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Black Swan

Gone by Leona Deakin

When a woman goes missing, the police are reluctant to investigate, especially as she has a history of leaving the family home. This seems different, though, and psychologist Dr. Augusta Bloom and her partner, Marcus, begin an investigation. When they discover that other people have vanished in similar circumstances, each of them receiving a birthday card with an invitation to play an unknown game, Bloom begins to realise that there is something larger at play. Who is behind the cards and what is their motive? When she makes a connection between the ‘victims’, her fears become real – they aren’t the ones who are in danger, they are the ones we should be scared of…

This is one of those books which, after reading the blurb, piqued my interest straight away as, although it was about missing people, there was definitely a huge twist. Just what would make these people voluntarily leave their lives behind them, as there seemed no evidence that they had been coerced in any way. I liked how we were kept waiting for quite a while before the connection between the missing people was revealed as this really kept my brain ticking over as I tried to work out what was going on! When the truth was revealed, this definitely ramped up the tension as I began to understand the twisted nature of what was happening.

There is a second story running alongside this one, as we meet Seraphine, a schoolgirl who has been been involved in an incident at school which has left a man fighting for his life. Throughout these chapters, I felt as though I developed a better understanding of Dr. Bloom’s professional life as she worked with Seraphine to find out the truth about what really happened that day. Seraphine was a fascinating character and I enjoyed the insight into her world as she shared her asides.

If you are one of these people that completes quizzes on Facebook, (you know the ones – What is your spirit animal? What song are you?…) then this book will seriously make you think about doing one of them ever again! I have always been wary of things like this due to data mining, but Gone takes this to another level! Very scary!

Gone is a genuinely thrilling book with a novel plot. I liked how the threads all tied together nicely and I raced through the book, desperate to see how it would end. I really enjoyed this introduction to Augusta Bloom and Marcus Jameson and will be definitely be looking forward to any further books by Leona Deakin.

With thanks to Hayley Barnes for my copy of Gone.



The Intruder by P. S. Hogan

William Heming is a trusted estate agent who has dealt with numerous house sales over the years. Each house he’s sold, however, he keeps a copy of the key and sometimes he visits them again. Waiting until the owners are out, he lets himself in and makes himself at home. He prides himself on the few times he’s nearly been caught but what will happen if he is ever found out? What will he do to stop his pastime from being uncovered?

If you live in a house that has once been owned by someone else, by the end of this book, you’ll be seriously considering having the locks changed! William Heming is your worst nightmare – an enemy you didn’t know you had! Hiding in plain sight, he visits your house, eats your food, sits on your sofa, looks through your most personal items… Definitely creepy!

The story is narrated by Heming and we first encounter him doing what could almost be described as a good turn for an elderly woman. This definitely lulled me into a false sense of security as I felt that he didn’t seem a bad character. How wrong I was! We first get an insight into his psychopathic tendencies when he discusses his early life. My opinion of him soon changed as he spoke about his misdemeanors, not showing an ounce of remorse for what he did. This attitude continued into his adult life as his crimes became more and more extreme, using his position as an estate agent as cover. As a result, I found myself disliking him more and more as the book progressed and willed him to get his comeuppance. You will have to read the book yourself, though, to see if this happens!

The Intruder is an intense, claustrophobic book with a detestable narrator but a compelling read nonetheless! Just keep looking over your shoulder…

With thanks to Rosie Margesson and Penguin Random House for my ARC.

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