The prologue starts with a calendar, a countdown to her little boy’s birthday when he will be torn away from her. Maggie, too, has been torn away from all that she knows. She’s a survivor. She’s surviving for her child. Maybe, this time, she can save him. Heart-rending and powerfully addictive, Seven Days hooked me from page one (how could that prologue not?). My first thoughts before opening the book were: can the author sustain it? A girl locked away in a room, only seven days to save her son? Alex Lake succeeded in keeping me absolutely rivetted. A psychological thriller with just the right amount of crime element, the story encapsulates, not just the emotions of a girl journeying into womanhood whilst completely isolated from humanity, but those of her family, who live with the guilt and the sometimes waning hope that they will find her. The devastating impact on the missing girl’s brother. The unexpected impact on Martin and Sandra, her parents, whose bond grows stronger. It explores the frustration of a detective inspector whose gut instinct is not enough to act on. It looks as just how dark it can be behind closed doors, how you can look into the eyes of someone and never see the ugliness that might lurk inside. In short, Seven Days ticked every single box for me. An absolute must-read for psych thriller lovers and one I would highly recommend.
I was initially attracted to The Liar’s House by the cover, which posed an immediate question: whose house is it? I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the contents. What a brilliant story! Faultless police procedural and questions you are desperate to find answers to in every chapter. The card one of the characters received containing a certain part of human anatomy (or is it human?) was a masterstroke. It sent shivers down my spine. I have to say here that Carla Kovach’s characterisation is excellent. I felt this woman’s isolation, also the frustration of the possible owner of the certain part of anatomy, Samantha. The characters within the relationships are all totally relatable to – though there are some you perhaps wouldn’t want to relate to. As well as telling a gripping story, looking for the link between Samantha, a girl who liked to party and sadly disappeared on the way home from one seven years ago, and the current day brutal murder of Jade, who seems to be her exact opposite, the author delves beneath the surface couples present to reveal what goes on behind closed doors: sexual predilections that wouldn’t be considered the ‘norm’, controlling relationships. Insecurities. All are real flesh and blood characters and that always holds my attention.
I love the way the author weaves Harte’s backstory seamlessly into the story, skilfully linking her ghosts from the past and making them a pertinent part of the present. This also makes the book easily readable as a standalone story. If you like your crime with lots of twists and characters that come complete with all their foibles, this is a must-read, one I would highly recommend.
So, you might have heard my latest psychological thriller, THE MARRIAGE TRAP – my fourth book published by BOOKOUTURE – is out! I say you ‘might have heard’, but I suspect you couldn’t have failed to. That’s down to the tremendous support and hard work of some extremely passionate book bloggers and readers. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading the book and reviewing – and how! If ever an author needed inspiration to finish the next book, this is it.
I can’t resist sharing a snippet or two of the latest:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐’This is an addictive first-class psychological thriller.’ Once Upon a Time Book Blog
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Wow… What a book. I so enjoyed it. A very addictive read.’ Goodreads reviewer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘A dazzling story with plenty of mystery and suspense!… This is one brilliant read. I was unable to put the book down.’ Goodreads reviewer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Amazing new thriller.’ Goodreads reviewer
And, of course, the cover!
I’m thrilled to bits, can you tell? If you fancy a read, The Marriage Trap is currently on offer for just 99p! – so now might be your chance to grab it. If you prefer audio… Well, what can I say, Tamsin Kennard has done it again. I absolutely LOVE her audio narration. You can have a listen here:
That’s it! A HUGE thank you again to everyone for your amazing support. I really have just typed THE END on the next book (I must admit I was losing the plot a bit until you lot spurred me on). I’ll go and get on with finishing the decoration in the bedroom now (oh joy!), while I wait for my super-talented editor to make sense of it. Fingers crossed she can!
It’s no secret that I love this author’s writing. Her characters are compelling. I do have to admit to falling in love with her male characters. Yes, even those who are seemingly bad news. So, in The Cornish Affair, set in a family hotel with the evocative Cornish landscape as a backdrop, we have lustworthy Luke Carrack. With heartbreak and scandal in his background and turning local female heads, we just know he spells delicious trouble – cue the gossipmongers. Also, that his story is going to be a poignant one. His first encounter with Cat Trevelyan doesn’t go well. Let’s just say that Cat had one of those ‘please beam me up’ moments. As a result, Luke is less than impressed, rude and abrasive, in fact, which of course, rubs Cat up entirely the wrong way and causes the friction to fizz between them. Like I say, delicious. How could you not want to get your teeth into that?
A Cornish Affair, however, is about much more than the romance. Mystery and family secrets abound, and there are some fabulous twists, together with a thriller edge that really make this book stand out. Add that to Jo Lambert’s superb characterisation, and you have a story with real depth. Look out for Aunt Emelia – definitely a case of appearances deceive. As always with this author’s books, the resolution is perfect.
If you want cleverly written romance with intrigue and page-turning suspense, I would highly recommend A Cornish Affair.
Knowing Noelle Holten is a crime book junkie, reading and breathing crime thrillers, I was anticipating Dead Inside eagerly. I read the blurb a while back and was impressed by the unique premise. The book did not disappoint, ticking all the crime thriller boxes, and some, and the characterisation was excellent. The subject matter, domestic abuse, which also looks at the psychological aspect of abuse – important for me because that is often overlooked, or excused, sometimes by the sufferer, so insidious and manipulative is the abuser.
Noelle Holten brings her own experience working as a probation officer to the story, and she does it superbly, allowing the reader to immediately empathise with central character, Lucy Sherwood, whose job as a probation officer brings her into daily contact with domestic abusers. Even when it seems these criminals are itching to vent their frustrations regarding the system, Lucy handles herself. She’s competent. Behind closed doors, though, Lucy’s life has direct parallels with the victims of the people whose cases she handles. She lives each day of her life on tenterhooks, her overriding aim to protect ten-year-old Siobhan, her abuser’s daughter who she loves as her own.
Enter DC Maggie Jamieson. Dealing with her own family issues, she’s newly transferred to the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit and still haunted by the gruesome memories of her previous case. Her first new case is the grisly murder of a man linked to domestic abuse, which appears to be a vengeance killing. When more bodies are found, it’s soon apparent that the perpetrators of domestic abuse are being targeted. Maggie Jamieson and the DAHU team have a serial killer to track down. I have to say here, that I loved Maggie’s first day on the job. She is wrongfooted, but soon proves her worth. Again the characterisation shone through for me, each character having his own unique voice.
Our probation officer, Lucy, plays a key part as the investigation proceeds and the reader’s suspicion is aroused. The author has some clever twists, however, to keep you guessing – there’s a fabulous one at the end. No spoilers.
Dead Inside is a gritty, emotional, hard-hitting book that deals with delicate subjects. Bringing her own expertise to bear, the author writes frankly, assuredly and sensitively. If you love crime thrillers with a powerful story and strong characters you want to root for, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dead Inside. Highly.