Tag Archive | thriller

EXCERPT, COVER REVEAL and GIVEAWAY: DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES by Holly Seddon

I am beyond delighted to share a brilliant, bite size excerpt for the paperback edition of Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon, which is available on the 4th January 2018, and also to reveal its brilliant cover AND to let you be in with a chance to win a signed copy!!!! COVER IMAGE LEADS TO A UNIVERSAL AMAZON BUY LINK FOR THE PAPERBACK.

First though, What They Say:

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another. 

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

 

The Excerpt: Present day ROBIN

Robin drags in the stuffy air with thin breaths, puffs it out quickly. Dust dances in the foot of a sunbeam. Robin tries not to imagine those tiny specks filling her lungs, weighing her down.

Outside, the Manchester pavement is grey and wet but the air has a freshness, a flirtation with spring. Robin won’t feel this. She won’t let the damp tingle her skin. It won’t slowly sink into the cotton of her faded black T-shirt.

A bus rushes past the window, spraying the front of her house and its nearest neighbours with a burst of puddle water temporarily turned into surf. But Robin doesn’t see this. She only hears the gush and the disappointment of the woman whose jeans got ‘fucking soaked‘.

Robin did not go out yesterday and she will not leave her house today. Bar fire or flood, she’ll still be inside tomorrow. Just as she has been inside for these last years. Until a few weeks ago, everything in Robin’s world had been fine and safe. A cosy shell. She spends her days clocking up the recommended ten thousand steps a day on her pedometer, watching television, lifting a metal graveyard of weights and aimlessly searching the internet.

Robin is careful and controlled. She only answers her door by prior appointment. Online groceries arriving outside of designated slots get lumped back to the depot by irritated drivers. Unexpected parcels are unclaimed. There is an election soon, but Robin is not interested in discussing politics with earnest enthusiasts in bad suits shuffling on her doorstep.

Someone is knocking on her door right now. They were polite at first but now they’re building to a crescendo of frustration. Robin stares forward at the television in grim determination, jaw jutting ahead. The screen is filled with bright colours and mild voices. Television for toddlers. The minutes are filled with stories of triumph in simple tasks, of helping friends or learning a cheerful new skill. There is no baddie, there is no guilt or fear. Everyone is happy.

As the knocks grow a little more frantic, Robin deliberately takes a deep breath. She focuses on her chest filling and expanding and the slow seeping of air back out between her teeth. Still she stares doggedly at the screen.

 

And now for the cover (remember it leads to an Amazon buy link for the paperback of the book out 4th January 2018!)!!

DCYE PB cover high res

Isn’t it great? Now, if you can’t wait for the paperback release, you can buy the Kindle edition here!

TO WIN A SIGNED COPY JUST ENTER THE GIVEAWAY  here

Best of Luck!!

About the author

Holly Seddon bw

Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets. Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books. 

Her first novel TRY NOT TO BREATHE was published worldwide in 2016 and became a national and international bestseller. 

Her second novel DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES was published in July 2017. 

Holly’s website

Holly on Facebook

Holly on Goodreads

 

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The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

anks so much to thedarkest

Length: 404 pages

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

What they say: A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.

The review: Well, from one standout to the next, and boy was this a standout! Again, this will very likely figure in my ‘best of’ at the end of the year, as it was a book that stayed with me long after I’d moved on.

“The cry for help is ragged and desperate, the voice hitching. There is no one to hear it. A moon hangs so fat it oozes an aura into the sky that almost blots out the stars surrounding it. It looks down on land as flat as an open palm, and as unforgiving as a clenched fist, and gives no answer to the screams of fear and rage that float up to it… ‘Help me! Please! Help!’ There is no one to catch the words. No one, except a lone figure, turning, walking away towards lights int he far off distance.”

And so it starts. The book really begins with Beth, a young teen who’s obviously planned to do something that she hasn’t let her parents in on, as she leaves with her mother to sleep over at her friend’s house. This book thrusts you into every parent’s nightmare, made vivid by the last things, those little everyday occurances that just had to happen before she left-her dad barely said goodbye to her as he was watching tv, her mum doesn’t walk her to her friends door. This is something I always always think of, that the little things that you take for granted, in this case, that her father obviously didn’t think to say a proper goodbye, because little did he know it was going to be a night unlike any other he’d experienced, and then the if only her mother had seen her into her friend’s house.

It is the finer details of this book that keep you hooked, as they search for Beth, then find her, as you sit by her hospital bed, wondering can she hear anything, will she wake up, then as you stand on the doorstep of a house with her mother pleading for someone to tell you they can help you find the attacker or wonder if people you thought were so close to you can even be trusted. I have to admit I struggled with Melanie, the mother, feeling for her so much, but not really liking her as a person. This was especially hammered home as I loved her daughter, Beth, so much.

Some of the chapters were from the point of view of an unknown person, and I have to admit some of it made for slightly violent reading. These, coupled with the unfolding of Beth’s story were real game-changers for me, I was nervous and preparing myself to find out how this had happened to poor, innocent Beth, who was too young to know better. I knew what the end result was, of course, but still willed her to not go where she was headed. Meanwhile I was watching Mel and couldn’t figure out if her deductions were correct because, of course, she was unravelling. The pacing in this was up and down a bit, obviously we had the emotional side of Melanie and Jacob, which was honed in on a lot, to be fair, and some of the people who want a bang bang bang book might have a problem with it, but I was very emotionally invested, so it didn’t matter.

In terms of the whodunnit part- the fact that you had a village of people to look at, and worry about, was excellent, and I was shocked by the gang mentality that sprung up against the people they suspected. The part of the book that held me, though, was when what was to happen, happened, and we heard Beth’s thoughts. I have to say I have not cried like this over a book in some time. I sobbed my heart out for both her and her mum, and it sprang into my head a few times after I’d finished.

I’m split down the centre on the ending, it could have gone either way for me, as in the book could have finished earlier and I’d still have been satisfied, but then the ending that was given sent a bit of a chill so, in the end I was happy out(when the book continued on after the place I expected it to end there was a bit of a ‘what’s going on, why aren’t we finished here?’ but I was jumping the gun. All in all another excellent book that, again (and you’ll be hearing this a lot in the next while as I’ve been extremely lucky book-wise), I’d be very shocked if it didn’t end up in my end of year ‘best of’s.’ Most definitely recommended for exquisite beautiful, emotionally charged writing and settings, tension and chills. Definitely looking forward to the next by Ms. Copperthwaite, Her Last Secret, which, luckily enough, is on my Kindle right now (you can pre-order it here now). Thanks so much to Netgalley and of course the excellent Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

Rowan’s Well by C J Harter

rowans

Length: 314 pages

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

What they say: Who’s the one person you’d trust with your life? Think again.

Mark Strachan has everything: good looks, beautiful, doting wife, great job, loyal best friend… and a secret flaw that goes to his very core. A deep secret he’ll wreck lives to protect.
Mark’s life is about to change. He’s going to commit an act so shocking there’ll be no going back. Unless someone can stop him.
At Rowan’s Well, on North Yorkshire’s rugged cliffs, Mark will force his family, and best friend Will, to face the consequences of loving a man like him.
At Rowan’s Well, it’s hard to tell where love ends and hatred begins…

If you like psychological thrillers with page-turning suspense and shocking twists, you’ll love this.

The review: So to begin we’re not actually beginning at the beginning, but sometime closer to the end of the story, it is ten years after, although what the after is we don’t know. Mark Strachan is telling a story while ‘looking out of the window at the upper floors of the high-security wing opposite’ about an event when he was young to someone whose part in this story we don’t know. His story is vivid and packs a punch almost straight away-I could tell this character had issues and was very likely to be telling of something that had played a part in something he had done (hence the ‘after’) or the person he had become.

We are shot back to twelve years before where Mark is starting in boarding school, noticibly without any of the parental support other have. I think books like this hit me hardest, with characters that would be so different if they had a family who showed them the love they so craved, and Mark is a character I’ll probably be adding to my ‘best of’ list come the end of the year. Luckily, he falls in quickly with the lovely Will, and you get the impression that they’ll both have each other’s backs. We’re shown a lot of how the boys get on and interact, and I really enjoyed both the banter and light/ dark humour. Then things happen, and one fateful night we see Mark saving Will, but at the cost of another lad’s life.

Mark is an interesting character, where Will is an open book, we constantly wonder whether secretly all the bad luck that piles up in stacks around Mark, is actually his own doing. When I say bad luck, there are a number of events that take place over their lives, most involving expanses of water, that are so real, you feel the fear, the panic, that comes with being trapped under water. (There are a number of these, and you do wonder why they choose to stay anywhere near water!!)

The outstanding imagery also left me in no doubt that this was to be a beautiful read (I was to be correct!) Actually, I have to admit here that I can sometimes have to force myself not to skim over imagery, but I couldn’t even consider that here, it was second to none, powerful and vivid and amazing.

We are told there’s something in his eyes that make people nervous, yet the author is pretty excellent at showing us Mark’s point of view, making us worry that all the bad luck that befalls him ISN’T because of him. This is an interesting book because it has a hint of all the light horror stories I read as a teen (I know, you’d never know, would you?!) and it had me hooked.

There is the added dimension of his home life, where we wonder about his mother, and see him gravitate towards Will’s family. The jump comes when both him and Will fall for two women who are twins, and so we know they’re bound together for life. So begins a chapter in Will’s life where he truly has someone to love. I have to admit I read through this somewhat impatiently, and sometimes was confused, in particular as to their family dynamic, which I didn’t find so clear, waiting for something bad to happen, and when it did, when we found out what Mark did, we were placed in a scenario of having to find out if it was intentional, planned. To get Marks viewpoint throughout this, while looking at the prison system and seeing the differing opinions of Mark on the outside and through the prison employee’s eyes, was excellent. Actually it was Mark’s time in prison I enjoyed the most as Mark tried to communicate what had led him to this point, his horrendous past and I really empathised (special mention for Fitz, who broke my heart) and noticed that he was possibly the most human bad guy I have read to date. I read this book as I would watch a film, and the last scenes played out perfectly, with my heart in my throat. If I am to find any issues with this, it’s the descriptions of the timeline, I think I’d have rather to have just been given the dates as opposed to this ‘x years before or after, ‘ but, saying that it probably won’t bother most, I also found some parts a little confusing, but more seasoned readers of this genre will figure it out! I would highly recommend this book.

Ratine: 4.5/5

The Breakdown by @BAParis @StMartinsPress

 

thebreakdown

Length: 337 pages

As usual the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: It all started that night in the woods.

Cass Anderson didn’t stop to help the woman in the car, and now she’s dead.

Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she’s sure someone is watching her.

Consumed by guilt, she’s also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is – and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.

Bestselling author B A Paris is back with a brand new psychological thriller full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Review: To this, and a book that is probably on every single review website that I follow. I had heard so much about this book,  mixed reviews, with a lot of people saying it was a standout book for them and so I pounced. I have to say I did really enjoy this. This is very much a book for those who don’t like too much toughness or gore but enjoy their suspense. The beginning of the book IS probably a standout for me, despite all the thrillers I’ve read since I can still remember the weather, the torrential rain pouring as Cass tries to get home to her husband, Matthew. You know when the rain gets so bad that you’re staring in horror at the windscreen, thinking that anything could happen because you can’t see a thing? Well this is what happened to Cass, in the dark of night, and so she makes a choice that will change everything for her.

‘I veer off to the left, taking the shortcut that Matthew didn’t want me to take. A horn blares angrily behind me and as the sound chases me down the pitch- black lane into the woods, it feels like an omen. Even with my headlights full on, I can barely see where I’m going and I instantly regret the brightly lit road I left behind. Although this road is beautiful by day-it cuts through bluebell woods- its hidden dips and bends make it treacherous on a night like this.’

Hook, line and sinker. I was totally in. What happens then is horrible but so realistic (in a way, if you know what I mean, I don’t come across this sort of stuff myself, but it could happen!) Cass sees a girl sitting in a car at the side of the road. She wonders should she get out, is the car broken down or is the girl just waiting out the rain like herself? and has that pull of conscience we all experience at times, she wants to get home to the safety of her own house, but doesn’t think it’s right that she should leave. Of course she justifies driving off (with justifications I’d have used myself) and everything trickles into motion for a book thats ridden with guilt and uncertainty. As you can see from the blurb above, Cass is what you call an unreliable narrator, we don’t know if we can believe her version of events and to cement this we get a story that deserves a special mention, that of her mother, which had me shed a tear at the story of Cass’ mother and which gave it an added edge over other thrillers.

I really really enjoyed this book, with its many characters, that did keep you guessing. I had an idea what had happened earlier on, but didn’t guess the finer details. I did think it could have been slightly shorter, there was a bit of repetition for me in the middle, and conversely the ending felt like it was thrust at you too quickly and to be honest was just an ickle bit far fetched. Saying that, as a read in its totality I didn’t want to put it down, I was glued in a way I’ve only been for a handful of reads. All in all very much recommended (and I will be recommending it!) and I look forward to reading Behind Closed Doors. Thanks to the lovely people at St Martins press and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: Even with my issues, I think it’s got to be a 5/5 !

 

About the author

baparis

B.A. PARIS is the New York Time, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors. She grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters.

Find her on twitter @BAParisAuthor

The Other Side Of The Wall by Andrea Mara

theothersideofthewall

 Length: 402 pages

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

What they say:

When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door.

Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats. Besides, the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.

The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him.

Then Sylvia’s little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there’s a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house.

Sylvia’s husband insists it’s all in her mind, but she is certain it’s not – there’s something very wrong on the other side of the wall.

The Review: I was very lucky to have read an earlier form of this book, as I’m blessed to share online space with Andrea Mara (a freelance journalist whose blog is the brilliant officemum.ie) in the Imagine Write Inspire writing group (come on, I had to!) , led by the most lovely Carmel Harrington, and was blown away that this was a debut. Enough about that, however. This book starts as every thriller should, in the middle of the night, with our lead character woken with a jump. After some time she looks out to see that there’s a child’s body floating in the pond next door, only, on further investigation, there isn’t. And so begins Sylvia’s story, where a series of happenings are making her wonder if there’s something going on with the new people next door, or whether it’s all in her mind.

We have multiple point of views here, as well as following Sylvia on her daily passage as a working mum. The author of this book has, as this is her forte, presented us with various mothers, there’s Sylvia, but there’s also Kate, who is a stay at home mum. I loved the lighter relief of their everyday routines, and the issues that arose with partners, relatives and work but was quickly reeled into the plights of various characters. I felt you were immersed time and time again in the everyday before a new build up started-something beginning to niggle at you before suddenly you were presented with a shock.

I was gripped by the back stories of the various characters (there’s a lot of jumping in terms of timelines, but I enjoyed the way it was done) and in particular that of Kate and her brother, Miller, which was the story that took over my mind both times (I couldn’t review until I had read it in its current form) I put the book down. I’ve probably told you before that my brother has AS and so every time I read about a character who is a little different it takes hold. The treatment of Miller really got to me and I started to feel that whatever we might learn he had done was justified (I know, I know!).

The storytelling was perfection, the descriptions excellent, and I’m always a sucker for multiple point of views and the fact that there were multiple mysteries to be solved too meant this suited me down to the ground. This book isn’t gory but there is the possibility of a few grimaces along the way, the idea of what one character does to another human being being a tough one to stomach. I will say that there was in particular one loose end that I would have enjoyed being tied up a little neater but it niggled at me at the time and then was quickly replaced with memories of other things that had happened. All in all a very atmospheric, memorable thriller (not listed as this on Amazon, is under sagas, literary and fiction?!) that rose to an excellent climax and is beyond beyond (done purposely!!) recommended.

Rating: 5/5

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

Witness by Caroline Mitchell

witness

Length: 338 pages

Note: As always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.

Fail to respond and you get hurt. Talk to police and you die. Ready to play? You have sixty seconds to decide…

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.

The Review:  You’ll remember I read The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell (read review here) and loved it, saying I had to get onto her other books. I’m afraid that didn’t go to plan, but this book has only cemented that I’m going to be reading her amazing thrillers for some time to come!

Now before I start I need to make sure you’ve read the blurb above. Impressed? Excited? Ready? Okay-let’s go!!!

We begin this tale in 2005 where a girl, Rebecca, is cradling a severely injured man on her lap. When the police say they’re there to help, she says they can’t, because the attacker’s father is one of them (jumps around the place excitedly!)  …

The book moves between diary extracts from ten years ago to a non diary narrative of modern day in a small Welsh town of Ponty Ferry where Rebecca is now married with a young child. The diary extracts contained some beautiful details about Rebecca and her mother and we were introduced to Solomon, her ex boyfriend. Back to modern day and Rebecca receives a message saying she has to nominate a person for a crime, and then witness it. This will happen a further nine times …
The story revolves around the ex, Solomon, and what a character he is! If I’m honest the only other character of this nature that remains as memorable to me is ‘Oliver’ from ‘Unraveling Oliver’ by Liz Nugent. Solomon has a back story that stays in your mind and makes you realise the impact a lack of parental love can have on someone. His thought processes are horrendous but pure genius, as is his revenge.

I highlight as I read, and make notes too, and as I went through this book I highlighted line after line, passage after passage, totally engrossed in every single detail but then, as soon after the crimes that Rebecca is forced to witness began,  I stopped as I was too engrossed.

The storyline was a great experiment on what someone will do to keep themselves and their family alive, although I have to admit there were so many things I’d have done differently(!) The drama builds and builds, the pages turn, and the numbers on the chapters, which I found to be deliciously short, climbed. There was also the nice touch that at times the diary extracts interrupted you, you had been notified as to who the person and the crime was, and just as you were ready to ‘see’ the crime, you got the diary extract with an equally important and riveting backstory. Saying all of this I have to warn you that although it’s not the toughest out there there is violence and a theme of domestic abuse. And, well that’s all I’m going to tell you except Id be shocked if this wasn’t in my top ten books at the end 2017.

Excellent plot, pacing and characters, a mesmerising book that has got me ready to work my way through all of Caroline Mitchell’s books.
Rating:5/5