Gone Missing by T.J. Brearton


Length: 372 pages

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

What they say: Katie Calumet is on an early-morning run when she hears a baby crying. The park is deserted, and there’s no one in the street. She follows the cries, but then everything goes black. When Katie wakes up, she’s blindfolded and her hands and feet are bound.

Detective Justin Cross takes on the case, but with the trail leading into endless dense forest, and a failing marriage weighing on his mind, finding Katie is his most challenging case yet – not least because the Calumet family are keeping secrets of their own.

Justin and Katie face a race against time that will push them both to their very limits. As Justin works day and night to discover who took her and why, Katie fights desperately to escape from her kidnappers and the forest that surrounds her…

Can Justin find her before it’s too late?

The Review:Talk about a book too get you nervy! Kate Calumet heads off on her run one day only to come across a the sound of a baby crying coming from a van. She’s heard all of the urban legends and so is unsure approaching the van but decides to send a text to her husband and so, of course all will be okay. But then she’s gone.

The book alternated between Kate, who I loved, who’s just trying to stay alive, and Detective Cross, who is coming up against road block after road block trying to solve the case. The husband, who seems so upset at what’s happened, still seems to be hiding something, as is her very wealthy family. There is also a large press presence because of who Kate is and so this came with the big guns in terms of people investigating too. I loved the inticacies of police work which were excellent in this book. Another thing was  the settings, if there was ever a book that had chases that read like a motion picture movie it was this one. I saw everything in full colour- the jump between her home where the stress of the kidnapping and the secrets weighing them down contrasted against Kate that was as vivid as anything I’ve read. I loved the pacing which was full on and fast, although I have to admit there was one or two points I was disappointed at things that could have happen to create more of a thrill (I know, totally just me, I was so taken with everything that I had my own movie running in my head, remember?) All in all, definitely recommended and I will most definitely be picking up more from this author again.

Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5


#Excerpt Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Today I’m thrilled to bring you an extract from Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts, which is out now!


Length: 258 pages

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

What they say:

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

(Jenny Morton Potts takes to the psychological thriller stage on an international canvass, and with a unique, bold voice.)

The Excerpt: When they arrived at Turville, there were many cars in the lot. You might have thought you were attending a concert. There was no landscaping, nothing to soften the bricks of this death house which had been painted grey some time ago and had begun to flake. The Harfield logo hung on a large metal plaque. It too was faded and chipped.

Without a word of leave, the escorting officers walked away from the passengers and new staff took over. The minibus occupants were told that their belongings would be locked in the van until post-procedure. They were asked if they would like to take quarters into the building as there was a vending machine with snacks and drinks.

Then another officer, a woman, just young, set about asking them security questions and issuing tags on neck bands. ‘You have to sign your name in a ledger. That’s first.’ She made herding movements with her arms and the group passed through a body sensor and then there was a cursory pat down. The officer held her thumb and forefinger up, like a diver’s affirmative. Good to go.

Keller noted that indeed the older man he had marked out as a journalist, was permitted to take a notepad in with him. The redhead girl was also permitted writing material. Their pens were tested in a small scanning machine and he overheard the girl saying that she was preparing her doctoral thesis.

‘Nice subject for a PhD,’ Keller muttered beneath his breath. ‘Classy.’

Somehow, he thought there would be a long walk now, time for contemplation but almost straight away the group were led into a small waiting room. The walls were solid, there was no viewing window. This was not the place then. But there was a vending machine. Keller could see fresh apples in the bottom row.

The redhead sat opposite Keller. He wondered if she would like the look of him. Women usually did, at first. It wasn’t really the time or the place but a woman like her was hardly one for etiquette. She looked at her watch and said to the student wearing the plaster cast that she could barely cope without her cell. She then realised that there was some sort of joke to be made of the pun on ‘cell’ and actually

laughed. Keller had a sudden vision of being in a lifeboat, sitting next to her, and pushing her over the side. She scribbled away in her big A4 pad, a ring with a diamond on her wedding finger. She was engaged then, and no doubt believed that she had everything to live for. The death penalty has a way of driving home a point like that. The girl sighed, like she had done a hard day’s work. As if taunting him, she let the pad rest upside down on her lap, so that he could make out the words. She had big, babyish writing. Not like the American cursive they were taught. She had a bit of an accent too. Probably went to one of those expensive schools in Europe. Keller looked down at her notes.

…2002 Uzbekistan authorities boiled men to death in water… China have mobile death units, small buses with in-house execution equipment which travel to far lying provinces…. Neighboring South Carolina executed a 14 year old in the electric chair…

Keller stared hard at the redhead. What a charming companion for the day. Fleetingly, he wondered if he should follow her home tonight and get in a bit of target practice. He could get himself match ready and make the world a better place without this member of the population. He dug his knuckles into his thigh and told himself to stop getting distracted.

Keller knew that there would be no stay, and no clemency. He knew that the procedure would begin at 12 noon prompt. He closed his eyes and let his head rest against the cool plaster of the wall behind the bench. Without vision, the thrum of the AC filled his ears fully and he shut out the hushed voices and fell asleep, as he had done in moments of stress as a child. He had Aunt Joya to thank for that technique. Every time she locked him out of the house, he’d nap, no matter what the temperature. If he were to have died of cold before waking, that wouldn’t have been much of a tragedy. There was a point in the coldness when you stopped noticing and the sleep just washed gently over you. He trained that sleep to come to him when he needed it, like a faithful dog.

When Keller was woken in the Turville waiting room, his legs had loosened and sprawled out before him. ‘It is time,’ someone seemed to have said in his ear. As the day’s reality cleaved through his head afresh, the redhead opposite had the nerve to

offer him a look of disapproval. She picked her way through his sleepy limbs and walked out of the door, sober and straight-faced.

There was a walk now. They passed doors, like random choices. They all looked the same, all the colour of pale nicotine. But some of those doors were in the business of living and some were not. As you walked past them, you could feel hope slipping away. Which door? Which one? It was like a game the devil might play as you entered hell. Eventually the passengers reached the end of their journey and were shown into another room which was similar in size to the last but with what looked like a window on one side. The window was dark for the moment, with a black blind pulled down and opposite, there was a gallery with seating. The seating was slightly raked, like a theatre. They were here for a performance.

About the author


Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realised she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.
Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with family.
She tries not to take herself too seriously.

Website http://www.jennymortonpotts.com/

Twitter (@jmortonpotts)


Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

midnightLength: 319 pages

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

What they say: When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has inherited his meagre worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu.

The review: So I actually found this book via Claire Heuston over at Art and Soul (an epic book and baking blog, see review here  and, having read the blurb, was keen to get over to Netgalley to request (Thanks so much to Cornerstone and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review!)

Now Claire’s review basically told me that it was a beautiful book, with a fabulous bookstore in it that didn’t feature quite enough, with the story moving away from this fantastic setting to investigate a murder that had happened in the protagonist, Lydia’s life. She found this to be a slight disappointment and I was slightly disappointed when she said this, but decided that maybe this element would be different for me. Unfortunately not, although it didn’t always take away from the book.

It is a book of two paths, the first, the story of Joey, who sadly committed suicide at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. His suicide fully took hold of me, his climb to his death, with the sound of fluttering pages and falling books echoing around a bookstore that oozed character adding to the intrigue as to what was going on. Joey is a Bookfrog, one of many characters that enter the bookstore solely for somewhere to be, and my heart went out to him and wished for him to be stronger, and less beaten down by life.

We meet Lydia, one of the only people in Joey’s life, without being his actual person, and we soon realise she has some monstrous skeletons in her closet. Lydia starts looking into Joey’s death, and it brings her back to her own past, as we find out the horror she had to face as a child int he presence of ‘Hammerman’. There’s a number of characters about, some lovely, some tougher. I found Lydia to be overdramatic at times, even given her circumstances, and so I sometimes struggled.

We come to know her estranged childhood friend and father, who have also been affected by the goings on of times past. Her past itself, when revealed, is tough going, not by any means the toughest I’ve read by a longshot, but you’re so immersed in it and so filled with the sensation of the darkness and being enshrouded by snow, that it was one of the more headachy reads I’ve read recently, causing me to blink a few times on finishing, as if I’d just woken up, or stepped into the light myself. The way everything was put together in the end slightly perplexed me at times, and there was some overdramaticness on Lydia’s part in relation to her father especially.

It’s a tough book to review, because I was incredulous at some things that happened in terms of coincidences, and yet was so taken by some of the storytelling, settings and beauty of it all that it made me want to make people read just so they could experience it too, in particular the opening.

Rating: 4/5



It’s Always The Husband by Michele Campbell


Length: 320 pages

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

What they say: Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge, and someone else is urging them to jump. How did things come to this? As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other – but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

The review: We start this story with a kicker:

‘She stumbled through the dark woods, the trees dripping raindrops onto her hair and party dress. Her shoes were covered in mud, and she trembled from the cold.’

This is the story of three housemates in a top college, Carlisle, all very different in personality, stature and popularity. Although inseparable, we are shown that at times they are not sure of each other and would otherwise most probably never have even met, let alone ended up being so close. There’s Aubrey, who doesn’t believe someone with her background will ever fit in somewhere as grand as Carlisle, Jenny, a down to earth local who seems to take it all in her stride, and Kate, who has never heard the word ‘no,’ and for whom popularity, wealth and stature are a given. The distinctions between these characters were perfection and I jumped between liking each of them and wondering were their agendas.

There’s a night when something happens and we are shot forward to twenty years later (loved this idea!), where some of the fortunes seem to have switched over somehow. Again I was not sure who I could trust or like. One of our trio suffers a tragic fate, and next thing we know we’re trying to solve a murder that might not be a murder. We’re led up, down and back up the garden path again, until inevitably, all becomes clear. The only thing was, it didn’t really become clear for me, as I found the ending to be like something of an afterthought, tacked on for effect. Saying that, this is subjective and many would have loved it. Aside from this I found this all to be one heck of a journey, although people who don’t like all the college years kind of stuff should be warned it takes up the first half of the book. Personally I loved the lightness of said years, that contrasted nicely with the drama and suspense that followed (also excellently done!). It was just the ending really, which was a pity, but it did disappoint me.

Thanks to St Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Remember Me by @Lyndarenham


Length: 292 pages

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

What they say: A new neighbour becomes a new friend. She looks up to you. She admires you, but is it you she wants? You begin to wonder if she wants your husband, or even your child. But then you realise, she wants your life.

When Sharni and Tom move into 24 The Pines, it seems like Clare and Chris have the perfect neighbours. Sharni is always there to help, especially with childcare for Clare’s two-year-old, Ben. But Clare can’t shake off the feelings of anxiety that assail her whenever Sharni is near. Is Clare just being overprotective, or are her feelings justified? As Sharni‘s influence touches everyone around her, Clare finds herself fighting for her sanity as well her family.

The Review: First off, I must direct you to my past experiences with Lynda Renham books (hint, I enjoyed them all!). You will note that these are all of the romantic comedy variety so I was surprised, and excited of course, to see this jump into my inbox one day. 

Little Perran Book  2, A Village Romance here  and Book 3 A Summer Romance here

Phoebe Smith’s Private Blog review here

Rory’s Proposal review here

Perfect Weddings review here

Oh and there was an author interview too … (here!)

I must say I really enjoyed this book. As you can see it’s the story of Clare, a lady who with her husband Chris, and beautiful son Ben. When Sharni and Tom move in next door they quickly become friends although rather quickly it’s apparent that Sharni perhaps looks up to Clare too much, beginning to seemingly copy her appearance and interior design. It was nicely done that we had in Clare a character who was so nervous and on edge, and this, coupled with her being on prescription medication meant that we weren’t sure if what was real and what was paranoia. Add to this that you’re also getting Sharni’s point of view and it made for a real page turner!

The friendship of the two women, and the trust that was built up was great, with Clare’s questioning and self doubt very believable and I liked that anything time-line wise that people may have questioned was quickly put to bed. I also like how you questioned everything, in particular the husband’s part in the story. My only issue was that the ending seemed rather abrupt, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. I think this is another one for people who don’t read thrillers a lot and want to slip into the genre without having to read anything too tough. All in all I’m beginning to be a big fan of the big switch from rom com to psychological thriller with such a well done ‘debut’ and I look forward to more of same from Ms. Renham.

Thanks to the author and Raucous Publishing for the book in return for an honest review

Rating: 4.5/5

About the author


Lynda’s books on Amazon

Lynda’s website

Lynda on Facebook

Lynda on Twitter   (@Lyndarenham)

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza

the girl int he ice

What they say: Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A page-turning thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, discover Rob Bryndza’s new series today – at a special launch price.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.

The Review: You know the phrase ‘you had me at “hello”?’ Well this book most certainly did:

“The pavement glittered in the moonlight as Andrea Douglas-Brown hurried up the deserted high street.”

(Note: I’m afraid to quote more as it could be labelled a spoiler, though to be honest if I could I’d actually quote the whole prologue, so maybe you’re lucky!)

So you’ve guessed it, this is going to be one of those gushy reviews where I’m going to be a bit all over the place because I just want to FORCE you to read this book! It’s apity because it’s a book I’d love to do justice to, but, well, I’ll try my best.

As Andrea moves along we are given hints of how affluent Andrea was as she struggles to decide on whether she should call her father’s driver and then we are hit with some action that made me want to lock the door and suck in the whole book there and then.

Actually our introduction to the characters were extremely well done, brought about purely through events they were involved in, and I was nervy fairly on in the book and soon quite nervous. Detective Erica Foster was a very strong character, albeit one with her own issues and I took to her straight away, her ‘nothing to lose and so willing to lose everything’ demeanor that was essential in order to solve the cases that came before her were really well done, as were the scrapes she got into and I was reminded of why Robert Bryndza’s books are so popular and why he has made the move from chick lit to thriller so flawlessly.

There were multiple points of view in this book, however most of the job of telling us what happened descended on Erica, although it was told in third person which I have to admit, I generally enjoy more. The characters were so alive from the very first words and the descriptions of the locations, some so decadent, others dank and filthy, were amazing. The book was gripping from start to finish, with a humdinger of an ending, although I have to admit I found myself to be slightly disappointed with the identity of the killer, I could missed something but I’m not sure I could have guessed it was them, which I think is always half of the fun of thrillers.

A great great book, and one that readers of most contemporary genres will fly through, very satisfied, as I was, after they reach the end (where they are greeted by a brilliant letter from the author himself.) After this book I have to admit, I dove straight in and signed up for his newsletter (something I don’t do a lot), and went to check out his back catalogue of books (which seem to be right up my street, by the by so yay!) and his new one ‘The Night Stalker,’ the second book of this series, which I will without doubt be reading soon. As for ‘The Girl In The Ice?’ Most definitely one to read asap.  Thanks to Netgalley for the book in exchange for an honest review and as always the image links to a universal buy link for the book. Go get.

Rating: 4.5/5


Room by Emma Donaghue

By the



Amazon US

Amazon UK

What They Say: NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE — nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

The Review: I read this some time ago but due to all the buzz and craziness (probably warranted) I thought I’d post a review. It’s now a bit overdue but anyhoo …

I adored this book. When I read it there was a lot of talk about it (pre film, though a lot of people were hoping for one), but I had no real idea what it was about and I’ll admit, hadn’t even read the blurb. The narrator  of the book is the gorgeous five year old Jack, obviously intriguing and ingenious in itself,a s he goes through everyday life in ‘Room, ‘with ‘bed’ and ‘wardrobe’ practically characters in his mind. We are given insights into his mother’s frame of mind and yet her strength as she struggles to give Jack a ‘normal’ life, playing with him, telling him of stars and things ‘out there’ that he doesn’t believe exist. This may just be a mother’s view, but I think one of the big themes of this book was that even faced with huge amount of adversity in life, if a child has some form of stability in forms of a parent or guardian, they can still be well adjusted and educated.

It’s funny how such a simple story can bring you along with it, for most of it is simple, you remember that they’re trapped there, you have a slight feeling of unease  and yet you’re just listening to a mother and son converse, a mother explaining things to her son without trying to upset him and yet, as would be expected, it’s not always that easy, nobody could be expected to hold it together all the time, and there are times she falls and you feel the horror again, how can anyone exist like this and what will happen to make things change?

Her captor makes appearances every so often and he’s everything you expect him to be, a monster who thinks of people as property, with no thought for what he’s doing. Even though he is this, and even though the subject matter is oh so dark, I didn’t really empathise with the reviews that found it so disturbing, and I think that that’s where Ms. Donoghue’s simple and effective writing, as well as the child’s narrative comes in. We’re so deeply involved in the story, in listening in, in thinking about their next move, as in the next five minutes, not whether this can continue long term, that we just read on, we have the slight uneasy feeling the whole time, but there’s not the graphicness and horror that other writers may have added to shock. I have not seen the films, but was a bit shocked by the unnecessary spoiler contained in the trailer, in the same way I’m pretty sure the paperback had a hint as to what might happen in the book and it annoyed me. Let me tell you, you don’t need to know. A must, must, must read (in my humble opinion!) Oh and make sure to let me know, have you read? Have you seen the film? Maybe you plan to do both together or are you just not bothered?I’d love to know!

Rating: 5/5