Evie Mathews and her son Alfie flee from her abusive partner Seth to spend New Year with her half-brother Luke at their late father’s summer home on the Suffolk Coast, only to find Seahurst abandoned and Luke missing.
Evie searches for her brother, filled with a deepening dread that something is very wrong at Seahurst and their father’s death may not have been suicide after all.
As Seahurst’s ancient and sinister secrets unfurl around her, Evie fears the souls of the dead will soon claim another terrible revenge.
Seahurst is a gripping, dark, spooky novel that had me turning the pages and devouring it in a matter of days.
The opening chapter sees us witness the horrendous demise of a woman purported to be a witch, and her children, centuries before. I actually found this so moving and spooky, that I knew Seahurst would deliver.
We follow Evie and her teenage son Alfie, as they arrive to meet her step-brother at Seahurst, a huge looming house set on the coast of Suffolk, near the ruins of an old Monastery which are falling into the sea at an alarming rate. The descriptions of the setting are amazing and made me really feel like I was viewing a movie in my head.
The story builds and builds and the feeling of foreboding is anxiety-inducing! It really had me with my heart in my mouth at times, without giving away any of the plots, it is a fantastic read. A wonderful rich cast of characters and a superb ending.
I will happily read another book by Sally Harris if Seahurst is anything to go by.
When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.
Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.
Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.
As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.
Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.
Firstly huge thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for kindly sending me a copy.
I went into So Pretty with an open mind, I hadn’t really read much about this novel so when I started reading it, well let’s just say, from the outset unsettled me!
The opening page is the advert above, and Berry & Vincent’s shop is where most of the action takes place.
We follow the story from 2 points of view- Teddy, the son of a notorious serial killer, and Ada, a single Mum of Albie, trying to rise him away from an unloving Mother. Both are inherently lonely and lost, and both are damaged humans, from upbringings and well, life’s hand that they’ve been dealt.
The story starts slowly and builds with each page that you turn, in the small seaside town of Rye, on the South Coast of the UK. We learn things about both Teddy and Ada as we start reading through So Pretty, and the more you read the more creepy, gothic, and frankly bloody terrifying the novel becomes.
I really do not want to give away any of the explosive and utterly thrilling plots, but I will tell you once you start reading, you will not be able to put So Pretty down. And the darkness that lies in the quaint and beautiful Rye, will eek itself into your mind and give you sleepless nights! the way that Ronnie Turner has observed the minds of both Teddy and Ada and has then been able to express this in her writing is frankly a marvel! Her skill at making the reader feel very uncomfortable and unsettled is amazing. So Pretty is a dark, psychological thriller with short snappy chapters that are written in an almost poetic style, and each one will give you that creepy feeling of a gothic horror novel. And it culminates into a frankly terrifying and page-turning conclusion.
This is Ronnie Turner’s first novel and it is a total book banger, another superb find by Orenda books. I look forward to reading her next novel and having sleepless nights!
A young man wakes from a coma to find himself targeted by the men who killed his parents, while someone is impersonating a notorious New Zealand serial killer … the latest chilling, nerve-shredding, twisty thriller from the author of The Quiet People…
How do you catch a killer… When the only evidence is a dream?
James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.
But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help. Especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…
Firstly huge thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy of The Pain Tourist, you are the best!
This is the second book I’ve read by Paul Cleave, the first being The Quiet people which I loved, so I have been looking forward to The Pain Tourist.
From the opening chapter, I was absolutely gipped by The Pain Tourist. And I was struck by how utterly unique this novel really is. The opening chapter is brutal and frankly quite terrifying, I really don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say that the way Paul Cleave describes the first events in this book made me feel on edge and not knowing what would happen next.
The Pain Tourist then evolves into a brilliantly written crime thriller, how Paul Cleave comes up with these ideas I will never know, but the way he describes things from such an unusual perspective is superb. James Garrett, one of the lead characters in a coma, and how the mind works during that time are the beginnings of a frankly amazing and credible hunt for a killer. I mean how do you even write about someone in a coma?? You’d think well that would be boring …. er no not with Paul Cleave! Again I SO dont want to give anything away but it’s truly a work of art the way this book is written and how the characters interact and have an impact on each other.
I loved the characters in The Pain Tourist, James Garrett is such a well-written character and very likable, as are his sister hazel, detective Rebecca Kent and retired Detective Theodore Tate. I just loved the way that the hunt for a killer also links into another called Copy Joe, this is a truly intricate plot but it isn’t hard to follow. the writing flows and is so easy to follow the storyline. And it’s so gripping and had my palms sweating at times it’s so realistic and visceral. Paul Cleave really is a master crime fiction writer and has an amazing way of writing humans from so many points of view, dare I say it a genius!
The story doesn’t slack at all, it builds and builds and keeps going right to the climatic ending (which had me saying things out loud!) totally brilliant and a really breathtaking bookbanger!
As always orenda books seem to publish the most superb books, if you fancy looking for excellent fiction then you could do no worse than heading to the Orenda website…every book is a winner!
So my rating….. another 5-star read from Paul Cleave, if you thought the Quiet People was a cracking read then you will be blown away by the Pain Tourist. Follow the link below and buy it now!
Paul Cleave is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His novels have been translated into over twenty languages. He has won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award, the Edgar Award, and the Barry Award, and has won the Ngaio Marsh award for NZ crime fiction three times.
The New Zealand Listener said that Cleave writes with ‘an energy that conventional crime novels lack’, and he has been called ‘the next Stephen King’, a rising star of the genre’, and a writer to watch. Publishers Weekly has said ‘a pulse-pounding serial killer thriller. The city of Christchurch becomes a modern equivalent of James Ellroy’s Los Angeles of the 1950s, a discordant symphony of violence and human weakness… the book’s real power lies in the complexity of its characters,’, and
Cleave numbers among his fans top crime and thriller writers such as Mark Billingham, who wrote: ‘Most people come back from New Zealand talking about the breathtaking scenery and the amazing experiences. I came back raving about Paul Cleave.’ John Connolly called Blood Men ‘dark, bloody, and gripping . . . classic noir fiction’, and said that in Paul Cleave ‘Jim Thompson has another worthy heir to his throne’. The Lab’s John Heath calls Cleave’s writing ‘uncompromising, unpredictable, and enthralling’, adding, ‘Made me vomit — seriously, it’s that good.’ Simon Kernick said ‘Cleave writes the kind of dark, intense thrillers that I never like to finish. Do yourself a favor and check him out,’ and S.J Watson said ‘An intense adrenalin rush from start to finish. It’ll have you up all night. Fantastic!’ Lee Child lists him as an ‘automatic must-read’.
Child killer Gary Brunswick has just been imprisoned for life for the murder of ten-year-old David Foster, but for DCI Kay Harris of Greater Manchester Police, it’s cold comfort.
As Senior Investigating Officer Kay has agonised over the case for months, could she have saved the boy? The Foster case, and the death of her sister, Helen, by suicide a year ago, weigh heavily on her.
She finds her sister’s diary, believing that Helen meant it for someone else. Each page exposes her sister’s pain, her marriage problems, her suspicions about her husband. It becomes clear the diary was intended for Kay alone. Each entry taunts and pokes and Kay’s guilt. Her sister’s words haunt her.
As Kay’s concentration deteriorates, a period of leave is recommended. A condition of which is that she accepts therapy. Reluctantly Kay attends but decides to escape the probing sessions by retreating to her holiday home in the Scottish Highlands.
Before leaving for Scotland Kay happens upon Ava, a woman intent on jumping to her death to escape her abusive ex-husband. Kay convinces Ava to flee with her to Scotland. In her increasingly fragile state, Kay believes by saving Ava she will earn redemption for all those she couldn’t save and will finally be able to lay her sister’s shadow to rest.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Her Sisters Shadow, but once the story started I was utterly gripped!
Without giving too much away this book s about grief, guilt and the way our minds handle extremely stressful situations. Our main protagonist DCI Kay Harris is an amazing character and a real feat of writing, we follow her slow descent into mental distress and how our minds work during a total mental breakdown. It was so well written I really couldn’t put this book down, the way Ms Wimpeney has crafted this insight into what must be such a horrific experience is astounding, combine this with a fabulous plot, shocking twists, and a great cast of supporting characters make this book a real gem.
If you like a book that will keep you up all night and have you totally invested in it’s cast and storyline, then Her Sisters Shadow is a must!
Her best friend is dead and she needs to know why.
Aspiring journalist Bella is on work experience at a national newspaper when, out of the blue, she receives an anonymous letter promising her a big scoop if she travels down to Wiltshire.
All she finds is a government scientist spouting conspiracy theories in the pub. But then Bella’s best friend Erin is found dead in a nearby field, her body staged in the centre of a crop circle. Bella is devastated. Is this the real reason she was lured out here?
While detective Silas Hart searches for evidence, Bella scours her own memory for clues. But it’s full of blanks – the details of her university days with Erin keep slipping away. What secrets was Erin hiding? And, once they’re uncovered, what will it mean for Bella?
Firstly thank you so much, as always to the wonderful Head Of Zeus Publishing for gifting me a copy of The Man On Hackpen Hill by J.S Monroe
Secondly, this is my first read of a J.S Monroe book, the blurb had got my interest piqued, and let me tell you, from the moment I picked it up, I was hooked and obsessed!
The storyline is fast and really interesting revolving around our two protagonists Bella and Jim and the dark goings on of Porton Down, and testing of psychiatric drugs on human guinea pigs! I loved both these characters so much, and found them totally believable, so much so that I never saw the ending coming!! The illegal goings on are investigated by DI Silas Hart of Swindon CID, and he is also a character I loved… he had his own demons to deal with which made this case pretty close to home. I really hope that DI Silas Hart will return in another book as I also adored the setting in the countryside around Swindon, Wiltshire and Hampshire and not a million miles from where I live, and I’m quite familiar with it, which I think also makes for a reader to love this book.
It’s not too scientific which is good as it’s not really something I’m that interested in BUT it works so well in this storyline! I read The Man On Hackpen Hill over a weekend as I could not put it down! The writing is easy to read with short sharp chapters, I can find no faults with this book, in fact it’s going to be in my top 10 of the year I’m sure, I utterly loved loved loved it!
If you like a fast paced gripping thriller then look no further than The Man On Hackpen Hill by J.S Monroe.
J; Thank you so much Tina for being a guest on my blog, I’m so honoured.
J: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Nasty Little Cuts come from?
TB: ALWAYS! From the time I first started to scribble, before school. I was THRILLED being able to write, although spelling, not so much. I wrote poems and stories as a child.
Nasty Little Cuts was originally called Serrations. The idea was to write about all those irritating little things that build in a relationship until they can cause huge damage, coupled with two very flawed people at a tense time in their lives – Christmas, money worries, menopause, bereavement – catalysing the final explosion.
J; The writing of Deb and Marc’s relationship in Nasty Little Cuts is extremely realistic, what research did you do in writing the book?
TB: I’ve been in several toxic relationships. But not like this. It’s fictionalised. The book is an amalgamation of all the (many) bad things that have happened to me.
I’ve also interviewed both women and men who’ve been in abusive relationships in my work as a journalist.
J; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Deb & Marc if (and when!) Nasty Little Cuts is turned into a TV series/Movie?
TB: WHEN! Please, God! I’d love Jamie Dornan as Marc. Not just for his looks, but because he can play wounded as well as brooding.
Debs, I’d love to be played by a working-class actress. I adored Sophie Willan in the award-winning comedy, Alma’s Not Normal. She’d be great.
J; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?
TB; We didn’t have a TV for years. Radio was my first love.
I loved reading and read everything, including my dad’s, very age-inappropriate books and as many adult books in the library as I could when no one was watching.
Early TV I loved The Magic Roundabout and Stingray and Thunderbirds. My first crush was on a puppet! Captain Troy Tempest!
Fave children’s books, Wind in the Willows, The Wombles, Paddington, A Wrinkle in Time.
J; What was your favourite book of 2021 and why??
TB; They are all my favourite children. You can’t make me choose!
I loved The Last House on Needless Street, Girl A, The Stranding, The End of Men.
I read a lot of crime last year because I hadn’t read a lot before. And so much pre-pandemic horror! Even The Last One At The Party was about a bloody pandemic. I had no idea because I bought a load of debuts just because and I sometimes like to read without the synopsis
J; Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?
TB; Again, its TOO HARD to choose!!
I’ve re-read a lot of DH Lawrence, Dickens, Thomas Hardy and the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Vasko Popa and Ted Hughes. I love Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Tyler and ALL the Viper authors.
J; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?
TB; Either a party at Studio 54 in the OTT heyday or being on the moon at the moon landing.
J; What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought?
TB; In the last month – 2 wedding dresses, 4 wedding veils, fake blood and a rubber knife – for silly promotion videos.
I could also say, THE LIES OF THE MEN WHO SAID THEY LOVED ME! Ha Ha! (J.. I LOVE this answer!!)
J; If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?
TB; Bette Midler. Icon. Hilarious.
Stephen Fry. Clever. Real gent.
Marilyn Monroe. Icon. Incandescent.
Billy Connolly. The best storyteller in the business.
J; Was there ever something that you thought was possible after watching some movie as a kid, that is now absolutely ridiculous to think of in retrospect?
TB; There was a children’s cartoon where a little girl wished her hair to keep growing. And I watched so many films about miracles, I prayed for my teddy to become real.
J; If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
TB; Right now ANYWHERE!!! I’ve not been abroad for 4 years. I’ve only had1 week off since the pandemic kicked off. So, either a week or two in the Caribbean or Cornwall (my husband’s from there) when it’s warmer!
J; What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
TB; Don’t let the bastards grind you down. One of my Dad’s.
J; What is your routine for an average weekday?
TB: There isn’t an exact routine as some of the personal training sessions revolve around other people. Ditto press surrounding the publication of a new book.
Writing is a bit haphazard at the moment too. My brain doesn’t work the same thanks to long term anxiety. In an ideal week I’d write a little every day, some days longer, teach a fitness class or 2, and post silly things on social media.
J; Are you currently writing another book?
TB; I’ve just finished another thriller for Viper which has yet to be edited. The story of a domestic cleaner who turns to crime. And I’m kicking around ideas for book 4 for Viper.
In the summer of 1988, the mutilated bodies of several missing girls begin to turn up in a small Maryland town. The grisly evidence leads police to the terrifying assumption that a serial killer is on the loose in the quiet suburb. But soon a rumor begins to spread that the evil stalking local teens is not entirely human. Law enforcement, as well as members of the FBI are certain that the killer is a living, breathing madman-and he’s playing games with them. For a once peaceful community trapped in the depths of paranoia and suspicion, it feels like a nightmare that will never end.
Recent college graduate Richard Chizmar returns to his hometown just as a curfew is enacted and a neighborhood watch is formed. In the midst of preparing for his wedding and embarking on a writing career, he soon finds himself thrust into the real-life horror story. Inspired by the terrifying events, Richard writes a personal account of the serial killer’s reign of terror, unaware that these events will continue to haunt him for years to come.
A clever, terrifying, and heartrending work of metafiction, ‘Chasing the Boogeyman does what true crime so often cannot: it offers both chills and a satisfying conclusion’ (Stephen King). Chizmar’s ‘brilliant . . . absolutely fascinating, totally compelling, and immediately poignant’ (C.J. Tudor, New York Times bestselling author) writing is on full display in this truly unique novel that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.
I’ve had Chasing The Boogeyman on my radar since it was released, so as a start on my backlogue, I gobbled it up!
From the start you can tell that Richard Chizmar is an author who pays attention to the little details, his writing is sublime and sumptuous. Putting himself at the heart of a spate of murders in his hometown of Edgewood, was frankly audacious! But it works SO well. His descriptions of everyday life in small town America is awe inspiring, I was absolutely drawn in to this story from the opening page. The way Richard has worked his love for his hometown, memories of growing up and his parents is frankly brilliant, add to that a serial killer and you have a perfect novel.
I flew through the story totally rapt at what events were happening, I loved the fact that there are photographs included which makes it seem super realistic. The plot and storyline is twisty and frankly chilling, and I loved it! I didn’t guess who the killer was but the way we are bought to that moment is brilliant.
A gripping, creepy, almost memoir like, fabulous read from someone who writes with a clear love of words.!
Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.
So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time…
Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?
Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.
Firstly thank you so so much to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of the Quiet People, is there ever a bad book from Orenda? NO!
So from the extremely shocking and gripping prologue, The Quiet People had me, there is no way you would be able to read this slowly, you need to devour it and with each page the plot just gets more and more shocking!
I really want to say lots about this book, but I also don’t want to give the plots away! But it is without a doubt one of the darkest, thrillers I’ve had the pleasure of reading!
The 2 main characters, Cameron and Lis Murdoch go through absolute hell in this storyline, the way Paul has written the events and how someone would probably cope (or not) and how one reaction leads to the butterfly effect, is just sublime! I was so anxiety ridden reading The Quiet People, I actually didn’t sleep much over the two days I was reading it as I could wait to see what transpired next! Gripping is an understatement! The setting for this book is Christchurch, New Zealand and I found the descriptions of the city were wonderful, gritty and added to the dark atmosphere.
Once you get halfway thru, the shocks and twists just keep building like a train rushing down a track, you KNOW that there’s going to be a crash, but not what it will be!! I will also say that I cried at the end of the book, this is because you will feel like you’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster just like Cameron Murdoch!
In summing up, this is a fabulously well written thriller, by a writer who knows how to look inside the darkest places of the human mind and to then be able to write this for us the readers to enjoy! Phenomenal book and I look forward to reading Paul Cleave’s next work!
Another 5 ⭐️ read ( although it’s so good it deserves more!)
ALL PLAYERS IN A CONCERTO OF CONSPIRACY AND MURDER
Edmund Fitzgerald is different
Sheltered by An over-protective mother, he’s a musical prodigy.
Now,against his mothers wishes, he’s about to enter formal education for the first time aged 17. Everything is alien to Edmund: teenage style, language and relationships are impossible to understand.
Then there’s the searing jealousy his talent inspires, especially when the sixth form collies Head of Music, turns her back on her other students and begins to teach Edmund exclusively.
Observing events is Steph, a former police detective who is rebuilding her life following a bereavement as the college receptionist. When a student is found dead in the music block, Steph’s sleuthing skills help to unravel the dark events engulfing the college community.
Firstly, thank you once again to Hobeck Books for the gifted copy of Blood Notes, I’m extremely grateful, as always.
Well I was hooked from the extremely shocking first chapter, I was not expecting that! Nope I’m not giving it away, buy it, read it!
From then on the storyline and plot is one of murder, jealousy and madness and I was hooked.
The main character of Edmund is written really well as a beyond his years, awkward with other teenagers, but brilliant Cellist. His upbringing has cocooned him from other children, just him and his Mother and his music, so when he starts at the local college it’s a clash of 2 worlds! His shock at how teenagers are is the start of a journey for Edmund and his Mother, Imogen.
The characters are all written and portrayed very well by Lin Le Versa in Blood Notes. The involvement of a retired police detective is frankly, a great plot! Steph Grant and her trusty sidekick Derek the dog (I loved that name) help the local Detectives to piece together what is happening when murders start occurring. In the meantime she is being blackmailed and threatened, and even Derek can’t help her! There’s a love angle, which has been simmering for years and her sleuthing ways help to lead us to the killer, in frankly a great finale.
This is the first in a new series of Steph Grant books, and I shall look forward to the next instalment!
LIN LE VERSHA
Lin Le Versha has drawn on her extensive experience in London and Surrey schools and colleges as the inspiration for her debut crime novel which Hobeck are thrilled to be publishing later this year. In addition to crime writing, she has written over twenty plays exploring the issues faced by secondary school and sixth form students. Commissioned to work exploring the issues faced by secondary school and sixth form students. Commissioned to work with Anne Fine on The Granny Project, she created the English and drama lesson activities for students aged 11 to 14.
Creative writing courses at the Arvon Foundation and ‘Ways with Words’ in Italy, encouraged Lin to enrol at the UEA MA in Creative Writing (Crime) and her debut novel was submitted as the final assessment for this excellent course.
Lin is the Director of the Southwold Arts Festival, comprising over thirty events in an eight-day celebration of the Arts.
A resident of small-town Visberg is found decapitated
A grim celebration in a cultish hilltop community after the apple harvest
A race against time
As Visberg closes ranks to keep its deadly secrets, there could not be a worse time for Tuva Moodyson to arrive as deputy editor of the local newspaper. Powerful forces are at play and no one dares speak out. But Tuva senses the story of her career, unaware that perhaps she is the story
I am so in Love with Will Deans character Tuva Moodyson for so many reasons, she’s deaf, she’s fearless, she’s gutsy, she’s got a fit girlfriend and she’s funny, so I was really excited to start reading Bad Apples, Tuva Book 4
Tuva has returned to Gavrik ( Toy Town as she calls it! ) and is back in her old job, as a crime reporter, at the local paper. In the smaller Town of Visberg, high on the hill, the old Reporter has retired and Tuva has taken over the patch. To get used to the place and to start to get to know the locals she starts spending time up there, but on her first visit she encounters a headless corpse!
I’ve devoured everything Will has written and I have to say that this is the best Tuva book so far, the setting is SO atmospheric, so claustrophobic and so easy to picture in your minds eye.
The cast of Visberg locals that Tuva meets are so ethnically mixed and a lot are weird to be fair, BUT that only adds to the plot and frankly what a bloody explosive plot it is!
The build up had me feeling like I was on edge and had me thinking of that classic movie The Wicker Man, the descriptive prose of Pan Night is just absolutely stunning, it sets Tuva in the spooky Visberg during October, to a treat! Swedish Folklore and Will Deans devious mind work SO well together, and will have you gripped!
I am not going to give anything away, as normal BUT it’s a brilliant book…another 3 day read for me! And the ending!!!!!! Will please dont leave me hanging for too long I must read Tuvas book 5 soon!!
Any book that makes you have visceral feelings means it’s a brilliantly written one, this will have you anxious, gripped, over-thinking and downright scared shitless!