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Helen Callaghan

Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan

51VFfTURZKL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_When Sophia returns to her family home, she is not prepared for the sight that greets her. In the garden, she finds her mother hanging from a tree and her father, close to death in a pool of blood. As far as the police are concerned, it is an open and shut case of attempted murder-suicide but Sophia is not convinced. When a few strange things start to happen, she begins to feel that there is someone watching her, leaving her to wonder just exactly what the circumstances are behind this terrible tragedy.

I loved Helen Callaghan’s previous book, Dear Amy, so was thrilled to have the opportunity to read Everything is Lies pre-publication. I was expecting something in a similar vein for the follow-up but Everything is Lies is completely different to what I was expecting although equally gripping. From the blurb, I envisaged a whodunnit with intrigue but from the moment we are introduced to the notebooks left by Sophia’s mum, detailing her younger life spent in an infamous cult, I knew that this story was going to go in a completely different direction.

At first, I was not totally enamoured with the notebook sections as I was desperate to know more about the investigation into the death of Sophia’s mum. I was soon drawn in, however, after realising that these notebooks would give the background knowledge to understand exactly what had occurred. I could imagine how difficult it was for Sophia, trying to visualise her quiet, neurotic mum as this free-willed young woman as portrayed in the notebooks. I think that deep down, Nina (Sophia’s mum) knew that there was more to this cult than met the eye, but the draw and excitement was too much for her to walk away from, even when the alarm bells began to ring for her.

The cult scenes were well-written, Helen Callaghan showing how easy it is for an impressionable young woman to be swept along with the whole situation. From the outside, looking in, it was apparent how self-centred and obnoxious the cult leader was, and I was willing Nina to come to her senses before tragedy struck. The other members of the cult were equally unlikeable but, in spite of this, the author manages to keep you reading, wanting to know more.

In the present day, as well as trying to find out the true cause of her mother’s death, Sophia is struggling with her own personal and work life after several incidents at the firm where she works. When her work appeared to be sabotaged, this added to the general unease she was already feeling. Was it related to her aborted assignation with a colleague or is it linked to the notebooks that her mother was seeking to publish? I got to the point where the only person I felt I could trust was Sophia herself as I tried to figure out exactly who was to blame for the numerous mysterious occurrences.

As the book progressed, I did have an inkling as to what the outcome would be with regards to one part of the plot and I was pleased to find I’d worked it out! My theory helped to add to the general unease I felt throughout the book as Helen Callaghan delivered more and more intriguing problems. Everything is Lies is definitely one to be watching out for in 2018!

With thanks to Penguin UK -Michael Joseph and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

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!

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

In her capacity as local newspaper agony aunt, Cambridge teacher Margot Lewis is used to receiving  distressing letters. None of them, however, shake her quite like the latest one:

Dear Amy,

I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me. Please help me soon,

Bethan Avery.

What makes this even more disturbing is that Bethan Avery has been missing, presumed dead for many years. Coupled with the fact that another local girl has disappeared, Margot finds herself caught up in a mystery that threatens her own life.

From the first chapter, I was hooked on this fast-paced psychological thriller. The author has succeeded in writing an opening that grabs you straight away and makes you want to read just one more chapter… As the book progressed, I found it hard to put down and managed to read it in two marathon sessions!

Like all books in this genre, there is, of course, a twist. There is a real ‘open mouth’ moment when you realise what it is – I had thought that it was going to be something else so was pleased to discover that I was wrong.

Although this could definitely be seen as a standalone book, there is definitely more scope for a series of books featuring the ‘Dear Amy’ column.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Thank you to Penguin UK and NetGalley for the advance copy.

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