Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft
Silent Lies 
by Kathryn Croft (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Who…who are you?’

‘Exactly who I said I was. I just didn’t mention that I know who you are, or that I’m here to tell you your husband didn’t kill himself.’

THE BLURB: ‘Your husband didn’t kill himself.’
Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished.

Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will.

Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself.

Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says?

Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘How do you know who to trust?’ This is the question that is the crux of Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft. And after reading this, I don’t know that I am ever again going to believe anything I am told that I haven’t seen with my own eyes.

Silent Lies is told from the viewpoints of Mia and Josie over two different timelines that gradually merge. There are more twists and turns than is likely to be found in a plateful of spaghetti. All the way through, I was wondering why……..why Mia was taking such risks, why she couldn’t just settle down with Will and be happy, why she couldn’t look to the future instead of the past, why she was listening to Alison who was manipulative and scheming?

All my questions were answered in an absolutely unexpected ending.

If you are looking for a gripping psychological thriller, I can recommend Silent Lies.

Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital copy of Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2141504402?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 and on Twitter @SandraFayJones2

White Bodies by Jane Robins

White Bodies by Jane Robins
White Bodies 
by Jane Robins

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: The two men were struck by the unnatural stillness of the room, its air of unreality; Julio said it seemed considered, or planned, like a tableau vivant with Felix as the centrepiece, lying on his back on the bed in a strange balletic pose, right arm cast out across the duvet, left leg bent, bath robe open like a cape,grey eyes gazing at the ceiling. His left arm was dangling down the side of the bed, fingers suspended above the floor, and the hotel manager, who had a degree in the History of Art, was reminded of the pre-Raphaelite painting of the suicide of Thomas Chatterton. Except this didn’t look like suicide, there were no pill bottles or razor blades or other signs.

THE BLURB: Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless façade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies—or was he murdered?

MY THOUGHTS: This is an extremely clever book. A book that is quite different from anything else I have read. But I can’t say I actually ‘liked’ it. It fascinated me. It intrigued me. But I didn’t like it and I couldn’t get ‘involved’ in it.

I think part of the problem, for me, is the author’s narrative style. Her sentences are inordinately long. And for suspense, nothing but short snappy sentences does it for me. Also large tracts of the book are narrated through emails/reading off a memory stick/searching the Internet/taking place in chat rooms.

However, Jane Robins has done a great job of keeping the reader off balance. Her characters are nearly all manipulative, some more overtly than others, and the reader never quite knows who is telling the truth. Is Callie protective of her sister Tilda, or is she jealous of Tilda’s success, professional and personal? Is Felix the adoring lover who likes to shower Tilda with surprises and protect her from the world, or is he a violent control freak? Is Wilf really in love with Callie, or is he just using her to find out information about Tilda to feed to the press? And who is Scarlet really?

The plot is great. After a great deal of thought, I decided that I just didn’t like how it was handled and rated it 3.5 stars. White Bodies by Jane Robins is due to be published October 23, 2017

Thank you to Harlequin Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of White Bodies by Jane Robins for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2155011405

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen
The Surrogate
by Louise Jensen (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Is it really a coincidence she is here, or has she purposely tracked me down? And if so, why?

‘Revenge’ whispers the voice inside my head.’

THE BLURB: ‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

MY THOUGHTS: Twisted, twisty and oh so nerve wracking! I almost tore my fingernails out of their beds reading The Surrogate by Louise Jensen, and I do not bite my nails!

Full marks to Louise Jensen. She has demonstrated that she is mistress of her art. I thought I knew where she was going with this. She reinforced my beliefs. But she took me for a ride – up the wrong road. More than that, I am not going to say. I don’t want to give anything away. I don’t want to spoil any surprises. And they come thick and fast.

I am going to liken reading this book to riding a roller coaster in one of those spinning teacups with no seat belts. Thrilling, scary. Yes, you may have to suspend belief occasionally, but believe me, by then, you won’t care.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Surrogate for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2123237779

The Mistake by K.L. Slater

The Mistake by K.L. Slater
The Mistake
by K.L. Slater (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Billy, come out. Please. ..you’re scaring me now.’

It was true. Her heart was banging against her chest wall like a tin drum and her mouth and throat were dry with fear.

For five full, long minutes she walked up and down the long road, stepping into the bushes wherever there was a gap, searching everywhere for her brother.

But Billy was nowhere to be found.’

THE BLURB: You think you know the truth about the people you love.

But one discovery can change everything…

Eight-year-old Billy goes missing one day, out flying his kite with his sister Rose. Two days later, he is found dead.

Sixteen years on, Rose still blames herself for Billy’s death. How could she have failed to protect her little brother?

Rose has never fully recovered from the trauma, and one of the few people she trusts is her neighbour Ronnie, who she has known all her life. But one day Ronnie falls ill, and Rose goes next door to help him… and what she finds in his attic room turns her world upside down.

Rose thought she knew the truth about what happened to Billy. She thought she knew her neighbour. Now the only thing she knows is that she is in danger…

MY THOUGHTS: There were things I liked about this book, and things I didn’t. I will start with the negatives so that I can end on a good note.

Poor Rose was traumatized by everything that had happened. I was going to list all these things, but it would give away too much of the story. But personally, I found it all just a little too much, too overdone. It was bland and clichéd, and I failed to pick up any sense of suspense.

There was a lot of dialogue in this book, much of which didn’t add any value. There were a few loose ends, unresolved that I, personally, would have liked to have seen explained. For one, the deaths of her parents. The fact that they are dead is mentioned several times. So that I began to think that it must be important in some way, to the story. But, nothing. Grace is only 34. Her parents were not old. What are the chances that both parents would be dead of natural causes? And the threatened closure of the library where Rose worked….a lot was made of this issue, but we never learn the outcome. It is probably not important, but damn it, I WANT TO KNOW! Up until the end, it was all pretty predictable.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff – the end was superb. There is no doubt that Slater is a very clever writer. I have read all four of her books. Safe With Me and Liar were 5-star reads. Blink, 3-star. The Mistake 3.5-star, upgraded because of the ending, of which I am not going to speak again for fear of giving something away.

One more little niggle- authors, publishers, whoever is responsible, STOP putting things on the cover like ‘an unputdownable psychological thriller with a brilliant twist’. I don’t want to be looking for the twist. I want it to jump up and slap me in the face and go ‘There! You weren’t expecting that, were you!’ I know I am not the only one who feels like this.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Mistake by K. L. Slater for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 review page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2142849430?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Accident by Dawn Goodwin

The Accident by Dawn Goodwin
The Accident
by Dawn Goodwin (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

 

EXCERPT: ‘Seeing her like that was a bit of a shock. Her dark hair was lank and scraped back in a messy ponytail – not the charmingly messy kind; rather, the kind that looks like you slept in it. The circles under her eyes made her look haunted and her skin had the grey tone of someone who has been indoors too long.
Not so perfect now, are we? ‘THE BLURB: A tragic accident, an unbearable loss and a marriage in crisis – but who can she trust or is she all alone? A gripping, debut psychological thriller that will keep you hooked. Perfect for the fans of Paula Hawkins and S.J. Watson.

Veronica Pullman’s comfortable suburban life comes to a shuddering halt when her young daughter, Grace, tragically dies in a car accident.

Months later, unable to come to terms with her daughter’s death, detached from her husband and alienated from her friends and family, a chance encounter on a rainy street pushes her into an unlikely new friendship.

Scarlet is everything Veronica could’ve been: feisty, adventurous, unpredictable. But as she approaches what would have been Grace’s 10th birthday, it becomes clear to Veronica that the friendship she thought was saving her life could be costing her everything.

Consumed by grief and left questioning her own sanity, is there anyone she can really trust or is someone out to torment her as part of their twisted game?

MY THOUGHTS: I have lain awake half the night thinking about The Accident, a debut novel by Dawn Goodwin. It made me think about friends, and the mostly random way we become them. We have different friends for different periods of our lives. There are our school friends, some of these we keep for life, others drop to the wayside as we, or they, move on. Our workmates, usually fleeting relationships that change with our jobs. The friends we make as mothers, our children encouraged to bond. And our neighbours, who sometimes also fit into one or more of the categories above.

If we are really lucky, we have one incredible friend. A friend that, if you don’t see her for months, it doesn’t matter, because you just pick up where you left off and it is like you have never been apart. Veronica Pullman doesn’t have a friend like that. She has a group of acquaintances, other mothers who meet for coffee and who vie to be the thinnest, have the newest kitchen, the fanciest SUV, the brightest most talented children.

When Veronica’s life falls apart following the accident, although her friends make the right noises and numerous casseroles, they are all secretly glad that it didn’t happen to them. Tom, her husband, is coping with his grief in his own way and has his work to sustain him. Only Veronica is isolated in her grief, which leaves her vulnerable.

You will recognize a lot of Goodwin’s characters. You’ve probably had one or two of them in your life. You may even have been, or be, one.

Dawn Goodwin has written an excellent first novel. It is like a slow burning fuse; the explosion at the end, devastating. This is an author whose career I will be following with great interest.

Thank you to Aria via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Accident by Dawn Goodwin for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2133954329

Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza

 

EXCERPT: ‘The fingers poking through the hole in the brown material were swollen, with blackened fingernails. Moss gently worked the sand away from the seams, and exposed the rusted zipper. It took Erika several gentle tugs, but it yielded, and the suitcase sagged open as she unzipped. Moss moved to help, and they slowly lifted it open. A little water spilled out, and the naked body of a man was crammed inside. Moss stepped backwards, putting her arm up to her nose. The smell of rotting flesh and stagnant water hit the back of their throats. Erika closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them. The limbs were white and muscular. The flesh had the appearance of raw suet and was starting to flake away, in places exposing the bone. Erika gently lifted the torso. Tucked underneath was a head, with black wispy hair.’

THE BLURB: She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.

MY COMMENTS: The question begs to be asked – how could a young girl with so much promise stumble down such a dark path?

#5 in Robert Bryndza’s Detective Erika Foster series, Cold Blood is based on a vulnerable young woman’s need to be loved. Her Dad has died, her Mum has a new man in her life, her friends have all gone off to university, while Nina is working a dead end job in a fish and chip shop because she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Nina is isolated by her own circumstances and Max spots her vulnerability and uses it to his own advantage. And we all know from experience that the nice but needy girl falling under the spell of the bad boy story is never going to end well. And this one certainly doesn’t. But even I certainly didn’t predict just how badly it was all going to end.

I have read all of this series, and to be honest, this is the least favorite installment. It just doesn’t seem to flow like the previous books did. It didn’t leave me breathless with anticipation. It actually took me four days to read it. I’m not saying it is a bad read, because it definitely isn’t. It is a good read, as evidenced by my 4☆ rating, just not as good as the rest of the series, which for me have all been 5☆ Am I looking forward to the next installment? Hell yes! Get writing Rob!

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page for an explanation of my ratings. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2123260533

The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards

The Devil's Work by Mark  Edwards
The Devil’s Work
by Mark Edwards (Goodreads Author)
reviewed by


Picture this: it is a warm and sunny late winters afternoon and I am curled up in the sunshine reading the final 20% of The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards. A gentle breeze stirs the curtain and the edge caresses my neck. I shriek. Leaping from the chair I drop my Kindle and spin around to see who is going to strangle me.

It happened.

Seldom have I ever had such a strong physical reaction to a book. Mark Edwards had my heart pounding and my imagination working overtime. He even disturbed my sleep. Hence I am up writing this review at 2.30 am instead of battling sleep filled with menace and shadowy figures.

THE BLURB
It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.

What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.

As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her.

Mark Edwards has done a superb job with both his characterisation and the plot. Written over two timelines, the years 2000 and 2012, he cleverly intertwines the stories to create the maximum suspense and suspicion. He even had me suspecting peripheral characters!

This is not the first book I have read by this author, but it is definitely the best.

Thank you to Thomas and Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page for an explanation of my ratings. This and other of my reviews can also be viewed at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2101128986?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1