Tag Archive | thrillers

It’s Always The Husband by Michele Campbell

it'salwaysthehusband

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

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Remember Me by @Lyndarenham

rememberme

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

thumbnail_pKTCLgh8_400x400LyndaRenham

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

 

room

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

 

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

ThegirlonthetrainWhat they say:

THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER.
YOU DON’T KNOW HER. BUT SHE KNOWS YOU.
Rear Window meets Gone Girl, in this exceptional and startling psychological thriller

‘Gripping, enthralling – a top-notch thriller and a compulsive read’
S J WATSON, bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

 

The Review: Chances are, you’ve heard of this. Neatly coupled with ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn for every mention, it’s the book that everybody wants to know if you’ve read. So I read it. I had read ‘Gone Girl’ some time ago and I was firmly in the ‘loved it’ camp (yes, you have to take sides, apparently it’s not possible to just like it, it’s a black and white love or hate game).

As you can see above, it’s the story of Rachel, who is taking the train every morning. Up until now, Rachel had been stumbling through life, reeling from the break up of her marriage, and was dealing with alcohol issues. We start to get some of her back story, while seeing her struggling to keep it together. I loved her reasoning and justifications, and I felt for her, although there were times when you did wish she could get it together (I felt a bit guilty for thinking this.) Anyhoo, in first person, we experience Rachel imagining the stories of a couple she sees from afar when the train stops at a signal. She is obsessed with them, thinking of them as the perfect couple, no flaws, no secrets. One morning, she thinks she sees something, and this, coupled with a news story, brings her life new meaning. The alcohol was a great tool in the story as you weren’t quite sure what Rachel was remembering or whether she was credible at all, but then, there weren’t a lot of credible people in this story!

The story is given to us mostly from her point of view, and then we get the point of view of other people who are involved with what happens. I did wish we could have had one or two more points of view to even it out a little.

A psychological thriller, ‘The Girl on the Train’ is actually a light enough read, I didn’t get fully absorbed into it as I did ‘The Girl with no Past‘ (they coupled it with these two books so I’m going to go there too!) but I did enjoy it. I think, had this been the first thriller I’d read, I’d possibly have enjoyed it more, but ‘Gone Girl’ was in the back of my head and I was constantly making comparisons and clumping them together. Conversely, if I read ‘Gone Girl’ now I don’t know if I’d think it was so innovative or enjoyable. I’d say read it and enjoy. Either way, you’re probably going to read it anyway, aren’t you? I would say it’s more for those of us who don’t read a lot of thrillers, and who are on the lookout for something not too violent or gruesome.

Rathing: 4/5