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**BLOG TOUR** Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

In a Somerset school, the unimaginable has happened: gunmen are on the loose, stalking the grounds and corridors. The school is on lockdown, some more secure than others, each person focused on one thing: survival. With one person already seriously injured, the police have a race against time to identify the gunmen before a massacre occurs.

Ever since reading Sister in 2010, Rosamund Lupton has been one of those authors whose books I always look forward to. I was absolutely thrilled, therefore, to be given the opportunity to share my review of her latest book Three Hours as part of the blog tour. I knew that this was going to be a book that I would enjoy, buy I was not prepared for the emotions that I would go through whilst reading.

Told in real time, the siege has a very true to life feel about it as we see it from the perspective of all those involved. As someone who works in a similar environment and has had experience of a staged lock down situation, I was able to immediately put myself in the pages of the book and wonder how I would react if I were placed in the same terrifying circumstances. The bravery and resilience shown by the staff and pupils was immense and I was in awe at how some of the characters responded to this inconceivable horror. From the teenage girl who tries everything in her power to save her headteacher, to the deputy head who is fighting depression yet showing tremendous courage to protect others, we witness the best of people in the worst of situations.

I was impressed by the stoicism of the children and staff in the theatre as they continued with their Macbeth rehearsal. The parallels between what the children were rehearsing and what was going on outside were evident, with power and manipulation being common themes. Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play and I was delighted to see it playing such a huge part in the culmination of the plot.

My favourite character in the book was Rafi, the teenage boy who has escaped untold terror in Syria with his young brother, Basi. My heart really went out to both boys as they found themselves involved in yet another terrifying incident, Rafi’s love for his sibling shining through. It was heartbreaking reading what they had been through and Rosamund Lupton’s writing really highlighted the dangers faced by child refugees.

With such an emotive, hard-hitting plot, it may sound strange to say that I found Three Hours a very heart-warming story. At a time when true horrors were being experienced, we saw the very best of human nature and it is a huge lesson in how important it is to stand together against acts of terror. It may only be January, but I think it is safe to say that this will be one of my favourite reads of the year – the plot will stay with me for a long time to come.

With thanks to Viking Books UK, Ellie Hudson and Rosamund Lupton.

 

Perfect Match by D. B. Thorne

When Solomon’s sister, Tiffany, is found almost drowned, drugged and in a coma, he refuses to believe, as the police do, that this is the result of some terrible accident. With the police refusing to help, he undertakes his own investigation, soon discovering that there are similar cases of women who have been attacked and murdered after arranging an online date. Convinced that he is a fantasist, the authorities still refuse to take him seriously, leaving Solomon with no option – he will put his own life at stake to bring the assailant to justice.

I enjoyed D. B. Thorne’s previous book, Troll, and was pleased to see that the follow-up book also deals with the dangers of social media, in this case, dating apps. Perfect Match serves as a perfect reminder of how not everything is what it seems online, as discovered by Tiffany when her online date is not the person she thought he was. It soon becomes apparent that this is not an isolated incident and that, in some respects, Tiffany has been one of the lucky ones as some of the methods used by the mysterious date are truly horrific.

The main protagonist, Solomon, is a fascinating character and one that I warmed to immediately. Having not left the house for two years after an incident which is referred to in the book, he overcomes his fears to spend as much time with his sister as he can, showing how important his family are to him. He is an incredibly brave man who is able to use his intelligence to try to outwit his sister’s attacker by predicting his next move. Ably assisted by his own online associates, I loved how they figured out the connection between the crimes and thought that the actual links were brilliantly constructed by the author.

In direct contrast, I could not take to Fox, the police officer in charge of the case, at all. Although the reasons for her dismissiveness were explained, she treated Solomon, a man whose sister had just been brutally attacked, with nothing but contempt. I shared Solomon’s frustration as she refused to listen to his theory and put the lives of others in danger. It was pleasing to see how she showed some remorse towards the end, but even then she had one eye firmly on the case she was determined to solve.

As Solomon’s plan is put into action, the pace moves on rapidly and I found it hard to stop reading. There are several heart-in-mouth moments when you don’t know exactly what is going to happen as there is literally a race against time to save the final victim. I did want the book to end in a slightly different way that it did, but that is just a personal preference.

Perfect Match is a great read and one which reinforces how careful you should be online.

With thanks to Readers First and Corvus for my ARC.

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