Jenny and Kath were childhood friends, always together. When Jenny moved to Australia to further her swimming career, she not only lost touch with Kath but also Tom, the love of her life. Now eight years later, Jenny has made the journey to France where Kath is now living, keen to catch up on all of their lost years. After a pleasant start, things soon begin to change and Jenny starts to suspect that Kath has not been the friend she thought she was. Just how manipulative has she been and what exactly does she have in store for Jenny?
The Good Friend has a plot that many people could relate to. In the days before social media, it was easy to lose touch with people you had spent your school years with, only to wonder what had become of them. For Jenny, with her successful swimming career taking her to the other side of the world, she has not had contact with her childhood friends for many years. Now, after becoming tired of spending all her waking hours in the pool, she has decided to rekindle past friendships. From the outset, we see her wondering if she has made the right decision, her father’s words making her think that Kath is not the friend she thought she was.
We soon see how controlling Kath is, and it is apparent that all is definitely not right with her. As much as I liked Jenny, I was desperate for her to get away from the house as there was a definite sense of foreboding. Kath, I found, a very complex character, although we are not fully aware of how duplicitous she has actually been. I enjoyed the slow-moving plot as it gave me a chance to build my own suspicions and try to determine what the outcome would be. Although some of my theories did prove to be correct, I did not predict the shocking ending at all, and was totally taken aback by what happened!
The French setting helped to create a very claustrophobic atmosphere for Jenny who found herself drawn in to the locality. Jo Baldwin’s description painted a vivid picture of the Languedoc lavender fields, their beauty a stark contrast to the tension and uneasiness of all of the main characters.
It is hard to say too much about The Good Friend without giving too much of the plot away, but what I will say is that I thoroughly enjoyed it and, towards then end in particular, found it increasingly difficult to put down. A great debut!
With thanks to Anna at Red Door for my copy of The Good Friend.
February may be a short month but I’ve managed to read some books that I’m sure are going to feature on my ‘favourites of 2019’ list. It’s also been the month when I’ve been able to share my reviews of some of the books that I read a while ago due to them being part of their respective blog tours.
The Last by Hanna Jameson was a book that I read at the end of last year. I’d read so many good things about this book on social media that I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to take part in the blog tour. This dystopian murder-mystery certainly lived up to my expectations.
I also shared a review of Remember Me by D. E. White as part of the blog tour. Set in Wales, this story of a deranged serial killer was a great read with plenty of sub-plots that all tied together nicely.
One of my favourite series of recent years has definitely been Sarah Flint’s Charlie Stafford series. I was pleased to share an extract from Mummy’s Favourite, the first in the series, which has just been published in paperback after previously being available as an ebook.
Another series I am really enjoying is the DI Kelly Porter books by Rachel Lynch. I shared a review of Bitter Edge as part of the blog tour, another brilliant read set in the Lake District.
I was also on the blog tour for The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett. This is the sixth in the series and I can’t believe I have never read any of the others! This will definitely be rectified as I really enjoyed reading about the forensics expert.
The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin was another great read that featured my review as part of the blog tour. Set in the Languedoc lavender fields, it asks the question: Do we really know those closest to us?
I also took part in a cover reveal for The Family by P. R. Black. The cover and the synopsis have definitely whetted my appetite for the book and I will be featuring a review as part of the blog tour soon.
I recently finished reading Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse, the first in a new series about Robin Lyons who has been dismissed from her role as a Met detective. A review will be published nearer publication date.
In a rural English village in the middle of a snowstorm, the unthinkable happens: the school is under siege.
From the wounded headmaster barricaded in the library, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the pregnant police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the terrified 8-year-old Syrian refugee, to the kids sheltering in the school theatre still rehearsing Macbeth, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and try to save the people they love . . .
In an intense exploration of fear and violence, courage and redemption, Rosamund Lupton takes us deep into the heart of human experience.
Whitehall Palace, England, 1539
When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.
Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.
Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…
Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018
Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.
Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.
Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…
What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard? And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?
‘She lifted the flap of the envelope and pulled out the single white page. As she opened it up she stared, open mouthed. Four words were typed on the page. I am watching you.’
When Amy Whyte and Penny Brogan leave a local nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning and don’t arrive home, their families are beside themselves with worry. Conor Dowling has just been released from prison, a man full of hatred for Amy, the girl who put him behind bars in the first place.
The case is given to Detective Lottie Parker, when the girls’ blood-soaked bodies are found, days later, in a derelict squat. Chillingly, both girls are clutching silver coins in their hands – what message is this killer leaving behind? All the signs point to Conor but his alibi is water tight.
As Lottie examines Penny and Amy’s final days alive in a desperate search for clues, two more girls are found stabbed to death in a luxury apartment complex. Caught up in what is fast becoming her toughest case yet, Lottie is unaware that somebody is watching her every move.
Then Lottie’s two daughters, Katie and Chloe suddenly disappear from the town centre. Terrified that the killer has her girls, the stakes have never been higher for Lottie.
But as Lottie puts everything on the line to find her daughters and solve the case, she’s about to find herself in terrible danger – someone has a personal axe to grind with her and they know the best way to get to her is to hurt the ones she loves the most.
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 author’s second book after the brilliant The Chalk Manis 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?
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…
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?
It’s hard to believe that there is only one month left in 2018! Due to various reasons, I’ve not been able to read as much as I would have liked this month, but I’ve still managed to read a few great books and take part in several blog tours and cover reveals.
I was pleased to be able to share an extract from Who I Am by Sarah Simpson and also take part in the cover reveals for Sea Babies by Tracey Scott-Townsend and She’s Mine by Claire S Lewis.
The third in the Esther and Jack Enright Victorian mystery series sees the couple investigating the death of a young woman under very suspicious circumstances. Esther, once again, finds herself in danger as she attempts to uncover the truth.
The Last by Hanna Jameson
My review will form part of the blog tour in 2019 but I’d heard so much about this book that I couldn’t wait to start reading. The story of a murder lurking amongst a group of end-of-the-world survivors definitely lived up to its early hype!
Books I Have Acquired
Once upon a time they were best friends.
They were all friends.
So when Jenny moved to Australia to focus on her swimming career, she not only lost Kath, but her soulmate Tom. It was for the best. Or so they said.
Now, eight years later, Jenny seeks out her childhood friend and heads to rural France where Kath has settled. At first the women fall back into a close relationship, but before long strange and malicious behaviour leads Jenny to suspect the truth: that Kath has played a clever game all along to manipulate and control those around her. And Jenny is her biggest victim. Set against the glorious backdrop of the Languedoc lavender fields, The Good Friend is a beautifully written psychological drama about love, lies and a dangerous obsession.
Because once the truth is revealed, there’s no going back…
Who can you trust when your world goes up in flames?
A gripping, sensational new crime drama, from the bestselling author of Before We Met.
Detective Inspector Robin Lyons is going home.
Dismissed for misconduct from the Met’s Homicide Command after refusing to follow orders, unable to pay her bills (or hold down a relationship), she has no choice but to take her teenage daughter Lennie and move back in with her parents in the city she thought she’d escaped forever at 18.
In Birmingham, sharing a bunkbed with Lennie and navigating the stormy relationship with her mother, Robin works as a benefit-fraud investigator – to the delight of those wanting to see her cut down to size.
Only Corinna, her best friend of 20 years seems happy to have Robin back. But when Corinna’s family is engulfed by violence and her missing husband becomes a murder suspect, Robin can’t bear to stand idly by as the police investigate. Can she trust them to find the truth of what happened? And why does it bother her so much that the officer in charge is her ex-boyfriend – the love of her teenage life?
As Robin launches her own unofficial investigation and realises there may be a link to the disappearance of a young woman, she starts to wonder how well we can really know the people we love – and how far any of us will go to protect our own.
Because murderers are never who you expect…
She was the quiet one… but is she guilty?
For twin sisters Rose and Bel, enrolling at the prestigious new boarding school should have been a fresh start. But with its sinister rituals and traditions, Odell soon brings out a deadly rivalry between the sisters.
For Sarah and husband Heath, the chance to teach at Odell seems like the best thing that ever happened to their small family – a chance to rise through the ranks and put the past behind them.
Until one dark night ends in murder.
But who’s guilty and who’s telling the truth? And who’s been in on it all along..?
The puzzling murder of Julia Wallace in Liverpool in 1931.
A telephone message is left at a chess club, instructing one of its members, insurance agent William Wallace, to meet a Mr Qualtrough. But the address given by the mystery caller does not exist and Wallace returns home to find his wife Julia bludgeoned to death.
The case turns on the telephone call. Who made it? The police thought it was Wallace, creating an alibi that might have come from an Agatha Christie thriller. Others believe Wallace innocent but disagree on the identity of the murderer. The Cold Case Jury must decide what happened in one of the most celebrated cold cases of all time.
The Julia Wallace murder is one that has fascinated me for a long time, so I can’t wait to read that one!