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**BLOG TOUR** The Weekend Away by Sarah Alderson

For many years, best friends Orla and Kate have embarked on a annual weekend away. This year takes them to Lisbon for a couple of days where Kate can forget about her forthcoming divorce and Orla can take a break from life as a new mum. The morning after the first night, however, all has gone wrong. Waking up feeling very much worse for wear, Orla discovers that Kate is nowhere to be found. Knowing immediately that something is wrong, she tries to enlist the help of the police, who are less than enthusiastic in their approach to the missing woman. Retracing their steps from the previous night, Orla makes discoveries about her friend that lead her to think that she didn’t know her as well as she thought she did.

What should have been a relaxing break ends up as a nightmare for Orla, and we are thrown straight in with her as we witness her frantic search for her friend. From the start, I had great sympathy for Orla as we see Kate engaging in a great deal of irresponsible behaviour. Torn between not wanting to appear a letdown and the need for a quiet time, I willed Orla to put her foot down and stand her ground with Kate. Maybe things would have turned out different if she had!

Kate was a thoroughly unlikeable character, and it was quite easy to see why someone would have wanted her out of the way, but who? The author introduces us to a plethora of characters, each with their own motive, and I was constantly torn as to who the guilty party could be. As Orla is a classic unreliable witness due to events that will become apparent, we were unsure as to what had actually happened, leaving us waiting until the very end to get the full picture. This kept my interest piqued, making me not want to put the book down!

The Weekend Away has one of the best final pages that I have read in a long time, twisting everything on its head and leaving us with a superb cliffhanger. I thought this was a clever ending, leaving us with no doubt as to what had happened while also making us want more!

This is an ideal summer read and, once you start, you will not want to stop.

With thanks to Avon and Net Galley for my copy and to Sanjana Cunniah for organising the blog tour. 

 

 

The Whitechapel Secret by Martin Loughlin

51wHQ7JyzDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When Jack the Ripper tour guide, Ian Groves, sets out one one of his regular walks around Whitechapel, little does he know that his life is about to take an unexpected turn. Initially sceptical when one of his customers tells him that she has evidence that could solve the century-long mystery, his interest is piqued  enough to start to undertake some research. When an unsuccessful attempt is made on his life and he receives news that the aforementioned customer has been found dead, he begins to realise that he has stumbled upon a conspiracy to keep the secrets of the past well hidden. What ensues is a whirlwind tour of Europe in an attempt to uncover the truth. Just who was Jack the Ripper?

It is hard to review this book without making some sort of comparison to the Robert Langdon novels of Dan Brown. There are many similarities: a male protagonist and his female accomplice, a shady secret society, a whistle-stop tour around the cities of Europe… Whereas Brown’s books can be quite lengthy, however, this is a fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ alternative take on the age-old Jack the Ripper mystery that I read in a couple of sittings. The author has displayed good subject knowledge and his descriptions of the places Ian Groves visits seem realistic. My only criticism (a minor one!) would be that I would have liked the characters to have spent more time on each country as it often appeared rushed.

The conclusion of The Whitechapel Secret was very clever and was not what I expected. It was a fitting ending for two characters I had grown to like throughout the book and who I had willed to succeed. Although Ian’s involvement was due to his interest in Jack the Ripper, I would be happy reading any further adventures of this character!

With thanks to Net Galley and Endeavour Press for my copy of this book.

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