I received I Know a Secret in exchange for an honest review
This is the twelfth in the Rizzioli ad Isles series, and Tess Gerritsen has done it again! Fast becoming one of my favourite thriller authors, Gerritsen has really mastered creating unputdownable stories which explore complex issues and characters without ever dropping the fast pace.
The story opens, as most of them do, with a body. This one is of Cassandra Coyle, a young amateur film maker who specialises in the horror genre. There’s something horrific about her death too; her eyes have been gauged out and placed in her had post-mortem. Our resident Doctor, Maura Isles, struggles to identify a cause of death, and so the mystery begins.
The characters shine through again in this instalment; I love the story arc of Jane Rizzioli and Maura Isles and their strong friendship (although I don’t think you need to read all the books in order to enjoy this one), unbroken by the countless murders the two have seen. In this novel we have a third point of view, Holly. Holly was fascinating to read as well – she certainly knows a few secrets and it’s unclear until the very end whether she’s a culprit or another victim.
The body count and the suspect list increases, as Gerritsen unfolds a mystery which stems back decades, linking to an old unsolved case of a missing nine-year-old girl, and a scandalous child abuse case which connects the victims. It’s one which not only kept me on tenterhooks, but it’s deeper and more multilayered than many in this genre.
I already know that Gerritsen has a background in medicine which helps with those oh-so-authentic (and gory) autopsy scenes, but this novel feels well researched in other areas too. The tale is rich in symbolism, from religious iconography to to horror movie classics, and clues are scattered behind throwaway lines, just tantalisingly hidden from view until the big reveal. It’s an intelligent story, yet it’s a page-turner too – a rare and extremely satisfying combination.
I received The Good Daughter in exchange for an honest review
Karin Slaughter is an author I’d seen around for a while, but I’d never got around to picking up one of her books until now. I don’t know why it took me so long, because from the first few pages of this book I could tell this was a seasoned, skilled writer; her story jumps off the page and draws you in immediately.
The book opens in 1989, as young sisters Charlotte and Samantha are preparing for dinner. There’s no slow build-up here, we jump straight to action as the family evening is interrupted with a home intrusion which has devastating consequences.
Fast-forward 28 years later, and the sisters are living separate lives as they’ve moved on from their traumatic childhoods as best they can. They have both forged successful careers as lawyers, but yet more tragic events in their hometown force the two to come back together and confront their past in a dramatic courtroom drama. Continue reading
I received Defender in exchange for an honest review.
I was excited to read this debut as the author lives quite local to me, something I don’t come across often. But, in the end, I took a while to get round to it and when I finally did, it didn’t blow me away. Maybe someone from Birmingham in the UK just wasn’t able to conjure the dry, empty landscape of a post-apocalyptic Texas which I wanted. Or maybe, it’s to do with the plot. Either way, I know this book worked for a lot of people, but I struggled to connect with it the way I’d hoped to.
The premise of this novel is great – a blend of your typical post-apocalyptic theme with a touch of some more supernatural science fiction thrown in. It’s an ambitious tale, touching on themes of sanity, grief and survival. Continue reading
I received You Will Know Me in exchange for an honest review
This was my first experience with Megan Abbott, and I’m now keen to go back and tackle her back catalogue. You will know me is a well-crafted, slow-burning contemporary thriller packed with secrets, lies and paranoia.
Katie and Eric Knox are dedicated parents: they’ve committed everything they can into ensuring that their talented gymnast daughter Devon succeeds. Their lives are built around spending hours ferrying Devon to and from practice, supporting her in any way they can, but, when a sudden death rocks their small community, everything – and crucially Devon’s future prospects – is thrown into the balance. Continue reading
I received Dear Amy in exchange for an honest review
I received this ARC a couple of months ago, and I have to admit I’d been dragging my heels and prioritising other novels ahead of this due to the distinctly average rating it has received so far on Goodreads. But, I finally got around to reading and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I raced through this book; it’s a fun, fast-paced psychological thriller packed with unexpected twists that had me glued to the pages.
The protagonist is Margot, a schoolteacher who also doubles as ‘Amy’, an agony aunt for the local newspaper. Aside from an impending divorce, her life is pretty humdrum until she starts receiving some mysterious letters from Bethan Avery, a girl who was abducted over a decade before. Continue reading
I received The Last One in exchange for an honest review
I’ve had my eye on this book for months; the plot alone sounds so intriguing, so different and such an amalgamation of things I love, I had to give it a try.
Based around a reality TV show called ‘Into The Woods’, the novel follows ‘Zoo’ (a nickname given to the main character by the producers due to the fact that she works with animals) and eleven other contestants as they journey across woods and countryside. The contestant have to complete challenges and overcome obstacles, living off the land, building shelters and skinning animals in order to eat. But there’s a twist to this survival game, and it takes on a dark reality when, unbeknownst to the contestants, a real-life pandemic breaks out wiping out a large amount of the population and leaving every citizen fighting for survival. It’s a clever, original concepts which acts as a spring-board, allowing the author to explore both the staged drama of reality TV shows and the fear-inducing landscape of a post-pandemic world. Continue reading
I received The Fireman in exchange for an honest review.
My first experience with Joe Hill was when I read NOS4A2 late last year. I thought that was great, and gave it five stars. The Fireman is on another level. This bold, emotional, epic read sees Hill firmly stepping out of his father’s shadow (if he was even in it before?) and into the limelight, cementing himself as a sheer genius in creative writing.
First things first, this book is long. I didn’t realise when I blithely requested it on Netgalley and immediately started reading upon acceptance, but it’s almost 800 pages. But I actually think it benefited from that. The length gives the reader the chance to become fully immersed in the post-pandemic world and – most importantly – in Harper, an incredibly well-drawn and authentic character, one of my favourite protagonists in a long time. Continue reading
I almost didn’t buy The Girl In The Ice as the basic premise sounds like many other crime thrillers out there, and I read so much of the genre a few years ago that I put myself off the genre to some extent. But, since its release in January, this one has received and lot of hype, so I went for it, and I’m so glad I did. This gripping tale really stands out – it’s one of the best of its genre that I’ve read in years.
So, back to the premise for a moment. Andrea Douglas-Brown, a beautiful young socialite, is found murdered, frozen in the winter ice. The police step with DCI Erika Foster leading the case, and soon uncover links to a string of prostitutes who were murdered years before. Continue reading
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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Kathryn Croft’s The Girl With No Past was one of my stand-out psychological thriller reads of last year, so I was very excited to get my hands on her new novel, The Girl You Lost. And it didn’t disappoint – she’s done it again; The Girl You Lost is a tense, addictive and dark psychological thriller with believable characters and emotional depth.
Simone and Matt had their daughter Helena at a young age, while they were still in University. But that didn’t matter to them – for six months they lived as a happy family until one day Helena disappeared from their lives.
Eighteen years later, the couple are now married and have gone on to forge successful careers, working hard to fill the void made by their missing child. But their past is about to be dredged back to the surface as Simone is approached by a girl named Grace who believes she is her long-lost daughter Helena.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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The Poison Artist is a dark, tense and disturbing psychological horror which had me captivated throughout.
It’s about Caleb Maddox, a toxicologist working in San Francisco, studying the scientific effects of pain. His life is turned upside down after an argument with his girlfriend finds him staying in a hotel and meeting a mysterious woman whom he promptly becomes obsessed with, before quickly being sucked into a serial killer mystery.
There’s lots going on, and the author delves straight into the action with very little scene-setting prelude. Who is Caleb? Why did his long-term girlfriend throw a glass at him before throwing him out of the house? And why does he become obsessed with this chance meeting with a woman in a bar? It feels like we are thrown right into the heart of the story and the core of Caleb’s obsession, with the protagonist’s patchy background only gradually being revealed as the story continues. Continue reading