You Beneath Your Skin

EXCERPT: She dabbed Vicks under her nose. It stung but helped fade out the stench of detergents and bleach that layered the mortuary corridor, and the butcher-shop odour lurking beneath the chemicals. That smell took her back to her childhood grocery trips with her dad on Sundays, when they chose steak for Mom,chicken or lamb for her and Dad. She might have been American but her Hindu father had insisted she not eat beef.

Right now, she must drag her Hindu-American butt through the long corridor lined with racks and drawers, and study a corpse without throwing up. Must find her way to the killer – not think about how the body had once been a living, breathing person, or how it would soon be turned into ash and charred bones.

ABOUT ‘YOU BENEATH YOUR SKIN’: It’s a dark, smog-choked new Delhi winter. Indian American single mother Anjali Morgan juggles her job as a psychiatrist with caring for her autistic teenage son. She is in a long-standing affair with ambitious police commissioner Jatin Bhatt – an irresistible attraction that could destroy both their lives.

Jatin’s home life is falling apart: his handsome and charming son is not all he appears to be, and his wife has too much on her plate to pay attention to either husband or son. But Jatin refuses to listen to anyone, not even the sister to whom he is deeply attached.

Across the city there is a crime spree: slum women found stuffed in trash bags, faces and bodies disfigured by acid. And as events spiral out of control Anjali is horrifyingly at the centre of it all …

In a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption, Jatin must make some hard choices. But what he unearths is only the tip of the iceberg. Together with Anjali he must confront old wounds and uncover long-held secrets before it is too late.

MY THOUGHTS: I am torn by this book. It is so well written in parts, as in the extract above, but in others I almost abandoned the read. And I seriously considered abandoning it in the early chapters which are confusing with an overload of information about the characters, their backgrounds, the poverty and corruption in New Delhi. We don’t need all this information at once, it can be dribbled out during the course of the book, just like getting to know someone in real life. Initially, the bare bones are enough. It could be said that the author was setting the scene, but it seemed to me more like muddying the waters.

There are too many issues being addressed, all of them squabbling for attention. It was like trying to read in a classroom of small children all screaming ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ If the main issue is the acid attacks on women, then that should be the primary focus of the book, with just one or two other threads quietly weaving away in the background. There really is enough material in You Beneath Your Skin for at least two, if not three books.

Yet, despite my, I hope, constructive criticism, I enjoyed this read. I did so by screening out/skimming the extraneous material. This is nothing that a good editor couldn’t fix and is a measure that I strongly recommend. This is a good read. It could be a great one.

I am impressed that the author is donating the author profits from You Beneath Your Skin to charity. Half of the author proceeds of this book go to Chhanv foundation, which works to support acid attack survivors. The other half of the author proceeds go to Project WHY, which believes in the rights of all children to an education, and to a safe childhood. Through well-rounded education, it transforms communities from within. That alone makes the purchase of You Beneath Your Skin worthwhile.

⭐⭐⭐.2

‘A few years ago no one knew what a smartphone was and now . . . phones had replaced manners.’

THE AUTHOR: Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist.

When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.

You Beneath Your Skin is her debut literary crime novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Damyanti Biswas for providing a digital ARC of You Beneath Your Skin for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

The Vow by Debbie Howells

EXCERPT: Lost in my thoughts, at first I don’t notice the footsteps behind me.

‘Excuse me . . .’

The voice is unfamiliar. I hesitate, unsure if it’s directed at me, then as the footsteps come closer, I turn around to find myself staring at a stranger.

‘I need to talk to you.’ As the woman speaks, I feel myself freeze. She looks older than her voice sounds, her grey hair wispy, her face strangely unlined. But it’s the colour of her eyes, a transparent ice-blue, that is hypnotic. For a moment I’m mesmerised then, as a van speeds past, her hand grips my arm, pulling me away from the road. ‘I have to talk to you.’ There’s an unmistakable urgency in her voice.

‘Someone’s watching you. They know where you go, everything you do.’

As she speaks, my blood runs cold. ‘Who are you?’

Without telling me, she goes on. ‘You think you’re meant to be together.’ Each word both softly spoken and crystal clear, her eyes fixed on mine so that I can’t look away. ‘You think he’s the love of your life.’ She pauses for a moment. ‘He isn’t who you think he is.’ Then a strange look crosses her face. ‘You’re in danger.’

ABOUT THE VOW: Everything was perfect. And then her fiance disappeared…

Two weeks before her wedding, a stranger stops Amy in the street and warns her she’s in danger. Then that night, Matt, her fiancé, doesn’t come home. Desperate, Amy calls the police – but when Matt fails to emerge, she’s forced to call off her wedding day.

Then another man is reported missing, by a woman called Fiona – a man meeting Matt’s description, who was about to leave his fiancée for her. He was supposed to be moving in with her – but instead, he’s vanished.

Amy refuses to believe Fiona’s lover can be her Matt – but photos prove otherwise, and it soon becomes clear that Matt has been leading a double life. As the police dig deeper, two conflicting, yet equally plausible stories emerge from two women who allegedly have never met.

The wedding day never happened. But the funeral might

MY THOUGHTS: Starting with something positive:I love the cover. And the flowers were a brilliant touch.

But the book? Repetitive and contrived. There are a lot of things that I would like to say, but it would create spoilers so I won’t.

I prefer the second half of the book, starting from where we get Fiona’s narration. I didn’t like Amy at all. I didn’t enjoy Jess’s input in the first half of the book because I think it gave too much away, but she really comes into her own in the second half.

Even then, I found myself skimming large tracts of text. This totally failed to keep my interest. I adored two other novels by this author, The Bones of You, and The Beauty of the End. After them, The Vow is a big disappointment.

Many other readers love this book. Reading is a very personal subjective experience, and not every book is for every reader. So, if you enjoyed the extract, and the plot summary interests you, please do read The Vow by Debbie Howells. I hope that you are one of the many who enjoy this read.

Improbable, implausible, contrived and repetitive (at the risk of repeating myself)

⭐.8

There are two sides to every story. But there’s only one truth.

THE AUTHOR: After a number of career changes, Debbie now writes full time, inspired by the peacefulness of the countryside she lives in with her partner Martin, Bean the rescued cat and a rather elderly golden retriever called Bernard.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Vow by Debbie Howells. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

You know how you can’t sleep when you get overtired? It’s one of those nights . . . I got home from work, too tired for dinner so just had tea and toast, went to bed and here I am, wide awake! So I thought I may as well put my time to good use and write my post so that it is not as late as I thought it was going to be.

Currently I am reading The Vow by Debbie Howells.

I have previously read three of her books, and really enjoyed two, The Bones of You, and The Beauty of the End. I have only just started this tonight, so no comment yet.

I am also reading City of Friends by Joanna Trollope, an author I have enjoyed for many years.

Again I have just started this, so am not yet far enough in to comment.

I am listening to Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg, a character driven story of a woman who has been left a very unexpected bequest by her late husband. I am almost half way through, and enjoying this gentle story of love, loss, and adjustment.

This week I am planning on reading

The Girls in the Snow by Stacy Green

In

the remote forests of Stillwater, Minnesota, you can scream for days and no one will hear you. So when the bodies of two fifteen-year-old girls are discovered frozen in the snow, Special Agent Nikki Hunt is sure the killer is local: someone knew where to hide them and thought they’d never be found.

Home for the first time in twenty years, Nikki sees that the whole town had been frantically searching for missing best friends Madison and Kaylee, and when she finds out who Madison’s step-father is, she becomes desperate to lead the case. John was once the person she trusted most in the world, who stood by her when she was just sixteen and her parents were murdered. Who supported her when she identified their killer, Mark Todd.

But when Nikki arrives at the Sheriff’s office, she’s confronted by protesters eager to see Mark freed. With new evidence that could clear his name, Mark has appealed his conviction and his brother Rory begs Nikki to take a look at what they’ve found.

Nikki knows she must focus on the killer at large, but Rory makes her wonder if she put her trust in the right people all those years ago. Are Madison and Kaylee’s deaths connected to her parents’ murders? And can she face up to her past before another life is taken?

And When You Were Mine by Kate Hewitt

Single mother Beth loves her seven-year-old son Dylan with all her heart. He’s her world. But life with Dylan isn’t easy—and his emotional issues push Beth to her very limit. When a misunderstanding leads Dylan to be taken into foster care, she is determined to do whatever she can to get him back.

Mother of two, Ally has always dreamed of fostering—it feels like her chance to give back when she has been so lucky in life. But when Dylan joins their family, Ally finds herself struggling to balance his needs with those of her own children and husband—something Beth can’t help but witness when she visits.

Beth wants nothing more than to find a way to bring her beloved child home. But where is the right home for Dylan? Is it with the mother he was born to? Or is a new mother the greatest gift Beth could give her son?

Only one new ARC this week – In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni, #8 in the Tracy Crosswhite series.

I have also received a title, Mimicry by Margo Ervand, from her agent.

What new titles have you been tempted by this week?

Happy reading!

My Darling by Amanda Robson

EXCERPT: Jade: We move into our new house, Fairlawns. A large Victorian detached, near the river in Henley-on-Thames. Top end comfort. Top end price. Arriving in our Porsche, just as the removal men are entering the house with our walnut dining table, I look up and see a man and a woman standing at the side window of the house next door, staring down at us.

The woman is seriously tarty. Long blonde hair, bleached, not natural. Smelling of Botox. Not wearing very much clothing. Her short house coat does not leave much to the imagination. Very much your sort of thing, Tomas. Not a woman, but a stereotype. As I watch her looking down on us, I determine you will not get away with it again. Don’t even try it, I tell you with my eyes.

ABOUT MY DARLING BY AMANDA ROBSON: A new couple moves in next door.
And nothing will ever be the same again…

I watched you move in and thought we might be friends.

I saw you watching from the window – and knew I’d have to keep you away from my husband.

I started to trust you. Confide in you.

I started to mistrust you. Suspect you.

I was confused when I blacked out after an evening at your place. Was I really that drunk?

I came up with a plan. A plan to make you both pay . . .

MY THOUGHTS: are liable to be quite incoherent. Firstly, when you plan on reading My Darling by Amanda Robson, don’t plan on doing anything else until you have finished the book. It’s that good. I only planned on reading a few pages before I went to sleep last night. I read the whole book. Couldn’t put it down. Didn’t even think about going to sleep.

Twisty doesn’t even begin to describe the plot. It’s like a corkscrew that has been tied in knots! Breathtaking. Heart pounding. Diabolically clever. Dark. Wicked. Absolutely sublime. There was barely a moment in which I was able to stop and draw a breath!

I loved the characters. I hated the characters. I loved to hate them. I admired their ingenuity. I admired Robson’s ingenuity. I don’t ever want to cross her. But I do want to read everything she has ever written, immediately.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After graduating, Amanda Robson worked in medical research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at the Poisons Unit at Guy’s Hospital, where she became a co-author of a book on cyanide poisoning. Amanda attended the Faber novel writing course and writes full-time. Her debut novel, Obsession, became a #1 ebook bestseller in 2017. She is also the author of three more domestic suspense novels: Guilt, Envy and My Darling. (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: A huge thank you to Avon Books UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of My Darling by Amanda Robson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Another Sunday, and another week’s reading completed. I even managed to sneak in an extra book this week . . . I picked it up last night, intending to read just a chapter or two before I went to sleep. Instead I read the whole thing. But more about that later in the post.

I am currently reading The Whisper Man by Alex North. Two of my Goodreads.com reading groups, the Crime, Mystery and Thriller group and the All About Books group, have picked this as the October group read.

I am about to start You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley

Currently I am listening to Bodies From the Library 2: Forgotten stories of mystery and suspense by the Queens of Crime and masters of Golden Age detection.

I am also planning on reading The Book of Carol Sue by Lynn Hugo this week.

CarolSue and her sister, Louisa, are best friends, but haven’t had much in common since CarolSue married Charlie, moved to Atlanta, and swapped shoes covered with Indiana farm dust for pedicures and afternoon bridge. Louisa, meanwhile, loves her farm and animals as deeply as she’d loved Harold, her late husband of forty years.

Charlie’s sudden death leaves CarolSue so adrift that she surrenders to Louisa’s plan for her to move back home. But canning vegetables and feeding chickens are alien to CarolSue, and she resolves to return to Atlanta–until Louisa’s son, Reverend Gary, arrives with an abandoned infant and a dubious story. He begs the women to look after the baby while he locates the mother–a young immigrant who fears deportation.

Keeping his own secrets, Gary enlists the aid of the sheriff, Gus, in the search. But CarolSue’s bond with the baby is undeniable, and she forms an unconventional secret plan of her own. How many mistakes can be redeemed?

I am keeping my reading load deliberately light this week as I have a busy week ahead at work, culminating next Sunday so am probably going to be very late with my Watching what I’m reading post – like Monday!

Four new ARCs this week:

The Girl Who Never Came Home by Nicole Trope

The House at Magpie Cove by Kennedy Kerr

Consolation by Garry Disher

And The Open House by Sam Carrington

Now, the extra book that I read this week? My Darling by Amanda Robson. WARNING: don’t start reading this unless you have cleared the rest of your day. Yes, it is THAT good. Review coming tomorrow!

Have a wonderful weekend to all of you who still have some left to enjoy. It’s time for me to start planning the meals for the rest of the week….

Happy reading!

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah

EXCERPT: ‘Hold on,’ I said. ‘Three mysteries?’

‘Oui, mon cher. There is the betrothed of Richard Devonport, Mademoiselle Helen. Did she or did she not kill his brother Frank? If she did not, then why has she confessed? That is Mystery Number One. Then we have Number Two: the strange affair of Joan Blythe who speaks of mysterious warnings of her own future murder and is assuredly deeply afraid of something.’

And Number Three?’

ABOUT THE KILLINGS AT KINGFISHER HILL BY SOPHIE HANNAH: Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank. There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.

On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged, and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports’ home with a note that refers to “the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in.”

Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving the mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows?

MY THOUGHTS: Well done Sophie Hannah! I could hear the Belgian detective’s voice clearly throughout this book. The plotting is perhaps a little more complex and ingenious than in Christie’s works, but that is in no way a criticism.

I was gripped almost from the very start and continued to be so to the very end. Sophie Hannah had me putting my little grey cells to work, not particularly effectively I may add. I thought that I had it all figured out, the who and the motive, reasonably early on, but by three quarters of the way through I knew that I was wrong, unless someone was lying . . . but, unfortunately, in this instance they weren’t! In fact, I got a lot of things wrong, but had great fun doing so.

I thought the solution rather ingenious and was satisfied with the way it was all wound up. There are some despicable characters amongst the cast, and some that I grew quite fond of. It matters not in the least that there’s very little character development, and that there’s a huge amount of dialogue, two things that I normally complain about. It is what it is, and it works.

Hannah has done a great job of carrying on Poirot in almost Christiesque style. It’s a marvellous read, and although one of a series, is easily read as a stand-alone. I have another of her Poirot titles that I recently purchased on my shelf, and I will be pulling that out to go on the pile on my bedside table. And I will be purchasing the others. I enjoyed this romp!

⭐⭐⭐⭐.2

#TheKillingsAtKingfisherHill #NetGalley @HarperCollins

THE AUTHOR: Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets.
She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, Harper Fiction, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

EXCERPT: Nina’s Diary – July 4

I am writing this to raise the alarm in the event of my untimely death. This is hard to admit, even to myself, let alone to the world. My husband is planning to kill me. For obvious reasons. He’s in love with someone else. And he wants my money.

ABOUT THE WIFE WHO KNEW TOO MUCH: Tabitha Girard had her heart broken years ago by Connor Ford. He was preppy and handsome. She was a pool girl at his country club. Their affair should have been a summer fling. But it meant everything to Tabitha.

Years later, Connor comes back into Tabitha’s life—older, richer, and desperately unhappy. He married for money, a wealthy, neurotic, controlling woman whom he never loved. He has always loved Tabitha.

When Connor’s wife Nina takes her own life, he’s free. He can finally be with Tabitha. Nina’s home, Windswept, can be theirs. It seems to be a perfect ending to a fairy tale romance that began so many years ago. But then, Tabitha finds a diary. “I’m writing this to raise an alarm in the event of my untimely death,” it begins. “If I die unexpectedly, it was foul play, and Connor was behind it. Connor – and her.”

Who is Connor Ford? Why did he marry Nina? Is Tabitha his true love, or a convenient affair? As the police investigate Nina’s death, is she a convenient suspect?

As Tabitha is drawn deeper into the dark glamour of a life she is ill-prepared for, it becomes clear to her that what a wife knows can kill her.

MY THOUGHTS: The Wife Who Knew Too Much is not my favourite of Michele Campbell’s work. Although it starts well, it lacks subtlety and soon deteriorates into something resembling a soap opera.

None of the characters are at all likeable. I felt nothing except exasperation for Tabitha, the main character, who comes across as totally pathetic and needy for the majority of the book. The character of Connor, her ‘one true love’, goes through several metamorphoses, but remains, in my eyes, an utter sleaze. While we’re talking characters, there is zero character development.

The plot had plenty of potential, but became unwieldy and unrealistic. Yes, I know this is fiction, but still, this was OTT. Eye-rollingly OTT in parts. I prefer more mystery, fewer thugs and when all else fails ‘run them off the road/shoot them’ solutions. It almost felt like two different people wrote the two halves of this book. So, rather than classifying this as a murder mystery, I would define it as a (schmaltzy) romantic thriller. Sorry, but not my cup of tea. This may come across better as a movie.

⭐⭐.3

THE AUTHOR: Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.

She’s had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Wife Who Knew Too Much, written by Michele Campbell, narrated by Dylan Moore and published by HQ via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Today seems to have sped past. I worked this morning, a friend called in for coffee as soon as I got home. TMOTH had been fishing so I had fish to fillet and drop around to friends. I managed to get a little time in the garden then all of a sudden it is time to come in and prepare dinner. Pan fried snapper with herbs served on lemon parsley potatoes with avocado salsa.

My reading schedule didn’t go to plan again this week. I have just started The Second Wife by Rebecca Fleet

because I snuck in the absolutely amazing Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, #1 in the Susan Ryeland series

Which I wanted to read before I started Moonflower Murders, the second book in the series.

After being totally captivated by Magpie Murders, I can’t wait to start this!

Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller Magpie Murders, a brilliantly complex literary thriller by Anthony Horowitz. The follow-up to Magpie Murders.

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is living the good life. She is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her longterm boyfriend Andreas. It should be everything she’s always wanted – but is it? She’s exhausted with the responsibilities of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, and truth be told she’s beginning to miss her old life in London.

And then a couple – the Trehearnes – come to stay, and the story they tell about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married, is such a strange and mysterious one that Susan finds herself increasingly fascinated by it. And when the Trehearnes tell her that their daughter is now missing, Susan knows that she must return to London and find out what really happened …

I am currently listening to The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michelle Campbell

This week I am planning on reading Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz, and The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah.

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot—the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile—returns in a delectably twisty mystery.

Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank. There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.

On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged, and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports’ home with a note that refers to “the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in.”

Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving the mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows?

And six new ARCs this week . . . The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

The Rosary Garden by Nicola White

Death Score by Angela Marsons

The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

and and finally, The Drowned Woman by C.J. Lyons

And if you missed my post yesterday, do take a look see what I scored at the second hand bookstore Tuesday!

Happy reading and have a wonderful week!

❤😍📚☕🍪

I went to the second hand bookstore Tuesday…..

I took ten books in,

And came out with twenty.

Just doing my bit for the economy.

🤣😂❤😍📚☕🍪

The Best of Friends by Lucinda Berry

EXCERPT: ‘You can’t go out there!’ Paul yells.

‘What if there’s a crazy shooter?’ Reese asks at the same time.

I ignore them and step outside before shutting the door tightly behind me. Three police cars race down the street and make a left at the corner just like all the others. I take off running. People are coming out of their houses, milling down the street while I sprint past them.

‘Dear God, please don’t let anything happen to my baby.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Best friends Lindsey, Kendra, and Dani endure every parent’s nightmare when a tragic accident befalls their teenage boys, leaving one dead, another in a coma, and a third too traumatized to speak.

Reeling from the worst night of their lives, the three mothers plunge into a desperate investigation of the bizarre incident. How could something so horrible happen in their wealthy Southern California suburb?

They soon discover that the accident was just the beginning, and troubling discoveries lead to chilling questions: Do they really know their children? Do they even know each other? As more secrets surface, a fog of doubt and suspicion threatens to poison their families, their friendships, and the whole community.

With the illusion of happiness and safety long gone, these women must now confront the hazards of heartbreak, the consequences of jealousy, and the dangers of living double lives.

MY THOUGHTS: I failed to become invested in The Best of Friends by Lucinda Berry. I have read this author previously, and really enjoyed her work, but this just left me cold. For a short novel, this felt inordinately long!

The characters were interchangeable, lacked definition, and I had difficulty in remembering what children belonged to which parents.

The chapters are narrated by the mothers of the children, Dani, Kendra and Lindsey. But it was easy to forget who was narrating.

There really is no feeling of suspense, and there are tantalizing tidbits dropped into the narrative which are never explored or explained – the most glaring of which is an oblique reference regarding something that happened when these three were at school, but that was it. A scandal waiting to be exposed, or the possibility of one, and there’s no clarification, no further reference to it. Frustrating!

Several times I thought of not finishing The Best of Friends, but I wanted to know what these three had been up to. As it is, we never find out. Disappointing, and mundane. Not at all what I expected from the author of Saving Noah, which I loved.

A lot of other readers love this book. Reading is a very personal subjective experience, and not every book is for every reader. So, if you enjoyed the extract, and the plot summary interests you, please do read Final Cut by S.J. Watson. I hope that you are one of the many who love this book.

** depressed stars

THE AUTHOR: Dr. Lucinda Berry is a former clinical psychologist and leading researcher in childhood trauma. Now, she spends her days writing full-time where she uses her clinical experience to blur the line between fiction and nonfiction. She enjoys taking her readers on a journey through the dark recesses of the human psyche.

If Berry isn’t chasing after her son, you can find her running through Los Angeles, prepping for her next marathon.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Best of Friends for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbooksday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com