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

And So It Began (Delaney #1) by Owen Mullen

And So It Began by Owen Mullen
And So It Began (Delaney #1)
by Owen Mullen (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘It was good to feel apart from the herd. Different from the masses. What could be worse than being just another walking number on the earth? Thank God that wasn’t the way of it. Society saw it otherwise of course, that was to be expected. Closed minds.

A woman passed with a child dressed in top hat and tails. Fred Astaire? The kid was bawling something impossible to make out, its small face distorted in an anguish that would cease the second the mother relented and let it have its way. When children acted like that they were almost as unattractive as the adults who spawned them. Well, the mother could relax, her whining offspring was safe; repulsively secure.

No matter, there were plenty more.

Lots and lots and lots more.

Where to begin? The biggest question. The answer would dictate how the rest of the day would go. The trick was not to wait too long. That was dangerous. Anxiety about missing out produced poor-quality decisions. Risk was all very well so long as the thrill allowed for escape.

It was all about timing.

A lost looking girl came close. Pretty, but pretty wasn’t enough. There were many here who outscored her on that, boys as well as girls, it didn’t matter.

Cute. Cute. Cute. Nothing but cute.

‘Darlene! Darlene, honey!’

A woman bent to scoop up her daughter.

Mother and child reunion.

Time to make a move. But what was the rush? There was a whole day ahead.

All day. All day, every day if need be.

THE BLURB: PI Vincent Delaney thought he was done with the NOPD until a string of seemingly unrelated child murders brings an unexpected invitation from the FBI, and his old boss.

A serial killer is roaming the South, preying on children appearing in pageants, and the police want him to go undercover using his own family. Accepting would mean lying to people he loves and maybe even putting them in harm’s way.

In Baton Rouge, a violent criminal has escaped and is seeking revenge for the brother Delaney shot dead. But Delaney isn’t going anywhere. He has unfinished business.

Meanwhile, north of the French Quarter, shopkeepers are being extorted and ask for Delaney’s help. Extortion is a matter for the police.

But what do you do when those responsible are the police?

Delaney has his work cut out and he’ll be lucky if he makes it out of this alive…

MY THOUGHTS: Owen Mullen knows how to write.

I rank him right up there with Mr King. Different genres, but there is something in the writing style that just sucks me right in. Cocoons me from the outside world. Has me snarling at anyone that would dare try interrupt my reading.

I fell in love with Charlie Cameron, Mullen’s Glaswegian PI in his first series. Now we have Delaney in New Orleans. And I’m in love all over again.

Delaney has a past. But that doesn’t guarantee he has a future. Delaney is dedicated. When he is on a case, all else is pushed to the side. I would hate to be in a relationship with this man. He is unfailingly loyal. He is stubborn. And tenacious. He reminds me of my very favorite chocolates, strong and hard on the outside, liquid inside. This is a man who will go to any lengths to protect those he loves.

And he is a man with old scores to settle.

And So It Began by Owen Mullen is a breathtaking read. There is nothing ordinary or mediocre about this book. It grips from page one and never lets go.

Crime fiction has a new master.

Thank you to author Owen Mullen for providing an ARC of And So It Began. 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/2143545068?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Coven by Graham Masterton

The Coven by Graham Masterton
The Coven
by Graham Masterton

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Some of these girls are veritable savages when we first take them in. They are used to drinking gin and smoking and their everyday language would make Satan shrivel. They have been used by men ever since they can remember, sometimes by their own fathers and brothers, so they think nothing of virtue or virginity. In some cases, their own mothers have sold their maidenheads to the highest bidder to make ends meet…..A fair number learn to be thankful, I’ll grant you. But some regard us as pious busy bodies and cannot wait to return to their life on the streets. They relish the flattery they are given by licentious men, and the money. They enjoy the orgies, and the drink. They have never been used to discipline or decorum, and they cannot understand that they are not only destroying themselves here on earth but abnegating any chance they might have had of going to heaven. ‘

THE BLURB: London, 1758. Beatrice Scarlet has returned to London and found work at St. Mary Magdalene’s Refuse for fallen women. Beatrice enjoys the work and her apothecary skills are much needed. The home cooperates with a network of wealthy factory owners across London, finding their charges steady work and hopes of rehabilitation. But when 12 girls sent to a factory in Clerkenwell disappear, Beatrice is uneasy. Their would-be benefactor claims they were witches, sacrificed by Satan for his demonic misdeeds. But Beatrice is sure something much darker than witchcraft is at play.

MY THOUGHTS: I have to admit that I almost dnf’d this a couple of times in the earlier part of the book. I really only kept reading because I wanted to know if Noah was ever going to be found. I got the answer to my question, but if you want to know you can read the book for yourself.

The Coven is definitely not my favourite Masterton book. It is the second book in a series of, so far, two. I had not read the first, but The Coven can stand on its own. There is enough background information given so that the relevant events of the first in the series are explained.

My first quibble is with the title, The Coven. If you read this book you will see the relevance, which I still feel is rather tenuous anyway. The Coven gives the impression that the book is about witchcraft. It isn’t. Not even remotely. Which is not why I chose to read it anyway, but people with reading interests which lie in that field would be disappointed. This book could definitely have been better titled.

Masterton’s writing does get, somewhat uncharacteristically, laborious in parts. Although just occasionally his quirky sense of humour shines through, and again,occasionally, there are passages of his trademark beautiful prose.

Overall, I am glad I read The Coven. I liked it more than not, but only just. But probably not enough to bother with reading any more of the series, although Beatrice’s future does look rather more interesting. I will leave the jury out on that decision.

WARNING: The Coven contains graphic violence and sexual content.

Thank you to Head of Zeus via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Coven 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/2143005304?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

Friday Favorites

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

This week, to mark the release of Mr King’s latest book, Sleeping Beauties, written in collaboration with Owen King, I thought I would take a look back at one of my favorite Stephen King novels,  Doctor Sleep.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)
by Stephen King (Goodreads Author)

EXCERPT: ‘He was sitting at the mouth of the stormdrain, looking down a scrubgrass slope at the Cape Fear River and the bridge that spanned it. The night was clear and the moon was full. There was no wind, no snow. And the Overlook was gone. Even if it hadn’t burned to the ground during the tenure of the peanut farmer President, it would have been over a thousand miles from here. So why was he so frightened?
Because he wasn’t alone, that was why. There was someone behind him.
“Want some advice, Honeybear?”
The voice was liquid, wavering. Dan felt a chill go rushing down his back. His legs were colder still, prickled out in starpoints of gooseflesh. He could see those white bumps because he was wearing shorts. His brain might be that of a grown man, but it was currently sitting on top of a five-year-olds body.
Honeybear. Who—–?
But he knew. He had told Deenie his name, but she didn’t use it, just called him Honeybear instead.
You don’t remember that, and besides, this is just a dream.
Of course it was. He was in Frazier, New Hampshire, sleepingwhile a spring snowstorm howled outside Mrs Robertson’s rooming house. Still, it seemed wiser not to turn around. And safer — that, too.
“No advice,” he said, looking out at the river and the full moon. “I’ve been advised by experts. The bars and barbershops are full of them.”
“Stay away from the woman in the hat, Honeybear.”
What hat? he could have asked, but really, why bother? He knew what she was talking about, because he had seen it blowing down the sidewalk. Black as sin on the outside, lined with white silk on the inside.
“She’s the Queen Bitch of Castle Hell. If you mess with her, she’ll eat you alive.”

THE BLURB: Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

MY THOUGHTS:

A masterpiece as usual Mr King.
I am always so sad when your books end – I want more!
What is going to happen to Abra?
And Dan?
What happened to the True Knot members who left?
Have they reconvened somewhere else?
So many questions……..
One very satisifed reader.

I hope that when it comes my time to die,  Doctor Sleep is there.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page. For an explanation of my ratings please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or my ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

 

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti
The Blackbird Season
by Kate Moretti (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘He felt sick. No matter what happened now, everything had just gotten worse. All the pieces he’d been clinging to had flown apart, scattering what was left of his life in a million directions. He was in trouble, he’d been in trouble, but now he was more than in trouble, he was as dead as a person could be while still being alive. In one heartbeat, he envisioned Alecia and Gabe huddled together on the couch, himself in prison, a 20/20 special. ….He had no way of knowing that this moment would become the linchpin, the moment that all the moments after would hinge upon. The papers would call him a murderer; the police would come to him; his ex-friends, his gym buddies, the guys who knew him for God’s sake; and say, Nate was the last one to see her alive, right? The last one is always the guilty one.’

THE BLURB: “Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

MY COMMENTS: I struggled somewhat to become involved with this book. I didn’t particularly relate to any of the characters, which is not necessarily a problem. But I was just over 40% into the story before I began to feel any kind of real interest, a spark, and that didn’t last long.

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti is told from four points of view, that of Alecia, Nate, Lucia and Bridget, which also  wasn’t a problem.

The characters are well portrayed and rounded out. Nate’s life revolves around his baseball team and his students, with his wife Alecia and autistic son Gabe trailing somewhere behind in his priorities. He is not a bad man. He is very involved in the lives of his students, who both like and trust him. As do their parents. If he has a fault, it is that he is naive and can be arrogant.

Alecia’s life is consumed by Gabe, their five year old autistic son. She is totally focused on finding a ‘cure’ for him, so that he can live a ‘normal’ life; so that she can live a normal life, so that she can be a soccer mum and one of the mums in the cliques at the school gate. She resents that she is stuck in the house every day while Nate is out there ‘cavorting with his students’ and monitoring their every move on social media. She resents that he seems to care more for them, than for his own wife and child.

There is a recipe for trouble to start with. Add in Bridget Harris, Nate’s coworker and colleague, who is still depressed following the death of her husband, struggling with her job and who has always had a bit of a thing for Nate. And Lucia, trashy, blonde, abused and considered wierd Lucia who is randomly accepted and discarded by her classmates on a whim, and who has only ever had one true friend, Taylor. But even that is changing.

I so wanted to be captivated by the ‘haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns’, but I wasn’t. I regret to say that I didn’t find it any of these things. Instead of suspense filled, I got angst filled. Disappointing? Yes, but if the book had been depicted more accurately, my expectations may not have been so high.

Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Therefore if you enjoyed the excerpt above, please go ahead and read this book. For an explanation of my ratings, please visit my profile page on Goodreads.com or my ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com.

This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com.

Depth of Lies by E. C. Diskin

Depth of Lies by E.C. Diskin
Depth of Lies
by E.C. Diskin (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘It was the perfect opportunity to mention Shea’s call, but Kat’s guilt was like a gag. She hadn’t even told Mack about it. Every time Kat thought about how she had ignored that call, tossing the phone aside as if Shea were a nuisance, her heart ached. She had died the next day. Alone in a bathtub. Far from home. Leaving a husband and kids and an entire community baffled and heartbroken. She’d obviously needed her friend. She’d reached out to Kat and Kat had tossed her aside. ‘

THE BLURB: “A brilliant examination of the shadows lurking in every relationship and what happens when you step into the darkness.” —Mindy Mejia, author of Everything You Want Me to Be

When Shea Walker, a sunny, easygoing mom, is found dead in a bathtub with a stomach full of booze and pills, the shocking discovery shatters the complacency of her comfortable suburban community.

Kat Burrows, Shea’s longtime friend and former neighbor, is hit hardest. How could a woman she thought she knew so well come to such a sordid end? What could lead happy, well-adjusted, responsible Shea to accidentally overdose on alcohol and narcotics? Or, worse, drive her to suicide?

Compelled to uncover the truth of Shea’s final months, Kat delves beneath the orderly surface of her familiar world to discover a web of thwarted desire, shameful secrets, and shocking betrayal that suggests a scarier explanation for what happened to Shea. As her carefully constructed reality begins to crumble, Kat must question every reassuring assumption her life is built upon to solve the mystery…and summon the courage and resourcefulness to survive it.

MY COMMENTS: Secrets, lies and friends. An intoxicating combination in the hands of author E. C. Diskin. We all lie, to our friends, for our friends and sometimes about our friends. We all have secrets, with our friends, and from our friends. But ultimately the secrets Shae kept and the lies she told are what killed her.

Depth of Lies by E. C. Diskin is told in two timelines, ‘now’, when Shae is dead and Kat is trying to find out why, and ‘then’, as we follow Shae to her death. Did she kill herself, was it a terrible accident, or was she killed?

Diskin ratchets up the tension and suspense as the book progresses. We see behind the facades that each of the women present to each other, to their husbands, to the world at large. They might think that they know everything about each other, but they only know what their friends want them to know.

Depth of Lies is compelling reading. It is a deftly written, unpredictable journey through the emotional entanglements of a group of women in their early 50s, women who have raised their families together, who have been there for each other in sickness and in health. Will Shae’s death bind them even closer together, or will it be the catalyst that rips them apart?

A very enthusiastic 4☆.

Thank you to Thomas and Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Depth of Lies by E. C. Diskin 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2130109814

Friday Favorites

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I have long been a fan of Susan Hill, especially her Simon Serrailler series, which she began in 2004. Working in and around Lafferton, a fictional cathedral town somewhere in the south of England, Serrailler is the Chief Inspector for the region. He is portrayed as an aloof loner who has not much luck with his love life, and is closest to his sister Cat, a physician who lives with her husband and children in a sprawling farmhouse, which Simon uses as a bolthole when he feels the need to retreat. Even with his family, his relationships tend to be rather one sided. His parents, also physicians, live locally and although he has a reasonably good relationship with his mother, he believes his father has never quite forgiven him for not following in the family footsteps  career wise.

Hill’s writing is both intelligent and intricate. I hope she never stops writing this series.

It might seemrather odd to start by reviewing the seventh book in the series, but that is the one freshest in my mind. …

A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
A Question of Identity
by Susan Hill

Reviewed by
EXCERPT: ‘It seems like your brain’s bursting. It doesn’t happen all at once, it builds up. And then your brain’s going to burst until you do something about it. You do it. You have to do it. Then it’s all right again for a bit, ’til it starts again.’
THE BLURB: A particularly unpleasant murder, that of a very old woman in a housing project, rocks the town of Lafferton. The murderer has left a distinctive “sign” on the body and at the scene of crime. A couple of weeks later, a similar murder occurs, and a month or so later, so does another.

Initial investigations discover that the mysterious “sign” left on the body was the calling card of a suspect who was charged with several murders in the northwest of the country, tried but acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. All indications suggest that this person has simply vanished. Or is he right under their noses? Simon Serrailler is obliged to make delve deeper and scratch out answers, in this addictive mystery of surpassing darkness by the bestselling Susan Hill.


MY COMMENTS: As always, Susan Hill held me captive throughout this, the seventh Simon Serrailler book.

No one in their right mind would break into the bedrooms of frail old ladies who are alone at night and terrify them, drag them out of their beds, shove them down in a chair in front of a mirror so they could see themselves, see the killer standing behind them, watch him get out the electrical flex, watch him uncoil it and raise his hands to loop it around their necks, watch while he starts to tighten it, watch themselves fight for breath, turn blue, start to choke. …

Yet this is precisely what is happening. But it’s not the first time. It had happened ten years earlier. A man was arrested and charged and subsequently acquitted. So where is he now? They can find no trace of him, no record that he ever existed. So just how do you find a killer who doesn’t exist?

Another edge of your seat crime thriller/ police procedural from Susan Hill.

 

 

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