Tag Archive | thriller

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

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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

All Fall Down by Tom Bale

 

allfalldown

Length: 359 pages

Note: The cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link

What they say:

It’s the perfect Sunday. Summer sunshine, a barbecue with the kids.
But a knock on the garden gate and two words, ‘HELP ME’, changes everything.

When loving parents Rob and Wendy Turner let a dying man into their home, and do their best to help him, they think pure chance led him to their house. But soon their lives are threatened in ways they could never have imagined … and then the first anonymous letter arrives, forcing them to question all they know.

Someone is watching.
Someone is waiting.
They will stop at nothing.

Rob and Wendy will do anything to keep their family safe, but their children Georgia, Josh and Evan are teenagers now, with their own hidden lives.

Everyone has secrets, but how can you save your family, if you don’t really know them?

The Review: I had seen this book on so many blogs and was chomping at the bit to get to it. From the start I was excited. There’s so many thrillers out there where whatever happens takes place when the lead is alone, and it was nice for it to take place at a family barbecue, when everyone was together and so there were witnesses. The ‘it’ is the stumbling of a homeless man who has been tortured into the garden. This more than set the scene and I was ready for a rough ride. I enjoyed Mr Bale’s storytelling, after worrying at the start that the writing wasn’t my cup of tea, as Rob, the lead, was too paranoid and wondered a bit too much about the homeless man, leading me to think that the ‘was there a message to all of this’ line of thinking was trying too hard to lead us. This flew in the face of times where we weren’t told things about the past that could have been alluded to earlier.  My other issue was that I found the story to be a bit disjointed at times, and I had to make notes on the many minor characters, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Saying that, this all quickly faded to grey as we followed Rob and his family away and came face to face with a group of nut jobs (well, they were!), who felt they had the right to do as they pleased to get all the power they felt they deserved. I had that muzzy feeling and tension headache that comes from being so deep into a book that you are walking alongside the characters absolutely terrified of what is going to happen next. This group of people wanted to push boundaries by seeing how they can physically hurt people and I knew the author was over a line that most of the thriller and crime writers that I read would toe, and it had me nervous of what I could actually read. I had some relief when some things DIDN’T happen but it was still a tough one. Saying that it was excellent, the story, the characters, the tension, and I read it in just two sittings (would have read in one but, you know, kid stuff;)) and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Highly recommend if you like the grit of a tough hostage situation where anything can go. Special mention for Tom Bale’s letter to the reader at the end-it will most definitely drive me on to his next book. Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this book in return for an honest review.
Rating:5/5

 

 

 

The Sister by Louise Jensen

the-sister

Length:336 pages

What they Say:”I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?

The Review: I had heard of this a lot in blogging circles and everyone was gushing so much I had to read it. Little did I know this was going to be one of my favourite thrillers of the year.

The story is told in first person from the point of view of Grace, who is mourning the death of her best friend Charlie. When I say best friends, it is actually more like they’re sisters, they know everything about each other and spend all their time together, however, as you’ll see in the blurb, it turns out that Grace doesn’t actually know everything about Charlie, and is constantly trying to piece together fragments of memories so that she can decipher what Charlie’s last words meant. The story moves between ‘then’ and ‘now’ and I loved that the settings moved from being dark to light, with exceptional descriptions that really put you there and it is dotted with brief flashes of humour that I really appreciated. There are many mysteries to wonder about, and many characters to suspect when things start to go wrong. The only issue I had was something in Grace’s past, which was very much built up and then turned out to be a disappointment, but aside from that I couldn’t fault this book.  A book that very much had you wondering what was going to happen next and who you could trust, I really have to say I loved this and have already bought The Gift by Louise Jensen and can’t wait to read. This book was both a pleasure and a thrill. Highly recommended. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Bookouture for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

 

The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza

 nightLength: 382 pages

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

What they say:

If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

The global bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice is back with a heart-racing, electrifying thriller. If you love Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, you’ll be hooked on Robert Bryndza.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster.

 

The Review: I’d like to start by apologising for my lengthy absence. Every blogger out there whose been gone a while generally comes back and it’s either personal reasons, or some huge achievement … I’m not sure I can offer you either. I HAVE been writing a new rom com, part of a series, and considering I’ve been gone exactly a month I should be telling you that this is finished, but I’m ambling along, albeit with some purpose, and am nearly finished draft 1. And hey, I’ll take it, as there was a time I was afraid that It Started With A Snub was going to be my sole work. So anyhoo, good to be back and I have been reading all around me as I’ve gone, so I will have a constant flow of reviews for you in the coming days/weeks, so that’s something too!

You’ll remember how much I adored The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza (see review here). I raved about it, recommended it in every facebook forum possible and outside of social media, with friends and family that I thought would enjoy. I was thrilled to be back to see Erica Foster again, back to find another killer on the loose in the streets of London.

The pacing of this book was epic, the atmosphere created from the start charged, backed up, as before, with impeccable descriptions that put me right at the scenes of the murders, and I found myself nervously making my way to bed at night, checking under beds and in cupboards (I hate being an adult sometimes!).

We were shown intimate details of characters that were close to Erica, and in the back of our mind I was trying to figure out if they were related to the goings on. Special mention for those out there who are writers/ avid readers, they will be be especially happy with the presence of an author in this book (or maybe I’m just nerdier than I thought!).

We were also privy to conversations between two characters in a chat room, and so had a slight edge on DCI Foster, albeit not much. These, joined with an extra back story helped us piece together the puzzle of deaths that were connected and yet not alongside Erica (not before as I’m sure others could). They were delivered in a dark, fast paced manner that kept me wanting to read the whole time. I will say that I found this book darker than book 1, and tougher too, and so it comes with a slight caveat on the level of detail in terms of people’s private lives (porn on computers and the like) and methods of murder, meaning  I’m not sure that it will fit all of the people that book 1 did, however it will most definitely lasso even more of an audience into his books. A great book that I will also be recommending, that can be read as a standalone or part of the series (you may as well go back and read book 1 too!)

Cannot wait for the next book in this series. Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5