Friday Favorite- The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman

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.

This is a debut novel by a new author that just blew me away!

The Devil's Claw by Lara Dearman
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: Naked, her breasts and hips were heavier than he thought they would be and he wondered if he should feel disappointed, but he forced himself to concentrate on her slim waist and her skin. Her skin was perfect. White, like moonlight. He thought how wonderful they must look together, two beautiful people, happy and free, and how important this was, that he saved her. From the filth and the alcohol and the little people and the loathsome, repellent men, whose hands would never touch her again. She ran to the water. He followed. Their bodies clothed in darkness, their footsteps silent on the soft sand, their splashing obscured by the breaking of the waves, he pulled her towards him. Stroked her arms, from her wrists, over smooth skin, soft hairs tickling his fingers, to her elbows, which were bony and rough, and then up to her shoulders. She shook. Laughed. He pushed her under. She was smiling as her head dipped below the water, her hair fanning out on the surface, spun gold, like in a fairy tale, rippling and flowing, a life of its own. She didn’t struggle, not at first. It took her a moment, he supposed to understand. And then he felt her, bucking and thrashing, her screams silent, carried away with the tide. Gently, but firmly, he held on. And then she was still. So, so still. He held her limp body against his in the water. Absorbed the heat as it left her. Stayed there for as long as he could, until he was sure he had taken as much of her warmth as he could.

THE BLURB: Jennifer Dorey thinks she is safe.

Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.

After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.

Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected.

But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.

And home is the last place she should be.

MY THOUGHTS: The Devil’s Claw is a debut novel by Lara Dearman. And it is good. Amazingly good. I knew that after the first five minutes of reading. It just felt so right. Don’t mind me, I have a book hangover. Hours after finishing, the plot and the characters are still buzzing around in my brain. Not even a trip to the supermarket for the weekly shop has dampened my enthusiasm.

I felt like I was there, in the novel, living alongside the characters, experiencing what they were. The story is mainly told from Jenny’s point of view, and that of DCI Michael Gilbert, with occasional flashbacks from the unknown killer starting in 1959, and moving forward a decade with each kill.

I had three suspects in mind for the killer, and I am pleased to say was right with one of them, though he wasn’t my first pick. Dearman has crafted an intricate plot, full of misleading clues, that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.

Along the way, we learn quite a bit about the history of Guernsey, its legends and folklore, all of which adds to the atmosphere Dearman has so cleverly created.

There was nothing I didn’t like about The Devil’s Claw. A very enthusiastic ☆☆☆☆☆ from me for this slow burning book that develops into a raging bonfire. I sincerely hope Lara is busy writing #2 in the series.

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman 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/2259600121

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan

Vanishing Girls by Lisa  Regan
Vanishing Girls (Detective Josie Quinn #1) 
by Lisa Regan (Goodreads Author)

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EXCERPT: She only went outside if her mother, father or sister were out there. For a long time he disappeared. She stopped sensing him, stopped hearing him. She almost believed that he had gone back to wherever it was he came from. Maybe she had conjured him after all.

Then one day her sister was hanging clothes on the line while she flitted to the other side of the yard, chasing the yellow monarch butterflies that proliferated on top of the mountain. A white sheet fluttered on the clothesline, blocking her from her sister’s view. She got too close to the treeline. A hand shot out and clamped down over her mouth, silencing her screams. An arm wrapped around her waist, lifting her off the ground. Holding her tightly against his chest, he dragged her through the forest that used to be her friend. One thought rose above her panic. ‘He was real.’

THE BLURB: She was close enough to see that the girl had written a word on the wall in bright, warm red blood. Not a word, actually. A name…

Everyone in the small American town of Denton is searching for Isabelle Coleman, a missing seventeen-year-old girl. All they’ve found so far is her phone and another girl they didn’t even know was missing.

Mute and completely unresponsive to the world around her, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Detective Josie Quinn can get from her is a name: Ramona.

Currently suspended from the force for misconduct, Josie takes matters into her own hands as the name leads her to evidence linking the two girls. She knows the race is on to find Isabelle alive, and she fears there may be others…

The trail leads Josie to another victim, a girl who escaped but whose case was labelled a hoax by authorities. To catch this monster, Josie must confront her own nightmares and follow her instinct to the darkest of places. But can she make it out alive?

MY THOUGHTS: This is a series that I am going to follow with great interest! Reminiscent of, but definitely not a copycat of, Angela Marsons DI Kim Stone series, Lisa Regan has laid the groundwork for a riveting and compelling series.

The plot kept my attention, and while I didn’t always understand why the author was writing what she was writing, it mostly all became clear. I had one or two minor issues, which was enough to drop one star from the rating, which I won’t go into because of issues with spoiling the plot for those who have not yet read Vanishing Girls.

The pace is reasonably fast and the quality of writing excellent.

While I frequently didn’t like Josie, this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book. It will be interesting to see how young Noah Farley develops in the coming books. He has great potential. And I just loved Josie’s grandma. I defy anyone not to!

4 very expectant stars for Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan. I am eagerly awaiting Josie Quinn #2.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan 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/2254362948

The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins

The First One To Die by Victoria Jenkins
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: She felt him behind her, then everything happened so quickly. A hand touched her back for the briefest of moments before a firm shove sent her flailing from the ledge. She tried to break her fall,twisting desperately through the air, but there was nothing to catch hold of, nothing with which she could stop herself.

A single scream cut through the night air.

THE BLURB: Four friends. A house full of secrets. And a killer picking them off one by one…

She tried to break her fall, twisting desperately, but there was nothing to catch hold of, nothing with which she could stop herself. Her single scream cut through the night air.

Keira North falls to her death at a party. It initially seems like an accident, but Detectives Alex King and Chloe Lane suspect foul play: they are convinced they are dealing with a murder.

When the detectives start to investigate, they soon find that all of Keira’s closest friends have secrets that someone might kill to keep.

And as Alex and Chloe are fighting their own demons and struggling to stay on top of the case, Keira’s killer is circling the group of friends, who one by one find that their lives are in danger…

The First One to Die is a heart-stopping and shocking detective thriller that will have you gripped until the very last page. Perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons, and Val McDermid.

MY THOUGHTS: I just loved the plot, although as I was reading, I felt that it went a little overboard in places. However, once all was revealed, it made perfect sense. There are plenty of twists and turns, and no shortage of suspects. There is a good balance between the investigative story and the characters private lives.

So, I can hear you thinking, why only 3 stars? I liked this book, but I didn’t love it or even like it greatly. I didn’t find it anywhere near heart-stopping, nor was it shocking. And no, I wasn’t gripped. It was an adequate read, but that was all.

I found the writing mostly flat. Occasionally there would be a brief flirting with suspense, but it wasn’t maintained. Also it seemed that large tracts of text were repeated, like the author didn’t want you to forget certain things about the characters. And in these places, I skimmed. And the characters? I felt nothing for any of them. I just could not get involved in this read.

Would I read more from this series? Probably not.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. So if you enjoyed the excerpt and like the sound of the blurb, please go ahead and read The First One to Die, and be sure to let me know how you feel about it. 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/2256810485

Take Two and Call Me In the Morgue (Bennington #2) by D W Ulsterman

Take Two and Call Me In The Morgue by D.W. Ulsterman
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: ‘Cancer is that company’s great money maker. Not the curing of cancer . . . . but the long drawn out, and always costly treatment, and the protection of cancer as a business, cancer as profit.’

THE BLURB: Former D.C. politico turned private investigator Frank Bennington is in a race to save the life of his friend. It is a case that opens doors some feel are better left closed, particularly those representing the interests of corporations and their government cohorts earning billions of dollars off of a cure that kills.

This is the second installment of the Bennington P.I. series, and will leave readers guessing as to what is truth, and what is fiction – the hallmark of all of D.W. Ulsterman’s many best-selling novels.

MY THOUGHTS: While I am a great fan of the mystery and murder-mystery genre, I have never been a great fan of the political thriller. But D W Ulsterman’s Take Two and Call Me In the Morgue (Bennington #2) manages to blend the two genres perfectly with the medical thriller to create a suspenseful and topical read. In my opinion, the bookcover doesn’t do the content justice. Nor does the title, which sounds more like a ‘cosy’.

Take Two and Call Me In the Morgue is fast paced and full of scenarios that will make you wonder, as you read, just what is fiction and what is truth? It chronicles corruption, both political and corporate, and greed, and after a very satisfying read will leave you wondering. . . .really wondering.

Take Two and Call Me In the Morgue by D W Ulsterman was a free Kindle download. 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/2045824241

Einstein’s Beach House by Jacob M Appel

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.

If you have been following my blog for some time, you will be familiar with Jacob M Appel’s work. He writes with a wry humour and a strong grasp of our all too human foibles. If you are new to my blog, then I am delighted to introduce you to one of my favorite short story authors who has recently branched out into writing novels. Please do wander through my archives and take a look at the other works of this amazing author.

Einstein's Beach House by Jacob M. Appel
Einstein’s Beach House 
by Jacob M. Appel (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: That year Lizzie’s kid sister kept a list of things that were funny when they happenedto other people: tarring and feathering, Peeping Toms, mad cow disease. The rare encephalopathy from which their father suffered didn’t actually come from eating infected cattle, it turned out, but from a spontaneous somatic mutation – which Bill Sucram’s neurologist described as ‘losing the Genetic lottery ‘ – yet the ailment was enough like mad cow that Lizzie’s mother swore off animal products. Overnight Myra Sucram stopped fricasseeing duck and took to ordering exotic soy dishes from a newly opened vegan-kosher deli on Walloon Street. Her family’s health consumed her: she spent mornings arguing with Bill’sinsurance carrier, afternoonsresearching manganese contamination and do it yourself dioxin tests at the public library, and evenings promising her husband and daughters that medical breakthroughs can happen overnight. She wore her smile like a shroud.
Lizzie’s father resigned himself to his diagnosis. He informed the Pontefract Board of Education that he had six months to live and that he did not intend to spend them at the office. Then he composed a list of people who harbored him ill will – a shady plumber he’d sued in small claims court, his estranged step-brother in Las Vegas – and he telephonedeach one to apologize. One night, the thirty-eight year old agnostic middle school principal summoned his daughters to hot cocoa at the kitchen table and announced, “I fear I’ve taught you girls too much grammar and not enough forgiveness.” So Lizzie was mortified, but not unprepared, when her father insisted on taking them to meet the sex offender.

THE BLURB: A couple adopts a depressed hedgehog; a stranger shows up, claiming to be the father of a girl’s imaginary friend; a woman kidnaps her ex-husband’s turtle; a family is evicted from their home, but was it ever really theirs? Heartbreaking and hilarious, the eight stories of Einstein’s Beach House examine how we deceive ourselves and others, all to arrive at something far more real.

MY THOUGHTS: I loved these stories and will be seeking out more of Mr Appel’s works.
I tried to limit myself to one story per day as they are so thought provoking, but was not always successful.

This is a quirky, eclectic and occasionally dark collection of stories about human nature – mostly about that “aha!” moment in our lives, when things become perfectly clear, even if only momentarily.
Both Appel’s stories and his characters remain with you long after you have finished reading.
Highly recommended.

Thank you to author Jacob M Appel for providing a copy of Einstein’s Beach House 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/1249010959

Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker

Keep Her Safe by Richard Jay Parker
Keep Her Safe 
by Richard Jay Parker (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: Maggie waited, her heart feeling as if it was frantically clawing it’s way up her chest. She still didn’t move. Her thoughts were rewinding to the previous week, when she’d been sick with terror outside another door. . .

THE BLURB: How far would you go to protect your child?

Maggie’s daughter Penny is her whole world… and she’d do anything to protect her. So when Maggie wakes one night to find a strange woman in her home, she runs to lock herself in her bedroom with her child. But Maggie knows why she’s come…

Someone has been targeting mothers and offering them a choice: do as he says or their child disappears. This stranger in her home has until dawn to follow his orders… but Maggie too has the ‘choice’ to make. Can she put the pieces together to stop the cycle before her time is up?

MY THOUGHTS: Once I got beyond the first chapter of Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker, I found this very fast paced and action packed thriller to be a quick and easy read. The problem with the first chapter was that although there was obviously only one person attacking Maggie in her home, the author constantly referred to the attacker as ‘them’, ‘they’ and ‘their’, making the script unwieldy, clumsy and irritating to read. A short example – ‘Maggie kicked again, and this time caught their chin. As they grunted, she wrenched her ankle from their grip and slid away. . .’. I think that the author has written it this way in an effort to hide the sex of Maggie’s assailant. But, as this is given away by the blurb, Maggie knows, and it is revealed just pages later, it seems an unnecessary and detrimental precaution.

As I said, Keep Her Safe is fast paced and action filled, but I found it to be a bit OTT and lacking in depth for my taste. There could have been a lot more made of the psychological aspects motivating the person manipulating the women, but this is glossed over and ‘rushed’.

If I had to use just one word to describe Keep Her Safe, it would be ‘lurid’. This is a book that relies on sensational action scenes to keep the reader’s interest rather than well-developed plot twists and good characterisation. I certainly wouldn’t class it as a psychological thriller, but do believe that it would make a popular movie. I don’t think that this is an author I will be reading again, but that is purely personal preference. There will be a good market for this book, and if you enjoyed my excerpt and find the blurb interesting, I urge you to pick up a copy of Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker and give it a try.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker 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/2250134183

The Confession by Jo Spain plus a glimpse of what I am currently reading, what is coming up, and ARCs I have been approved for this week.

You’re going to get a mixed bag today! It ‘s been busy, busy, busy in the world of books. So don’t tune out after the review!

Firstly, let’s do the ‘What I ‘ve been reading’ – The Confession by Jo Spain

The Confession by Jo Spain
The Confession 
by Jo Spain (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744

EXCERPT: It’s the first spray of my husband’s blood hitting the television screen that will haunt me in the weeks to come – a perfect diagonal splash, each droplet descending like a vivid red tear.

That and the sound of his skull cracking as the blows from the golf club rain down.

THE BLURB: Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

MY THOUGHTS: I was excited by the first third of The Confession by Jo Spain. After that point, the novel seemed to lose some impetus and I began to struggle to maintain my interest. I found myself skimming large parts of the characters back stories, which were mainly irrelevant, in parts downright depressing, and far too long. And it never really picked up again. I never regained that feeling of excitement and by 70% in I had figured out what was going on, which is not necessarily a problem, as it could have been clever, but I found the ending to be somewhat clumsily executed and too drawn out.

The story is told from three points of view: that of Julie, the victim’s wife; JP, the victim’s killer; and Alice, the investigating officer. Don’t expect to like any of the characters, not even the murder victim.
They are all thoroughly unlikeable, but quite realistic, so full marks to Jo Spain for her characterisation. She has a good grasp of human relationships, the petty jealousies and games of oneupmanship.

Instead of just being an okay read, The Confession could be a really good book. It just needs a bit more judicious editing. Having said that, a lot of people will love this book, and you may be one of them. So if you enjoyed the excerpt and like the sound of the blurb, please go ahead and get a copy of The Confession and let me know what you think of it.

The Confession by Jo Spain will be published by Hachette Australia 11 January, 2018.

Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Confession by Jo Spain 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/2199347899

WHAT I ‘M CURRENTLY READING –
Never one to do things by halves, I have 3 books on the go at the moment.
I always like to have an audio book loaded to listen to while I am working around the house and the yard. Currently I am listening to
The Red Hunter
What is the difference between justice and revenge?

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house–one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past–and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course–because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the terrifying monsters at the door.

Yesterday I began a book loaned to me by a friend,
The Agency (The Dan Calder Series Book 1)
I am only 20 pages into this, but it is a very interesting and controversial premise. I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses. It is not at all what I was expecting!
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.

And I am just about to begin a Netgalley ARC
Coming Home to Island House
From Erica James, bestselling author of Summer at the Lake, comes an enchanting tale of one family coming together and finding their way.

It’s the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux.

But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together.

With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings. But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her?

I have always enjoyed this author as a little light relief from my darker reading habits.
And finally, ARC books I have been approved for from NetGalley this week
Portrait of a MurdererNight-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense
Bring Me Flowers (Detectives Kane and Alton, #2)
Let me know what you are reading, and what you have coming up! Happy reading.

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre
The Ghostwriter 
by Alessandra Torre (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: “What’s happened to you, Helena?”
What’s happened to me? I have a story that I don’t have time to tell. I have an empty house that reeks of death. I have no friends, no family, and no one to ask for help. I’m dying, and it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time.

THE BLURB: Four years ago, I lied. I stood in front of the police, my friends and family, and made up a story, my best one yet. And all of them believed me.

I wasn’t surprised. Telling stories is what made me famous. Fifteen bestsellers. Millions of fans. Fame and fortune.

Now, I have one last story to write. It’ll be my best one yet, with a jaw-dropping twist that will leave them stunned and gasping for breath.

They say that sticks and stones will break your bones, but this story? It will be the one that kills me.

This book is not a romance. It is contemporary fiction, but very suspenseful in nature. It is about a famous romance author and a dark secret she keeps.

MY THOUGHTS: The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre gripped me from the start- I come, I eat, and afterward, while Bethany draws and I settle into the recliner to write, he does the dishes. A perfect morning. A perfect husband. A perfect daughter. A perfect lie. 

This is a book that I devoured, hungrily, yet a book in which I savoured every word. It is a book in which I became completely absorbed. It is intense. It is vivid. In its own way, it is scary. It is painful. It is wonderful! It is a story that is not going to leave me in a hurry, not just for its magnificent plot, but for the emotions it engendered.

5 very bright and shining stars ☆☆☆☆☆

Thank you to DCA via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Ghostwriter 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/2136965818

Murder in the Family by Faith Martin

MURDER IN THE FAMILY by Faith Martin
MURDER IN THE FAMILY (DI Hillary Greene #5) 
by Faith Martin

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: He was a big lad, but not fat, with dark hair and what she thought might be blue eyes. He might be as old as an under-developed sixteen, or as young as a well-developed thirteen, it was hard to tell. He was dressed in dark blue tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt. The logo was hard to make out, mostly due to the fact that he had a pair of garden shears sticking out of his chest. The dark stain of blood had pooled into his lap, but very little had made it to the floor. And from that alone she surmised that his heart must have stopped beating almost immediately. She had hoped so anyway, the poor little bugger.

THE BLURB: 15–year-old Billy Davies is found dead in his father’s shed. A pair of gardening shears thrust brutally into his chest.

DI Hillary Greene tries to get to the bottom of this baffling crime.

How had Billy come into contact with such a vicious killer? Who wanted him dead and why? The investigation reveals that the teenager was not such an innocent young man.

Meanwhile, Hillary’s having a tough time at work. She’s been passed over for promotion, and her reliable constable Tommy Lynch is to be transferred out. But Hillary won’t let distractions get in the way of solving crimes.

To catch this killer, Hillary will need to dig deep into the dark secrets of a small community.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “THROUGH A NARROW DOOR. ”

MY THOUGHTS: Who would want to stick a pair of gardening shears into the chest of a fifteen year old boy? A good question. And there are multiple possible answers. DI Hillary Greene is tasked with solving the crime.

Although this is #5 in the DI Hillary Greene series, it works well as a stand alone read.

Murder in the Family could almost be classed as a cosy murder mystery. There is no overt violence, no sexual content and, I ‘m afraid, not much in the way of suspense either. While I didn’t find this particularly suspenseful, it was still a good read. Faith Martin has created interesting and realistic characters and a plot with plenty of red herrings and suspects. She has a good balance between the investigative story, and the personal lives of the characters. She writes humorously at times – I loved the name of Hillary’s ancient Volkswagen, Puff the Tragic Wagon.

I would have liked a little more suspense, and I felt that the ending was a little rushed. Otherwise it was a good solid read, if nothing particularly special. Would I read other titles in the series? Yes, it was an easy, undemanding and enjoyable read. 3.5 stars.

One more thing, I much prefer the books original title, Through A Narrow Door. It somehow seems more mysterious.

Thank you to Joffe Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Murder in the Family by Faith Martin 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/2193740836

Where We Went Wrong by Andi Holloway

Where We Went Wrong by Andi Holloway
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: “I’m sorry, but your son is dead.” Detective Vern Wilkes inspects your study, workplace of the great Bertram Stone, former best-selling and now bereaved novelist. This is a career-making case, and though he apologizes for your loss, he isn’t sorry. He’s suspicious, and I wonder how much he knows.

THE BLURB: Two families’ pasts unravel when the last person to see a missing girl alive is murdered and the victim’s crime-writing father becomes the prime suspect.

“This suspenseful narrative will grip even the most discerning readers of thriller/suspense. There are elements of such engaging texts as Gone Girl and even Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and there’s a lot to like about this book. The author does a wonderful job with the slow burn, making me believe but simultaneously question most of the characters, and the revelations that unfold in the last act are truly surprising.” Kate B., Line Editor, Red Adept Editing

“With its great storytelling and jaw-dropping revelations, this book is hard to put down. Readers who enjoy a tightly crafted mystery and well-written characters will appreciate this story. Highly recommended!” Kristina B., Proofreader, Red Adept Editing

Second wife Harper Stone’s life is nothing like she imagined. A talented writer bound for the kind of greatness she inspires in her husband, Harper exchanges her lifelong dreams of becoming a bestselling author for the ready-made family of her nightmares.

With her eight-year-old stepson at the center of a missing person’s investigation, Harper struggles to balance the obligations of motherhood with her calling as an author, ultimately sacrificing her success in support of her husband, whose crime-writing career is fueled by their ordeal.

It’s only when he becomes the prime suspect in his son’s murder, years later, that she begins asking the difficult questions about his past, about their marriage, and about the disappearance of the little girl whose remains have never been found.

As Harper looks into the cold case where their problems began, she discovers people aren’t who they seem. Not the missing girl’s mother. Not Matthew, the last person to see the girl alive. Not her husband, whose obsession with the disappearance has caused an irreparable rift between them. Not even Harper herself, a woman trapped by obligation and circumstance.

In the throes of an investigation based in the past, solving Matthew’s murder means getting to the bottom of what happened all those years ago. Two families are destroyed by a single bad decision. The question is which decision, and whose was it?

MY THOUGHTS: Where We Went Wrong by Andi Holloway explores the complications of blended families, of second marriages, infidelity, jealousy, resentment, mental illness, success and failure. And if that’s not complicated enough, throw in the disappearance of a child, the murder of another child, and many many lies and deceptions. And while parents are expected to love their children unconditionally, it would seem that children are able to blame their parents for everything that is wrong with their lives.

We all tell lies of some sort, even if they are only little white lies. We all have secrets. Most of us have self-serving agendas. But believe me, the characters in Where We Went Wrong take this to a whole new level.

It did take me a few pages to get accustomed to Andi Holloway’s writing style, which at first I found a little confusing, but it suits the plot brilliantly. The story is told in the first person by Harper, Bert’s second wife, step-mother to Matthew, Bert’s disturbed son who, as a child, was involved in the disappearance of his friend Hannah. As an adult, estranged from his father and step-mother, his body is discovered stabbed to death in a park. Prime suspect is his father.

This is an amazing debut novel. Andi Holloway is an author to watch.

Thank you to Andi Holloway via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Where We Went Wrong 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/2241528382