Secrets of a Serial Killer by Rosie Walker

cover184843-medium

EXCERPT: (She) remembers the woman’s words, hours ago in the caravan:’He doesn’t work alone. He likes to share.’

She knows why he hasn’t raped her, like she initially feared. As if that was the worst thing that can happen. She knows better than that, now.

And why he took her to the caravan and left her there, like it was a waiting room. Because it was a waiting room: waiting for something far, far worse than she could imagine. Something was there, all along, lingering on the other side of a flimsy partition wall in that caravan, listening to her wail and struggle and cry. She knows why that man only taped her eyelids, and did not slice them.

The real threat is standing next to her in the darkness, digging the burning end of a cigarette into her ribs.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: There it is: fear. It’s crawling all over her face and in her eyes, like a swarm of insects, and it’s all because of him.

A serial killer has been terrorising Lancaster for decades, longer than should ever have been possible. The police are baffled, eluded at every turn by the killer whose victims span generations. Speculation is rife among the true crime forums; is someone passing on their gruesome trade?

Every local mother’s worst nightmare has become Helen Summerton’s reality; he’s taken her daughter, Zoe. As the clock runs down so do her chances of survival. Can Helen unearth the secrets of the killer before it’s too late?

MY THOUGHTS:

Serial Killer – urban legend or reality?

Creepy old lunatic asylum

Missing teenager

Two kids egging each other on to explore

All the ingredients for a great creepy thriller. And it was, in parts. The beginning. And the end. But in the middle, it lost impetus.

There are probably too many threads to this story.

The serial killer who adopts other people’s identities is an excellent premise. But we only got a superficial look at this.

There’s a journalist, certain that a, or more than one, serial killer has been operating in the area for years. The police say her theory is not credible, even though there are striking resemblances between the missing girls, who the police have classified as runaways, despite the fact that they have never been seen again, and nor have their bank accounts been touched. Again, this storyline isn’t fully explored.

I didn’t think that the dark web inserts added anything to the story.

Gripes: I have never been in a caravan where the door opened inwards.

Tony, father of the abducted Zoe, had been a policeman who worked on the Mr X serial killer case which was never solved. So why would the police be denying the existence of a serial killer?

And why was he delaying reporting Zoe’s disappearance?

The knife – it’s not a pocket knife. Driving it through someone’s eye is going to put it into the brain. Is someone going to be able to escape after that?

Secrets of a Serial Killer (for the record, I don’t like the title) is a debut novel, a good one, but not a great one. I can see the potential, and with a good edit, it could be greatly improved.

Note to the author: less is often more. Don’t overcomplicate the storyline.

Will I try this author again? Probably.

🤔🤨🤷‍♀️

THE AUTHOR: Rosie Walker is a novelist who lives in Edinburgh with her husband Kevin and their dog Bella. ‘Secrets of a Serial Killer’ is her debut novel, “an edge-of-your-seat serial killer thriller that you won’t be able to put down”.

Rosie has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and an undergraduate degree from Lancaster University.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter, for providing a digital ARC of Secrets of a Serial Killer by Rosie Walker 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….

Happy Sunday all! I’m home from work and feel like I should be doing something constructive while it is fine and before it starts getting cold and damp, which gives me about an hour to work with, which hardly seems worthwhile getting wet and muddy for, does it? Tuesday is my next day off, and it is supposed to still be fine, so I plan on getting outdoors and tidying up the yard then. Hopefully everything will be a bit dryer by then too.

Currently I am excited to be reading The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish. Loving it!

48559001._sy475_

And I have just started listening to The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

33843507._sy475_

This week I am planning on reading The Lantern Men (Ruth Galloway #12) by Elly Griffiths

52331359._sx318_sy475_

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway changed her life—until a convicted killer tells her that four of his victims were never found, drawing her back to the place she left behind.

And Secrets of a Serial Killer by Rosie Walker

cover184843-medium

An edge-of-your-seat serial killer thriller that you won’t be able to put down!
There it is: fear. It’s crawling all over her face and in her eyes, like a swarm of insects, and it’s all because of him.

A serial killer has been terrorising Lancaster for decades, longer than should ever have been possible. The police are baffled, eluded at every turn by the killer whose victims span generations. Speculation is rife among the true crime forums; is someone passing on their gruesome trade?

Every local mother’s worst nightmare has become Helen Summerton’s reality; he’s taken her daughter, Zoe. As the clock runs down so do her chances of survival. Can Helen unearth the secrets of the killer before it’s too late?

Only 4 new ARCs this week…. I’m doing better, even though that is still twice my target 😂🤣😂🤣

The Minders by John Marrs

52830760._sy475_

Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks

48675689

Who’s Next? by Chris Merritt

54445368._sy475_

And The Mistress by Jill Childs

54230527._sy475_

What are you planning on reading this week? Whatever it may be, I hope you love it. Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheers
Sandy ❤😍📚☕🍪

Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie

50993832._sy475_

EXCERPT: ‘I’m sorry I got you into this!’ Charlie Reynolds shouted over the gusts of wind blasting them with icy sleet. ‘It’s the stupid weather! I don’t know where it came from. I can’t see how to get down.’

Neither could Tess. She held on to a shelf of slippery rock on a narrow ledge high on a cliff face with frozen, aching fingers. Beneath them was absolutely nothing. She tried for a smile, for encouragement, because the cute but stupid twenty-three year old was close to panic, but in her head she was swearing: at him, the mountain, the weather, the whole messed-up situation. He had no right to be here. He’d been warned. No – he’d been told. Repeatedly. The Federation Peak climb belonged only to those with the experience to tackle it and enough respect for the extreme Tasmanian conditions to know when not to. And he’d climbed up anyway.

And now this.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: tragic accident, a terrible crime, an unknown threat …

Scarred by a recent tragedy on Federation Peak, Tess Atherton is reluctant to guide a group of young hikers in the wild Tasmanian winter, but it seems safer than remaining amid the violence that threatens them in Hobart. Little does she know that she has brought the danger with her …

Detective Senior Sergeant Jared Denham is closing in on a serial killer, but someone doesn’t want him getting to the truth and the case is becoming personal. He already owes Tess his life, and wants to return the favour – but when it comes to enemies, Jared may be looking in the wrong direction.

Time is running out, and death is stalking them both …

MY THOUGHTS: Straight up, I’m going to say that I hate both heights and cold. Deadman’s Track has both and I felt the fear as Tess hung suspended over cliff edges, and felt every chilling sting of the icy sleet. I swear that my next read has to be set on a tropical island so that I can thaw out!

I have recently read some absolutely brilliant and gripping Australian fiction, and I was looking forward to more of the same. But I am leaving this book feeling a little disappointed. Despite Sarah Barrie’s great descriptive writing, I found the plot lacking. I was dragging my heels by the halfway point and found myself slogging through the remainder of the read. And despite the ending being quite suspenseful and exciting, it wasn’t enough to earn Deadman’s Track more than an extra half a star.

I really wanted to like Tess, the main character, but for someone who leads trail hikes and volunteers for Search and Rescue, she is easily led into dangerous situations. Twice she counsels against doing hikes because of the time of the year and the unpredictable winter weather conditions, and twice she goes ahead with them. I just didn’t find her particularly credible.

Aaron, the controlling ex-boyfriend who won’t accept that Tess no longer wants to be with him, is really well depicted and more development of this storyline would have kept me more interested. I am not so keen on the criminal elements in this book, but that is purely my personal preference.

Deadman’s Track was only an okay read for me, and I am sorry that I didn’t like it more. Many other people have absolutely loved this book, so if you are looking at reading Deadman’s Track, check out some of the more positive reviews.

I loved that Sarah Barrie dedicated Deadman’s Track ‘to the extraordinary men and women who risk their lives every day to save others.’

🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

#DeadmansTrack #NetGalley

‘So many big strong heroes, so little time…’

‘I want to twist his balls until they snap off and shove them so far up his butt they work as breast enhancements!’

THE AUTHOR: Sarah Barrie lives with her husband and children in a rural area on the Central Coast of NSW. She divides her time between writing, being a mum and her position as editor of two equestrian magazines. When she finds a spare moment or two, she enjoys spending time with her Arabian horses and the various other animals that call the farm home. Though her writing career has traditionally revolved around producing articles for various publications, her true passion lies in fiction and she enjoys writing contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie 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

Never Forget by Martin Michaud

43297665._sy475_

EXCERPT: They were startled by a noise resembling the striking of a matchstick: the burner on the gas furnace had just lit up. Victor released his breath, wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, and opened the door at the far end of the workshop.

The beam of his flashlight slid across the room, and a cry froze in his throat. An odour of death and offal hung in the air. The body of a man in his underwear lay in a puddle of blood and excrement.

The detective sergeant snapped a mental image of the scene: the corpse was lying face up, arms crossed. Brownish wounds were visible on the diaphanous skin of the throat and chest. The wrists bore purple bruises, and the cracked dry lips had split open in several places.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When an eccentric homeless man jumps to his death in Old Montreal, the police discover two wallets in his possession: those of a retired psychiatrist who was recently murdered in a bizarre ritual and a powerful corporate lawyer who has vanished. As police detective Victor Lessard and his partner, Jacinthe Taillon, work to solve the separate mysteries, a dark history begins to emerge.

While the pressure builds and the bodies accumulate, dark and disturbing secrets come to light about a pivotal moment in Quebec’s history. But will Lessard and Taillon crack the case in time to prevent the killer from striking again?

MY THOUGHTS: It’s complicated . . .

I am unsure why a publisher would choose to start translating a series with the third book. I know that some series are easy to pick up part way through. This isn’t one of them.

The plot is complex. The characters are complex, and there are a lot of them. It took me a long time to settle into this book, and even then, I managed to lose my way a couple of times and had to go back and reread things. There are frequent references to past cases, past events, past history.

Victor Lessard is an alcoholic (not drinking, but once an alcoholic…) suffers from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and tends to vomit at the sight of a body. There is a lot of vomiting takes place. His partner, Jacinthe Taillon, is obsessed with food and only trusts Lessard to a certain point. Not an easy working relationship. She is rude, insensitive and brings nothing to the story other than her ability to break down doors.

If you are a fan of conspiracy theories, you will love this book. It covers a lot of historical ground, from CIA funded experiments into mind control using drugs and other even more barbaric methods to the assassination of President John Kennedy.

This was definitely an interesting read, but as I said, it is complicated. Would I read more in this series? That would depend on being able to start from the beginning.

🤯🏙🚔

‘Evil creeps. Evil prowls. It insinuates itself into the soul’s blank spaces. And sometimes, for no apparent reason, when you’re sure it’s busy elsewhere, it catches your scent of ashes on the cold air, turns from its path and follows you.’

‘By deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill, we’ve put all our eggs in one basket. We’ve gone from one extreme to the other. It’s gotten to the point where most people who need custodial care are now on the streets.’

‘Once a mistake is made, there’s no going back to unmake it.’

‘Unlike the movies, where there’s always a ruthless logic behind every action, reality can be disappointing and disturbing.’

THE AUTHOR: Born in 1970, Martin Michaud is a musician, novelist and screenwriter. He worked as a business lawyer for twenty years before devoting himself to writing full-time in 2012.

His novels have gained a wide readership in Quebec and Europe, winning numerous literary prizes. He is hailed by critics as “the master of the Quebec thriller.”

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Dundurn Press via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Never Forget by Martin Michaud 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3286118044

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler

48805505._sy475_

Happy publication day to author Jackie Kabler and publishers Harper Impulse, Killer Reads, One More Chapter for The Perfect Couple

Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s Reviews > The Perfect Couple
The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler
The Perfect Couple
by Jackie Kabler
30817744
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s reviewApr 16, 2020 · edit
liked it
bookshelves: 2020, 3-star, 4-star, contemporary-fiction, crime, domestic-drama, murder-mystery, netgalley-arc, new-to-me-author, serial-killer-thriller, stand-alone

EXCERPT: Back home, as the police officers arrived to start searching the house, I was still reeling from the bombshells of the previous day, shaky from another night of little sleep. It was all becoming too much, too impossible. Danny pretending to go to work. No money taken out of his bank account for weeks. Danny appearing on a dating app. And two murders. Two dead men. Two victims who looked so similar to my husband, and who had been using the same app before they died. I could no longer think in any sort of logical way, couldn’t even begin to process it at all. What did it mean? Where was Danny? Was he dead now, too? Why had he lied to me about so many things? Was he sleeping around, seeing other women, or was his appearance on the dating site just a stupid, juvenile joke by one of his friends? But why? What would be the point? I just couldn’t work it out . . . and then there was this latest thing, the thing they’d told me earlier, when they’d arrived to start trawling through my cupboards. What had it been again, exactly? That my closest neighbours, both of them, when questioned, had said they thought I’d moved in here alone? That they’d never seen or heard anything of Danny, of a husband, living here?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The perfect couple…or the perfect lie?

A year and a half ago, Gemma met the love of her life, Danny. Since then, their relationship has been like something out of a dream. But one Friday evening, Gemma returns home to find Danny is nowhere to be seen.

After two days with no word from her husband, Gemma turns to the police. She is horrified with what she discovers – a serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. When she sees the photos of the victims she is even more stunned…the victims all look just like Danny.

But, the detectives aren’t convinced by Gemma’s story. Why has no one apart from Gemma seen or heard from Danny in weeks? Why is there barely a trace of him in their flat? Is she telling them the truth, or are there more secrets and lies in this marriage than meets the eye?

MY THOUGHTS: The Perfect Couple is mostly a good, solid read, with a few little faults. While I didn’t find it gripping or compelling, there was enough going on to keep me interested.

The story is told from the points of view of Gemma, wife of the missing man, and Helena, SIO. The characters are well developed. I liked the relationships between the investigating officers, and between Gemma and her friends. The dialogue between the characters is well written and realistic. Certain facets of the plot are very clever. Others need a little more attention.

For instance, I can understand Gemma waiting 48 hours to report Danny’s disappearance, but standard procedure is for the police to contact family and close friends. Danny’s family wasn’t contacted for a week. There were also a couple of minor contradictions in the story.

There is a distinct lack of tension and suspense in the writing, which would have made a world of difference to this read. In the acknowledgements, the author states that her first three books were cosy crime novels, but felt that she wanted to try writing something darker. This is darker, definitely, but but I don’t think that she has quite shaken off her cosy mantle yet.

The ending, I thought, was a little OTT. I am not fond of endings where the ‘perpetrator’ confesses all to the person he is about to kill. That, to me, is taking the easy way out of making the revelation. It also appears that the author has left the way open for a follow up to this story.

This isn’t a bad read, in fact it’s slightly better than average. There were a few places that amused me: ‘Winnie-the-poodle’ being one. I also enjoyed the information on the various Saints that was imparted on Danny and Gemma’s visit to the O’Connor home. Saints Christopher and Anthony were the only saints I was familiar with. I had been totally unaware that there was a patron saint of eye diseases and, weirdly enough, television and laundry, Saint Clare. ‘Laundry? Why did laundry need a patron saint?’ At least I now know who to pray to when I have stubborn stains!

Would I read more from this author? Yes. I think it may take another book or two for her to get fully into her psychological thriller stride, but she is obviously a good writer and I am certain that she will make it.

🚔🚴‍♂️💔.3

#ThePerfectCouple #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Jackie Kabler is a journalist, TV presenter and author. She spent twenty years as a TV news reporter for GMTV, ITV and BBC news, and now works as a presenter for shopping channel QVC and is author of the Cora Baxter Mysteries, a series of murder mysteries set in a television newsroom.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Impulse and Killer Reads, One More Chapter for providing a digital ARC of The Perfect Couple 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3059955020

Find Her Alive by Lisa Regan

50636220._sy475_

Happy publication day to Lisa Regan and Bookouture, author and publisher of Find Her Alive.

EXCERPT: Arrayed on the grass before her were bones. Human bones. Not left there, or dumped, but arranged.

Displayed.

A ribcage and spine made up the centrepiece of whatever it was that Josie was staring at – some kind of symbol? Remnants of some kind of satanic ritual? Surrounding the ribcage and spine were smaller bones. Some clinical part of her mind recognized those as the tiny bones of the hands, fingers, feet and toes. Intermingled with those were the clavicles. At the bottom of the circle, pointing from the outer edge toward Josie’s feet were longer bones. Arm bones, the cool investigator in the back of her mind whispered, because they were too small to be leg bones. Beneath those bones were the skull and pelvic bone. The empty eye sockets of the skull stared back at Josie, making her chest feel tight. She tore her eyes away from it and looked toward the upper right hand side of the circle, where the leg bones lay, angled away from Josie.

A violent trembling took over her body. Her feet turned and tried to carry her away, but her shins knocked against one of the Adirondack chairs and she went flying over it, tumbling toward the back of the cabin. Her head smacked against the rack of firewood and some of the logs tumbled into her lap. She closed her eyes and tried to slow her breathing. There was a calm, firm voice in the back of her mind – the one that gave her orders when her body shut down from fear or panic. The police officer inside her. ‘Take out your phone,’ it told her. ‘Call for back-up.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Detective Josie Quinn hasn’t heard from her sister since Trinity stormed out of the house in the heat of an argument three weeks ago. So, when human remains are found at the remote hunting cabin where Trinity was last seen, Josie can only assume the worst.

Gathering her team, Josie feels a surge of relief when the dental records match a different body – that of a missing single mother from a neighboring town. But now Josie’s is not the only broken family desperate for answers.

Dusting the crime scene for prints, a name smudged into the side of a nearby car is the first in a trail of clues Trinity left for Josie. In need of a big story to save her journalism career, it seems Josie’s sister was attempting to make contact with a dangerous serial killer known for creating sculptures with his victim’s bones. And Trinity won’t stop until she’s found him, even if it means becoming his next masterpiece…

Josie is certain there’s a critical clue in the ivory hair comb delivered to Trinity just days before she went missing. But as more bones surface, each set more likely to be Trinity’s than the last, time is running out to find her alive. Can Josie’s team trust her instincts in a case that is so deeply personal? Can she find her sister without putting other innocent lives in danger?

MY THOUGHTS: #8 in the Josie Quinn series! How did we get here so quickly? I have read and enjoyed every one, and Find Her Alive is every bit as good as any of the previous books.

This is easily read as a stand-alone, the back story is fully explained. And that, funnily enough, is my one complaint about Find Her Alive, there’s a little too much explanation of the backstory and, for the first time, it doesn’t fit easily into this story.

Lisa Regan continues with her character development, this time introducing a love interest for Josie’s twin, Trinity. Don’t worry…there’s no mushy stuff! Regan concentrates firmly on the main plot line – Trinity’s disappearance. We learn a lot more about Trinity’s background in this book. And believe me, there’s a few surprises in there.

Regan’s books have it all – mystery, crime, suspense, excitement. At one point, I gasped out loud, both shocked and horrified, but unable to stop reading. The chapters are short and tense. An easy and rewarding read.

You can start with Find Her Alive, but really? You’re going to love it. You’re going to want to read all the earlier books in the series. And if you read this first, you’re going to know stuff that you need to not know to get the most from those earlier books. So please, just be good little readers and start this series from the beginning.

🏕🦅🚔⏳

#FindHerAlive #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Find Her Alive by Lisa Regan 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3159683526

Watching What I’m Reading

I am sitting here on a cool New Zealand autumn afternoon watching the storm clouds mass and churn in the sky. Even though we are under lockdown and everyone was told to stay home for the long weekend, our emergency services alert siren has been very active. I feel very sorry for and appreciative of our volunteer Fire Brigade members, Ambulance crews and Police who are continually being called upon to put their own lives in danger because people can’t do as they are told and stay home. Thank you to all of these brave people, and also all those in the medical community who continue to go to work to care for the ill. Bless you all.

I am currently reading The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell which is due for publication April 14.

48063764._sy475_

And I am almost finished listening to Susan Mallery’s Meant to be Yours (Happily Inc. #5) This is delightfully different, humorous, and I am not finding the fact that I have read none of the earlier books in the series a handicap. And isn’t that cover just beautiful!

43180342

This week I am planning on reading Find Her Alive (Detective Josie Quinn #5) by Lisa Regan

50636220._sy475_

Detective Josie Quinn hasn’t heard from her sister since Trinity stormed out of the house in the heat of an argument three weeks ago. So, when human remains are found at the remote hunting cabin where Trinity was last seen, Josie can only assume the worst.

Gathering her team, Josie feels a surge of relief when the dental records match a different body – that of a missing single mother from a neighboring town. But now Josie’s is not the only broken family desperate for answers.

Dusting the crime scene for prints, a name smudged into the side of a nearby car is the first in a trail of clues Trinity left for Josie. In need of a big story to save her journalism career, it seems Josie’s sister was attempting to make contact with a dangerous serial killer known for creating sculptures with his victim’s bones. And Trinity won’t stop until she’s found him, even if it means becoming his next masterpiece…

Josie is certain there’s a critical clue in the ivory hair comb delivered to Trinity just days before she went missing. But as more bones surface, each set more likely to be Trinity’s than the last, time is running out to find her alive. Can Josie’s team trust her instincts in a case that is so deeply personal? Can she find her sister without putting other innocent lives in danger?

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler

48805505._sy475_

A year and a half ago, Gemma met the love of her life, Danny. Since then, their relationship has been like something out of a dream. But one Friday evening, Gemma returns home to find Danny is nowhere to be seen.

After two days with no word from her husband, Gemma turns to the police. She is horrified with what she discovers – a serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. When she sees the photos of the victims she is even more stunned…the victims all look just like Danny.

But, the detectives aren’t convinced by Gemma’s story. Why has no one apart from Gemma seen or heard from Danny in weeks? Why is there barely a trace of him in their flat? Is she telling them the truth, or are there more secrets and lies in this marriage than meets the eye?

And Never Forget by Martin Michaud

43297665._sy475_

When an eccentric homeless man jumps to his death in Old Montreal, the police discover two wallets in his possession: those of a retired psychiatrist who was recently murdered in a bizarre ritual and a powerful corporate lawyer who has vanished. As police detective Victor Lessard and his partner, Jacinthe Taillon, work to solve the separate mysteries, a dark history begins to emerge.

While the pressure builds and the bodies accumulate, dark and disturbing secrets come to light about a pivotal moment in Quebec’s history. But will Lessard and Taillon crack the case in time to prevent the killer from striking again?

I have received five new ARCs from NetGalley this week:

Little Whispers by K.L. Slater

51664923._sy475_

The Lost Orphan by Stacey Halls

45422548

All Our Summers by Holly Chamberlin

51818675._sx318_sy475_

The Coast-to-Coast Murders by James Patterson with J.D. Barker

50358117

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

cover187552-medium

I was a little more restrained than last week, but I still have seven requests on my pending shelf ☺

Stay safe. Stay home and read. And be kind, my friends.

😷❤😍📚

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd

48487370._sy475_

EXCERPT: She can’t be in here. She can’t. And yet when I angle my head, there she is.

(Her) face looks like a piece of steak left too long on a barb6,cracked and burnt and black. Her hair is gone, along with her ears and most of her nose. Clear fluid seeps from the fissures in her flesh.

Only her eyes have been spared. They stare with dreadful intensity, two baleful emeralds that have soaked up all the inferno’s heat.

‘Look at me, Elijah,’ she whispers.

I scrunch up my eyes, turn my face to the floor. ‘Look at me.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I read the first 70% of The Memory Wood in one sitting, unable to put it down. This is one heck of a debut novel! Twisty. Twisted. Incredibly creepy and compelling. Addictive. This is not your run of the mill abduction story.

The characters are scary. Very scary. Malevolent and scary. Mentally unstable and scary. Even the setting is scary – Memory Wood, where the trees are decorated in memory of people who have passed, not peacefully, and for whom you will never find graves or death certificates.

I have never read anything quite so nightmarish from a debut author, so well plotted and executed. Sam Lloyd has not put one word wrong. This author has a bright future ahead.

😱😱😱😱😱

#TheMemoryWood #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, making up stories and building secret hideaways in his local woods. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. The Memory Wood is his debut thriller.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for providing a digital ARC of The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3103317673?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Only Lies Remain by Val Collins

48734117._sy475_

EXCERPT: ‘…I’ll have to tell the boys tonight. ‘

‘Tell them what?’

‘Their father. He’s dead. ‘

‘Oh no! Oh, Maura, I’m so sorry. He’d come back to Ireland?’

Maura shook her head.

‘Jason will be devastated. I know he always says he hates him, but deep down I think he hoped his dad would get in touch someday. If only so he could scream abuse at him for abandoning you.’

‘But that’s the thing, Aiofe. Danny didn’t abandon us.’

‘He may have sent you money, Maura, but he still disappeared without a word.’

‘Not willingly. He was murdered.’

‘What! When?’

‘Fifteen years ago. Remember a few weeks back, a body was found in the grounds of that old house in the city centre? They just identified him as Danny.’

‘But – I don’t understand, Maura. How could Danny be dead for fifteen years? I thought he was sending you money every month.’

‘So did I.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Everyone thought Danny Walsh deserted his family when his sons were young. But when Danny’s body turns up fifteen years later and his wife, Maura, is implicated in his murder, accusations and old rumours surface.

Aoife rushes in to clear her mother-in-law’s name. But why is it that Maura’s story surrounding Danny’s disappearance doesn’t quite add up?

Aoife’s investigation uncovers old secrets, long-held jealousies, and lies upon lies. With every new revelation, Aoife realises she doesn’t know her family at all. Now her new boss is acting strangely, her best friend is more and more distant and her husband is no help at all.

With her support network crumbling and her family threatened, Aoife must race to keep one step ahead of danger before more innocent lives are lost. But how will she uncover the truth when only lies remain?

MY THOUGHTS: Only Lies Remain is a quick but intriguing read. The story is told over one consecutive timeline from the point of view of Aoife, Maura’s daughter-in-law.

But just because the story is told in a straightforward manner, doesn’t mean that the tale itself isn’t complex. Every time I thought I had it sorted, that I knew who had murdered Danny, who was threatening Aoife, and why, the author would throw a spanner in the works.

There is an interesting mix of characters…Maura, disowned by her own family for getting pregnant out of wedlock, and despised by her mother-in-law for bringing shame on the family; Aoife, separated from Maura’s son and trying to reconstruct her life but absolutely certain that Maura is innocent; Detective Maloney (or Moaney as Aoife’s small daughter Amy calls him) who seems intent on proving that Maura murdered her husband; Cian, wealthy and unpredictable; Orla, Aoife’s glamorous friend; and Father Jack,an old family friend of Maura’s who now runs a halfway house. Maura’s own mother-in-law is an absolute nightmare and she too is certain that Danny’s fate is Maura’s fault.

This is a well constructed story that certainly held my attention and kept me turning pages.

😊😊😊.5

#OnlyLiesRemain #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Val Collins is the author of the award-winning psychological thriller GIRL TARGETED and ONLY LIES REMAIN, both of which feature heroine Aoife Walsh.

She has lived in Ireland her entire life, and graduated from University College Dublin. She enjoys chocolate, going for long walks in the countryside, seeing as much of the world as possible, meeting friends, writing, and reading. In fact, she devours books at the rate of one per week, and her favourite authors range from Philippa Gregory and Sophie Kinsella to Lee Child and Linwood Barclay.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to VCB Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Only Lies Remain by Val Collins. 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3059946581?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins

45554476

EXCERPT: ….no one noticed a small girl – the youngest of the group – back away from the puppet theatre with its dead crow’s head and limp feathers, stumbling over her best shoes, finding her way to a storeroom that should have been locked.

No one saw her scramble between the old boxes and piles of dust sheets, tears wetting her face, or stopped her squeezing through racks of fraying costumes, spiderwebs catching in her hair, until she found herself crouching behind a deep, wooden chest, curiosity driving her to open it.

No one noticed her at all.

Until the screaming began.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: For Sale: Lovely family home, ready for your updates. Friendly neighborhood setting close to park; secluded.

If not for the bodies discovered in the woods behind their new home, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood couldn’t have afforded to buy number 25 The Avenue. It’s the fresh start they and their two children badly need. Soon, these terrible crimes will be solved, they tell themselves, and once Garrick has remodeled, he’s confident they’ll sell the house for a profit.

But the darkest secrets can reside on quiet, ordinary streets like this – behind the doors of
well-kept houses and neighbors’ friendly faces. Secrets that can destroy a family, or savagely end a life, and will surface just when they’re least expected . . .

MY THOUGHTS: Creepy. Menacing. Dark and disturbing….

I took today off work in part so that I could finish this book. I think I did the same for her other novels, Rattle, and The Collector. Also creepy, menacing, dark and disturbing.

There are several different timelines in this story, giving us insight into the background of the killer, but we don’t know who s/he is. The clues to the killer’s identity are skilful but ambiguous. There are several people who fit the bill. I must have discarded three or four suspects before I selected my final one, and still I got it wrong.

I found The Family Next Door hard to settle into to begin with. The chapters are very short with many different narrators, and jumped about a bit too much for my liking. But by the time I was half way through, I had become accustomed to the writing style and I couldn’t put it down. I found myself thinking, once or twice, that Ms Cummins could give Stephen King a run for his money characterwise.

Heart-pounding stuff.

This novel was previously published under the title ‘The Neighbour’.

❤😱❤😱❤

Some snippets I would like to share with you:

‘….our secrets are never as well hidden as we think they are. A freeze framed expression. A forgotten newspaper photograph. A bloody secret buried beneath layers and layers of paint.’

‘Smoke. Mirrors. Secrets. Lies. We believe what we want to, don’t we? Our version of the truth. But there are many layers, many truths. We sift and curate and cherry-pick the parts that best suit the face we present to the world. Nobody is a true version of themselves. Everyone pretends.’

‘…so much of the ugliness of her job was found not in city alleyways or late night street stabbings, but behind the mown lawns and washed cars and laundry on the line, the mundane and everyday. Inside lives quietly lived.’

‘Grief was a complex emotion. It was possible to laugh, to go to work, to eat, at the same time as waves crashed against you, threatening to dash you against the cliffs and overwhelm you.’

THE AUTHOR: Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins. 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3173371111