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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.

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox

When a young couple find a savagely beaten, naked woman in the New Mexico mountains, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is plunged into a particularly testing case. The woman, Callie McCormick, is seemingly the latest victim of a mysterious psychopath who is linked to a string of deaths, but who has, so far, left no clues as to his identity. When Wyatt finds herself close to a breakthrough, she unwittingly puts herself straight in the firing line. The killer knows who she is and wants her to know his name, even if it means destroying everyone around her…

I don’t often read crime books set in the USA, preferring, instead the more familiar UK criminal justice system. There was something about All His Pretty Girls that grabbed my attention, however, and piqued my interest enough to make me want to read it. All I can say is, I am so glad I did! It is hard to believe that this is the author’s debut, as it is a confident, well-written serial killer novel with some fantastic twists and turns!

Alyssa Wyatt is a great character with an emotional backstory which has shaped her police career. I liked the relationship she had with her team, particularly her partner, and thought it made a refreshing change to see a united team, all focused on the job in hand. In books like this, I am accustomed to seeing the detective having an erratic home life so it was pleasing to read scenes involving her supportive, well-balanced family – even if there is a little bit of animosity towards her mother-in-law!

The killer in the book is a particularly heinous one and there are several descriptive scenes which should come with a health warning! His shadow box containing ‘mementos’ of his previous victims was particularly graphic, and you could feel the panic Callie was feeling as she wondered what her fate would be. In a clever piece of writing, I also felt some sympathy towards the killer as we read about his childhood, and realised what a horrific start to life he had.

All His Pretty Girls is a fast-paced, breathtaking read and is one that I struggled to put down. This will definitely be making my list of favourite books of 2019 and I sincerely hope that this is not the last we see of Alyssa.

With thanks to Hera Books and to Sarah Hardy from Book on the Bright Side.

 

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