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Claire Douglas

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Many years ago, in the quiet town of Tilby, teenager Flora Powell went out, never to be seen again. Now, her sister, Heather, has committed an unthinkable crime, her own life hanging in the balance. Journalist Jess, tasked with writing about the event, has more reasons than most to uncover the truth – she used to be Heather’s best friend and was there the day Flora disappeared. Jess knows she must face her past and return to where it all began. Just what exactly happened to Flora and how is it linked to current events?

This is one of those books that gets you hooked from the first chapter as we witness the fatal shooting of a man and his elderly mother by a calm, cold-blooded killer. From the outset, we are introduced to the main mysteries in the book: Who is the killer? Who are the victims? What links them? As the book progresses, it soon becomes apparent that there are more secrets in the Powell family and that the disappearance of Flora seems to be, somehow, linked to the killings. The story alternates between the present day investigation and the run-up to Flora’s disappearance, twenty years ago, providing us with a fast-paced, gripping plot that just makes you not want to put the book down!

I liked the character of Jess who we see battling with her emotions, feeling the pressure from her boss to exploit her relationship with the family to secure exclusive interviews with the family. This was particularly difficult for her as we discover the reason for her leaving her previous post was due to the much-publicised phone hacking scandal, so she could really do with keeping her work above board. For much of the book, I did not know how I felt about Heather, but I think that this is the author’s intention: she is a multi-faceted character who, to understand her fully, you will need to read the whole book.

Although there are some parts of the mystery that do not come as a surprise, there are quite a few red herrings along the way which make you change your theory as you are reading. There are enough shifty characters to make you question which of them were involved in Flora’s disappearance, each with their own motive. The revelation of what exactly happened to Flora is a particularly shocking one, and one that filled me with hatred for those responsible.

I have really enjoyed reading Claire Douglas’s books before – take a look at my reviews of Last Seen Alive and Local Girl Missing – and this one is another fantastic read. If you’re looking for a thriller that will grab and hold your attention, one of those ‘just one more chapter’ books, then Then She Vanishes is the book for you! Highly recommended!

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and Netgalley for my copy.

Monthly Round Up – June 2019

We are now into the second half of the year and I am on schedule to meet my Goodreads target although my Net Galley books just don’t seem to be going down – a problem I’m sure many of you share!

Books I’ve Read

The Ghost of Hollow House by Linda Stratmann

The latest in the Mina Scarletti series sees the Victorian author / ghost debunker investigating the ghostly goings-on at the ancient Hollow House. With secrets lurking around every corner, just what will Mina manage to uncover?

Forget My Name by J S Monroe

When a woman turns up unannounced at a house, claiming to live there, the occupants have no idea who she is. With no memory of who she is, it soon becomes clear that there is something strange going on but who is she and what is her connection to the house? A great psychological thriller.

The Sinclair Betrayal by M J Lee

When genealogist Jayne Sinclair decides to bite the bullet and investigate her own family history, little does she know what she is about to uncover. Murder, espionage and Wartime Europe all help to create a thrilling book which is my favourite of the series so far.

The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

The second in the Marquess House dual timeline series takes us back to the reign of Elizabeth I. With more revelations which could threaten British History as we know it, Perdita and Piper Rivers must tread carefully if they are to protect their own lives.

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Twenty years ago, teenager Flora Powell disappeared. Now, her sister, Heather, stands accused of the bloody murder of a man and his elderly mother. Are the events somehow linked and what actually happened to Flora? This is full of twists and turns – a superb read!

Books I’ve Acquired

Nothing has felt right since she told the lie… 

Claire Carmichael leads a charmed life. She has two beautiful sons, Jamie and Joshua, and a handsome and successful husband who loves her. She has been taught well by her mother – the most important thing Claire has is her good reputation. 

He said, she said… 

Even when she was in school, Claire had it all. She was clever, likable, and after passing the initiation tests, she was welcomed into the society of popular girls – The Queen Bees. So when a scandal threatened to ruin Claire’s reputation, the Queen Bees closed rank to protect her, no matter who else got hurt. 

Never forgotten, never forgiven… 

Claire may have moved on from her school days, but for one person who she hurt irreparably, those memories are as fresh as blood. And all it takes to reap their revenge, is ONE PERFECT LIE.

If only someone had listened… 

When the supposed suicide of famous Scottish football coach Harry Nugent hits the headlines, the tabloids are filled with tributes to a charitable pillar of the community that gave so much back to sport and to those less fortunate. 

But something isn’t right. Normally celebrities are queuing up to claim to have had a very special relationship with the deceased, but investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil is getting the distinct impression that people are trying to distance themselves from Harry. 

Oonagh’s investigation leads her to uncover a heartbreakingly haunting cover-up that chills her to the core… and places her in mortal danger from those willing to protect their sadistic and dark secrets at any cost…

Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.

Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck. 

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event. 

With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.

Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?

April 1980 and Jane is the first female detective to be posted to the Met’s renowned Flying Squad, commonly known as the ‘Sweeney’. Based at Rigg Approach in East London, they investigate armed robberies on banks, cash in transit and other business premises. 

Jane thinks her transfer is on merit and is surprised to discover she is actually part of a short term internal experiment, intended to have a calming influence on a team that likes to dub themselves as the ‘Dirty Dozen’. 

The men on the squad don’t think a woman is up to the dangers they face when dealing with some of London’s most ruthless armed criminals, who think the only ‘good cop’ is a dead cop. Determined to prove she’s as good as the men, Jane discovers from a reliable witness that a gang is going to carry out a massive robbery involving millions of pounds. 

But she doesn’t know who they are, or where and when they will strike . . .

I can’t wait to read the next in the Jane Tennison and Kim Stone series! Happy reading!

Monthly Roundup – April 2019

I think I may have read a few more contenders for my favourite books of the year this month, one of which was one of my most eagerly anticipated books of 2019!

I’ve been part of a few blog tours this month with reviews of Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney  and The Peacock Bottle by Angela Rigley. I also hosted an extract from A Tale of Two Sisters by Merryn Allingham.

 

Books I have read

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold

While the crimes of Jack the Ripper have been written about on countless occasions, Hallie Rubenold provides an alternative take, looking at the lives of the five canonical victims. This is a fascinating look at how circumstances, often beyond their control, changed the lives of these women and put them in the situations they found themselves in.

 

Death by Dark Waters by Jo Allen

The first in the DCI Satterthwaite series set in the Lake District is a great read for all fans of police procedurals. Telling the story of the discovery of the burnt remains of a child, there are many twists and turns that make this story not what it at first seems… (Review to follow as part of the blog tour)

 

Death at Hungerford Stairs by J. C. Briggs

The second in the series to feature Charles Dickens as an investigator has a great plot and paints a very vivid picture of life in Victorian England. I’m really enjoying these books!

 

Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

This was one of the books that I couldn’t wait to read and I was not left disappointed! The latest in the Nathan Cody series sees the detective returning to duty and investigating a particularly horrible murder. For long time fans, we finally discover more about the event that has been haunting Nathan… (Review to follow).

 

Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham

The Tom Thorne books just keep getting better! The sixteenth in the series is probably one of Mark Billingham’s twistiest tales to date and has become one of my favourites. Do we really know our friends?…

 

The Family by P. R. Black

I was drawn to this book by the dark cover and ‘dark’ is definitely a word I would use to describe the plot! Ritual killings, deranged murderer, the dark net, shady secret societies – this book has it all! (Review to follow as part of the blog tour).

 

Books I Have Acquired

‘If you’re reading this, I’m dead.’

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink . But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

 

One missing. One a murderer. One trying to find the truth.

Flora has her whole life ahead of her – until the summer night she vanishes.

Her sister Heather was a good girl – until the spring morning she kills two people.

Jess Fox was once like a sister to them both.

But called home to investigate Heather’s crime, she begins to wonder if she really knew either sister at all . . .

 

Holly Wakefield works for the NHS as a criminal psychologist specialising in serial killers. She has particular reason to be good at her job – but she keeps that to herself.

When DI Bishop from the Met Police approaches Holly to investigate a recent killing, Holly is horrified by the dismembered bodies and the way they have been theatrically positioned. More shocking still is when the pathologist reveals this is not the first time she has seen these mutilations. It means a serial killer is out there, and they’re going to kill again – soon.

Holly is used to chasing serial killers. But this killer has something in common with Holly that she’s kept hidden for as long as she can remember. And for the first time since she was a child, Holly is forced to face the darkness of her past…

 

An investigation leads Kelly back to her former command… and the ex who betrayed her

A brutal murder in the Lake District.

A double assassination in a secret lab in London’s west end.

Seemingly unconnected, unexpected links between the gruesome crimes emerge and it’s up to DI Kelly Porter to follow the trail – all the way to the capital.

Back amongst old colleagues and forced to work alongside her calculating ex, DCI Matt Carter, Kelly must untangle a web of deceit that stretches into the highest echelons of power. A place where secrets and lies are currency and no obstacle is insurmountable.

Hopefully there are a few books here that you like the sound of! Happy reading!

 

Monthly Round Up: November 2017

It’s nearly the end of the year! November has not seen too many book posts from me but I have a couple of reviews coming up in the next few days as part of blog tours – they’re definitely ones to look out for! I’ve also tried to limit my Net Galley downloads as I know I’ve got a few books winging my way for Christmas!

Books I’ve Read

51G29ghJMvL._SY346_Broken Bones by Angela Marsons

The series that just keeps getting better! The seventh book in the Kim Stone series sees the detective investigating the murder of a prostitute and the discovery of an abandoned baby. A fantastic read that deals with the seedier side of society.

 

51xLXqtfgrLLiar Liar by Sarah Flint

The third in the DC Charlie Stafford series is a bang up-to-date tale of how vulnerable police officers are in modern society. Members of the force are being killed, a red rose being left at the scene of each crime. Another series that just keeps improving! Review will be live soon as part of the blog tour.

 

41cxnbhoYTLThe Perfect Victim by Corrie Jackson

When journalist, Charlie Swift, is accused of murder, his friend and colleague Sophie Kent is determined to prove his innocence. When he disappears, though, she begins to realise that maybe all is not what it seems. An absolutely brilliant book which is sure to feature in my  top 10 list of 2017. Review will be live soon as part of the blog tour.

 

Return of the Magi by P. J. Tracy

Known primarily for the Monkeewrench crime series, the writing team of P. J. Tracy turn their hand to a short Christmas story. A habitual thief is befriended by a couple of elderly women who are convinced he is the third wise man. What ensues is a funny yet heartwarming tale of how they convince him to take them to the City of David to see the baby Jesus!

 

The Text by Claire Douglas

When a woman accidentally sends a text to her work colleagues  wishing her boss dead, she becomes the prime suspect when he is found murdered. A great premise for a short story but, due to its 40 pages, seems rushed.

 

 

Books I’ve Acquired

51w4IWGhv9L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Brighton, 1950.

When a girl’s body is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.

The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.

Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.

Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in the killer’s sights…

 

51VFfTURZKL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_No-one is who you think they are

Sophia’s parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed.

Everyone has secrets

Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.

Especially those closest to you

The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn’t a killer. As her father is too ill to talk it is up to Sophia to clear her mother’s name. And to do this she needs to delve deep into her family’s past – a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there . . .

What if your parents had been lying to you since the day you were born?

 

A MISSING CHILD. A DEAD WOMAN. WHO IS NEXT?

Six-year-old Lola Jade Harper is taken from her bedroom. Her mother is distraught. She is convinced her estranged husband, Gavin Harper, has abducted their daughter.

Detective Rachel Prince is leading the investigation but is soon out of her depth as she searches for the most high-profile missing child in the country. To uncover the truth about Lola’s disappearance, Rachel must untangle the Harper family’s complicated web of secrets and lies.

As the case progresses, the body of a local woman is found. The death at first seems unrelated, until a trail of social media posts lead Rachel to a chilling discovery.

And then another little girl is taken…

With growing pressure from the public and the appearance of someone from her past she’d rather forget, will Rachel be able to solve the connection between the two missing children and the murder – before it’s too late?

 

It’s strange to think that the next time one of these posts is published it will be 2018!

The Text by Claire Douglas

Refused time off work for a girls’ weekend in Edinburgh, Emily Latimer is furious with her boss, Andrew. Angrily firing off a text to her boyfriend, she is horrified when she realises she has sent it to her whole office by mistake. To complicate matters even further, Andrew is murdered and Emily is the prime suspect when it is revealed that her text wished him dead. Adamant that the text contained a typo, can Emily prove her innocence?

I have read two of Claire Douglas’s previous books (Last Seen Alive and Local Girl Missing) and loved them so was pleased to see that she had written a short story. The idea behind the book is a good one and is something that many people can relate to – who hasn’t sent a text with a typo? Hopefully, though, it never resulted in a dead body being found!

This is a very short story – only 40 pages long – and as a result, it appears rushed, especially when the murderer is revealed. I was expecting a little more than a full confession from the killer. I liked Emily’s character and feel that, if this book was slightly longer, more could have been made of the relationship between her and her boyfriend as this ends up playing a fairly big role in the plot.

If you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into, then this is not the book for you, but if you’re after a quick, free, easy to read mystery, then this could be what you want! It can currently be downloaded from Amazon for free.

Monthly Round Up: July 2017

Well, July was the month where I completed my Goodreads challenge – I obviously set my target way too low!

Books I’ve Read

51Sv-EJivWLFrost At Midnight by James Henry

Detective Jack Frost returns in another prequel to the R. D. Wingfield series that inspired the TV show starring David Jason. A gripping and entertaining read that sees Frost investigating the murder of a woman found dead in a churchyard.

 

51Au1qVQ0PL._SY346_The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

The follow-up to the brilliant The Missing Ones sees Detective Lottie Parker investigating an incredibly harrowing crime involving human trafficking, prostitution and organ harvesting. This is a must read!

 

514-fU+PfcLLast Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

When Libby and her husband undertake a short term house swap, strange things begin to happen. Is it paranoia or is someone watching her, trying to make her relive the disappearance of her friend nine years ago? This is a very clever book with a genuine twist.

 

51mCV12k+uL__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Receiving a Facebook friend request from a long-lost pal should be a happy occurrence but not if the friend has been dead for over twenty years. Who is behind the cruel mind games and how many lives are in danger?

 

A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley

Historian and TV presenter explores the British fascination with murder, whether it be true crime such as the Ratcliffe Highway murders or the Golden Age of detective fiction. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of British crime.

 

The Girl From Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl

Another dual time frame book from Kathleen McGurl, telling the story of a woman researching her artist ancestor coupled with an an account of the nineteenth century potato famine. This was one of the books I have been looking forward to reading and it didn’t disappoint. Review to follow nearer to publication day (7th September 2017).

 

Dead Girls Can’t Lie by Carys Jones

When a girl’s best friend is found hanging from a tree, she knows right away that this is a case of murder. With the police refusing to investigate, stating that it is a case of suicide, North Stone has no other option but to try to prove it herself. A fast paced tale of a woman who refuses to give up. Review will be published on August 25th as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

After a traumatic childhood, Caitlyn travels to New York where she meets the handsome and charismatic Jake. Soon, he is taking her to meet his family in a house in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, but all is most definitely not what it seems. A great psychological debut. Review will be published on August 21st as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

71KqcAPXiFLHow do you catch a killer when you’re the number one suspect?

A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old flame wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours. Then the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances and he beings to receive threatening emails: is someone trying to frame him for her death?

As Harry fights to clear his name, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery…

 

Meet Hendrik Groen. An octogenarian in a care home who has no intention of doing what he’s told, or dying quietly. To that end, he creates the Old-But-Not-Dead Club and with his fellow members sets about living his final years with careless abandon. Such anarchism infuriates the care home director but pleases Eefje, the woman who makes Hendrik’s frail heart palpitate. If it’s never too late to have fun, then can it ever be too late to meet the love of your life?

 

 

If you can’t trust your sister, then who can you trust?

Kate Rafter has spent her life running from her past. But when her mother dies, she’s forced to return to Herne Bay – a place her sister Sally never left.

But something isn’t right in the old family home. On her first night Kate is woken by terrifying screams. And then she sees a shadowy figure in the garden…

Who is crying for help?
What does it have to do with Kate’s past?
And why does no one – not even her sister – believe her?

I currently only have one book on my Net Galley bookshelf so think it’s time to get looking!

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

514-fU+PfcLLibby Hall, the school teacher who saved a child from a burning building, should be revelling in her new-found hero status. Instead it has brought back memories of what took place nine years ago – the last time she saw her friend, Karen, alive. So when she has the opportunity to put it all behind her and undergo a holiday house swap with a couple in picturesque Cornwall, it seems like the ideal way to solve the problem. All is not what it seems, however, and soon Libby feels that she is being watched and she begins to mistrust even the person closest to her – her husband, Jamie. Just what is happening to her and is it linked to the terrifying events of nine years ago?

From the start, I was suspicious about the circumstances behind the house swap. It was plain to see that the couple had been targeted but we do not find out why or by whom until much later in the book. Although Libby and Jamie are spending time in a spacious house in the vast Cornish countryside, the author has created a setting which is extremely claustrophobic and unsettling as we learn to anticipate that something untoward is about to happen. There were several times when I was urging Libby to trust her instincts and get away from a potentially dangerous situation and I could understand the reasons behind her falling suspicious of her husband as he tried to convince her that all was well.

In books of this genre, you become accustomed to there being a twist involved and, indeed, there was one in Last Seen Alive. I was convinced that I had the plot all worked out, only to find that I could not be more wrong! There was a certain point in the book where I had to completely reevaluate everything I thought I knew, making me think carefully about everything that I had already read. Just when I thought I finally had it all worked out, another curveball was thrown, making me gasp once again!

I thought that the previous book from the author, Local Girl Missing, was good but Last Seen Alive even manages to eclipse it! A gripping, claustrophobic delight of a book that I cannot recommend highly enough.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley for my ARC.

Monthly Round Up: June 2017

This month, I was happy to attend an evening with three fantastic crime writers – Mark Billingham, Luca Veste and Chris Brookmyre and got some signed copies of their books to add to my ever-growing collection! Mark Billingham’s latest book was one of my reads this month, and a great read it was too!

Books I’ve Read

Trust Me51O73PAHCPL__SY346_ by Angela Clarke

The third in Angela Clarke’s ‘social media’ crime series, sees DS Nasreen Cudmore and civilian associate Freddie Venton tackle the case of a girl who has apparently been viewed on the Periscope app  being murdered. Another great read!

 

LoveLikeBloodLove Like Blood by Mark Billingham

The latest of Mark Billingham’s Thorne series deals with the controversial issue of honour killings. A disturbing yet enthralling read, this is Billingham at his best.

 

51gh4mWIeqLBlood Sisters by Jane Corry

Fifteen years after a fatal accident, someone is out for revenge. Told from the perspectives of half-sisters, Alison and Kitty, Blood Sisters is a twisty tale of paranoia, revenge and deception. 

 

FullSizeRenderSoftly, Softly by David Jackson

Available to members of David Jackson’s Reader’s Club, Softly, Softly is a short story about a man’s obsession…

 

Hunted by Monty Marsden

The infamous serial killer, Riondino, is on the run and it is up to the Italian police to find him. This is definitely a serial killer tale with a difference! Review to be published on July 25th as part of the book’s blog tour.

 

Troll by D. B. Thorne

When a young woman goes missing and is presumed dead by the police, her father is not convinced. What follows is a twisted game of cat and mouse. Will she be found alive after all?

 

Books I’ve Acquired

51KXRQQmfFL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

Shots ring out at a Salvation Army Christmas concert in Oslo, leaving one of the singers dead in the street. The trail will lead Harry Hole, Oslo’s best investigator and worst civil servant, deep into the darkest corners of the city and, eventually, to Croatia.

An assassin forged in the war-torn region has been brought to Oslo to settle an old debt. As the police circle in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate and the danger mounts for Harry and his colleagues.

 

516UpgT9p9L._SY346_

 

THE MARK OF THE DEVIL, THE SIGN OF A KILLER…

A young woman is murdered in her flat and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star is found behind her eyelid.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case, alongside his long-time adversary Tom Waaler, and initially wants no part in it.

But Harry is already on his final warning and has little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor when it becomes apparent that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands.

 

51AiillZG+LThe first snow will come.

A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Their house is empty but outside in the garden he sees his mother’s favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.

And then he will appear again.

As Harry Hole and his team begin their investigation they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.

And when the snow is gone…

When a second woman disappears it seems that Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: for the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his home turf.

…he will have taken someone else.

 

51Ry-oprklL**THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BBC DRAMA ‘THREE GIRLS’ **

What do they find attractive about me? An underage girl who just lies there, sobbing, looking up at them…as they come to me one by one.

This is the shocking true story of how a young girl from Rochdale came to be Girl A – the key witness in the trial of Britain’s most notorious child sex ring.

Girl A was just 14 when she was groomed by a group of nine Asian men. After being lured into their circle with free gifts, she was plied with alcohol and systematically abused. She was just one of up to fifty girls to be ‘passed around’ by the gang. The girls were all under-16 and forced to have sex with as many as twenty men in one night.

When details emerged a nation was outraged and asked how these sickening events came to pass. And now, the girl at the very centre of the storm reveals the heartbreaking truth.

 

August, 1983. Denton is preparing for a wedding. Detective Sergeant Waters should be on top of the world with less than a week to go until he marries Kim Myles. But the Sunday before the big day, instead of a run-through with his best man, the church is sealed off. The body of a young woman has been found in the churchyard, and their idyllic wedding venue has become a crime scene.

Detective Sergeant Jack Frost has been homeless for the past three months, ever since his wife’s family sold the matrimonial house. He’s been staying with Detective Constable Sue Clarke but with a baby to take care of and the imminent arrival of her mother, she’s given him his marching orders.

But as best man to Waters, he’s got a responsibility to solve the mystery of the dead girl in the churchyard. Can he put his own troubles aside and be the detective they need him to be? All in all, August looks set to be a wicked month in Denton…

 

She can run
Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.

But she can’t hide
But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

Because someone knows her secret
What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what he did.

 

I’m got a few good books on my TBR pile for next month and also the blog tour for ‘Hunted’ to look forward too. Happy reading!

 

Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas

Out of the blue, Francesca Howe receives a phone call. It’s the call she has dreaded for so long: the body of her best friend, Sophie Collier, has been found. Last seen nearly twenty years previously, the only clue was a trainer that had been left behind on an old pier. Convinced that someone knows more than they are saying, Sophie’s brother, Daniel, summons Francesca (or ‘Frankie’ as she was known when she was younger) back to the seaside town where it all happened to assist with his enquiries. Soon, though, as ghosts from the past emerge, she wishes she had stayed away. Someone out there knows something, but will it be at the expense of another life?

Having one of the main characters die in the first chapter is certainly one way of drawing you into the book! From the outset, it is obvious that there is much more to the story than a simple ‘whodunnit’ and the further Frankie and Daniel probe, even more secrets from the past threaten to rise to the surface. Just who is sending Frankie threatening notes and what secret are they referring to?

The story is told from the point of view of the two main protagonists. With Frankie, of couse, we explore the investigation being undertaken by herself and Daniel and also find out about her life at the time Sophie went missing. Sophie’s story is told in a series of diary entries which contain clues (and red herrings) about what exactly happened to her. The character of Sophie is that of a tragic young woman who has gone through so much in her short life whereas Frankie is the girl who appears to have it all. Appearances can be deceiving, however, and it is definitely a case of no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.

The book contains numerous twists and turns and the ending was not one I saw coming. There was one aspect of the plot that I had figured out but even that wasn’t fully! I had one issue with the ending but, thankfully, the epilogue contained at the end explained my concern.

In Local Girl Missing, Claire Douglas has succeeded in creating an edge of your seat thriller with a satisfying ending. Well, I say  ‘satisfying’, there still could be another incident waiting to be played out…

With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for the copy of the book.

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