Category Archives: Authors G to I

Reviews by author surname G to I

Review – Into The Darkness by Sibel Hodge

The Blurb

The Missing…
In a hidden basement, eighteen-year-old Toni is held captive and no one can hear her screams. She’s been abducted after investigating unspeakable things in the darkest corners of the Internet.
The Vigilante…
Fearing the worst, Toni’s mother turns to ex-SAS operative Mitchell to help find her missing daughter. And when Mitchell discovers Toni’s fate rests in the hands of pure evil, he races against the clock to find Toni and bring her out alive. But even that might not be enough to save her.
The Detective…
DS Warren Carter is looking forward to a new job and a simpler life. But when he’s called in to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly normal couple, he becomes entangled in lives that are anything but simple. And as he digs deeper, he uncovers a crime more twisted than he could ever have imagined.
Into the Darkness is the chilling new thriller from the bestselling author of Duplicity and Beneath the Surface.

My Thoughts

As regular readers of my blog will know, I always eagerly anticipate a new book by Sibel Hodge and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into Into The Darkness.

The quote by Shakespeare at the beginning of the book hints at the wickedness we are about to encounter as we go Into The Darkness.

When eighteen-year-old Toni goes missing, her mother calls ex-SAS officer Mitchell to help find her daughter. While they search for the missing girl, DS Warren Carter is investigating the apparently motiveless murder of a couple in a quiet well-to-do village. Told from three perspectives – Toni, Mitchell and DS Carter – Hodge endures that the reader is kept at the heart of the all the action. This also gives a unique insight into each of the characters.

I really warmed to DS Carter and , as we again meet Mitchell and Maya from Untouchable in this book, I hope that we will be seeing him again in the future.

Hodge never flinches from writing about the darkest echelons of society. Quite often her books have a political edge to them and feature those real-life taboo issues that people don’t talk about much. This is one of the things I really like about her books. It ensures that you are left with something to think about and adds a depth to what would otherwise be your standard – but brilliant – thriller. Into The Darkness explores the murky corners of the Internet – the dark web in which anything goes and can be bought for a price. The fact that the subject matter could be grounded in reality takes the chill factor of Into The Darkness up (or down) several degrees.

The three threads of the story come together perfectly as Hodge weaves a twisted tale in which nothing is as it seems. Incredibly tense, Hodge once again show her prowess as a skilled writer.

Hodge has written another scorching, unsettling thriller that left me holding my breath. If you like your thrillers on the blackest side of dark, then head Into The Darkness.

My thanks to Sibel Hodge, Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my review.

Published on 3 July 2018 by Thomas & Mercer. You can get a copy HERE.

Blog Tour – Do No Harm by L. V. Hay *Review*

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the Do No Harm by L. V. Hay’s blog tour. Check out the blurb and then my review.

The Blurb

Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

My Thoughts

L. V. Hay is back with her latest psychological thriller, Do No Harm. This is one of the books I have been highly anticipating this year following her scorching debut, The Other Twin.

Do No Harm follows Lily as she and her son embark on a new life with partner Sebastian. Sebastian is the absolute antithesis of her ex-husband, the possessive Maxwell, and life should be plain sailing and happy. However, Maxwell has decided that Lily and their son should still be with him.

Sounds like your average domestic noir, right? Wrong! Hay takes the domestic noir, shakes it up and turns it completely on its head. Do No Harm is more twisty than a slinky toy and as unpredictable in which direction it is going to take.

Do No Harm is skilfully written as Hay has cleverly weaved a plot that keeps the reader totally on the back foot when it comes to trying to work out what is going to happen. My theories were completely blown out of the water every time. The twists and turns are cleverly executed and utterly chilling. Hay has a way of building the tension to the point that when you finally reach the crescendo you feel as wrung out as the poor characters involved.

Using first and third person narrative to convey Lily and Sebastian, we are given unique access to the thoughts and views of those closely involved. The characterisation is totally on point and I couldn’t help but become totally immersed in the lives of Lily and Sebastian. It’s clichéd to say, but Do No Harm is unputdownable.

Hay will make you look at love in a whole new way. In Do No Harm, the concept of love is portrayed via those whose interpretation of what love is is totally skewed, and the result is a clever, chilling and utterly unnerving thriller. In Do No Harm, Hay takes the shock factor you expect in a psychological thriller and increases it by a hundred. One of the must-read thrillers of 2018.

Published on 15th June by Orenda Books, you can buy your copy HERE.

About the Author

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Lucy V. Hay for my copy of Do No Harm and to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

 

Review – Out Of The Dark (The Revenge Series Book 1) by Marshall Hughes

The Blurb

Come. Come here. Come closer. Let me whisper in your ear. Let me tell you my secrets and take you on a journey that will chill your very soul. I want to invite you into the life and mind of a serial killer. My story may fascinate you or it might disgust you, but only you can decide. My name is Jayden Edward Scott; a killer with no remorse, no guilt and no fear of retribution. I am too clever to be caught, too meticulous in my method of killing and too smart to care. At thirty years old, I am a self-made millionaire; businessman, entrepreneur and venture capitalist with copious amounts of money to spend on a lavish lifestyle. My story starts seven years ago on a foggy night in Edinburgh – my victim unaware of his fate. With one swipe of my blade, the knife slit his throat with precision. I bundled him into the boot of the car. He stared at me with familiarity before I slammed the door shut. I left him there to bleed to death. He was my first kill, but certainly not my last. So… come with me. Let me tell you my story. It is a tale of revenge, murder, death, sex, love and intrigue.

My Thoughts

I wanted to read Out Of The Dark as, like a lot of people, I am intrigued by serial killers and their psychology. What is it that makes them kill and is it as a result of nature or nurture? The synopsis for Out Of The Dark promised an insight into this very topic.

Out Of The Dark is the first in The Revenge Series following serial killer Jayden Scott. Told in first person perspective, Jayden tells us about his childhood and what led to his first murder. As the title of the series suggests, Jayden kills people as an act of revenge for their behaviour. The perspective changes through the book as we also hear from the detective investigating one of the murders and Jayden’s girlfriend and childhood friend.

I really liked Out Of The Dark’s prologue. It is kind of Jack-the-Ripperesque, if there can be such a thing, with Hughes building up the tension and atmosphere with his descriptive prose. The prologue successfully whet my appetite and had me wanting to read more.

From there we meet Jayden who lets the reader into his life and the reasons behind the acts he has committed. Out Of The Dark is a slow paced book as it concentrates on the whys rather than the hows and its focus is on the character of Jayden. Generally I like books that are character driven and slow burning but I feel that there were areas Hughes could have developed a bit more to make Out Of The Dark more compelling and dark. I didn’t feel convinced about Jayden as a remorseless killer as at times he did seem, to me, to demonstrate a bit of remorse. I would have liked to get more of a sense of how those aspects of his personality that allow him to kill come out in his business life and in his relationships and their impact on these areas.

It is my understanding that this is Hughes’ first novel and while the idea is good a little help with the execution may have helped to make it more pacey and darker. We are aware from the outset that Jayden is a multiple killer however the telling of the other killings felt rushed.

I liked the structure of the book and the different perspectives given throughout. This made it more interesting as the impact Jayden has on others can be seen directly from their point of view rather than just relying on Jayden.

Hughes has ended Out Of The Dark well with a real cliff hanger moment and, despite some of my reservations, I am intrigued enough to want to check out the second in the series.  

My thanks to Marshall Hughes for my copy of Out Of The Dark in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy your copy HERE.

Review – Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

The Blurb

DOES EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAPPEN PURELY BY CHANCE? OR ARE WE GUIDED TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP US IN OUR HOUR OF NEED?

Following the sudden death of her beloved mother, Jessica Gibson’s world falls apart. But after meeting a man who seems heaven-sent, she starts to feel she has something to live for again, and soon discovers that their connection holds far more significance than she could ever have imagined. And when Jessica strikes an unlikely bond with Alexandra Green, the two new friends are taken on an emotional journey into the world of the supernatural, where psychic mediums pass on messages from beyond the grave. What — or who — is causing the strange goings-on in Alex’s home? What secret is she keeping from Jessica? And who is the young woman who so badly needs their help? In a series of surprising twists and turns, the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place and a mystery is unwittingly solved — with life-changing consequences for all involved.

Out of the Darkness is an uplifting tale of friendship and redemption; of love and loss. And life…after death.

My Thoughts

If I’m completely honest Out of the Darkness is not the sort of book I would normally pick up, but I had seen some lovely reviews of it and decided to give it a read. After some initial doubts I’m really glad I did.

Out of the Darkness is the story of three women, Jessica, Alex and Hannah, whose lives become unexpectedly intertwined following the death of Jessica’s mother. Initially, I was unsure that I would be able to get into Hogan’s book as it has elements of the supernatural and involves mediums and signs from beyond the grave. I’m extremely sceptical about mediums and their alleged abilities, as I personally believe that many of them prey on the grief of those who are vulnerable in order to make money. However, as I continued to read I found myself getting completely wrapped up in the lives of these three women and I could get over my issues with mediums.

I really enjoyed the relationship between the three women and wanted to know what the connection between them was, as it was clear that their coming together was more than just coincidence. Out of the Darkness is very much a book about fate and I really liked this element.

Hogan writes about grief with real emotional acuity, and she really captures the feelings, thoughts and difficulties involved when you lose someone you love. She doesn’t just focus on the immediate aftermath of grief but also how it impacts in the long term with those moments when it sneaks up on you when you think you have reached a point that you are okay.

What I took from Out of the Darkness is that the one thing that unites every one of us is death – the certainty of death and the experience of death. While I knew this, Hogan’s book made me think about this at a deeper level. Out of the Darkness is one of those books that makes you want to take hold of your loved ones and hold them to you extra tight, such are the emotions that it generates.

Out of the Darkness is in turns both heartbreaking and uplifting and Hogan managed to make this cynical bugger cry! A real gem of a book.

Out of the Darkness was published on 6 July 2015 by Illumine Publishing. You can get your copy HERE.

My thanks go to Katy Hogan for the copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Review – Last Goodbye by Arlene Hunt

The Blurb

Every couple has their secrets …

‘The woman’s body lay on the bed, hair fanned out in a golden halo, blue eyes open. On the table stood an unmistakable sign: a bouquet of bright yellow roses…’

On a freezing January morning, a young couple is found dead in their cottage in the quiet Dublin suburbs. When Detective Eli Quinn arrives at the scene his stomach drops. It’s the second double homicide in as many months where the killer has left a bunch of yellow roses.

Tucked between the thorns is a little card, with an image of a broken heart. There’s no doubt the killer is trying to send a message, but what do the flowers mean? And can Eli figure out the killer’s motive, before they strike again?

Utterly gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this serial killer thriller will keep you up reading all night. If you love Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Patricia Gibney, you won’t be able to put this down.

My Thoughts

Last Goodbye is the first in a new detective series by Arlene Hunt. I thoroughly enjoyed Last To Die and waited eagerly for her latest novel.

Somebody is killing couples in Dublin and at each murder scene there is a bunch of yellow roses left and the female is laid out in a certain way. Quinn and Malloy find themselves on a desperate hunt to catch the killer before he/she strikes again.

Last Goodbye is set in Dublin and it introduces us to DI Eli Quinn and DS Roxy Malloy. Quinn is the experienced murder detective compared to Malloy who is a week into her probationary period as a DS. In this first book we get more of a sense of Roxy’s character and it is clear that there is a lot more to come as the series progresses. I did wonder while reading if Roxy has Asperger’s as she is not comfortable in the presence of people and lacks social niceties. Although she comes across as quite cold, I really warmed to her and found some of her observations funny and accurate. Her obvious discomfort around Garda Officer Cora Simmons who is chatty, outgoing and the direct opposite to Roxy’s introverted personality was well portrayed and I really liked Hunt’s characterisations.

The antagonist in Last Goodbye is incredibly unnerving. We are treated to chapters that are devoted to him and his thought processes and motivations. One thing I loved about Last To Die was Hunt’s portrayal of the killer and she doesn’t disappoint in Last Goodbye. Her ability to get beneath his skin makes the book all the more compelling as, let’s face it, we all want to understand the motivations behind killings. It’s the care that is taking into the insight of the killer’s mind that makes Last Goodbye a great read rather than a good read. It is incredibly chilling and becomes even more so when you read Hunt’s note at the end of the book.

The pacing is perfect as Last Goodbye steams ahead and the interspersing chapters from the perspective of the killer enhances the pace rather than detracts from it. I raced through this book and each twist had me holding my breath.

A great start to a new series, I am looking forward to meeting Quinn and Malloy in the next book. If you like police procedurals, being totally unnerved by a chillingly realistic serial killer and a fast-paced plot you will love Last Goodbye.

Last Goodbye is published on 22 May 2018 by Bookouture and you can get a copy HERE.

Thanks to Arlene Hunt, Bookouture and Netgalley for the copy in exchange for my review.

Read my review of Last To Die here.

Blog Tour – The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye *Excerpt*

I’m delighted to be taking part in The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye blog tour today and I’m excited to be able to share an excerpt with you. There is also a giveaway in which you can win a signed copy!

Firstly, what is The Second Cup about?

The Blurb

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.
With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

As promised here is the excerpt. We’re introducing Abbie – one of the four main characters – and we catch up with her while she’s sitting in A&E waiting to find out how her friend Beth is after a suspected overdose.

So how does this praying thing work? I’m starting to wish I’d paid more attention when Beth went on one of her rants about her Catholic upbringing, as it would have put me in good stead for knowing what to do right now.

My closest friend has downed a bottle of Paracetamol and is lying the other side of a locked door that requires a keypad access code. I’ve been the other side of the keypad and it is no easier – although at least you have NHS staff on your side when you’re that side.

I have positioned myself on the row of plastic seats along the far wall so I can watch the comings and goings through said door without having to strain my neck muscles. But so far every raised chin has been greeted with nothing – no glance in my direction, no calling out “Beth Adam’s friend” or “Abbie? Abbie Tomlinson?” repeating your first name as part of some sort of ritual. I listen to the strange names being called out, finding myself adding a second surname to the announcements to make them even.

“Emily? Emily Paterson?”

“Paterson.”

“Robert? Robert Samuels?”

“Samuels.”

“Gobinda? Gobinda Mudri?”

“Mudri.”

I only catch myself doing it when I realise I’m saying them out loud and the person two seats away shifts further along the row, giving me a worried glance as they go. I want to scream “I’m not mental” at them, but that would make me seem the opposite. And I would also feel very guilty at the inference that there was something wrong with being mental when I’m sitting here waiting for the doctors to save my friend from an overdose.

And I’m sure my little habits and rituals are perfectly normal for someone who’s under as much stress as I am at work.

I just like things to be even. To be balanced.

I look up at the clock. I’ve not been here a full half-hour yet and yet I feel as if a day’s worth of energy has been drained out of me. I’m wondering if the clock is playing tricks on me, so I decide to stare at it and count along with the second hand – this time in my head so the lady a few seats down doesn’t feel she needs to move even further away. The full 60 seconds pass, as they should.

“Okay God,” I think, “If I can hold my breath and sit completely still for a full 60 seconds, you have to make Beth live.”

I wait until the second hand is at 12 and take a deep breath in – probably loud enough to scare the timid lady on my row, but I can’t look to check because sitting still is part of the pact. Time feels like it’s slowing down as the hand gets to 11. I watch – 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 – and then breathe out.

I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything worthy of saving a life. Maybe that was just a test pact and now I have to do another one. This might be how prayers work; why you have to say so many of them while you count rosary beads. You start off with a simple one and then build up to more complicated and challenging ones.

I shift on my plastic seat, massaging the ridges the edge has left mid-thigh on both legs. I take a few sips from the now-cold cup of coffee on the table ledge next to me. The temperature makes it no more or less drinkable as it was disgusting from the first mouthful, my brain immediately forgetting just how undrinkable it is, so each sip is a brand new shock to my taste buds. My brain is too busy willing Beth to stay alive to process information like “stop drinking because it tastes terrible”.

I’ve stretched and taken on more fluids, so I’m ready for my next challenge. Four is my lucky number. So maybe I need to hunt out for things in fours? Four is like your engine number, you breath in and out; your heart beats up and down. A four-stroke engine. It’s this four that powers you, so maybe if I find lots of fours it will be a sign that Beth is going to make it.

Scanning the room I notice four people with touchscreen phones out, ignoring the faded posters rather forlornly telling people to turn their phones off. I’m wondering if they’re all iPhones or Samsung, but I might be pushing my luck, so I check for other fours. There are four girls with ponytails. There are four noticeboards. There are four internal doors of the waiting room – if you don’t count the toilets.

There are four people with rucksack style bags. No, there are five, but one is close to the door and he’s put his bag on the floor – while the others are still wearing theirs. And he’s by the door, organising the content of his bag. I have to resist reaching out and kicking him with my leg to get him to go. C’mon. C’mon. And he’s gone. I can breathe again, even though I didn’t realise I was holding my breath. I hope it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t for 60 seconds. Maybe fours don’t matter after all, I tell myself.

We’re now a four – me, Beth, Olivia and Faye – but I preferred us more as a three.

Before Faye.

If that has whet your appetite for more you can purchase a copy of The Second Cup HERE.

Giveaway

There are three signed copies up for grabs and it is open internationally:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression.
It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision.
Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel – about family, friendships and mental health.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/SarahMarieGraye

Catch the rest of the tour

 

Review – London Noir by Ann Girdharry

The Blurb

Memory loss, nightmares, the urge to kill – Sophie has it all. Is it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Or something more sinister? Kal is about to find out…

After a near-fatal road accident, Kal helps a young girl in trouble. The girl’s friends are being murdered one by one. Why? And who by?

Kal must kick start herself out of her downward spiral to save the young stranger.

But Kal is in the grip of the London Cartel and is someone after the girl, or is the girl after someone?

 Crime Suspense Thriller.
A stand alone story.
The second Kal Medi book.

My Thoughts

London Noir is the second book in Girdharry’s Kal Medi series, following on from Good Girl Bad Girl which was published last year. While London Noir does work as a standalone, it is better to have read Good Girl Bad Girl firstly because you will get more of a sense of Kal’s history and secondly because it’s a cracking read.

When Kal is involved in a road traffic accident with a young woman called Sophie she is immediately drawn to her … and subsequently drawn into Sophie’s dangerous life. Sophie’s friends are being killed and Kal helps her to find out who is responsible and why.

I really liked the character of Kal in the first book and knew this would be a protagonist I wanted to follow. She is a kick-arse, gutsy, intelligent photo-journalist with an interesting background, thanks in part to her father who her taught her all about understanding body language and how to read and manipulate people. In this second book we see a softer and more vulnerable side to Kal. This makes me like her even more and there is plenty of scope for Girdharry to continue with this character and I look forward to seeing how Kal develops as the series progresses.

London Noir draws you in immediately with a first chapter that captures your attention and leaves you wanting to know more. From there the pace gradually gains momentum and you become completely gripped. The plot is fast-moving and keeps the reader of their toes with twists and turns galore making London Noir a thrilling ride.

The killer in London Noir may well be the most evil, chilling antagonist I have come across this year! Punctuated with chapters in which the killer narrates in first person, Girdharry ensures that the reader’s attention is maintained throughout. I loved getting an insight into what makes the killer tick but bloomin’ heck it sent shivers down my spine as it is as creepy as hell!

What I really like about this series is the use of psychology and body language that Girdharry incorporates. This adds an additional layer and there is an intelligence in Girdharry’s books that make them stand apart from other crime thrillers.

If you haven’t yet checked out the Kal Medi series yet I strongly suggest you do. Current, unnerving, well cast and plotted, London Noir is a must for crime fiction fans.

Published on 17 October 2017 by Chassagnard Publishing.

A huge thank you to Ann Girdharry for the advance copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Read my review of Good Girl Bad Girl HERE.

Review – Beneath The Surface by Sibel Hodge

Whoop whoop, I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of Sibel Hodge’s Beneath The Surface on its publication day today and wish Sibel a very happy book birthday!

The Blurb

Dean Hudson didn’t look evil…so what could drive an ordinary boy to kill?
When the teenage son of Holly Gold’s school friend brutally murders his parents before killing himself, her sleepy home town is rocked by the sudden tragedy.
Appalled, Holly investigates. What could have caused the happy-go-lucky boy she remembers to commit such a heinous crime? When another teen commits suicide, she uncovers a horrifying link between the recent deaths and a dark conspiracy to hide the truth.
But someone doesn’t want Holly asking questions and, as she hunts for evidence to prove her theory, she’s dragged into a nightmare that threatens her life and her sanity. Then tragedy strikes again—and this time it’s closer to home…
Beneath the Surface is a gripping psychological suspense-thriller from the bestselling author of Duplicity, Look Behind You and Where the Memories Lie.

My Thoughts

I am always excited when a new Sibel Hodge novel comes out and I consider myself very lucky to have been granted an advance copy of her latest thriller Beneath The Surface.

Journalist Holly Gold is shocked when Dean, the son of one of her oldest friends, commits suicide … after murdering his parents. Holly can’t understand why the genial child she remembers committed this horrific act and is determined to find out the reason behind his behaviour. Holly is soon led down a path she didn’t expect and finds that her investigation into the causes of the murder-suicide could, ultimately, put her own life at risk.

I don’t want to give any of the plot away as I want future readers to be as surprised as I was by the turn of events that take place in Beneath the Surface. It took a direction I did not expect at all, but it is a direction that is good and, despite being a work of fiction, eye-opening to say the least. I urge any reader to read the note from the author at the end of the book.

Hodge manages to combine fast-paced suspense with social issues and Beneath the Surface is as much an indictment of capitalist society as it is a thriller. Rather than being your average crime drama, the conspiracy that lies at the heart of the book is shocking and terrifying as it is grounded in truth. I loved the political layer, which is incredibly current, and the social commentary that punctuates the book. The theme of the pursuit of profit regardless of the cost is incredibly chilling.

Holly as a character is complex and likable. The black sheep of the family she has had her fair share of difficulties and at points during the book you do question her reliability, which adds to the enjoyment and the ride Hodge takes you on. Her quest for the truth and the tenacity Holly demonstrates despite the risks make her a brave and admirable character. She is a journalist, but she is a journalist with a conscience.

Hodge ratchets up the suspense with twists and turns I, for one, did not see coming. The conspiracy element of Beneath The Surface ensures that the reader is kept on their toes and the shocks keep on coming.

It’s no secret that Sibel Hodge is one of my favourite authors of the thriller genre and I’m pleased to say that she has written yet another fantastic book. The premise and Hodge’s style of writing make Beneath The Surface a gripping and thought-provoking read. This is not your average thriller and I loved it!

Published on 27 July 2017 by Thomas and Mercer.

A huge thank you to Sibel Hodge and Thomas and Mercer for the advance copy in exchange for my review.

You can read my reviews of Untouchable and Duplicity by clicking on the pictures and read Sibel’s Author Influences HERE.

Blog Tour – The Other Twin by L V Hay *Review*

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for L V Hay’s The Other Twin today and to be sharing my thoughts on Hay’s debut psychological thriller.

The Blurb

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana?
Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her?
Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well-heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as the truth…

My Thoughts

This is going to be a very difficult review to write as there is so much I want to say but I’m fearful of giving away the plot. With The Other Twin Hay has written a topical thriller that is written with great skill and understanding.

When Poppy Wade’s half-sister India falls to her death from a railway bridge, Poppy returns to her home town of Brighton to be with her family. Poppy questions the initial verdict of suicide and sets out to find out the truth behind her sister’s death. Poppy has that underlying feeling that something isn’t right regarding the death and the more she looks into it the more she discovers that she barely knows those she grew up with.

The Other Twin uses social media to great effect. Hay plays on all my likes and dislikes of social media – the way in which you never really know who is behind the keyboard, the way in which grudges and arguments can be played out in public, but also the support it can give to people who would otherwise feel alone. This is a book ultimately about identity and the use of social media works perfectly with this. As Poppy discovers things about her sister she didn’t know via her laptop, the reader is constantly left guessing as to what the truth is.

This is also a book about the secrets that hide within families and the lengths they will go to to keep them concealed. The question is raised as to how much we ever really know anyone. I always enjoy secrets and lies within a book and I adored this aspect of The Other Twin. I was gripped from the start and raced through the book to the ending.

The tone sits perfectly with the subject matter and the sense of grief that is displayed by the protagonist. It has a subtle grittiness to it that leaves you feeling unnerved throughout. Hay’s writing makes you feel unsettled as you take the journey with Poppy to discover the truth about India.

Hay weaves a twisting, turning tale in which the sense of unease never leaves you. The ending pretty much blew me away with events that I didn’t see coming at all! It will probably be the book of 2017 that delivers the ultimate shock factor, and any books that come after are going to be hard pushed to surprise me as much as The Other Twin did. A cracking debut novel! 

About L V Hay

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write
consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin
(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’
Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus
its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six
cats and five African Land Snails.

A huge thank you to L V Hay, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for the advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Follow the rest of the tour…

Blog Tour – Reconciliation For The Dead by Paul E. Hardisty

I am delighted to be one of today’s blogs hosting on the Reconciliation For The Dead blog tour with Lorraine at The Book Review Cafe. Let me tell you this was not an easy review to write and it is an incredibly hard-hitting book but I am so glad I have read it!

The Blurb

Sequel to the critically acclaimed The Abrupt Physics of Dying and The Evolution of Fear.

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier.

It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed.

Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

My Thoughts

‘…this neighbourhood so like the one he grew up in, the presumption of superiority as much a part of the place as the large, fenced gardens and the pools and the little backyard shacks for the black help.’

How on earth do you even begin to review a book like Hardisty’s Reconciliation For The Dead? It is a nerve-jangling thriller that is intelligently written with political acuity but it is a difficult read due to its subject matter. It is intensely emotional and hard-hitting. I have always had a mild interest in South Africa as my grandmother was from Cape Town and my mum lived in Rhodesia for a short time as a child. Africa has always struck me as a beautiful country that has sadly been used and raped for its resources. Reconciliation For The Dead sadly confirmed my view and made me aware of atrocities I had no idea had happened … and happened so recently.

It has taken me some time to gather my thoughts after finishing this book, so much was its affect on me. So how to start? Reconciliation For The Dead crosses two timelines. We follow Claymore Straker during his time as a young soldier in South Africa in 1981, and in 1996 as a witness in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. His time as a witness is told via the transcripts which punctuates throughout the story and it is perfectly constructed. I was completely transported to Africa as Hardisty superbly creates the sense of place. From the descriptions of the landscape to the Africaans colloquialisms, Hardisty ensures that you are fully immersed in the surroundings and, therefore, the novel. And this is not the only thing that stands out about his writing, which I will come on to later.

Claymore Straker is a fantastic protagonist. He is tough and gutsy, yet intelligent and able to consider what is going on around him with an open mind. I really felt for him and the positions he found himself in. This is the third book in the Claymore Straker series but it works incredibly well as a standalone, which is how I read it. If you read this as your first in the series I have no doubt that, like me, you will be buying the first two.

Reconciliation For The Dead is more than a thriller … so much more. Hardisty draws on historical facts and writes about them in such a way that the book becomes all engrossing … you cannot get it out of your head and it consumes you. It is clear that Hardisty has carefully researched his subject matter and every page brims with authenticity. As I said, this is more than a thriller, it is a devastating reminder of the potential barbarity of human beings. Unflinchingly raw in its depictions of genocide, Hardisty captures the brutality and horror of war and the indelible mark it leaves on those who partake in it. This is one of the things that makes Straker such a brilliant and, ultimately, real character.

Nothing is left out of Reconciliation For The Dead, from the propaganda used by those in their ivory towers to get others to do their bidding, to the motivations behind war (which is sadly far removed from the sense of keeping people safe as in WW2), and the prejudices which sadly still come down to something as rudimentary as the colour of your skin. Throughout Hardisty writes with emotional acuity and his use of language is beautiful despite the subject matter. It has its moments where it is philosophical in tone and it will make you question everything you ever thought or felt about humanity. Yes, it is bleak and distressing, but Hardisty later reminds us that there is still goodness out there and those who are being treated badly continue to have a great capacity for empathy, concern and care.

Although it is undoubtedly gripping, I had to take regular breaks from the book due to the emotional impact it had on me. This is a book to be read slowly in order to be able to gather your thoughts during various points and, quite frankly, pull yourself together again.

Shocking, raw, and devastating; much like Schindler’s List is a film that must be watched, Reconciliation For The Dead is a book that MUST be read to serve as a reminder that, at the end of the day, we are all made the same.

Published on eBook on 22 March 2017 and paperback on 30 May 2017 by Orenda Books.

I am still recovering from this book! A huge thank you to Paul E. Hardisty, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of Reconciliation For The Dead and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the tour…