The Warning by Kathryn Croft

Kathryn Croft

Please note the cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:My little boy’s room was empty, his bed neatly made. Alarm bells should have rung immediately. Then the knock on the door came. All I remember is a thick fog wrapping itself tightly around me. This couldn’t be happening to us.

Three years ago, nurse Zoe’s son Ethan was found drowned in a muddy river by their home, along with his best friend Josh. With no witnesses, their deaths were ruled a tragic accident.

Heartbroken, Zoe and her family, move away from her home. They’re just beginning to get back to some kind of normality, when, out of the blue, Zoe receives an anonymous email:

You need to find out the truth about what happened to your son. Don’t let this rest. Don’t believe the lie.

Shaken, Zoe starts an obsessive hunt for the truth. But why is her husband so reluctant to help?
And why is Josh’s mother so determined not to believe her?

The Review: When people ask for recs for psychological thrillers, quoting that they liked ‘Gone Girl’ or the like, I always turn their heads towards Kathryn Croft (pretty much all of them are on this blog if you want to do a quick search-apologies internet is not good enough today to reference them all!). To me her books are excellent examples of edge of your seat stuff, with leads you’re gunning for, and a race to a finish that generally surprises.

So we join a number of characters, most notably Zoe, who has been trundling through the days with her husband, Jake, and son. I warmed to each of the characters straight away, really feeling for them as they tried not to let the death of the character of the house ruin them. Added to the tragic circumstances of Ethan’s death were two things: first that they didn’t know he was out of the house that night,  and second, that his friend drowned too. Enter his friend’s mother, a woman who’s living with a secret but who is first and foremost, the mother of the teenager killed that night at the river. I felt for her throughout, wanting her to find some sort of life in an  existence where she had to put up with a despicable husband who she no longer loved, and who very obviously had no warmth for her.

So the two come face to face again when Zoe begins to get messages telling her that her son’s death was no accident. At the start we are trying to figure out if these messages are meant as a help or if they serve as warnings to her and her family, and we soon find out! This book is about the hunt to find out what happened that night, why it happened and who was involved and it most definitely kept me reading.

I had a fair few niggles, which was disappointing, the end of so many chapters were cliffhangers and there were so many characters’ viewpoints that it took away the shock factor after a while as you had to be put back to the surprise after a few chapters of different people talking. I’m afraid I did a lot of page flipping to remember who the smaller (and sometimes very important) characters were (yes this is ironic the post after another post where I said I am always ready for books with multiple povs!). Saying that I never wanted to put the book down and looked forward to finding out who the menacing character who told their own story was and I was lead up down and back around the garden path a number of times and couldn’t leave it down. Do make sure to check out all of her books though, you honestly will not be disappointed (I recommend starting with The Girl With No Past- review here and moving on from there!). Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

 

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

silentlies

Length:   321 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

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

Five years later, just when Mia is beginning to heal, stranger Alison walks into her life, saying her husband didn’t kill himself. 

Fragile, slight Alison leads Mia on a path into Zach’s past, and Mia begins to think she never really knew her own husband. As the secrets revealed get darker, Alison becomes harder to read, and Mia starts to wonder – why is Alison so keen to help?

And then a piece of the puzzle appears in an impossible place, and Mia has to ask, is she losing her mind, or should she be afraid for her life?

The Review:  We start five years ago, with Mia at the funeral of her husband Zach. The graveyard is empty, except for a small number of people there who tell Mia (and us of course) that her husband is a monster. We don’t know why, or what he’s done, and we are off. The start totally sucked me in and I was thrilled to be back to a Kathryn Croft book, an author who has never disappointed me, and who at this stage has to be my favourite thriller writer of all time.

Fast forward five years, and Mia is settled with her partner, Will (although we are told they live quite separate lives) and Mia is still on edge, having endured years of abuse at the hands of an unforgiving public, who won’t forget what Zach did. Mia has her own counselling business, which ingeniously leads us to a character, Alison, who seems to have answers to Zach’s demise. As always I loved the way the everyday was done so well, in particular Mia’s time with her daughter and Will brightened things up, but with dark undercurrants always trickling through.

Of course we are constantly wondering what Zach has done and to give us our answers are sent back in time to the beginning of the end for him as he tries to help a girl named Josie. I was rooting for Zach the whole time and wondered how things could turn so bad for him. The story jumps between both timelines, looking at Josie’s story, someone who has been led to believe she will never make anything of herself but is out to defy all the odds, that of Alison, and of course Mia. I loved that the way the timelines were interspersed, it made you suddenly be distracted from an explosion about to happen and then, boom! You were hit with it. Saying that there were some occasions the time spent in the past moved a little slow for me, but not enough to budge my opinion on the book in any way!

The characters were likable where they needed to be (a special mention to Josie’s lovely little brother Kieran, who I adored!) and unlikable when that was required of them too (a lot of boo, hisses for the REALLY unlikable ones!). Josie, who was on the run from something, gave us some real nervy moments, and then when some of the stories started intertwining I was ridiculously excited! Ms. Croft has got to be the queen at trying to make you guess who to trust and here was no exception, with an exceptionally intricate web of mistrust and paranoia! To the very end of this book I had no idea whodunnit, and then the ending … well, all I can say is that I would ADORE to have read on, I really really wanted the aftermath in full glorious technicolour! An excellent mix of great characters, unsettling goings on amidst normal settings, and twisty events that always had me sitting up straight in my seat. Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Note: You may want to check out my other reviews of Ms. Croft’s excellent books: The Girl With No Past here , While You Were Sleeping here and The Girl You Lost here (all very much recommended!)

 

 

 

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

whileyou

Length: 326 pages

Please note that the image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:
Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer. 

But her happiness is shattered when she wakes up one morning in her neighbour’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee and scared of losing everything she cares about, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her life knows what really happened that night. When the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out.

But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?

The Review: Okay. So anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows of my love for all books by Kathryn Croft. (The Girl You Lost’s review is here while The Girl With No Past’s review is  here

This was another book designed to keep you guessing as to who (if not Tara herself) was involved in the murder, this read featuring the demise of her neighbour Lee. From the off I was pulled straight in, as always the characters are everyday people next door types, with varying personality traits that have you wondering what they themselves know, and as a result I was basically suspecting everyone. Throw into the mix her issues with her husband Noah, a very difficult daughter, Rosie, who was the one person I hoped hadn’t been involved in the crime, and the addition of characters as you went on and you were pretty sure it could have been anyone! Central to the story was that Tara couldn’t remember what had happened and had no idea how she woke up next to a dead body and so you didn’t know if she was involved or not.

While You Were Sleeping kept me gripped, and waiting for the ending, but I think a problem was that there were a few too many unlikable characters. Saying that, I kept reading on, being thrown from one conclusion to the next with my head all jumbled, waiting to see what happened. A really enjoyable read, although I have to admit it didn’t quite grab me in the same way as the two books I’ve named above.

Rating: 4/5