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Avon Books UK

The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Alice Hunter

When a young woman disappears, seemingly abducted, local vet Jenny is more concerned than most. Jenny has managed to distance herself from her traumatic past, changing her name and building a life for herself where nobody knows the truth. Olivia’s disappearance has changed all that, however, as it bears a resemblance to a case she is very familiar with: the murders committed by her father when she was younger. Someone knows what happened and is taunting her, but who?

The Serial Killer’s Daughter starts with a great hook and I was immediately drawn in to the story. Jenny is the ultimate unreliable narrator, and from the start of the book, we are left wondering if she knows more about the disappearance or whether she is, indeed, being set up by someone from her past. Once we find out about the blackouts she is having, this muddies the water further – has she done something during a blackout that she, herself, is even unaware of?

Despite the uncertainty surrounding her involvement, I had great sympathy for Jenny and what she had gone through as a child. As the book progresses, we get to find out more about her father’s crimes and how this has affected her whole life. Is murder in her blood? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Net Galley for my ARC.

The Guilty Couple by C L Taylor

Olivia Sutherland has just been released from prison after serving five years for plotting to have her husband murdered. She knows it was a wrongful conviction and that she was framed by someone she knew well – the husband she was accused of trying to kill. Now free, she has a few things she needs to do: clear her name, repair the relationship between herself and her daughter and exact revenge on her husband. With her husband’s lies running deeper than she realised, just how far will he go to stop Olivia from revealing the truth?

The Guilty Couple is a twisty tale of deceit and a lesson in whether we can really trust those closest to us. We know from the outset that Olivia has been framed and that her husband is the one who has done it, but what we don’t realise is just how deep these lies go. As the book progresses, and the lies start to unravel due to Olivia’s doggedness, there is a sense of foreboding as we discover that there are even secrets among her closest allies. Will Olivia manage to clear her name or is she putting herself in even more danger?

There is some great characterization, my favourite character being Smithy, someone who was in prison with Olivia. While some of her methods of help are far from legal, I liked how she helped Olivia to toughen up, giving her the strength to continue with her mission.

While it is fair to say that you do have to suspend belief on several occasions, C L Taylor has written another book that will keep you gripped until the last page, willing Olivia to clear her name and start a new life without any guilt hanging over her.

With thanks to Net Galley and Avon for my ARC.

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

After taking a DNA test, Liz Catalano is shocked to discover that she is adopted. Feeling that her whole life has been a lie, she is determined to find her biological family in order to discover where she actually came from. What starts as a family search soon turns into something more sinister – her DNA is connected to a notorious serial killer who has been operating for decades. The Tri-State killer abducts pairs of young women, keeping them hostage before killing them and it would seem that time is running out for his latest victims. With Liz desperate to get to know her new family, is she walking straight into a trap that will see her becoming the next victim?

As a family historian who loves reading books about serial killers, the blurb for this book ticked all of the boxes for me. I have enjoyed reading genealogical fiction for many years but it is only recently that I have seen authors venture into the world of DNA, something that I feel opens up so many potential storylines. In The Family Tree, this is used with great effect as we see Liz dealing with not only the news of her adoption but that her biological family contains an active serial killer.

I really felt for Liz and although I felt her treatment of her adoptive family was, initially, very poor, I could understand her desire to seek out her roots. Even after she discovered the reality of her biological family, it was easy to see why she did not want to break this newly-found bond, even if it was with a serial killer.

The story moves on at a good pace, providing clues and red herrings about who the killer is. We do get to read about the unnamed killer in flashback chapters where we are introduced to his particularly sadistic crimes. This is one terrifying individual, the scenes made even more chilling with his captives’ realisation that others have gone before them.

The Family Tree is an easy to read book with a great plot that kept me more than entertained. Highly recommended.

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Net Galley for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

Beth and Tom Hardcastle live in the sort of village where everyone knows everyone else’s business. It doesn’t take long, therefore, for news to travel when the police appear at Beth’s door. Thinking that something bad has happened to her husband, Beth is shocked when she is told that Tom is helping them with their enquiries into the disappearance and possible murder of his former girlfriend. As the evidence begins to mount, Beth begins to wonder how much she actually knows her husband. The villagers have other nagging doubts, though: surely as his wife, Beth must have suspected… mustn’t she?


This debut from Alice Hunter takes the traditional serial killer book and turns it on its head by not having its focus on the perpetrator or the police investigation. As the title suggests, we see most of the story from the perspective of Beth, a woman with a successful cafe, a young daughter and a seemingly loving husband. We soon realise however that, despite her ‘perfect’ life, she appears quite lonely with no family and no real friends. This adds to the devastation when her husband is arrested as she doesn’t really have anyone close who she can turn to. I liked how the author developed the character of Beth and enjoyed reading a book about the killer’s wife rather than the killer – something I haven’t read about in many books.

It is no spoiler to reveal that Tom is a killer as this is more than suggested in the title of the book, so the focus isn’t on if he did it but whether or not there is evidence to prove it. As the book progresses, we find out more about his life before he met Beth, building up a complete picture of the character that is trying to prove his innocence. I liked how, as a reader, there is no ambiguity about his character, but we have nagging doubts about Beth. Has she been covering up for him or did she genuinely not know?


The Serial Killer’s Wife is a slow burner of a book, but this does not mean that it is not a gripping read – far from it! I raced through it, eagerly awaiting the outcome and was totally taken aback by the twist at the end. This is one of those books where you know something is coming, but can’t figure out what and Alice Hunter keeps us waiting right until the end to hit us with something that will truly make you gasp.


This is a superb debut and, on the strength of this, I can’t wait to read Alice Hunter’s next book.


With thanks to Ellie Pilcher and Eleanor Slater at Avon for my ARC and for organising the blog tour.





The Silent Suspect by Nell Pattison

When sign language interpreter, Paige Northwood, receives a call asking her to assist at the scene of a house fire, she arrives to find client Lukas alive and well but his wife trapped inside the burning building. As her lifeless body is brought out, it becomes apparent that she was dead before the fire started. Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife but refuses to share his thoughts with the police, leaving him as the prime suspect. Feeling that he is hiding something, Paige sets out to help, but is he guilty or afraid of something or someone?

This is the third in the Paige Northwood series and while there are references to the previous two, it can be read as a standalone. There are some spoilers, but nothing that would prevent someone from going back and reading the earlier books.

My attention was grabbed right from the start as the scene is set almost immediately, introducing us to Lukas and why he needs Paige’s help. It was apparent very early on that Lukas had something to hide but was he trying to protect someone or was he scared to tell the truth? Some twists and turns along the way keep you asking these questions until the end, suspicion being placed on several characters until the big reveal.

I think the main strength of these books is the accurate portrayal of the deaf community, something which I do not recall being a subject in any other books. Nell Pattison shows how vital people like Paige are, helping deaf people to access the things that the rest of us take for granted. I did find myself getting frustrated by Paige several times, however, and I wish that she would take her own advice about trying to stay out of trouble!

This is a series that I am really enjoying and I look forward to seeing how repercussions from events in The Silent Suspect affect Paige in future books.

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Eleanor Slater for my copy.

The Girl on the Platform by Bryony Pearce

New mum Bridget is on her way home from work on the train when she witnesses something horrific – a young girl being abducted from a passing station. With none of the other passengers claiming to have seen anything and the police reluctant to believe her, Bridget feels that it is up to her to find the girl. As she begins to uncover the truth, she must make the decision as to whether it is worth putting her own life in danger for a child that nobody else seems to care about.

I love a story with an unreliable witness and in Bridget we definitely have this! With a lifetime of metal health problems and suffering from post-natal depression, there is no doubt that she is a troubled woman. Teamed with the fact that she feels that she is not spending enough time with her baby, we have a main protagonist who made me constantly change my mind as to whether to believe her or not.

At the beginning of the book, there was a definite The Girl on the Train feel, with Bridget determined to find the truth even though others are reluctant to believe her. In my opinion, however, The Girl on the Platform is even better than the aforementioned novel, grabbing my interest right from the start and sustaining it until the very last page. I had been suffering from a bit of a reading slump and this was the book that dragged me out of it, not wanting to put it down for a second!

There is a good range of supporting characters although we see the plot from the perspective of two people – Bridget and the girl on the platform. The chapters featuring the young girl were chilling, and made me desperate for Bridget to be believed and for her to be returned back to her family. At the back of my mind, though, was the nagging doubt that maybe this was all being imagined by Bridget due to the medication she was on. I was pleased that she received support from her husband who always seemed to have her best interests at heart and provided her with love, even if she couldn’t always see it.

At one point in the story, I did start to have an inkling as to where the plot was going to go but I was still genuinely taken aback by the explosive ending. If you are looking for a book to become totally engrossed in, then I cannot recommend The Girl on the Platform enough. This is shaping up to be one of my books of the year.

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Net Galley for my copy.

Silent Night by Nell Pattison

A school for the deaf are on a trip to a cabin in the woods when one of the teenage boys goes missing. His disappearance is soon followed by that of a member of staff, a teacher whose body is soon found deep in the forest. Sign language interpreter Paige Northwood is brought in to assist the police and it soon becomes clear that while many have motives, they also have alibis. With still no clues as to the whereabouts of the missing boy, Leon, finding him becomes vital as it is obvious that there is a killer ready to strike again.

This is the second in the Paige Northwood series, following on from the previous book The Silent House. This can be read as a standalone, however, or it could be read out of sequence if you haven’t yet read the first. Like in the previous book, I liked looking at the investigation from an perspective other than the police, enjoying Paige’s involvement and how her skills provided alternative angles to investigate. She did, at times, infuriate me though when she was unaware whether to share her suspicions with DS Singh. I kept wanting to shake her, telling her, “Yes! Tell him!”

From early on in the book, it soon becomes apparent that this group of teenagers are keeping secrets but are they related to the murder or is it a case of self-preservation? These secrets are gradually revealed throughout the book, keeping you on your toes as you try to work out exactly what has been going on in the school. To complicate matters further, Paige discovers that her ex-boyfriend, Mike, is now working at the school, raking up painful memories for her. It was good to find out more about Paige’s life, helping us to gain a better understanding of her past and about the sort of person she is.

The plot twists and turns and I changed my mind several times about who the murderer was. I felt that it came to a satisfying conclusion and wished I’d taken more notice of a clue that was given earlier in the story that would have helped me to uncover the motive! This is promising to be a really good series and I look forward to reading Nell Pattison’s next book.

With thanks to Avon Books UK and Net Galley for my copy.

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