The Guest Book by CL Pattison – review.

Description

WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE, FOR A HONEYMOON YOU’LL NEVER FORGET . . .

Charles and Grace wanted a quiet staycation honeymoon, but when their train terminates early due to a storm up ahead, they wonder if they made the wrong decision. Forced to take shelter in the nearest seaside town, Saltwater, they discover that there is only one guesthouse left. Unlike the rest of Saltwater, The Anchorage is entirely deserted.

That night, with the storm howling relentlessly, Grace is woken by a child crying. She is haunted by the sound, until Charles convinces her it was only her imagination. But the next day, she finds a warning scrawled in the guest book: Leave now. Do not trust them.

As the storm rages on, phone lines are down, transport links cut off. Grace is desperate to leave, but Charles remains unaffected by the eerie stillness of the house. Is it just Grace’s imagination or do the owners, and Charles, have something to hide?

THANK YOU FOR STAYING AT THE ANCHORAGE. WE HOPE YOU’LL BE BACK SOON…

Perfect for fans of Harriet Tyce, Lisa Jewell and Ruth Ware.

About the author

C.L. Pattison spent twenty years as an entertainment journalist, until a desire to do something a bit more meaningful than write about the rich and famous prompted her to join the police force. Her debut psychological thriller, The Housemate, was an ebook bestseller in both the UK and the USA. Originally from the north east of England, she now lives in a village on the south coast, where she is currently hard at work on her next book. Reading, long walks and cider have been her top sanity saviours in lockdown.

My thoughts

This is a creepy book so I feel it will appeal to psychological thriller lovers as well as supernatural fans. The whole tone is set from the beginning as a shadow feels as though it’s been cast over The Anchorage in Saltwater. It has this claustrophobic feel that only tightens its grip as the story unravels.

I loved the opening. Honeymooners, Charles and Grace start with hope. Hope of a long happy marriage and a wonderfully luxurious honeymoon in a top hotel but soon, things get in their way. In fact, it feels as though they’re doomed. The seaside town of Saltwater comes across as gloomy and dangerous.

I totally enjoyed immersing myself into the main characters narratives, especially Grace’s. I found her intriguing and thought her injured leg added so much more to the story. There’s nothing like feeling vulnerable when you’re frightened witless! It’s definitely not a book to read under low light in a storm if you’re easily scared. But… I love creepy books so this one suited me fine. ‘The Guest Book’ delivered scares in abundance and I found it to be totally gripping. Loved it!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guest-Book-C-L-Pattison-ebook/dp/B084QG97F9/

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.

Sweetpea by CJ Skuse – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/03/03/sweetpea-by-cj-skuse-review/ via @CKovachAuthor

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaKovachAuthor/

http://www.carlakovach.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carla-Kovach/e/B00KM50P58

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Sweetpea by CJ Skuse – review.

Description

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

About the author

C.J. SKUSE is the author of the Young Adult novels PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House) and MONSTER and THE DEVIANTS (Mira Ink). She has recently written the adult crime novels SWEETPEA and its sequel for HQ/HarperCollins. C.J. was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England and has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, lectures in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University.

C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and graveyards. She hates hard-boiled eggs, going to the dentist and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas – she just didn’t get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Tom Hardy present her with the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

My thoughts

I loved this deliciously dark serial killer comedy! It’s dry, disturbing and the voice is a unique as it comes. Being in Rhiannon’s head made a refreshing change for me. One of my favourite parts to read were the kill lists at the beginning of most chapters. They literally had me in stitches with laughter.

We shouldn’t find these things funny but I couldn’t help finding this book hilarious. Some of the things that the author chose to hi-light on the kill list are everyday annoyances that we all endure at some point. That’s what made them so relatable, but most of us simply get annoyed and don’t plan the culprit’s gory demise.

This isn’t a book for the faint-hearted but who needs safe? This is pure fun and games and the writing is compellingly addictive. I loved it – swearing, gore, sex; the lot. It’s a huge thumbs up from me!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweetpea-most-unique-gripping-thriller-ebook/dp/B01M28BUTG/

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out one of my other posts while you’re here…

Eek – ‘The Broken Ones’ is number 1 in AppleBooks UK today! https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/03/03/eek-the-broken-ones-is-number-1-in-applebooks-uk-today/

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaKovachAuthor/

http://www.carlakovach.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carla-Kovach/e/B00KM50P58

Www.carlakovach.com

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Eek – ‘The Broken Ones’ is number 1 in AppleBooks UK today!

I can’t believe that I’m still number 1 in the AppleBooks iBookstore! Had a wobble for moment but it crept back up there. This is the 3rd day – eek! 🎉🎉🎉

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all my readers. Your support has been phenomenal! Hugely grateful. ❤️❤️❤️

The Broken Ones

Amber applies a dash of red lipstick and checks herself out in the mirror before heading out on a date. ‘Don’t wait up!’ she calls to her housemates as she leaves. But Amber never returns home that night. Amber Slater is never seen again.

The last person to see Amber was her housemate. He remembers everything she was wearing that night. He watched her leave. He listened to every word of her phone conversation with her friend before she left. He knows more about Amber’s movements than anyone.

At university, she is well-liked by her fellow students and teachers. Her tutor’s voice shakes when he is questioned by the police. Some say he and Amber were very close. Too close. Some say his wife had just found out about their relationship.

The manager at the restaurant where Amber was supposed to eat that night says she didn’t show up. Yet the chef at the restaurant is overly chatty about her. He wasn’t working that night. He wasn’t answering his phone. Nobody knows where he was when Amber went missing.

Rumours begin to circulate about Amber, it seems that everyone has a story to tell. But when the young girl’s lifeless body is found in a local park, with her blue lips glued shut, the gossip suddenly goes quiet. As the police trace the last few hours of Amber’s life, it seems that the girl simply vanished on her way to catch her bus. And when another woman goes missing in the dead of night, it’s a race against time to find her before she too is silenced forever.

Fans of crime books from Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh will love The Broken Ones.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08TCB2YZ3/

Apple: http://ow.ly/TX3a50Ddgmh 

Kobo: http://ow.ly/qNxa50Ddgkj 

Google: http://ow.ly/SKP850Ddgu8

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The Wedding by Ruth Heald – review.

Publication date: 3rd March, 2021.

Description

Just four words were printed in the card. He doesn’t love you.

I’ve been dreaming about this day – marrying Adam, my childhood sweetheart, who I’ve loved for eighteen years.

I didn’t realise the perfect day would turn into the perfect nightmare.

I was so excited to send out the wedding invitations, carefully writing everyone’s names on thick cream paper in beautiful cursive script.

I had no idea I was inviting someone to destroy our marriage.

I couldn’t wait to say ‘I do’ surrounded by loved ones clinking champagne glasses.

I couldn’t imagine that one of them would try to hurt me.

It was meant to be the first day of the rest of our lives.

I never thought it would be the end of my life as I knew it.

We were meant to share our vows, to toast our future. But when the truth comes out, shocking the onlooking guests and ripping my heart out, is a happy ever after possible?

A completely gripping and totally addictive read that will get your blood pressure rising and send shivers down your spine. Fans of Date Night, The Sister-in-Law and The Girl on the Train will devour this twisty, dark and gasp-worthy page-turner in one swift gulp!

About the author

Ruth Heald is the bestselling author of psychological thrillers I KNOW YOUR SECRET, THE MOTHER’S MISTAKE and THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS, and the relationship drama 27: SIX FRIENDS, ONE YEAR.

Ruth studied Economics at Oxford University and then worked in an eclectic mix of sectors from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting. She worked at the BBC for nine years before leaving to write full time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and finding out what drives people to violence, destruction and revenge. She’s married with two children and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.

You can connect with Ruth on Twitter @RJ_Heald, or Facebook /RJHealdauthor

My thoughts

Once again, Ruth has written an unputdownable psychological thriller. Soon into the book, poor Lauren, the bride-to-be, starts to receive sinister gifts. Then came the scary happenings which absolutely set me on edge while reading. Cue the tension.

I loved how the mystery then deepened. So many suspects but not once did I want to believe that any of them could be tormenting Lauren, but someone was and I had to stay up into the early hours to reach the end.

I have to mention the Thai location. It really made me feel as though I was there, making lockdown that little bit better. So I got a healthy dose of escapism too.

Lauren was a likeable character, someone you can properly root for. The two main perspectives used in the book were Lauren and Adam, her fiancé. I found his chapters gave me further insight into what was happening and I enjoyed those just as much. I particularly loved the flashback chapters.

The book starts with a deadly bang that had me turning the pages fast, and the revelations were shocking. Just when I thought I had it all sewn up, my theories unravelled which totally kept me on my toes. If you love a fabulous twisty turny read, then this is it!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wedding-totally-gripping-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B08PKSLD9T/

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/02/23/the-girl-in-the-missing-poster-by-barbara-copperthwaite-review/

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaKovachAuthor/

http://www.carlakovach.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carla-Kovach/e/B00KM50P58

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The Broken Ones – OUT TODAY!

Amber applies a dash of red lipstick and checks herself out in the mirror before heading out on a date. ‘Don’t wait up!’ she calls to her housemates as she leaves. But Amber never returns home that night. Amber Slater is never seen again.

The last person to see Amber was her housemate. He remembers everything she was wearing that night. He watched her leave. He listened to every word of her phone conversation with her friend before she left. He knows more about Amber’s movements than anyone.

At university, she is well-liked by her fellow students and teachers. Her tutor’s voice shakes when he is questioned by the police. Some say he and Amber were very close. Too close. Some say his wife had just found out about their relationship.

The manager at the restaurant where Amber was supposed to eat that night says she didn’t show up. Yet the chef at the restaurant is overly chatty about her. He wasn’t working that night. He wasn’t answering his phone. Nobody knows where he was when Amber went missing.

Rumours begin to circulate about Amber, it seems that everyone has a story to tell. But when the young girl’s lifeless body is found in a local park, with her blue lips glued shut, the gossip suddenly goes quiet. As the police trace the last few hours of Amber’s life, it seems that the girl simply vanished on her way to catch her bus. And when another woman goes missing in the dead of night, it’s a race against time to find her before she too is silenced forever.

Fans of crime books from Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh will love The Broken Ones.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08TCB2YZ3/

Apple: http://ow.ly/TX3a50Ddgmh 

Kobo: http://ow.ly/qNxa50Ddgkj 

Google: http://ow.ly/SKP850Ddgu8

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The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite – review.

Publication date: 23rd February, 2021.

Description

MISSING – Have you seen this girl? Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins was last seen on 24 June, 1994, when she left her parents’ anniversary party early and ran into the stormy night wearing her twin sister Stella’s long red coat. She was never seen again.

I wrap my arms around the tree trunk, pressing my cheek against it until the bark digs in and the missing poster is finally secured. I try not to look at the photograph on it. At the features so similar to mine. Perhaps this will be the year someone comes forward.

Were crucial mistakes made by detectives from the very beginning?

Could the pressure of living two lives have led my sister to run away – or even end it?

Or did someone in her tight circle of friends and family have reason to want her gone?

Someone out there must know something.

But the last thing I ever expect is a direct response from the person who took Leila. Wracked with guilt and completely alone in the world without the other half of me, I have no choice but to agree to his strange request: private, intimate details of my life in return for answers.

As the final moments of my sister’s life play out before me, I feel closer to her than I ever dreamed I’d be again. So close, it could almost be happening to me. But when I finally realise who is behind this terrifying tragedy, will I make it out alive?

From the bestselling author of The Perfect Friend, this absolutely gripping psychological thriller will keep you up all night and leave you sleeping with the light on. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Wife Between Us this book is for you!

About the author

Barbara is the Amazon, Kobo and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, THE DARKEST LIES, HER LAST SECRET and THE PERFECT FRIEND. Her new book THE GIRL IN THE MISSING POSTER is out on February 23, 2021 – but is available for preorder now!

Her writing career started in journalism, writing for national newspapers and magazines. During a career spanning over twenty years Barbara interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. She is fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers’ eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line.

Her first book, Invisible, was ‘totally gripping, and scarily believable’ according to Bella magazine. Its success was followed by Flowers For The Dead, which was the Sunday Mirror’s Choice Read, beating Lee Child’s latest offering. ‘Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,’ their review read.

The Darkest Lies came next, published by Bookouture, and became a USA Today bestseller. The follow-up, Her Last Secret, hit the Number 1 spot on Kobo. The Perfect Friend is a No 1 Kobo and Amazon best seller.

When not writing feverishly at her home in Birmingham, Barbara is often found walking her two dogs, Scamp and Buddy, or hiding behind a camera to take wildlife photographs.

To find out more about Barbara’s novels, go to:

Website: http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.com

Blog: http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BCopperthwait

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/barbaracopperthwaite

My thoughts

I found ‘The Girl in the Missing Poster’ to be such a heartbreaking and tense mystery. I loved how the story was told through Stella and alongside the transcripts for the television documentary. It showed the public face of it all, then I as the reader then got to see the deep feelings that Stella was holding back.

I felt Stella’s relentless urge to know what had happened to Leila all those years ago, and as the story unfolded, so did the emotions. It had such a real feel to it because of the way it was written. The cat and mouse elements were haunting and eerie. They had me feeling creeped out on many occasions.

As for the characters, I loved Stella’s strength as much as her vulnerability. The first chapter is kick ass. When and if you read it, you’ll see why. She’s definitely a character to be admired! The surrounding cast, including Euan, Mary and the lovely dogs really added so much to the story and to the development of Stella’s character. Did I say I loved the dogs? Well I did!

Finally, I have to mention that mega ending… what a big surprising treat! I can only say you’re in for one hell of an emotional and exciting ride if you choose this book. Fab read!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Missing-Poster-psychological-jaw-dropping-ebook/dp/B08P5XT4B1/

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.

Sign of Evil by MA Comley – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/02/19/sign-of-evil-by-ma-comley-review/

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaKovachAuthor/

http://www.carlakovach.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carla-Kovach/e/B00KM50P5

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Sign of Evil by MA Comley – review.

Description

The love of money can be deadly…

And evil has an agenda.

DI Sara Ramsey is tasked with trying to solve yet another missing person case. This one is far more perplexing than any she’s dealt with before.

Amber Rowse was on a path of self-improvement which unfortunately led to her downfall. She’s the first but it’s not long before other girls end up on the missing list.

Can Sara and her intrepid team conquer the evil which confronts them, to save Amber and the other girls before their terrifying fate is revealed?

About the author

M A Comley is a KINDLE UNLIMITED ALL-STAR author as well as being a New York Times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, she has topped the book charts on iBooks as a top 5 bestselling and reached #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. Over two and a half million copies sold world wide. She’s a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that’s when she turned her hobby into a career.

When she’s not writing crime novels as well as caring for her elderly mother, she’s either reading or going on long walks with her rescue pup Labrador, Dex.

Here is a list of her books, Cruel Justice, Impeding Justice, Final Justice, Foul Justice, Guaranteed Justice, Ultimate Justice, Virtual Justice, Hostile Justice, Tortured Justice, Rough Justice, Dubious Justice, Calculated Justice, Twisted Justice, Prime Justice, Heroic Justice, Shameful Justice, Immoral Justice and Overdue Justice. There are several novellas and short stories in the series too.

No Right To Kill, Killer Blow, The Dead Can’t Speak, Deluded and The Murder Pact in the DI Sara Ramsey series.

Her other successful series are: The DI Sally Parker thriller series, which includes WRONG PLACE, NO HIDING PLACE, COLD CASE, Deadly encounter and Lost Innocence

The DI Kayli Bright Trilogy – The Missing Children, Killer on the Run, Hidden Agenda, Murderous Betrayal and Dying Breath.

The Hero series, TORN APART, END RESULT, IN PLAIN SIGHT, DOUBLE JEOPARDY and CRIMINAL ACTIONS.

There are three books in the Intention series, Sole Intention, Grave Intention and Devious Intention.

Plus a couple of standalone novels – EVIL IN DISGUISE and FOREVER WATCHING YOU.

I’ve also penned a cozy mystery Private Investigator series – Murder at the Wedding, Murder at the Hotel and Murder by the Sea.

As well as co-authoring the Deception Series co-authored by fellow NY Times bestselling author, Linda S Prather Clever Deception, Tragic Deception and Sinful Deception.

If you’d like to keep up to date with new releases you can find me on Facebook by following this link http://smarturl.it/sps7jh or sign up for my newsletter http://eepurl.com/b5pSFD

If you fancy a lighter read, why not try one of my romances: A Time to Heal, and A Time for Change–Based on a TRUE story. I also have a selection of short stories and novelettes available which I know you’ll enjoy.

You can find out more about me at the following blogs.

http://melcomley.blogspot.com

http://melcomleyromances.blogspot.com

My thoughts

Fantastic read! ‘Sign of Evil’ is another brilliant book in the DI Sara Ramsey series. As always I loved the familiarity of Sara, Carla, Lorraine, Craig and Marissa. I enjoy how their stories continue through the books and how their characters grow with the cases.

I really enjoyed the chapters from the kidnapper’s points of view. These gave real insight into the crime and having that, it heightened the tension when I read the police chapters. I saw the evil they were up against and it was definitely as scary as it gets.

I found this book to be full of action. There was always a lead to follow or something major happening which kept it moving at breakneck speed. I read it in less than a day so that’s how fast it went!

If you love police procedurals that move at the speed of light, then this is one to be read. The perpetrators are disturbing to the highest degree. I certainly wouldn’t want to ever come across them. Another fab read not to be missed!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sign-Evil-fast-paced-thriller-Ramsey-ebook/dp/B08PL2PT2L/

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/02/11/my-dark-vanessa-by-kate-elizabeth-russell-review/

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaKovachAuthor/

http://www.carlakovach.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carla-Kovach/e/B00KM50P58

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GIVEAWAY (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)!

To celebrate the upcoming publication of The Broken Ones, there’s a prize giveaway on my Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter page, right now! With different prizes on all three platforms, why not enter three times and increase your chances of winning?

Closing date – 16th Feb at 7pm. UK entries only.

The Broken Ones

Amber applies a dash of red lipstick and checks herself out in the mirror before heading out on a date. ‘Don’t wait up!’ she calls to her housemates as she leaves. But Amber never returns home that night. Amber Slater is never seen again.

The last person to see Amber was her housemate. He remembers everything she was wearing that night. He watched her leave. He listened to every word of her phone conversation with her friend before she left. He knows more about Amber’s movements than anyone.

At university, she is well-liked by her fellow students and teachers. Her tutor’s voice shakes when he is questioned by the police. Some say he and Amber were very close. Too close. Some say his wife had just found out about their relationship.

The manager at the restaurant where Amber was supposed to eat that night says she didn’t show up. Yet the chef at the restaurant is overly chatty about her. He wasn’t working that night. He wasn’t answering his phone. Nobody knows where he was when Amber went missing.

Rumours begin to circulate about Amber, it seems that everyone has a story to tell. But when the young girl’s lifeless body is found in a local park, with her blue lips glued shut, the gossip suddenly goes quiet. As the police trace the last few hours of Amber’s life, it seems that the girl simply vanished on her way to catch her bus. And when another woman goes missing in the dead of night, it’s a race against time to find her before she too is silenced forever.

Fans of crime books from Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh will love The Broken Ones.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08TCB2YZ3/

Apple: http://ow.ly/TX3a50Ddgmh 

Kobo: http://ow.ly/qNxa50Ddgkj 

Google: http://ow.ly/SKP850Ddgu8

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaKovachAuthor/

http://www.carlakovach.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carla-Kovach/e/B00KM50P58

Posted in Giveaway | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – review.

Description

ALL HE DID WAS FALL IN LOVE WITH ME AND THE WORLD TURNED HIM INTO A MONSTER

Vanessa Wye was fifteen-years-old when she first had sex with her English teacher.

She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student.

Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that.

Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.

Nuanced, uncomfortable, bold and powerful, My Dark Vanessa goes straight to the heart of some of the most complex issues of our age.

My thoughts

Ooh, I’ll start by saying that this was a hard book to review, not because it isn’t brilliant but because the content has really disturbed me. Why, you might ask?To some degree on the sexual assault scale, I’d be surprised if most teenage girls haven’t met a Jacob Strane or if now grown up, can look back and question the motives or comments of someone from their past. Whether he be recognised by a passing comment that is made or an inappropriate touch, or a declaration of how wonderful his intended victim is when they see a vulnerable teen screaming out for recognition and attention. Maybe he’s your creepy uncle who turns up for Christmas or a neighbour that gets too close. The one that ‘accidentally’ groped you when you collided in a shop. Or did he buy you things just to keep you alone in his company? There are so many scenarios that I can come up with but I know most women and men too will know or have known a Jacob.

This novel needed to be written and it needs to be read. It expertly plays with the complexities of grooming, love bombing, gaslighting, manipulation, and the devastating hold a perpetrator can have on their victim for years to come. The mind games played on Vanessa broke my heart. It’s serious and uncomfortable.

The novel also references Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (amongst other poignant works of literature) which is a book I read last year and chose not to review as I struggled to find the words. ‘Her Dark Vanessa’ is written from the victim’s point of view but Lolita took me straight into the mind of a sex predator, preying on children. It too sounds like a hard read but if anyone has kids and is thinking about it, all I can say is, know your enemy.

I found Vanessa’s denial sad. He totally played her, making her believe she held the power when really the manipulation was so deep, he took her schoolgirl infatuation and used every bit of it against her. It has an uncannily real feel to it. I can wholeheartedly believe that this predator is a real person. He exists in so many. I feel a little shell shocked so I think I might need a lie down to digest it all.

In all seriousness, I think it is a must read. It’s honest, scary, terrifying even, but I know it might help others come to terms with what they’ve been through if they read it. Anything that breaks down any feelings of shame can only be a good thing!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Dark-Vanessa-Gripping-Emotional/dp/0008342288/

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.

Lost Souls by Chris Merritt – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/02/09/lost-souls-by-chris-merritt-review/

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaKovachAuthor/

http://www.carlakovach.com

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Lost Souls by Chris Merritt – review.

Publication date: 9th February, 2021.

Description

Please forgive me for what I’m about to do…

Standing at the school gates, he waits until the last child leaves the safety of the playground. And then he follows at a distance, keeping to the shadows. Only he knows what’s going to happen next.

In a quiet church, on a busy London street, 12-year-old Donovan Blair is found dead. His hands are clasped together as if in prayer. Just hours ago, he was happily playing with his friends at school, but now his body is lifeless, and his killer is long gone.

Detective Dan Lockhart is working alone on his wife’s missing person’s case when he receives a call telling him to get to the crime scene at St Mary’s Church immediately.

Bringing in psychologist Dr Lexi Green to help profile the murderer, Dan is convinced that the killer has provided a clue by leaving the body in a prayer position, and Lexi agrees. As they try to get into the mind of the person responsible, another victim is found. A 13-year-old girl, left in a different church, posed in exactly the same way.

Fearing the murderer may already have another child in his sights, Dan and Lexi work together to establish links between the two deaths, and soon discover that not only were both children in care – they had attended the same school. And when it emerges that Lexi’s new boyfriend works there, things become difficult between her and Dan. How much can he tell Lexi about the case? And could she be at risk?

As Dan makes a breakthrough in the investigation, he receives devastating news about his wife, Jess. But with children’s lives at stake and Lexi in danger, Dan must put his personal emotions aside and chase the killer. Can he and Lexi work out who is behind the murders before another vulnerable child is taken?

This nail-biting crime book is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Lisa Regan and Robert Dugoni. Once you pick up Lost Souls, you won’t be able to put it down!

About the author

Biography

Hello! I’m a British author whose crime thrillers combine psychology, suspense, and characters you care about.

All my novels are set in London, where I live. My first trilogy starred Zac Boateng and Kat Jones, two detectives motivated by family, who tackle organised crime and police corruption. LAST WITNESS, the second Boateng and Jones book, reached #13 in the UK Kindle chart in 2019.

My second series features detective Dan Lockhart – an ex-soldier with a missing wife – and psychologist Dr Lexi Green, an American living in London. These novels are darker, more psychological serial-killer cases, with romantic relationships as a central theme.

I began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. I specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked my interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.

Now, I spend most of my time writing novels and drinking coffee while *thinking* about writing novels. When I’m not writing, I love climbing and playing basketball.

You can find out more about my work at http://www.cjmerritt.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @DrCJMerritt

My thoughts

What a fab police procedural with a disturbed and intriguing killer! ‘Lost Souls’ is also such an apt title. As I saw it, there were many lost souls in this book, all of them equally relevant to the plot.

From start to end, there was a liveliness about the police team. I felt like I was in the hub of an incident room when they were all together, working through the clues. I enjoyed the complexity of Dan Lockhart’s character too. His military past and the way he dealt with everything in his present made him such a well rounded character, and his personal story was so compelling. The subplot of Dan’s missing wife also gave me a huge reason to fly through this book.

Tension gripped me throughout as the killer lured his victims. I literally had shivers down my spine.

My guesses at who the killer was were all over the place. Then when that ending came, it was phenomenal and exciting! ‘Lost Souls’ is an action filled, fear fest of a crime read. It’s gritty, tense and will have you biting your nails as the answers spill out!

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.

The Girl at the Back of the Bus by Suzette D Harrison – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/02/08/the-girl-at-the-back-of-the-bus-by-suzette-d-harrison-review/

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaKovachAuthor/

http://www.carlakovach.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carla-Kovach/e/B00KM50P58

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