Chord of Evil by Sarah Rayne

Chord of Evil by Sarah Rayne
Chord of Evil (Phineas Fox #2) 
by Sarah Rayne

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: On the first night she knelt on the window-seat of her room, staring across the darkening landscape towards a huddle of buildings. At first she was not sure what they were. They were too large to be farm buildings, and too neatly laid out to be a village. She thought the word for it might be regimented. Might it be a factory? But as she went on looking, her eyes began to adjust to the darkness – or perhaps the moon simply came out from behind clouds – and she could make out tall gates. She was seeing more details as well now, and sick horror was starting to sweep over her. Because on the eastern side of the buildings, almost exactly as she had seen them in her nightmares, were jutting brick chimneys.

It’s a concentration camp, thought Christa. It’s one of the places where people are shut away and where the skewer-eyed men and the humpback surgeons pull out their bones. Where the brick chimneys sometimes glow with heat, because people – dozens of people – are being burned. For the first time since leaving Lindschoen, she was grateful that Stefan was not with them.

THE BLURB: A mysterious 1940s’ portrait leads researcher Phineas Fox to uncover a devastating wartime secret in this chilling novel of suspense.

Phineas Fox finds it impossible to refuse when his sport-loving neighbour Toby begs for his help in finding out what’s happened to his cousin Arabella, who seems to have disappeared without trace. The only clue to her whereabouts is an obscure 1940s’ portrait left in her flat, a gift from her godfather, Stefan. The painting depicts the mysterious Christa Klein, Stefan’s sister – and an alleged murderess.

Was Christa Klein really guilty of a monstrous crime? What exactly happened within brooding Wewelsburg Castle back in 1941? And what does it have to do with Arabella’s disappearance? As Phin delves further, he uncovers evidence of a lost piece of music and a devastating wartime secret: an atrocity whose repercussions reach to the present day.

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed Chord of Evil by Sarah Rayne, although I wouldn’t call it chilling. It is really almost a cosy mystery. Although some of the subject matter, the concentration camps, the Nazi’s treatment of the Jews, could be horrific, it is merely glossed over in favor of presenting a good mystery.

And it is a good mystery, one that had me turning the pages rapidly to find out who was going to survive and just whether or not Christa was a murderess.

Don’t expect any great historical depth, or in fact much depth at all. If you want a quick, enjoyable mystery to read, Chord of Evil fits the bill admirably. If I get the chance to read more in this series, I will definitely be taking it.

Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Chord of Evil by Sarah Rayne for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2202189458?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Mother by S. E. Lynes

Mother by S.E. Lynes
Mother 
by S.E. Lynes (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: He worried these things would make him sound wierd, and with that monster on the loose – and in Yorkshire – she might think it was him. The idea filled him with a cold, sick feeling. The Ripper’s victims: bodies mutilated and abandoned in wasteland, behind cemeteries or left to rot in parks. When he thought of these women, these murders, these bodies, something dark niggled away at any peace, however short lived, he might feel. He thought he knew what they meant by ‘bodies’, the fathomless dark the term concealed. All around him,he could sense the terror that still permeated the female student population, judging by the frenzied conversations he had overheard in the shuffle of the lecture halls, the squash of the corridors and the clatter of the university canteen. Normal women had been murdered. Normal women, just like them.

And if the victims included normal women, he wondered, was the Ripper a normal man, a man as normal or as troubled as any other man – a man like him.

THE BLURB: Christopher would never hurt anyone. Not intentionally. Even after everything that’s happened I still believe that…

Christopher Harris is a lonely boy. A boy who has never fitted into his family. Who has always felt something was missing from his life. Until one day, when he discovers a suitcase in his family’s attic. And a secret about his mother that changes everything. What price would you pay for the perfect family?

Christopher finally has a chance at happiness. A happiness that he will do anything to protect…

MY THOUGHTS: Mother by S. E. Lynes is told from three points of view. That of Christopher, Ben, and someone not identified until almost the end of the book. Which was kind of frustrating/annoying. The change in narrator was never announced – headings on the chapters would have been useful. Several times I had to go back to the beginning of a chapter and reread it once I realised that the narrator was different.

While the idea behind the plot is good, the full potential was not tapped. The first half of the book dragged, the second half was more interesting, but at no time did I feel a real connection to any of the characters and, in the end, I didn’t really care about the outcome. It all felt rather contrived and somewhat overdone. Like a good steak that has been ruined by overcooking.

The most interesting part of the book for me, was the references to the Yorkshire Ripper. It was this that provided the atmosphere, a little suspense.

A grudging ☆☆☆ for a book that I suspect could have been a lot better. But I adore the cover!

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Mother by S. E. Lynes for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. A lot of people will like this book more than I did, therefore if you enjoyed the excerpt and like the sound of the blurb, please take a chance and read Mother. I will enjoy reading your reviews.

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 my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2178621932?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray
Her Best Friend 
by Sarah Wray

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: As I step back inside, I see it on the mat and acidic saliva forces itself up my throat.

Another brown envelope.

This time I don’t wait. I rip the envelope straight open and shove my hand inside. It’s cold, metal; a thin chain. When I pull it out and hold it up, the room feels as if it spins like a fun house. It’s the gold chain with the heart shaped locket, the one they said Victoria was missing that night, that never turned up.

My fingers are shaking but I am eventually able to turn it over – the ‘VP’ engraving is there like I knew it would be.

Before I wasn’t sure. Now I am certain. Someone knows what happened to Victoria that night and this is a message.

THE BLURB: Two girls. A murder. And a secret that binds them forever.
As a teenager, Sylvie Armstrong’s life was shattered when her best friend, Victoria Bland, was murdered. The killer has never been caught – and Sylvie has never spoken about what happened that day.

Now, two decades have gone by and after the death of her mother, Sylvie is forced to return to her home town, along with her newborn daughter – only to be confronted by the secrets that she has been running from for twenty years.

But then Sylvie receives the locket Victoria was wearing on the night she died – and it becomes clear that somebody knows what really happened to Victoria.

As Sylvie struggles to discover the truth behind the lies, she finds herself in increasing danger from those who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets. Someone who threatens not only Sylvie, but everything she loves…

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.’

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray is deceptive. For around the first third of the book, I thought it was okay, but nothing really special. But what it actually is, is a cleverly crafted, slow burning read. Like one of those fireworks that appears to be fizzing, gives a couple of experimental spurts, then bursts into a beautiful technicolor display of pyrotechnics. The second third of the book had me reading avidly, and the final third? You couldn’t have paid me to put the book down.

You may not like the characters, but they are well drawn and realistic. The story takes place over two timelines, now and twenty years previous. Sylvie, the pivotal character, is no more self assured now than she was then. She revolved in Victoria’s orbit, followed her lead, was her acolyte.

Relationships between the characters are more complex than they first appear. I had several suspects in mind for the death of Victoria. I changed my mind several times throughout the read. I settled on two, but couldn’t make my mind up which of them it was, and was wrong. Completely and utterly way off base. Which pleases me greatly.

4.5 sparkling stars for Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray which came to me in the form of a digital ARC from Bookouture via Netgalley, for which I thank them. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2185446623

Dying Breath (Detective Lucy Harwin #2) by Helen Phifer

Dying Breath by Helen Phifer
Dying Breath (Detective Lucy Harwin, #2) 
by Helen Phifer (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Right there and then he’d known that he was different to most kids, probably most people. They were all scared of death and dead people, whereas he was fascinated with them and couldn’t get enough. He needed to see a real dead person – he wanted to see if they looked as beautiful as his girls had. He wanted to touch one, stroke their skin, run his fingers through their hair. He wouldn’t think twice about kissing one; he wanted to know what it would feel like to put his lips on theirs. He thought about Carrie. He would have kissed her.

THE BLURB: Take a breath. Pray it’s not your last.
Just a few months after a terrifying case that nearly took her life, Detective Lucy Harwin is back with her squad in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay – and this time, she’s faced with a case more horrifying than anything she’s encountered.

Along with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy is investigating what appears to be a vicious but isolated murder; a woman found bludgeoned to death on a lonely patch of wasteland.

But when a second victim is discovered strangled in an alleyway, then a young family shot in their own home, Lucy and the team must face the unthinkable reality – a killer is walking the streets of their town.

While Lucy and the team try to find the link between these seemingly unconnected murders, they uncover a disturbing truth – these murders are replicating those carried out by infamous serial killers.

Lucy must get to the killer before he strikes again. But he’s got his sights on her, and is getting ever closer… Can she save herself, before she becomes the final piece in his twisted game?

MY THOUGHTS: There are some absolutely chilling moments in Dying Breath by Helen Phifer. “He turned to take one last look at the man who had changed from a monster into his hero, and he grinned at him.” is one of them. It may not seem like much on its own, but when read in context you will feel chills up your spine.

Dark and twisty, Dying Breath had me wondering just who this child had grown up to become, because we never knew his name. . .but we knew what he had become and his life ambition. There are several people he could be, all of whom have some type of fixation on Lucy.

Dying Breath is deliciously suspenseful. Highly recommended ☆☆☆☆

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Dying Breath by Helen Phifer for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2199969913

Friday Favorite – Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen (Charlie Cameron #2)

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.

We first met Charlie Cameron in  Games People Play, which featured in an earlier Friday Favorite blog. Old Friends and New Enemies, the second book in the Charlie Cameron series, is the third book by Scottish novelist Owen Mullen that I have featured on my blog, an honor so far only awarded to one other author, Susan Hill.

But I think that Owen Mullen has a spectacular writing style, and is a name you are going to be hearing a lot of in the future, right up there with Stuart MacBride and Val McDermid. Of the other two books by Mullen that I have featured, Games People Play was long-listed for Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year 2017, and And So It Began, book #1 in the Delaney series, was awarded ⭐Star Pick from the Sunday Times Crime Club.

So, you see, you’re onto a good thing here . . .

Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen
Old Friends and New Enemies (Charlie Cameron, #2) 
by Owen Mullen (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: They dragged him from the boot of the car, down an embankment to the shore; gagged, bound and blindfolded. His feet scraped grass and stones, a shoe came off and was left behind. At the jetty, Kevin Rafferty waited in the boat. In a long career of violent persuasion, this guy had been the hardest to break. But it wouldn’t last, when the blindfold came off he’d realise the loch was to be his grave.

THE BLURB: The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron was looking for.
But it wasn’t a stranger.
Suddenly, a routine missing persons investigation becomes a fight for survival. As Charlie is dragged deeper into Glasgow’s underbelly he goes up against notorious gangster Jimmy Rafferty and discovers what fear really is.
Rafferty is so ruthless even his own sons are terrified of him.
Now he wants Charlie to find something. And Jimmy Rafferty always gets what he wants.
There is only one problem… Charlie doesn’t know where it is.

MY THOUGHTS: Old Friends and New Enemies: A tense and gripping Scottish Crime Thriller – all true, but neither tense nor gripping does this book justice.

This book follows on from Games People Play and again we meet with Charlie Cameron, who specialises in locating missing people; Jackie, the Manager of New York Blues, Charlies ‘local’ for want of a better word; Pat Logue, Charlie’s sidekick and husband of the long-suffering Gail; and DS Andrew Geddes, sometimes friend of Charlie who has been known to push the limits on what he unofficially reveals to Charlie.

Charlie is looking for a man who went missing after his teenage son committed suicide. There is an unidentified body in the morgue who just may be the man Charlie is trying to locate. Instead he finds an old friend, Ian Selkirk, whom he hasn’t seen for years. Ian has been tortured. Whoever killed him wanted something. And now they think Charlie may have it……

I have never before read an author who can pack so much meaning and imagery into so few words. His writing style could almost be called terse. It is also refreshing, dynamic and (as I have said previously) totally unputdownable.

Gripping? Yes. Thrilling? Yes. But both these words pale in the face of Owen Mullen’s talent. Here is a new writer with a brilliant future.

Thank you to author Owen Mullen for a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1575855828

 

 

Talkabout Thursday

I haven’t done this for a couple of weeks, so it’s about time to take a look at what I am currently reading, what is in my TBR pile for the coming week, and ARCs I have been approved for from NetGalley.

So, currently I am reading

Mother

Christopher would never hurt anyone. Not intentionally. Even after everything that’s happened I still believe that…

Christopher Harris is a lonely boy. A boy who has never fitted into his family. Who has always felt something was missing from his life. Until one day, when he discovers a suitcase in his family’s attic. And a secret about his mother that changes everything. What price would you pay for the perfect family?

Christopher finally has a chance at happiness. A happiness that he will do anything to protect…

At 60% I still haven’t got my head around this one and honestly don’t quite know what to make of it . . .

And I am listening to

No Rest for the Dead

on my i-pod.

More than twenty New York Times bestselling authors team up to create a first-rate serial novel — a collaboration that combines the skills of America’s greatest storytellers to produce a gripping, spellbinding mystery.

Alexander McCall Smith. Sandra Brown. Faye Kellerman. J.A. Jance. Jeffery Deaver. Kathy Reichs. Lisa Scottoline. Jeff Lindsay. These are only a handful of the names that make up the all-star lineup of authors behind No Rest for the Dead, a tale of vengeance, greed, and love that flows seamlessly, in the words of David Baldacci, “as it passes from one creator’s mind to the next.”

When Christopher Thomas, a ruthless curator at San Francisco’s McFall Art Museum, is murdered and his decaying body is found in an iron maiden in a Berlin museum, his wife, Rosemary, is the primary suspect, and she is tried, convicted and executed. Ten years later, Jon Nunn, the detective who cracked the case, is convinced that the wrong person was put to death. In the years since the case was closed, he’s discovered a web of deceit and betrayal surrounding the Thomases that could implicate any number of people in the crime. With the help of the dead woman’s friend, he plans to gather everyone who was there the night Christopher died and finally uncover the truth, suspect by suspect. Solving this case may be Nunn’s last chance for redemption … but the shadowy forces behind Christopher’s death will stop at nothing to silence the past forever.

In this innovative storytelling approach, each of these twenty-five bestselling writers brings their distinctive voice to a chapter of the narrative, building the tension to a shocking, explosive finale. No Rest for the Dead is a thrilling, page-turning accomplishment that only America’s very best authors could achieve.

From the Introduction of No Rest for the Dead:

There is always that case, the one that keeps me awake at night, the one that got away. It’ll always be there, gnawing at the edges of my mind. It doesn’t matter that ten years have passed, it doesn’t matter that the case is officially closed. An innocent woman was executed, I was the one who helped make it happen, and on the sad night when the needle was inserted into her arm, injecting her with death, part of my life ended too.
It never felt right, never made sense. Sure, there was motive and opportunity, there was the physical evidence. But if you met her, if you knew her the way I got to know her . . . It wasn’t until later, after I’d taken a step back from the case, that I realized it had angles I hadn’t seen, layers I hadn’t uncovered, back when it mattered, back when I could have saved her….

With contributions from: 

Diary of Jon Nunn / Andrew F. Gulli —
Prologue / Jonathan Santlofer —
Chapter 1 / Jeff Lindsay —
Chapter 2 / Alexander McCall Smith —
Chapter 3 / Raymond Khoury —
Chapter 4 / Jonathan Santlofer —
Chapter 5 / Sandra Brown —
Chapter 6 / Faye Kellerman —
Diary of Jon Nunn / Andrew F. Gulli —
Chapter 7 / Jonathan Santlofer —
Police reports / Kathy Reichs —
Chapter 8 / John Lescroart —
Chapter 9 / T. Jefferson Parker —
Chapter 10 / Lori Armstrong —
Chapter 11 / Matthew Pearl —
Chapter 12 / Michael Palmer —
Diary of Jon Nunn / J.A. Jance —
Chapter 13 / Gayle Lynds —
Chapter 14 / Andrew F. Gulli —
Chapter 15 / J.A. Jance —
Diary of Jon Nunn / Andrew F. Gulli —
Chapter 16 / R.L. Stine —
Chapter 17 / Marcia Talley —
Chapter 18 / Thomas Cook —
Chapter 19 / Diana Gabaldon —
Chapter 20 / Thomas Cook —
Chapter 21 / Diana Gabaldon —
Chapter 22 / Peter James —
Chapter 23 / Tess Gerritsen —
Chapter 24 / Lisa Scottoline —
Chapter 25 / Phillip Margolin —
Chapter 26 / Jeffery Deaver —
Chapter 27 / Kathy Reichs —
Chapter 28 / R.L. Stine —
Chapter 29 / Jeffery Deaver —
Chapter 30 / Jeff Abbott —
Chapter 31 / Marcus Sakey —
Diary of Jon Nunn, last entry / Jonathan Santlofer and Andrew F. Gulli / Additional police reports / Kathy Reichs.(less)

I have to admit to being a little wary at first, not really seeing how this could possibly work, but work it does. And as it was written in aid of charity, that gives me yet another reason to support it.
And in my TBR pile for the coming week are the following  –
Dying Breath (Detective Lucy Harwin, #2)
Take a breath. Pray it’s not your last.
Just a few months after a terrifying case that nearly took her life, Detective Lucy Harwin is back with her squad in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay – and this time, she’s faced with a case more horrifying than anything she’s encountered.

Along with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy is investigating what appears to be a vicious but isolated murder; a woman found bludgeoned to death on a lonely patch of wasteland.

But when a second victim is discovered strangled in an alleyway, then a young family shot in their own home, Lucy and the team must face the unthinkable reality – a killer is walking the streets of their town.

While Lucy and the team try to find the link between these seemingly unconnected murders, they uncover a disturbing truth – these murders are replicating those carried out by infamous serial killers.

Lucy must get to the killer before he strikes again. But he’s got his sights on her, and is getting ever closer… Can she save herself, before she becomes the final piece in his twisted game?

A dark, gripping and sinister crime novel that will hook fans of Patricia Gibney, Joy Ellis and Angela Marsons from the very first page.

MURDER IN THE FAMILY (DI Hillary Greene #5)
Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

Then meet DI HILLARY GREENE, a policewoman struggling to save her career and catch criminals.

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

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

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

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

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

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to finish.

Her Best Friend
Two girls. A murder. And a secret that binds them forever.
As a teenager, Sylvie Armstrong’s life was shattered when her best friend, Victoria Bland, was murdered. The killer has never been caught – and Sylvie has never spoken about what happened that day.

Now, two decades have gone by and after the death of her mother, Sylvie is forced to return to her home town, along with her newborn daughter – only to be confronted by the secrets that she has been running from for twenty years.

But then Sylvie receives the locket Victoria was wearing on the night she died – and it becomes clear that somebody knows what really happened to Victoria.

As Sylvie struggles to discover the truth behind the lies, she finds herself in increasing danger from those who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets. Someone who threatens not only Sylvie, but everything she loves…

ARCstories that I have been approved for. . .
Bitter
The Confession
Into the Thinnest of Air (Ishmael Jones, #5)
The Wanted (Elvis Cole, #17; Joe Pike, #6)
The Missing Child (Detective Rachel Prince #1)
I hope you also have a great week of reading lined up.
Happy reading my friends!

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

(Kate Burkholder series #3)

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo
Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3) 
by Linda Castillo (Goodreads Author)

30817744

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Pickles was midway to his cruiser when his radio cracked to life. “What now?” he growled.

“Pickles, I got a ten-fifty-two out at the Slabaugh farm. David Troyer just called, said they got three people down in the manure pit.”

“Shit.” Pickles fumbled for his lapel mike. Back in the day, a cop had a radio in his cruiser. If he chose to ignore a call, he could. Now, you carried the damn thing around like some weird body part, one end clipped to your belt, one end stuck in your ear, and a microphone pinned to your chest like some damn medal. “You call EMS?”

“They’re en route. Thought you might want to get out there.”

Pickles heaved another sigh; he’d just about had all the mud and shit he could handle for one night. But he knew a manure pit could be a dangerous place. There were all sorts of nasty gases that would do you in faster than a gas chamber if you weren’t careful. “What’s the twenty on that?”

“Three six four Township Road Two.”

Pickles knew the area. It was a dirt track south of town that would be hell to traverse without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Figuring this was the end of his Lucchese boots, he cursed. “You might want to call the chief.”

“Roger that.”

“I’m ten-seventy-six,” he said, and forced his old legs into a run.

THE BLURB: Police Chief Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a horrific tragedy on a peaceful Amish farm.
The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.

MY THOUGHTS: I knew Castillo was good, but this is the best of the Kate Burkholder series yet. Breaking Silence is a real page turner.

There are multiple themes running through Breaking Silence, hate crimes, incest, psycological manipulation, bullying. There are no graphic descriptions, nothing to cause alarm for those for whom one or more of these subjects may be triggers. Everything is dealt with with a great deal of sensitivity. And yet Castillo still manages to deliver a riveting read.

I don’t even begin to understand those who commit hate crimes. What do the perpetrators hope to achieve? It seems to me to be a pointless waste of time on all fronts. I was no closer to understanding it at the end of the book.

The end of the book . . . Just when I thought everything was solved and sorted, Castillo turned in upside down and inside out, and we were off in pursuit of the criminal again. There are lots of twists and turns and plenty of action in this read. Highly recommended. ☆☆☆☆☆

I listened to the audio book version of Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, published by MacMillan Audio via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1238890701

Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson

I don’t normally post reviews for books well before publication date, but I am going to make an exception for Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson, which is due to be published by Sourcebooks  February 2018. That gives you plenty of time to pre-order your copy because this is a book that is not going to sit around on the shelves,  and the way time flies, February will be here before we know where we are.

But don’t worry, I will refresh my review and repost it around the time of publication.

Mister Tender's Girl by Carter   Wilson
Mister Tender’s Girl 
by Carter Wilson (Goodreads Author)

30817744

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: …..I catch his stare, and his gaze is locked on me. There’s an endless longing to it, as if I’m the ghost of someone he once loved. . .

Sometimes I meet a person and my paranoia insists they already know me. Know everything. Where I live. How many scars I have. My real last name. It’s a game my mind likes to play when it thinks I’m getting complacent, or cured.

THE BLURB: How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender?

At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn’t exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice’s own father in a series of popular graphic novels.

Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind. He will come with a smile that seduces, and a dark whisper in her ear…

Inspired by a true story, this gripping thriller plunges you into a world of haunting memories and unseen threats, leaving you guessing until the harrowing end.

MY THOUGHTS: I savoured every word in Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson. It was a book I read slowly, afraid to miss even one word. I wanted to know what happened, but I wanted it never to end. It was with very mixed feelings that I turned the last page and closed the cover. I was sad because it was over, and excited because it was so damned good! Better than good.

The suspense is insidious. I was reading along, and slowly became aware that I was gripping the book tightly, holding my breath, eyes wide, not blinking. And that became my default pose.

When I was just 20% into the book, I made the following comment- “OMG! With just one click of her mouse, Alice has tumbled down the rabbit hole. But it’s not Wonderland she finds herself in. . .”

I will never forget the phrase ‘Alice, what did the penguin always tell you?’ And I ‘m not giving you the answer. For that you’ll have to read the book for yourself.

Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson will be published by Source books February 2018. Reserve your copy now. This is not a book that is going to hang around on the shelves.

Thank you to author Carter Wilson for providing an ARC of Mister Tender’s Girl for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2192373734

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House 
by Shirley JacksonLaura Miller (Introduction)

30817744

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

THE BLURB: First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

MY THOUGHTS: Am I the only person not terrified by The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson? Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the story, but not once did I feel a little frisson of fear, not once did I hold my breath in anticipation, jump at an unexpected noise or glance nervously over my shoulder.

The majority of the story is told from Eleanor’s point of view. I liked Eleanor. I liked her flights of fancy, the way her imagination runs away with her, so that she presents things that she would like to be true as the truth. I felt sorry for her especially as after having looked after her mother until her death, (and did Eleanor have a hand in that?) she finds herself living with her older married sister and her husband and child, being put upon by them and treated almost as a child. I think that, had I been in Eleanor’s place, I also would have seized any excuse to escape the family confines. All Eleanor really wants is to be wanted, to belong, and she thinks that she has found this amongst her companions at Hill House. She is a vulnerable soul, almost childlike in her efforts to be liked and her reactions when she is ignored.

The other wonderful character is the housekeeper, Mrs Dudley, whom I am sure is closely related to Mrs Danvers.

All together, this was an interesting read; not creepy, not frightening, but interesting. I don’t know that I would even call it a ‘ghost’ story, although there are supernatural events. 3.5 stars and I may just be tempted to try some of Shirley Jackson’s other works.

I listened to the audio book of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunne via OverDrive. 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/2186706677

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright
The House on Foster Hill 
by Jaime Jo Wright (Goodreads Author)

30817744

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: It was long rumored that the Foster Hill oak tree was not only the largest but also the oldest tree in Oakwood. While its top rose to a marvelous height, it was still dead and its branches never blossomed. The trunk was very wide at the base and split open to reveal a hollow inside. Many a child had hidden there during a rambunctious game of hide-and-seek. They wouldn’t hide there any more. Not after today.

The petite body was curled into the position of a babe, inside the tree’s womb. Blonde hair hung free over her cold, bare shoulders and floated out on the wind. Her torso was covered in a paper-thin dress of grey calico. It was nowhere enough to keep her warm, but it was more than the cold that tinted the young woman’s skin blue. It was death.

THE BLURB: Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?

MY THOUGHTS: 3 stars for The House on Foster Hill from me.

I was excited by the first few chapters of this book. Their tone was insidiously creepy and hinted at great things to come, but for me, they never quite materialised.

I loved the character of Ivy, author of the book of deaths, where she recorded her thoughts and memories of the people of her town who passed away so that they would not be forgotten. She is a strong willed, unconventional young woman who has not recovered from the tragedy that robbed her of her beloved brother Andrew.

I found it harder to relate to Kaine, whose story is interspersed with Ivy’s, but occurring a century later. I could not warm to her and found her decisions and actions hard to understand.

Ultimately, I think that the author of The House on Foster Hill tried to make this book too many things, all being given equal billing, and as a result it all becomes slightly muddied. We have in Ivy’s story, a historical, Christian, romantic-suspense, people trafficking, murder mystery. With Kaine, we have a contemporary, Christian, romantic-suspense, stalker, murder-mystery. And then there is the family connection between the two women, voila! A genealogical mystery to boot!

I applaud Jaime Jo Wright’s intentions in her debut novel. If I have one piece of advice for her, it is this. Make one aspect of the novel the main thread, the star if you like, and the other aspects become side stories feeding into and supporting the main story, acting as the supporting cast, instead of all battling with one another to reign supreme.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page v