For fans of Harlen Coben and “Mindhunter,” Sam Holland’s chilling debut draws inspiration from infamous serial killer cases, culminating in the ultimate, heart-pounding copycat tale.
Detectives Cara Elliott and Noah Deakin are on the case of a series of seemingly unconnected murders, each different in method, but each shocking and brutal. As the body count increases, they can’t ignore the details that echo famous cases of the past—Manson, Kemper, Dahmer, and more. As Elliott and Deakin get closer to unmasking the killer, the murders are moving closer to home.
Meanwhile, Jessica Ambrose is on the run. She’s been implicated as the arsonist who killed her neglectful husband and injured her young daughter. With the help of disgraced and suspended detective Nate Griffin, Jess discovers a shocking link between her case and that of the ultimate copycat killer working on his horrifying masterpiece.
Firstly thank you so much to Harper Collins for the Proof of The Echo Man.
I knew I would love The Echo Man before I even started because the cover on the proof was so amazing! Before I started blogging I always chose books by their covers!
From the very beginning The Echo man hits you straight between the eyes, the prologue is so gory and nasty, I was instantly gripped! Once the storyline gets going at its fast pace, I was wracking my brains and notes (yes I made notes to see if I could guess who the perp was!) to see if I would be able to work out the identity of the murder…I did not and when I found out who it was I was really shocked!
I loved all the main protagonists in this book, The mentally broken and damaged Jess Ambrose and Nate Griffin, and the brilliant and caring DCI Cara Elliott, were all so well written and I absolutely related to all of them and actually I was a little in love with them! That is the talent and skill of a great author, I’m so glad I came across Sam Holland’s work as I think The Echo Man will be one of the years bookbangers, and I cannot wait to read her next book!
If you have an interest in true crime, you will love The Echo Man, the motivation and unique style of the murders (of which there are many!), had me really loving this book so much. It’s so obviously well researched and also you can tell Sam loves her true crime! It is a gory, bloody, dark, intense and very descriptive book, if you have a weak stomach, then you will be gagging at some parts, trust me, even I did at a few bits BUT that’s the magic of a fabulous book! To be able to get that visceral reality into the reader’s mind is a superb talent!
At 400+ pages long it’s a great read that doesn’t have any duff chapters and it keeps you gripped all the way through, and let me just tell you about the ending…..wait…no, you will have to read it, BUT OH MY GOD!!!!!
So another 5 stars read for 2022, and Sam holland will be a guest on my blog in the near future, so look out for that. She is going to be HUGE in the book world in 2022, plus this is her DEBUT novel!!
A bit about Sam Holland
Having always been fascinated with the dark and macabre, Sam Holland’s love of reading was forged in the library through Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Herbert. A self-confessed serial killer nerd, Holland studied psychology at university then spent the next few years working in HR, before quitting for a full-time career in writing. The Echo Man is the result.
You can follow Sam on Twitter HERE Facebook HERE Instagram HERE
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!)
In the North West criminal underworld, a deal goes tragically wrong, resulting in war between the two main organised crime factions in the region. Shockwaves rock the 30-mile gap between Liverpool and Manchester – with retired detective Brendan Foley right in the middle of it all.
For Brendan, six months after his resignation, life is all different. His marriage is a mess, he’s working as a nightclub bouncer, his brother is still missing and he just can’t stop searching for the crime family that destroyed his life. And at last, he’s found them – and he’s got them bang to rights.
Iona Madison, his one-time partner and now successor as a DI in Warrington Police, is tasked with a body pulled from the River Mersey – a teen-age boy that went missing the previous year, which might bring her own conduct into question. Not only that, Brendan is feeding her information whether she likes it or not – and his unsanctioned activities are causing her headaches.
And now, there’s a price on his head. A million pounds, dead or alive.
And Your Enemies Closer is a serpentine race against time as Brendan and Iona must stay one step ahead of criminals at every corner, while trying to bring justice – in whatever form it takes, and whatever loyalties it might burn.
It’s been probably a year since I read Far From The Tree, Rob Parker’s first book in the Thirty Miles Trilogy, so I have really been looking forward to Book 2 .
The opening chapter ( prologue ) reels you in with a gripping opening, and is quite shocking! Well those shocks reverberate thought And Your Enemies Closer, as a follow us book, this is fabulous, totally gripping!
The characters are well written, with Brendan Foley the now ex-cop estranged from his brother Ross, and desperately trying to get revenge for deeds that shocked me in Book 1, is such a great character. The battle he has in trying to justify staying within the Law, even though he is no longer a Detective, and breaking the Law for revenge against Culpepper, the crime Lord, is fantastically written. Both the Foley brothers are great characters.
My other favourite character in And Your Enemies Closer is DI Iona Madison, she is a totally kick arse, no nonsense Detective who loves boxing and is good at it, she’s a total ball breaker and I love her!
The descriptions of the settings for the storyline are well observed and it makes you feel like you are in the gritty underbelly of Liverpool. And the criminal gangs and their leaders are remarkable. The plot is fabulous and I was gripped, there are some twists that I didn’t see coming and had me gasping out loud! And I must mention the utterly unique way of committing murder, Mr Parker has really done his research for this and it’s absolutely grim and brilliant!
Just a quick mention of the Audible quality, as always with Audible it’s fantastically produced and Warren Brown is a great narrator for this book, really suits it.
So my rating…. Well you’ve guessed it 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Four friends. One night. Not everyone will come out alive . . .
In the swirling snow of a deadly Icelandic storm, four friends seek shelter in a small abandoned hunting lodge. Miles from help, and knowing they will die outside in the cold, they break open the lock and make their way inside, hoping to wait out the storm until morning.
But nothing can prepare them for what they find behind the door . . .
Inside the cabin lurks a dangerous presence that chills them to their core. Outside, certain death from exposure awaits. So with no other option, they find themselves forced to spend a long, terrifying night in the cabin, watching as intently and silently as they are being watched themselves.
But as the evening darkens, old secrets are beginning to find their way to the light. And as the tension escalates between the four friends, it soon becomes clear that the danger they discovered lurking in the cabin is far from the only mystery that will be uncovered tonight.
Nor the only thing to be afraid of . . .
A huge thank you to Micheal J Books for sending me an early copy of Outside by Ragnar Jonasson as a Christmas gift! 🙏❤️
Well where do I start with Outside!?….. From the opening chapter you will be absolutely gripped by the shoulders and pulled into this claustrophobic crime thriller set in the highlands of Iceland during November…..as one of our 4 characters says on their trek up to shoot Ptarmigan “it was mind-numbingly cold”…
The group of friends Daniel, Gunnlauger, Helena & Armann decide to have a weekend shooting Ptarmigan….only this is part of what soon becomes clear to be a dark and sinister plot for revenge. The Characters are as always with Ragnar’s writing, are written to such an high standard, I’ve no idea how he can in a few words from a character, set the scene and invoke such visceral feelings of high tension and deep unease. The whole book revolves around one place with 4 people, and it is gripping! I could not put it down, even now thinking about the plot and storyline is making me feel anxious!
If you are a fan of locked room mysteries, then please look no further than Ragnar Jonasson, he is truly THE master of these and add into it the harsh cold climate of Iceland and you have a diamond of a book! This is, in my opinion, his best work yet, so taught and suspenseful, utterly gripping and claustrophobic, it really is anxiety inducing just thinking about it!
Without a doubt this will be made into a movie, it’s a classic and I suggest will be a huge hit this year! Ragnar is THE number 1 Crime writer of Icelandic Noir!
Nothing more to say apart from a 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read!
Ragnar has been a no. 1 bestseller in Germany (Spiegel Bestseller), a no. 1 crime fiction bestseller in France and a no. 1 Kindle bestseller in the UK and Australia. In 2020 he became the first Icelandic author ever to have three books in the top ten of the German Spiegel bestseller.
Ragnar has also enjoyed awards across the international crime scene. He won the Mörda Dead Good Reader Award for Nightblind, and The Mist won the Amazon Publishing & Capital Crime Mystery of the Year award in 2020. Snowblind was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015. His books have also won praise from publications such as The Times of London, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Times Literary Supplement.
He has also been shortlisted for Novel of the Year in Sweden, The Barry Award in the US and the Petrona Award. The film rights for The Darkness have also been snapped up by Hollywood production company Stampede, led by former President of Warner Bros, Greg Silverman. They have struck a deal with CBS Studios to adapt the novel into an eight-part series.
Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Ragnar has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik. Ragnar has a law degree and works as an investment banker in Reykjavik, in addition to teaching law at Reykjavik University.
A beautiful, eerie hotel in the Swiss Alps, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, is the last place Detective Elin Warner wants to be. But her estranged brother has invited her there for his engagement party, and she feels she has no choice but to accept.
Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. And things only get worse when they wake the next morning to find her brother’s fiancée is missing. With access to the hotel cut off, the guests begin to panic.
But this is only the first disappearance. Everyone’s in danger – and anyone could be next . . .
Well, I’ve had The Sanatorium sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year, and during the Christmas break I decided to read some of those books that I should have read months ago!
So let’s dive in! I loved The Sanatorium for the first chapter – I have to say that I’m not one for reading creepy books, but The Sanatorium was breathtakingly creepy and gave me the shivers from the outset. The first chapter’s description of the old Sanatorium, high up in the desolate and bleak mountain setting, whilst it is being remodelled into a Hotel, with one person wandering around it almost made the hairs on the back of my neck stick up and when that chapter climaxes….well suffice to say it made me jump!
This is a fairly fast-paced locked-room mystery set in a vast modern hotel that has a dark history, we have our lead character Elin Warner who is there to meet her estranged Brother who is celebrating an engagement, Elin has her own demons to deal with but as a British Police Detective, she unwittingly gets pulled into a game of cat and mouse with a desperate and scary killer, all the while without any outside help as a snowstorm has shut down any access to the Hotel Le Somnet.
I loved this book so much, it held my attention the whole way thru, I didn’t guess the outcome which is always a bonus, but the buildup and twisty turn of events to the climax, made this a great thrilling read, and due to the setting (which is exquisitely described) was pretty dark and spooky. I liked that we saw the flaws in the main character and her own story and her Brothers was intertwined with the main plot.
A superb book and a storyline that will stay with me for a while…..then ending lead’s me to believe there may be a follow -up? Maybe?
A 5 Star read
You can buy The Sanatorium in various formats HERE
You can follow Sarah on Twitter HERE Instagram HERE Facebook HERE
When a police investigator is killed execution-style and Blix’s own daughter is targeted by the killer, he makes a dangerous decision, which could cost him everything. Blix & Ramm are back in a breathless, emotive thriller by two of Norway’s finest crime writers…
When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between several Oslo murder cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution style. And in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the killer’s next victim.
Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.
As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can trust … and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…
Two of Nordic Noir’s most brilliant writers return with the explosive, staggeringly accomplished, emotive third instalment in the international, bestselling Blix & Ramm series … and it will take your breath away.
Firstly I must say a HUGE thank you to Karen at Orenda Books for kindly sending me a proof of Unhinged, This meant so much to me as Jorn and Thomas are my 2 favourite authors of Nordic Crime, I am super grateful, Karen!
So onto my review….. Having read the two previous books in the Blix & Ramm series, I was super excited to open the first page of Unhinged. The opening chapter had me gripped! In a storyline that was utterly explosive with shocking twists, it was easy to read Unhinged in a matter of days.
I have to be careful describing the book as I really do not want to give anything away, but for fans for this series – your world will be rocked!!
We visit the story from two points of view the present and the past and in this style the events unfold in the usual slick and gripping way that Jorn lier Horst & Thomas Enger write together, Theirs is a spectacular combination of top class crime fiction writing, they are able to weave a storyline so professionally that its hard to see that this was written by two authors.
The plot is not revealed at the beginning, its a twisty, melting pot of sumptuous prose and the character of Alexander Blix must surely be one of THE best in Nordic Noir, we feel everything he does so deeply, only writers with extreme talent can write books like Unhinged, that shock you, that make you gasp, that make you hurt – just like Blix!
I must also give praise to Megan Turney who skillfully translated Unhinged from Norwegian to English, in doing so she has not lost any of the story or indeed nuances of language, well done Megan, for without you I would not get to read books like this by my two favourite authors!
So for the third book in the Blix & Ramm series it’s a magnificent 5 star read for me, I just hope there are more to come!
It’s that time of year when the glacier gives up bodies. But there’s one in particular someone is looking out for. When five friends meet for a reunion in an isolated mountain lodge, things turn deadly in the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by the spectacular debut novel Shiver.
When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.
The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.
In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
I’ve had Shiver sitting on my bookcase since I bought it in January this year, as it’s winter, I wanted to read a book set in the snow (my favourite weather). So in I went!
What an absolutely exceptional book! I find it hard to believe that this is Allie’s first book because it’s an absolutely brilliantly written, gripping, thriller that actually gave me the shiver’s!! From the first page, I was so involved with the story, a reunion that goes horribly wrong, but the storyline is so well plotted and throws in some fantastic twists and turns. I loved the setting or La Rocher, snow, glaciers, cold, high up in the mountains and you feel as though you are really there! If you are a lover of a locked room mystery with a twist, then you will want to read Shiver.
The characters are really well described and I found myself hating one (no spoilers!) and really getting into the other’s personalities, and liking some! A great story has great characters and Shiver has it all.
Shiver is a blindingly good read, thrilling, gripping and you can feel the cold and damp start to sneak into you whilst you read, an all-round brilliant debut from an author who has a talent for writing, I hope that Ms Reynold’s writes another book as good as this one.
And absolute book-banger and a 5 star read!
About Allie Reynolds
I was once a freestyle snowboarder in the UK top ten at halfpipe. I spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada.
I taught English for fifteen years. I’ve also been a London primary school teacher, bookshop assistant, barmaid, nanny and French teacher/translator. My short fiction has appeared in women’s magazines in the UK, Australia, Sweden and South Africa. I’ve been a full-time writer since 2018.
Born and raised in Lincoln, England, I moved to Gold Coast Australia in 2003. I have two young children and a cat who thinks he’s a dog.
I have had such a year of differing emotions! For those that don’t know, I started my book review blog in February, after being made redundant. (First time in over 30 years working and I was gutted) I wanted it to be something to keep my mind busy whilst I looked for another job. I am disabled and have chronic illness after contracting Lyme Disease in 2013, but my mind is sharp it’s just my body that feels 100! Anyway I have not been able to find another job (DWP rules state I can only work to certain criteria) BUT my blog has been a source of joy and amazement to me as it’s grown and opportunities have availed themselves to me.
I must thank Fiona Brownlee for inviting me to interview an author for Bloody Scotland 2021, and that author was Stuart MacBride, without these two wonderful people, my blog would not have evolved into what it is today, so thank you so so much from the bottom of my heart!
So in less than a year, I’ve found out that I have a little talent for writing, this is a surprise to me! I’ve always had the gift of the gab, and have a way of communicating verbally that makes people at ease, and usually telling me their deepest secrets! And I have been able to read some superb books which have kindly been gifted by authors and publishers, thank you so much for your kindness I am eternally grateful. And of course the authors themselves that have let me probe them with my questions, and who have taken the time to write their answers, you are ALL the stars not me!
And finally to anyone who has followed my blog, and who reads my blog posts….THANK YOU so much for your support! I am forever grateful!
Now on to my Top 10 books of 2021!
(In no order as ALL are worthy of the Top Ten!)
And finally my Book of The Year goes to ………….
ALL of these books are absolutely amazing and brilliant in their own right, written by a plethora of Uber talented authors, however I had to choose The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean because I read it in January of this year and I can still remember the whole storyline and characters after reading another 50+ books!! It is a gripping, page-turning, thriller which made my anxiety go thru the roof! Which is why it’s my book of the year! Thank you Will Dean for your magnificent talent!
Thank you so much to you Alex, for being my Guest Author, and answeringmy questions.
Thank you for having me, Jude, it’s my absolute pleasure, I’m just so thrilled to be featured on your blog!
I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? Can you tell us about your previous Careers?
Although I was a tennis player and a lawyer before I started writing, I guess, deep down, I knew that becoming a writer was something I was capable of because I’d always had a predilection and flair for writing stories since I was a child. However, it didn’t become a realistic possibility until 2010 when I was pregnant with my second Son.
From the ages of 7-19 tennis dominated my life, to the extent that everything else took a backseat. I would play tennis three to four times a week after school, and every weekend was taken up with training camps, while every week of the school holidays I was off playing a tournament somewhere or other. I basically lived and breathed tennis for 13 years, was a member of the under 12/14 national squads, and turned pro at 16 touring the satellite circuit for nearly three years. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out as I’d hoped and I quit tennis at 19, went back to college, then university, then law school became a lawyer, and practiced in the City for eight years. Law wasn’t for me long-term though. Although I enjoyed some aspects of being a lawyer, made some wonderful friends (including my husband!) and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to write my legal thrillers authentically without the experience I gained from Law, it was never the perfect fit for me, not the way being an author is. I am the happiest writing, and it never feels like a chore, which sadly law, which can be quite dry and formulaic, often did!
Although completely different professions, both tennis, and law require a thick skin and certain ruthlessness to survive. It got to the point where I wasn’t enjoying it either. The City is an especially tough place to work, and I came across quite a few spiteful characters who made my life miserable and who I didn’t much want to be around. It wasn’t for me as I said, but I’m grateful for the inspiration it gave me to write my books. Both experiences also made me a stronger person and I’m happy to say that career-wise, it’s third time lucky for me with my writing!
Luckily, my husband was able to support us financially for me to pursue my passion for writing and so I set about writing my first book in 2010 entitled Love & Limoncello – a women’s fiction novel with a bit of romance and mystery thrown in which I ended up self-publishing. It did extremely well reaching number 53 in the bestseller’s list and selling over 10,500 copies. That’s something I’m very proud of. Crime/thriller has always been my favourite genre, however, and once my children were in pre-school and I had more time to devote the time and research needed to write an effective and believable thriller I didn’t hesitate to switch genres and haven’t looked back since. I love how challenging crime/thriller writing is, both for the author and for the reader! There’s nothing better than a page-turning thriller to lose yourself in – the red herrings, twists and turns and intricate plotlines all make for compulsive reading.
Did you have to do much research for the characters in She’s Mine? Especially Christine Donovan, as she has so many demons, did you use personal experience?
I didn’t have to do much research, to be honest. Obviously, Christine and Greg are lawyers, and therefore, having worked in the City for seven years, I’m able to use my experience to portray that world authentically in terms of the kind of atmosphere people in the City operate in, including the various temptations that can result from working long hours and wanting to let off steam. I also lived in North London for thirteen years which is where most of the story takes place and so again, it’s an area I’m very familiar with and therefore able to portray realistically. I’m glad to say I didn’t use too much personal experience (!) for the character of Christine, although I have been through the pain of a divorce and so can appreciate how relationships can become strained, along with the emotional consequences of that. It’s also true to say that I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and therefore pretty hard on myself if I feel I’ve not done things to the best of my abilities. I don’t tend to do things by half measures, and in the past have become quite addicted to diets and exercise, and so it wasn’t hard for me to imagine falling into that trap on a long-term basis the way Christine does following the devastating loss of her child. Although, of course, her obsessions are a form of self-punishment for something she did in the past. As you know, the book centres on Christine’s grief for her missing child; a grief made more acute by the fact that she blames herself for losing her daughter, tormented by her guilt for her neglect but also a shameful secret she feels contributed to her child’s disappearance. Once the basic idea came to me, I very quickly became immersed in Christine’s story which, granted, wasn’t an easy one to tell being a mother of two young boys myself. In fact, it was extremely tough to write at various points, this being my worst nightmare, but at the same time, I hope this helped me to convey the sheer horror and incomparable pain of Christine’s, as well as her husband Greg’s, loss. Putting myself in Christine’s shoes, I could feel her excruciating pain and grief, her daily inner torment, a pain and torment that consumes her from head to toe, as it would do me, and so, having done this, having really got inside her head, I put her pain down on paper through the first-person narrative. As we follow Christine’s story we realise she’s a very different person in the present-day narrative to how she was in the past – not just physically but emotionally, and I guess that’s something else I can also relate to; after all, we all change as people to a certain extent over the years, we all learn from past mistakes and have our regrets, but also realise how things that had seemed so important in our youth really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and again, having had life experience, including a marriage that ended in divorce, that’s something I felt able to portray through the main characters of Greg and Christine. Similarly, in the case of Ella and Daniel, I can still remember the uncertainty, capriciousness but also naivety of my twenties and so, with a bit of imagination, I was able to get into their mindsets and think the way someone of that age would.
The plot and storyline of She’s Mine is so twisty, dark and made me gasp out loud, how on earth did you come up with the idea?
It was always my intention to make this novel as dark, sinister and twisty as possible because I think such an atmosphere sits well with fans of the psychological thriller genre; they want to feel on edge and they don’t want too much of the mundane; in short, they want to be shocked and surprised! But if I am being honest, and although I know this sounds a bit boring, the basic idea literally just came to me, while some of the twists didn’t actually formulate in my mind until I started writing. This has been the case with most of my books; something I find hugely exciting and fulfilling – coming up with that bigger and better idea or twist as you write that you hope is going to shock readers. I love the fact it made you gasp out loud, Jude, because that was my intention and it’s very satisfying for me as a writer to hear that I’ve achieved one of my aims in writing the book!
What I would say is that with She’s Mine, I wanted to focus on the idea of human frailty, about how we can all, as fallible beings, fall prey to the darker side of human nature – to temptation, lust, revenge, envy and so on, but at the same time have a basic need to be loved, wanted and valued, especially by those we seek and crave such sentiments from. When these are lacking, or taken to extremes, things can often go very wrong and lead the most normal of people in the most mundane of situations to behave in the most extreme and abnormal of ways.
Growing up did you face any challenges, and who was/were your role model/s?
I suffered from horrendous asthma as a child. I can still remember being up in the night gasping for breath, and my Dad, who was a doctor, drenching my top with Karvol capsules to help me breathe. A wonderful invention back then called the spinhaler was my saviour as well as, ironically, playing tennis. Both helped me grow out of it, but it was quite scary (probably more so for my parents!) at the time. Although I wasn’t as aware of it as my mother, there were definitely challenges to being a mixed-race child. I know that sadly this kind of prejudice still exists, but when I was growing up people could be even less tolerant and judgmental, not so much to your face but by making underhand, snide comments designed to hurt and ridicule,which isn’t a nice feeling. My father has always been a role model to me. He had an exceptionally hard childhood, separated from his mother (his father died when he was six leaving his mum and three brothers alone) in the time of partition, was physically beaten and generally treated very badly by an uncle he and his middle brother were sent to stay with for a number of years, and so to think that he survived all that and went on to become a doctor and be the first and last of his family to leave India and settle in the UK with my mum is hugely inspirational for me. Not only that, he survived two nearly fatal accidents and more recently has been fighting prostate cancer these past two years with a courage and optimism that astounds me.
Who would you like to see playing the parts of Christine and Greg if She’s Mine was turned into a Movie/TV Show?
Wow, seeing She’s Mine turned into a movie or TV show would be an absolute dream come true! I think Nicole Kidman would make a great Christine. Not only is she a fantastic actress, very intelligent and brilliant at doing English accents, she has the kind of haunted, elfin look required for the part of present-day Christine, but is also naturally beautiful which Christine, before her addictions set in, was. I could also see Rebecca Ferguson or Naomi Watts playing the part. For Greg, I think Ewan McGregor or Ralph Fiennes would be good choices.
As a child growing up, were you an avid reader? Do you have a favourite childhood book?
Yes, I was an avid reader from a very young age. My mother would read nursery rhymes and Enid Blyton classics to me for hours when I was a toddler. The Railway Children and Jane Eyre were also favourites that we’d read together. At primary school I have fond memories of Rebecca’s World, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Charlotte’s Web to name but a few, but if I had to pick a stand-out favourite childhood book, i.e. one that really sticks in my mind it would have to be The Magic Faraway Tree closely followed by The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I think being an only child and therefore not having a constant playmate, caused me to spend hours getting lost in books, and I’d find myself transported to the incredible worlds these authors created, and becoming friends with the characters who inhabited them.
What is your favourite book you’ve read this year and why?
That is a super hard question as there are simply too many to count. If I had to make a choice, on the literary fiction side it would be No Honour by Awais Khan and on the crime/thriller fiction side, Evaders by EC Scullion. Both books are class acts written by phenomenal writers up there with the very best in their genres.
Do you have a favourite Author or favourite book of all time?
John Grisham was a huge inspiration for me and remains one of my all-time favourites. His books are a masterclass in addictive thriller writing. I loved The Firm, but I think A Time To Kill is even better just because of the subject matter and powerful courtroom scenes. Even before I became a lawyer, I was drawn to Grisham’s slick, page-turning thrillers. I’d get lost in the complex, legal worlds he portrayed, rooting for his fearless, feisty, moralistic lawyers against the mean, corrupt corporate giants they faced. His books have everything that makes a cracking thriller, including compelling characters and tight plotting written at breakneck speed. I’ve read so many wonderful books, Iknow it’s a complete cop-out, but it’s simply impossible to name a favourite of all time. I love so many books in the thriller genre but also historical fiction classics like I Claudius and The First Man in Rome series.
If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?
VE Day. Having studied both wars in depth for A-Level History and my degree at UCL it would be incredible to witness this historic and jubilant occasion first-hand. It’s hard for us to imagine the sacrifices people made over four years of war, to have lived under such perilous and restrictive conditions – children separated from their parents, young men torn from their loved ones – and I would think that the atmosphere that day, knowing it was finally over, would have been electric. Not just in the UK, but all over the world.
You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?
This is the hardest question of all; I could name so many! OK, so I would have to say Agatha Christie because she is the Queen of crime fiction and had such an amazing, interesting and full life, Daniel Craig because, well, do I really need to spell that one out?! (NB, tuxedo a pre-requisite 😂🤣), Barack Obama as I’d like to ask him how on earth he managed to stay so calm and level-headed while surviving on minimal sleep during his Presidency, and finally Robert Downey Jr as I love his dry humour, think he’s a brilliant actor and really admire the way he fought his addictions to become one of the most successful actors on the planet.
How many books have you written and which is your favourite?
I have written nine books in total and am currently working on a tenth. The first two, as previously mentioned, were self-published women’s fiction novels written under my married name, Alexandra Sage.
The other seven are thrillers, three of which – The Scribe, The Abduction (part of my Kramer & Carver thriller series featuring feisty lawyer, Maddy Kramer, who teams up with DCI Jake Carver to solve investigations set in the legal world published by Lume Books and Isis Audio) and She’s Mine (my first psychological thriller with Hera Books) have been published. Of the other four, two are straight thrillers, the other two are psychological, one of which is out with Hera books Summer 2022.
The crime/thriller genre has always been my stand-out favourite and once I’d written my first thriller, I knew it was the genre I wanted to focus on. In fact, the first thriller I wrote, Illicit Retainers, yet to be published, is the book that piqued the interest of my agent, Annette Crossland.
She’s Mine is my favourite, though, just because I feel it’s unique in the way it is written and because I’m quite proud of the twists, especially the end twist. The feedback so far for the book has been amazing, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of readers (who I don’t know!!!) contacting me to say how much they loved it and couldn’t put it down. Also, how the characters really got under their skin and had their own unique voices. I worked really hard on the characterisation, so it’s lovely to get this kind of positive feedback.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Be your own person and never follow the crowd for the sake of it. Also, hard work pays off.
Do you play music when writing, and if so what’s your favourite?
No, sadly not. I am not someone who can write with noise in the background, even soft playing music. It just distracts me. I need absolute quiet to focus and completely immerse myself in my writing. Which obviously wasn’t easy at the height of the pandemic with the kids at home!
What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received?
I always treasure the homemade cards my children give me for mother’s day and for my birthday. You can’t put a price on those.
Are you currently writing another book?
I am currently in the throes of editing my second psychological thriller for Hera Books. I can’t reveal too much about the storyline just yet, but I will say that it’s written in the first person from the perspective of three very different women all of whom have dark pasts and secrets they’ll do anything to keep buried. It’s a tense, complex plot with several twists including one BIG reveal at the end.
I am also working on book three in my Kramer & Carver series, another serial killer investigation but where DS Drake, Carver’s right-hand man gets more of a prominent role.
About A.A. Chaudhuri
A.A. Chaudhuri is a former City lawyer, turned thriller writer, who lives in Surrey with her family.
Once a highly ranked British junior tennis player, competing in the national championships and a member of the national squad, she went on to tour the women’s professional satellite circuit as a teenager and achieved a world ranking of 650.
After returning to full-time education, she gained a BA Honours 2:1 in History at University College London, and a commendation in both the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course at the London College of Law, before training as a solicitor at City firm Norton Rose and then practising as a commercial litigator at two other City firms, Kendall Freeman and Travers Smith.
She left law in 2008 to pursue her passion for writing and in 2010 passed the NCTJ fast-track newspaper journalism course, in respect of which she was awarded The Oxford University Press Public Affairs Award for the most outstanding public affairs central government paper.
In 2013 and 2014 she self-published two women’s fiction novels under the name Alexandra Sage: Love & Limoncello and the sequel Love & Loss. Love & Limoncello has sold more than ten thousand copies to date, reaching number 53 in the Amazon Kindle Bestsellers List in October 2014.
THE SCRIBE and THE ABDUCTION, published by LUME BOOKS in July and December 2019, are her first crime book series, plunging readers into London’s glamorous legal world and featuring series’ heroine, Maddy Kramer, fiction’s first female City lawyer amateur sleuth, who teams up with charismatic DCI Jake Carver to solve a gruesome series of murders and a puzzling abduction.
Both books have hit the bestsellers lists in the UK, Australia and Canada, with bestseller tags in Australia and Canada.
THE SCRIBE and THE ABDUCTION were published as audio books by Isis Audio on 1st January and 1st March 2021, both read by David Thorpe.
She has also contributed an original short story THE ENCOUNTER to crime anthology GIVEN IN EVIDENCE published by LUME BOOKS in May 2020, has written many articles and short stories for The Crime Writers’ Association.
In February 2021, Alex signed a two-book contract for two standalone psychological thrillers with HERA BOOKS, the first entitled SHE’S MINEwas published on 18th August 2021 in ebook and 26th August in paperback. The second will be published in spring 2022.
Besides being an avid reader, she enjoys fitness, films, anything Italian and a good margarita!
A killer caught. A murder sentence served. But did they arrest the wrong man? _______
In 1999, seventeen-year-old Tone Vaterland was killed on her way home from work.
The police – desperate for a quick conviction – deemed the investigation an open-and-shut case and sent her embittered ex-boyfriend, Danny Momrak, down for murder.
Her family was able to grieve. The public felt justice had been done. The streets were safe again.
But twenty years later, William Wisting receives an anonymous letter suggesting that the wrong man was convicted, and worse yet: the real murderer is still out there.
Thrown into a terrifying race against time, Wisting must find the sender and catch the real killer before they strike again.
But nothing is as it seems. And as Wisting disappears further into a dark past of secrets, lies and murder, his own life is threatened . . .
Can he find Tone’s true killer before it’s too late?
A Question Of Guilt is Book 4 In The Cold Case Quartet
So, I discovered the William Wisting books at the beginning of 2020, and immediately I fell in love with Jorn Lier Hort’s style of writing and the character, William Wisting. So ive eagerly been waiting for A Question Of Guilt for a year, when it arrived i was SO excited.
As with all the Wisting series, we start with William being on annual leave and he starts getting anonymous letters leading him to a case he was not involved in, twenty years ago. But being the honest Detective he is, He cannot help but to get involved.
I’m not going to give away the plot, but I will try to tell you why I adore the Wisting Series so much. Firstly Jorn Lier Horst is an ex-police Detective, so his knowledge of the procedural side of police work is extremely clear when reading his books. As someone who spent 12 years in the Police as a civvy but working closely with Police officers, I’m always wary of reading how fictional characters deal with the Police side of things, however, with Wisting there are no such worries. as a reader, you can feel that Jorn has a depth of knowledge of what it’s like to work on murder investigations etc, and this shines through in the writing.
The way these books are written and A Question of Guilt especially is just so smooth, the story flows and the plot builds like a snowball gathering speed and size down a steep hill. The amount of twists and turns is enough to make you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster ride! I also love that Wisting’s daughter Line, gets involved in some of the plots, she is a freelance Journalist and has the same exceptional mind as Wisting, and the way Jorn writes as Line’s character is fabulous.
The description of the settings in Norway are so realistic, whether it be in the summer ( as A Question Of Guilt is set) or in the winter. I’m a massive fan of Norway and Jorns’ Wisting series is perfect for that.
So in summing up, A Question Of Guilt was a fast and gripping read, and we again get to solve the crime with this century’s greatest Police detective, William Wisting. If you havent read anything by Jorn Lier Horst, then please start the Wisting series, they are quite simply an exquisite example of Nordic Noir. Any Jorn is one of my utter favourite authors!
Another 5 Star read!
About Jorn Lier Horst
Jørn Lier Horst is one of Norway’s most experienced police investigators, Bestselling author Jørn Lier Horst is a Former Senior Investigating Officer from Norway and recently winner of the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic Crime Novel and the prestigious Martin Beck Award. He made his debut in 2004 with the crime novel Key Witness, based on a true murder story. His crime novels has been extremely successful in Europe and is characterized by political and social commentary subtext.