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Nuala Ellwood

The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood

Looking online at houses that are for sale is something that many people enjoy and Vanessa is no exception. When she wants to escape from reality, she finds a home and arranges a viewing, adopting a different persona each time in order to convince the seller that she is a serious buyer. All harmless fun until one of the householders is found murdered and Vanessa is the main suspect.

Vanessa is the classic unreliable narrator. Clearly suffering from mental health issues due to events in her past, she has created a fantasy world for herself, one that sees her pretending to be in the market for an expensive property. While at first this seems an innocent pastime, we see this quickly becoming an obsession, especially when she starts to take little mementos from the houses.

Told in two time frames, we find out about Vanessa’s past, her ex-boyfriend, Connor, featuring prominently. We see how Vanessa is being manipulated by her controlling partner, even if she cannot see it herself. This helped to explain the situation she finds herself in as time goes on and helped me to develop a sympathetic attitude towards someone who could, potentially, be a killer.

As the book progresses, the plot starts to take a more sinister turn when Vanessa starts to realise that someone has been watching her. Could this person prove her innocence or even her guilt and what exactly do they want from her?

I have enjoyed Nuala Ellwood’s previous books and was just as gripped by this one. The Perfect Life has a gripping plot with superb characters, something I have grown to expect from this author’s writing.

With thanks to Penguin and Net Galley for my copy.

Monthly Round Up – June 2021

Another month over and I’ve read a range of books during June. Net Galley has been utilised quite a bot and I have been pleased to be able to get some books by some of my favourite authors.

Books I Have Read

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

When Liz Catalano discovers that she has been adopted, she is more that shocked to discover that she is related biologically to a serial killer who has evaded capture for decades. Part genealogical fiction, part serial killer novel, I really enjoyed how this story unfolded.



The Weeping Lady Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

A novella that follows on from the Marquess House saga. After a storm uncovers some interesting finds, sisters Piper and Perdita Rivers investigate an age-old ghost story. A great bonus story in a series that I love.



Hunt by Leona Deakin

The third in the Dr Augusta Bloom series is my favourite to date. When she is tasked by the foreign secretary to investigate a shady feminist organisation, Augusta finds herself undercover in what she suspects is a cult. Just how much danger has she put herself in? Review to follow.


Killing for Company by Brian Masters

The book that the TV series Des was based on is a detailed description of the life and crimes of one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers, Dennis Nilsen. The audiobook, read by the actor Jason Watkins, is enthralling and horrific in equal measures. A great read.


The Rule by David Jackson

David Jackson’s latest standalone is full of the dark humour and fantastic characters that I have grown to expect. Telling the story of how a law-abiding person can become embroiled in the world of crime, this unexpected plot is fast paced and incredibly readable.



The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood

Vanessa loves taking on the persona of someone else, looking around upmarket houses that she has no intention of buying. Until one of the householders is murdered and she is the prime suspect… This multi-faceted book was a joy to read and deals with some very serious subjects. Review to follow.


Books I Have Acquired

A dangerous American is in town, but is he really responsible for a deadly crime spree in Leeds?

Leeds, June 1913. Deputy Chief Constable Tom Harper is a busy man. He’s overseeing a national suffragist pilgrimage due in Leeds that his wife Annabelle intends to join, and his daughter Mary has exciting plans of her own. Then a letter arrives from police in New York: Davey Mullen, an American gangster born in Leeds, is on his way back to the city, fleeing a bloody gang war.

Despite Tom’s best efforts to keep an eye on him, Davey’s arrival triggers a series of chilling events in the city. Is he responsible for the sudden surge in crime, violence and murder on Leeds’s streets? Facing a mounting workload, Tom must hunt down a cold-blooded killer while also confronting danger and tragedy close to home.




They’re in your house.

They want your life.

And now, they have your baby.

To the world, I’m @HappyWife. Online, people only see my picture-perfect home, my handsome husband, Nick, and my beautiful baby, Thomas.

They don’t see the real Gemma Adams. They don’t see my past, the dark secrets I’m hiding in my marriage. They don’t see the fear I live in every single day.

But I know someone is watching me. And now, they’ve taken Thomas.

I just don’t know why.

But I’m going to stop at nothing to get my baby back.

Even if it destroys everything I’ve got to find him.


My name is Alice. I’m a police officer.
I’m trying to solve a murder on a psychiatric ward.
But I’m also a patient…

They were meant to be safe on Fleet Ward: psychiatric patients monitored, treated, cared for. But now one of their number is found murdered, and the accusations begin to fly.

Was it one of his fellow patients? A member of staff? Or did someone come in from the outside?

DC Alice Armitage is methodical, tireless, and she’s quickly on the trail of the killer.

The only problem is, Alice is a patient too.


It was an ‘open and shut’ case. Hawley Harvey Crippen, an American quack doctor, had murdered his wife, the music hall performer Belle Elmore, and buried parts of her body in the coal cellar of their North London home. But by the time the remains were discovered he had fled the country with his mistress disguised as his son. After a thrilling chase across the ocean he was caught, returned to England, tried and hanged, remembered forever after as the quintessential domestic murderer.

But if it was as straightforward as the prosecution alleged, why did he leave only some of the body in his house, when he had successfully disposed of the head, limbs and bones elsewhere? Why did he stick so doggedly to a plea of complete innocence, when he might have made a sympathetic case for manslaughter? Why did he make no effort to cover his tracks if he really had been planning a murder? These and other questions remained tantalising mysteries for almost a century, until new DNA tests conducted in America exploded everything we thought we knew for sure about the story.

This book, the first to make full use of this astonishing new evidence, considers its implications for our understanding of the case, and suggests where the real truth might lie.


A DEADLY PROSECUTOR

They call him the King of Death Row. Randal Korn has sent more men to their deaths than any district attorney in the history of the United States.

A TWISTED RITUALISTIC KILLING

When a young woman, Skylar Edwards, is found murdered in Buckstown, Alabama, a corrupt sheriff arrests the last person to see her alive, Andy Dubois. It doesn’t seem to matter to anyone that Andy is innocent.

A SMALL TOWN BOILING WITH RAGE

Everyone in Buckstown believes Andy is guilty. He has no hope of a fair trial. And the local defense attorney assigned to represent him has disappeared.

A FORMER CON-ARTIST

Hot shot New York lawyer Eddie Flynn travels south to fight fire with fire. He plans to destroy the prosecutors case, find the real killer and save Andy from the electric chair.

But the murders are just beginning.

Is Eddie Flynn next?

The world is at war. And time is running out…

London, 1940. Britain is gripped by the terror of the Blitz, forcing Nell Spelman to flee the capital with her young daughter – leaving behind her husband, Arthur, the clockmaker who keeps Big Ben chiming. 

When Arthur disappears, Nell is desperate to find him. But her search will lead her into far darker places than she ever imagined… 

New York, Present Day. When Ellie discovers a beautiful watch that had once belonged to a grandmother she never knew, she becomes determined to find out what happened to her. But as she pieces together the fragments of her grandmother’s life, she begins to wonder if the past is better left forgotten… 


Justice Jones, super-smart super-sleuth, is back for her third spine-tingling adventure! For fans of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Enid Blyton.

Justice and her friends are third years now and there’s an intriguing new girl in Barnowls. Letitia has never been to school before and doesn’t care for the rules – and the teachers don’t seem to mind! She decides that Justice is her particular friend, much to Stella and Dorothy’s distress. But Letitia just isn’t the kind of girl you say no to.

Then, after a midnight feast in the barn, and a terrifying ghost-sighting in the garden, a girl disappears. Soon ransom notes appear, and they’re torn from the pages of a crime novel.

Where is the schoolgirl and who has taken her? It will take all of Justice’s sleuthing to unravel this mystery!


Every family has their secrets…

Windsor, England, 2019

Amelia Prentice is recovering from the worst two years of her life. First her daughter and then her parents have died, leaving her without any surviving relatives. As she gets ready to put the family home, a vast Victorian house in Windsor, on the market, she fulfils her mother’s last request to clear out the attic, and she discovers a strange box of Victorian photographs.

The photographs are of a large estate in Pembrokeshire called Cliffside, and they feature the Attwater family. When Amelia uncovers the diaries of Osyth Attwater, she realises the family had tragedies of their own…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 1883

Every summer the Attwater family gather at Cliffside to tell each other stories. The youngest in the house is Osyth, a dreamer and writer who waits eagerly every year for the wind chime in the garden to signal the arrival of her relatives. But her happiness is shattered when she overhears a conversation that tears her world apart.

Raised by her grandparents, she believed her mother, Eudora, had died. But it seems that may not be the case. Desperate to find out the truth, Osyth decides to unravel her family’s secrets. But what she discovers will shock her to her core…

What did Amelia’s mother want her to find out about the Attwater family? Who is Eudora, and what really happened to her?

And how is Amelia connected to it all…?



A good mix there – I can’t wait to find the time to read them all!

I was hoping to read a few more books than last month, but I’ve really struggled even though I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read. Hopefully you’ve had a more productive month than me!

Books I Have Read

Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper of Whitechapel by M K Wiseman

As a fan of the original Conan Doyle books and someone who has an interest in the Jack the Ripper case, this was right up my street! Written very much like a Conan Doyle, we see Holmes investigating the famous case, fearing that the perpetrator may be his friend, Dr Watson. Review will follow as part of the publication day push.


A Song For the Dark Times by Ian Rankin

The latest in the Rebus series is another fantastic read from Ian Rankin. When his daughter’s husband goes missing, the ex-detective finds himself involved in a case that is very close to home. This is a series that is showing no sign of losing its touch.


The Body on the Island by Nick Louth

When an unidentified body is found, Detective Chief Inspector Craig Gillard has his work cut out with not only working out who the man is, but trying to determine the cause of death. With the most bizarre MO I have read about in a while, this is a great addition to a brilliant series.


The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl

Another superb dual timeline novel from Kathleen McGurl takes us back to the Victorian era and an incredibly dysfunctional family. A great plot with some heart-wrenching moments, I really enjoyed this book. Review will fllow as part of the blog tour.


Books I Have Acquired

It has been three years since the death of Sherlock Holmes. Watson is now solving mysteries solo and he’s about to face his toughest one yet: the impossible murder of Mr Adair. What Watson doesn’t know is that this curious case will unearth secrets from beyond the grave …

The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection: Creatures, Codes and Curious Cases:

Sherlock Holmes returns! Facing beastly creatures, catching curious criminals and uncovering deadly secrets from beneath the sea are all in a day’s work for this world-famous detective and his faithful biographer, Watson, as they face their final (and most dangerous!) cases.

HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO BE SOMEONE ELSE?

Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.

That’s how it started: looking round houses she couldn’t possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn’t.

Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.

And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide


Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .


THEY KNOW WHAT YOU DID
You receive a call, an email, a text – someone knows your secret and they want to ruin you.

AND THEY’RE OUT FOR BLOOD
If you don’t do what they say, they’ll tell everyone what you’ve been hiding.
They will come after you, destroy you, and they aren’t afraid to kill.

IT’S TIME TO PLAY THE GAME


I’m currently reading The Searcher by Tana French which I’m really enjoying. A slow burner and I can’t wait to see where it leads.

Keep safe everyone!

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

Fleeing from her controlling partner with her young son, Joe, Lisa is given directions to a lake house in Yorkshire from a friend, a place where she can feel safe. Rowan Isle House isn’t what she was expecting but despite it being run down and having no running water, she perseveres, desperate to keep her and her son safe. After receiving a visitor from the nearby village, however, Lisa realises that maybe she isn’t as safe as she thought she would be. When her past returns to haunt her, just what will she need to do to survive?

Nuala Ellwood has become one of those authors whose books I download without even needing to read the blurb as I know that I am going to enjoy it. Her previous books, My Sister’s Bones and Day of the Accident were both superb reads and I couldn’t wait to read her latest offering. I was definitely not disappointed as The House on the Lake is a dark, gripping tale that kept me intrigued right until the very last page.

Lisa is a woman living on her nerves, terrified of meeting new people in case she is discovered. I could feel her desperation as she found herself living at a clearly uninhabitable house and wondered exactly what it was she was fleeing from. Her unconditional love for her son was apparent, despite him not being the easiest child to bring up. Throughout the book, I willed her to succeed and felt genuine fear for her as her world seemed to be closing in around her.

Lisa is not the only main character as we meet, in alternate paragraphs, previous occupiers of Rowan Isle House. The girl who, initially, we know only as ‘soldier’, tugged at my heart strings from the off. Living with her father, who clearly has PTSD, I had nothing but sympathy for this girl who is longing to experience life outside of the regimented existence inflicted by her father. There were several terrifying scenes where I genuinely feared for her life and I willed her to find a way out of this situation.

It was obvious that the two stories would eventually merge, and I liked how the author built this up slowly, creating a tense read that just made you want to keep reading. There were plenty of surprises along the way that I did not see coming and I was gripped right until the fitting end.

If you have never read any of Nuala Ellwood’s books before, then I can recommend each of them, this one being no exception.

With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Books (UK) for my copy.

 

Monthly Round Up – February 2020

The only up side to the numerous storms we’re currently enduring in Britain is that people are probably finding a bit more time to read! This month I’ve read a few cracking books.

 

Books I’ve Read

The Body in the Snow by Nick Louth

The fourth book in the DCI Craig Gillard series has a complex plot where you just can’t make up your mind who is the killer of celebrity cook, Tanvi Roy. This is a great police procedural series and is highly recommended.

 

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths

This is a series that just keeps getting better and better! The twelfth in the series sees Ruth Galloway assisting in the case of a convicted murderer – can she assist in finding the bodies of victims that haven’t yet been found? Elly Griffiths has written another superb book with plenty of heart-stopping moments.

 

The Sterling Affair by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

This is the most complex plot to date for Nathan Dylan Goodwin and sees forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier, investigating a particularly baffling case involving assumed identities. A superb read for those who enjoy genealogical mysteries. 

 

17 Church Row by James Carol

An unnerving look into the not-so-distant future sees a family moving into a state-of-the-art home, their lives being controlled by a souped-up version of Alexa! This is one of those books that really makes you think about the direction in which technology is going. 

 

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

When a woman flees an abusive relationship with her young son, she doesn’t expect to find herself in a dilapidated cottage in the middle of nowhere, a cottage with a very traumatic history. This is another fantastic read from Nuala Ellwood, an author whose books I always enjoy. 

 

The Prized Girl by Amy K Green

When a teenager is brutally murdered, there are no shortage of suspects, but are the police looking in the right place? Her older sister decides to take matters into her own hands, uncovering a wealth of family secrets in the process. A tense, thrilling read – my review will form part of the blog tour.

 

Little Doubt by Rachel Lynch

This topical tale of knife crime is my favourite in this series to date. Rachel Lynch has written a fast-paced, exciting read that I could definitely see on the small screen. Review to follow.

 

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Nowhere is safe. No one can be trusted.

A bloodied body is found in a Manchester Immigrant Removal Centre. The investigating officer and the pathologist seem certain: a suicide. But for DI Ridpath something doesn’t add up.

As the evidence starts to unravel, and with few leads, the pressure is on to find answers before the Inquest is closed. Caught between the police, the coroner and a system that doesn’t care, Ridpath isn’t making any friends.

And at the centre of the case Ridpath will find a heart of darkness. Innocent people are suffering. How many more will die before Ridpath discovers the truth?

 

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.
 
Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

 

 

Megan has to climb round and step across the body to get a proper view. What’s left is like a chalk white mask in the rough shape of a face. The innocence is still there, and a hint of the cheekiness. But perhaps she is imagining that.

Detective Megan Thomas spent years undercover. It cost her marriage and her peace of mind, but she got the job done. Now she has to decide if she can go back to her life before, to a regular crime unit alongside other cops who have no idea about the fear that haunts her dreams. She’s still running from her memories. She doesn’t know how to stop.

Moving to Devon was meant to be a fresh start. She’s staying with her sister and swimming in the sea daily, battling the tides and letting the waves wash her past away. But she can’t outrun everything. First, the discovery of a body in a claustrophobic crime scene triggers a panic attack. And then, when she gets too emotionally involved in an attack on a local teenager, her boss pulls her off the case entirely.

When a body is found on the stretch of beach where she swims every day, Megan remembers why she joined the force, and what she’s fighting for… But how can she find justice for others, when she’s no longer sure of herself?

 

Some places make their own laws…

When Ella Watson, a woman of wealth and status, is brutally stabbed to death in broad daylight it sends a shockwave through the Lake District community. Later that day, Keira Bradley meets the same fate. But whereas Ella’s murder is a tragedy, Keira’s death on the notorious Beacon Estate is just another statistic in a dangerous place.

DI Kelly Porter has the unenviable job of running simultaneous investigations. Her efforts aren’t helped by a boss driven by protecting his reputation and a housing estate where fear rules and no one dare speak out. Kelly knows the answers can only be found by winning the trust of the residents at Beacon Estate. A task so hard it may be impossible.

Kelly puts everything she has into finding justice for both victims. The only thing she hadn’t anticipated was a traitor in the ranks. When the evidence points to someone in her team, Kelly has to put feelings aside and work the case – no matter where it leads. By the time it is over, nothing in her world will ever be the same…

 

Sometimes helping a stranger is the last thing you should do . . .

The Cornish village of St Petroc is the sort of place where people come to hide. Tom Killgannon is one such person. An ex-undercover cop, Tom is in the Witness Protection Programme hiding from some very violent people and St Petroc’s offers him a chance to live a safe and quiet life.

Until he meets Lila.

Lila is a seventeen-year-old runaway. When she breaks into Tom’s house she takes more than just his money. His wallet holds everything about his new identity. He also knows that Lila is in danger from the travellers’ commune she’s been living at. Something sinister has been going on there and Lila knows more than she realises.

But to find her he risks not only giving away his location to the gangs he’s in hiding from, but also becoming a target for whoever is hunting Lila.

 

Have you read any of these? I’d love to read your opinions!

 

 

Monthly Roundup – October 2019

With only two months left in the year, I’m starting to think about which books are going to make it into my ‘best of 2019’ list. October has certainly brought a couple of books which, I am sure, are going to feature!

Books I Have Read

Broken Souls by Patricia Gibney

The seventh book in the Lottie Parker series sees the detective investigating a spate of murders which were originally deemed to be suicides. With plenty of shady character, this book will keep you guessing right until the end.

 

All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox

When a woman is found, barely alive, in the mountains, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is plunged into the search for a particularly nasty serial killer. One of the best books I have read this year – it is hard to believe that this is the author’s debut.

 

Sleep by C L Taylor

A woman trying to escape from a traumatic experience finds herself in more trouble than she realises when she relocates to the remote Scottish island of Rum. Working in a hotel, it is not long before she discovers that one of the guests has murder on their mind – her murder. A tense, claustrophobic read.

 

Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran

A cautionary tale of how we don’t really know the people around us. Two neighbours are envious of each other’s lives, without really knowing what is going on behind closed doors. Soon, this envy turns into something much more serious and a life is put in danger… Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

 

Reputations by John Nixon

The latest in the Madeleine Porter series sees the genealogist investigating a crime from the 1960s after a friend is murdered. Are the two incidents connected?

 

Books I Have Acquired

Two years ago, Ben Fenton went camping for the night with his brother Leo. When Ben woke up, he was covered in blood, and his brother had gone. Days later, Ben was facing a charge of murder. 

Ben’s girlfriend, Ana Seabrook, has always sworn he was innocent. And now, on the hottest day of a sweltering heat wave, a body has been unearthed in Ana’s village. A body that might be connected to what really happened between Ben and Leo that fateful night. 

DCI Jansen, of St Albans police, is sure that Ana has something to hide. But until the police track down the identity of the body, he can’t work out how everything’s connected. Will Ana’s secrets stay buried forever? Or can Jansen bring them to light?

 

No matter how far you run . . . 
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought. 

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

 

 

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’

It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead. 

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.

Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .

 

 

In Victorian England, a mother is on the run from her past—and the truth about what she did.

Birmingham, 1880. Angelica Chastain has fled from London with her young son, William. She promises him a better life, far away from the terrors they left behind.

Securing a job as a governess, Angelica captures the attention of wealthy widower Stanley Hampton. Soon they marry and the successful future Angelica envisaged for William starts to fall into place.

But the past will not let Angelica go. As the people in her husband’s circle, once captivated by her charm, begin to question her motives, it becomes clear that forgetting where she came from—and who she ran from—is impossible.

When tragedy threatens to expose her and destroy everything she’s built for herself and William, how far will she go to keep her secrets safe? And when does the love for one’s child tip over into dangerous obsession?

 

 

Investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil’s instincts tell her when a story is worth pursuing. And the death of an elderly priest on the altar of his Glasgow church, just as she is about to expose the shocking truth behind the closure of an infamous Magdalene Institution, tells her a sinister cover up is in play. 

DI Alec Davies is appointed to investigate the priest’s death. He and Oonagh go way back. But now they’re united in uncovering not only what happened to the lost babies secretly born in the Institution, but what happened to the young women that survived by vowing loyalty to one another… forever. 

The doors of the Magdalene laundries hid the most harrowing secrets from the world – secrets Oonagh is determined to reveal, whatever the price…

 

I’m really looking forward to reading these books. I’m especially intrigued by the Steve Robinson one as I love his Jefferson Tayte series, so I can’t wait to read something different!

Finally, a big thank you and hello to all of my new subscribers. I hope you find something good to read – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

Monthly Round Up – January 2019

I haven’t blogged much lately, mainly due to the fact that the majority of books I have read are all part of forthcoming blog tours. February is going to be very different! I’d also been really pleased to get my Net Galley acquisitions down to a very small amount, but I’ve watched it slowly creep up this month due to all of the fantastic books that are about to be published!

 

Books I Have Read

The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin

A psychological thriller set in the Languedoc lavender field, The Good Friend is a story about obsession and asks the question, do we really know those closest to us? A slow-burner with a thrilling climax. Review will be published on February 23rd as part of the blog tour.

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C J Tudor

The author’s second book after the brilliant The Chalk Man is another dual timeframe story in the vein of Stephen King. Just what did happen to Annie when she disappeared and why does the same thing seem to be happening all over again?

 

Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood

Maggie wakes from a coma and discovers that her daughter is dead and her husband has disappeared. With no memory of what happened, and adamant that her daughter is alive, she sets out on a dangerous journey to discover what exactly happened on the day of the accident.

 

Bitter Edge by Rachel Lynch

The fourth in the Kelly Porter series sees the detective investigating a string of cases that all seem to lead back to a local school. Again, the picturesque Lake District is rocked by the plethora of crimes taking place. This is a great series – highly recommended. Review will be published as part of the blog tour on February 27th.

 

The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Another dual timeframe story from the brilliant Kathleen McGurl takes us back to 1919 and the war in Ireland. Two women fighting for independence 100 years apart and a secret that has remained hidden for a century. Review will be published on 21st March as part of the blog tour.

 

Remember Me by D E White

Fifteen years ago, Ellen disappeared, never to be seen again. Someone knows what happened to her, though, and now the secrets of the past look as though they are about to revealed. How many more deaths will happen, though, before the truth is out there? Review to be published on 11th February as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I Have Acquired

She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the death of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

 

DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to ‘go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle’s baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?

Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle – trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.

As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn’t save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.

 

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

 

 

 

Boys are going missing from London’s slums… 

London, 1849

When a boy is found drowned in the River Thames at Hungerford Stairs, novelist Charles Dickens and Superintendent Jones of Bow Street are mystified to discover that the child is not the missing youngster for whom they have been searching.

As Dickens and Jones delve deeper into London’s poverty-stricken backstreets, they stumble across two more bodies.

A serial killer is on the loose. And Charles is terrified that someone close to him may be one of the victims.

With a strange image of a mask sketched next to the corpses, could the murderer be leaving a trail for the detectives to follow…?


Or will the Death at Hungerford Stairs remain unsolved…?

 

I’m reading The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths at the moment and, like all of her previous books, I’m loving it! Are any of these on your reading lists or have you read any of them already?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood

After waking up from a coma, Maggie is told that the car accident that put her in hospital claimed the life of her young daughter, Elspeth. With no memory of the event, she is shocked to learn that Elspeth drowned after the car she was in plunged into the river. Refusing to believe that this could have happened, Maggie demands to see her husband Sean, only to discover that he was last seen on the day of their daughter’s funeral. Just what did happen on that fateful day and where is Sean? Also, why does Maggie seem convinced that her daughter is not dead?

Maggie is the ultimate unreliable narrator. Her pre-accident life has disintegrated and she has been left completely on her own to try to pick up the pieces. My heart went out to her as she tried to come to terms with her new life after realising that she no longer had anything she once held dear. I also had much admiration for her as, once her recovery began, she developed a new-found strength to uncover the truth behind the day of the accident.

Throughout the book, we get the opportunity to read letters from an unnamed child to their mother, and this definitely pulled at the heartstrings. It was horrible to read the words of this poor child, seemingly abandoned by her family and yet never losing hope that they were out there somewhere and would return for her one day. This definitely backed up Maggie’s theory that Elspeth was still out there somewhere but also helped to muddy the waters for the readers. Were the letters from Elspeth or was this part of some elaborate game?

It is obvious throughout the book that there are some unseen forces working against Maggie, but who? The author introduces several characters who we don’t really know too much about. Could one of these be responsible? There is also Sean, Maggie’s errant husband – what has happened to make him go or is his disappearance as a result of foul play? One of the minor characters, in particular, was a favourite of mine, and I was desperate to know that she was not involved in any subterfuge.

Day of the Accident is full of twists and turns, some of which I managed to figure out but some I didn’t get anywhere near! This made it an incredibly enjoyable read with a dramatic and satisfying conclusion. My Sister’s Bones by the same author was one of my favourite books of 2017 and I am so pleased that this book, too, was of the same quality.

With thanks to Penguin and Net Galley for my copy.

 

 

My Books of 2017

2017 has been another great year for books, both from returning authors and debut writers. In an attempt to try to choose my favourite ten, I looked back at my Goodreads ratings to look for all of my 5-star reviews. There were more than ten, so I’ve had to try to narrow it down even further! What follows are the books where the plot has stayed with me for one reason or another. In no particular order:

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

The Ruth Galloway series goes from strength to strength. This very topical book, dealing with the plight of the homeless, is extremely well-written and I can’t wait for the next book, The Dark Angel.

 

Hope to Die by David Jackson

A murder in the grounds of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral sees the start of a brutal killing spree by a killer filled with hate. The second in the Nathan Cody series saw us finding out a bit more about the detective’s past and the ending set up the next book nicely.

 

Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham

I’ve loved all of the Thorne books but this is definitely one where the plot will remain with me for a long time. A very emotive book dealing with the taboo subject of honour killings, as usual Mark Billingham’s writing is perfect.

 

 

My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

A very clever book where you don’t know what to believe. Is there something sinister going on or is it all the imaginings of a highly-medicated war reporter? This was a slow burner that became high-octane towards the end of the book with plenty of shocks along the way.

 

The Perfect Victim by Corrie Jackson

I absolutely loved this book despite it being the second in a series where I had not read the first. An incredibly twisty plot that completely messed with my head yet was never once confusing. I’d love to see this one made into a film.

 

 

Dying Games by Steve Robinson

The books about genealogist Jefferson Tayte just keep getting better and better and this one, I feel, was one of the best. A lot more fast-paced than some of the others, we find Jefferson  racing against the clock to stop a serial killer in his tracks. Very reminiscent of Robert Langdon!

 

The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

The second in the Lottie Parker series is a harrowing, emotional read which firmly placed the detective amongst my favourite characters. Death, prostitution, people trafficking and organ harvesting – this book has it all!

 

 

Day of the Dead by Mark Roberts

Another series set in Liverpool, but this time with a brilliant female protagonist, DCI Eve Clay. Some years ago, a paedophile-killer escaped from prison and now it seems as though he is back as the killings have started again. This series has a touch of the macabre about them and are a thrilling read!

 

The Good Mother by Karen Osman

A very character-driven novel about how destructive a secret can be. Told from the perspectives of three women, there was a definite ‘eureka’ moment which totally blew me away. Thrilling and emotive in equal measures.

 

 

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

I toyed about putting this one in as it’s not actually published until January 2018 but it was so good that I had to! Set in the present day and in 1986, it is obvious that crimes have been committed in the past and a group of young friends are implicated in some way. This promises to be one of the books of 2018.

 

So there you have it! How many of these appear on your top ten?

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