela Marsons 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/2682764795

The Treatment by Mo Hayder

The Treatment by Mo Hayder

EXCERPT: The back of the house was silent and dark, the fence rotten with water. He moved quickly through the garden, his chest tightening as he got nearer. And now – why hadn’t he watched more carefully? – he saw that along the metal frame of the broken old annexe flies gathered like clusters of hanging black fruit, rippling lazily.

He used his Swiss army knife to gouge away the ancient putty of the kitchen window, flaking wood and paint onto his sweatshirt. Levering out the panel pins, he eased the pane from the frame and the stale trapped air inside the house came at him like a train. He could smell what was in the bathroom – the stench that stimulates the rarely stimulated root of humanness – the smell of opened human bowels, the smell of the dead sitting up in their graves and exhaling into the night. He could hear the flies – No way, no fucking way, this can’t be happening – as he reached in, turned the key and opened the back door.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A quiet residential street in south London.

A husband and wife are discovered, imprisoned in their own home. Badly dehydrated, they’ve been bound and beaten. He is close to death. But worse is to come: their young son is missing.

When Detective Inspector Jack Caffery is called in to investigate, the similarities with events in his own past make it impossible for him to view this new crime dispassionately.

And as he digs deeper – as he attempts to hold his own life together in the face of ever more disturbing revelations about both his past and his present – the real nightmare begins …

MY THOUGHTS: Mo Hayder certainly doesn’t pull any punches with her writing. It is brutal and raw, at times quite shocking. It is dark and ugly. But there is nothing in there that isn’t happening in our society. And that is the important thing to remember. It happens. We can’t pretend it doesn’t. And perhaps the more we, the public, know about how these people (and I use the word ‘people’ very loosely) operate and think, the more aware we are, the more effective we can be in preventing this abomination.

The characters are complex. At times I was yelling at Jack, ‘No! Don’t do this!’ even though I could understand why he was doing what he did. And Rebecca, damaged, and struggling with her secret. There is more than one moral dilemma in this book. And, strangely enough, a little humor (the judgemental workman, completely unaware of what he has witnessed).

I can’t say that I enjoyed this book, but it did what I think it was probably intended to do.

Please be aware that this book refers to and describes paedophilia, at times graphically.

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THE AUTHOR:Hayder left school at fifteen. She worked as a barmaid, security guard, film-maker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She has an MA in film from The American University in Washington DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University UK.

Mo lives in Bath with her daughter Lotte-Genevieve.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of The Treatment by Mo Hayder, published by Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press. 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/1250810769

Finding Grace by K. L. Slater

Finding Grace by K.L. Slater

EXCERPT: I think this might be my fault.

I’ve tried to be a good person all my life. I made one mistake, many years ago, but it wasn’t my fault. Truly, I would never wish to harm another person.

Sometimes people find themselves in impossible situations. Sometimes you have to decide in a split second whether to do the right thing and go under, or fight to survive.

That’s what I did. I made a decision to survive.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: This morning, my daughter sat right here, munching her breakfast, too excited to finish it. Now, she is missing.

The day after her ninth birthday, Lucie and Blake Sullivan agree, for the very first time, to let their daughter, Grace, make the four-minute walk back home alone from a friend’s house just down the street.

They joke with friends about hiding behind bushes to ensure she is safe. But the joke turns sour when Grace does not appear.

Despite the best efforts of the police and local community, Grace seems to have vanished into thin air. With hope fading fast, Lucie knows she can rely on her husband to support her through such dark times. That is until the day she makes a shocking discovery, hidden in Blake’s desk, and suddenly she begins to doubt everything she knew about the man she married.

But Lucie harbours a terrible secret of her own. One that she has never shared with anyone, even Blake …

And as the search for Grace reaches fever pitch, Lucie receives a terrifying message. If she is ever to see Grace again, Lucie has no choice but to face the past she tried hard to bury forever. And she must do it alone.

MY THOUGHTS: This is not, as the blurb assured me it would be, ‘the most gripping psychological thriller you will read this year. Nor did I find the twist breathtaking. In fact, it was pretty predictable.

But putting aside my gripe with publishers who insist on overhyping books, Finding Grace was only a little better than average read for me. I have had a child go missing. Only for a couple of hours, but it was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. So I expected to be able to relate to the characters. Initially I did. But reasonably quickly I became disillusioned. Mostly they were flat. Except for Blake’s mother – cue Hyacinth Bouquet. Her, I could visualise and hear. Which is what I expect from the characters.

The story is told mainly from Lucie’s perspective, over two timelines – now, with Grace missing, and before, detailing Lucie’s life prior to Blake. There is the occasional brief chapter from an unknown person which, I believe, added nothing of value.

I seem to veer between three and five-star ratings for Slater’s books. Finding Grace is,unfortunately, one of the former. It is not a bad read. I did not at any point consider abandoning it, but it was not a great read either.

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THE AUTHOR: Kim is the million-copy bestselling author of seven psychological crime thrillers. Her eighth thriller, FINDING GRACE, will be published 14th February 2019 and is now available for pre-order.

Kim’s titles are also published in paperback by Sphere in the UK and Grand Central in the USA.

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer. She has one daughter, two stepsons and lives with her husband in Nottingham and Yorkshire.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Finding Grace by K. L. Slater 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/2682762507