Lie to Me by J. T. Ellison

Lie to MeWhen Ethan Montclair wakes up one morning to find a note from his wife Sutton saying that she is leaving and for him not to look for her, he swings from disbelief to anger to fear – for her (she has been suffering from depression) and for him (what will people think?).

He calls round her friends then a lawyer before finally calling the police, who immediately start to question Ethan’s version of his supposedly perfect life – especially when Sutton’s friends suggest that things were not quite as good as they might have seemed.

As the questions start to mount up the lies start to unravelling.  The friends were right and Ethan slowly begins to reveal the truth – or at least his version of it.  And that is what makes this book so good.  Nothing is as it seems – no one is who them seem.  For a woman (me) who likes an unreliable narrator, this book is a perfect fit.Read More »

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The Pocket Wife by Susan H. Crawford

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Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.

Is murder on her mind—or is it all in her head?

The closer she comes to piecing together shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her… or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?

I remember seeing The Pocket Wife everywhere for a while a year or so ago and thinking it was a book I wouldn’t mind reading.  But, somehow, it never went further than that until I saw it at the library a few weeks ago – at which point I picked it up, without much thought or, if I’m honest much in the way of expectations.

In fact, if people hadn’t started saying how much they enjoyed it when I posted a picture of my library haul I may well have ended up taking it back unread as other books I had picked up that day were definitely higher up my to read list.  If I had, then I would have been missing out on something because people were right – this was a really good book and I really enjoyed it.Read More »

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

33128934Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

Stillhouse Lake was one of those books I picked up from Amazon because it sounded good but might not have read quite so quickly if it hadn’t been for me deciding to join in with Janel at Keeper of Pages Criminally Good Book Club (not that I’ve been that active as I then immediately dropped out of the online world for a week in order to read books!). Still, it was the kick I needed and I am so glad I did because I really enjoyed this, my first book by Rachel Caine.  Read More »

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors, where men and women are kept apart

by high walls and barred windows,

there is a ballroom vast and beautiful.

For one bright evening every week

they come together

and dance.

When John and Ella meet

It is a dance that will change

two lives forever.

After recently writing about how I don’t read either historical fiction or romance novels and asking for suggestions, The Ballroom turned up in my mailbox as part of a reading round robin I am taking part in (organised by Sarah at Sarah Withers Blog).

Set in 1911 and focusing on the relationship between John and Ella, two residents of an asylum who only meet on scheduled Friday dances, this book couldn’t have been further from my regular reads. Yet, I really enjoyed it, showing me just how important it is I step outside my comfort zone once in a while.Read More »

At Wave’s End by Patricia Perry Donovan

51DtlH7OsaLWhen her estranged mother wins a Jersey Shore bed and breakfast in a lottery and heads east to survey the prize, Faith Sterling fears her mother has fallen victim to yet another scam. Their visit to the B & B confirms her suspicions. Wave’s End is not as advertised—it’s nowhere near the beach, it’s sorely in need of an overhaul, and its finances are shaky. But despite Faith’s attempts to dissuade her mother, Connie Sterling is determined to try her hand at running the inn.

A frustrated Faith heads back to Brooklyn, dreading the havoc her mother’s proximity will wreak on her well-ordered and successful life. She doesn’t have to wait long. When a supersized hurricane pummels the East Coast, Faith reluctantly agrees to return and help her mother run Wave’s End…temporarily.

But just as inn life settles into a comfortable rhythm, a grievous secret about Wave’s End surfaces, threatening the inn’s future and fraying the already fragile mother-daughter bonds.

After reading and enjoying Donovan’s first novel, Deliver Her, I was excited to pick up At Wave’s End, which was released earlier this week.  On the surface, it sounds like a very different book and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it as a result.  Thankfully, I was wrong because all the ingredients that made me like Deliver Her are here too (slight pun intended there as this is a book with a chef as a central character…sorry, couldn’t help myself!).Read More »

Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

When Cass Tanner appears on her mother’s doorstep three years after last being seen (which was also the same night her sister Emma disappeared), it’s an arrival no one is expecting, especially – it seems – her mother who, in the intervening years, has styled herself as a grieving parent and now seems uncertain how to act.

Missing, presumed dead (I think it’s fair to say), Cass’ return reopens a case FBI forensic psychiatrist Abby Winter has never been able to let go of. In fact, it has haunted her, harming her relationship with her colleagues and her career. Now, not only does she have the chance to see if her theories about the sisters disappearance were right, she gets to kill some of her demons and, just maybe, get a decent nights sleep.Read More »

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

33654421Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

Clare thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life.

Alice thinks Claire is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family.

One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac. Two sisters. One truth.

Alice and Clare were separated when they were young children, Alice going with her father to America and Clare staying in the UK with her mom.  It’s a family split neither Clare nor her mother have ever really recovered from and Clare has tried more than once to find her sister to no avail.  Then, one day, a letter arrives; Clare and Alice’s father has died and Alice is finally free to come home.

Initially excited, the fact that suddenly a grown woman who might be related by blood but is basically a stranger is visiting their home, makes Clare start to feel worried.  Then Alice arrives and she starts to feel even worse.  She doesn’t feel a connection with her long-lost sister.  In fact, it’s the opposite – questioning everything Alice does and says to the point where it starts to drive a wedge between her, her mother, her husband and her daughters (who all think Alice is great).

As a reader, it was hard to know where the truth lies at first…but easy to imagine Clare is feeling put out by the attention her sister is getting.  Told through her voice, which you can imagine getting increasingly “high pitched” as she tries to get people to see her point of view, I have to say it didn’t take long to figure out what is going on – though there were some twists at the end which I hadn’t seen coming in quite the way they did.

However, despite things not necessarily being a surprise, I enjoyed this book and found myself turning the pages pretty quickly.  I thought it was well written and there were more than enough twists to keep me interested.  Clare was a likeable central character, which always helps, so I was rooting for her all the way through.  I just wish her family hadn’t been quite so clueless.

There were times when I wanted to leap through the pages and shake one or more of them because things seemed pretty obvious to me but I think the fact that I was that involved is a good thing.  And the fact that I was able to forgive these things and a couple of leaps in logic shows that, at it’s core, this was a good book, one I like a lot and would definitely recommend.

Emma x

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Source: Library
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Publication Date: 6th January, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 364
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

32991958My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

So this is possibly one of the shortest blurbs in the history of blurbs – and completely intrigued me as a result.  Add to that some positive reviews and I felt like this was a book I really wanted to read.

The first few chapters had me convinced I’d made the right choice and things only got better from there I have to say, especially with some great twists in the last third which pretty much turned everything I had been thinking on it’s head. Read More »

Buried Secrets by Lisa Cutts

35227796To most people, Detective Inspector Milton Bowman appears to have an ideal life. But some secrets aren’t buried deep enough.

After a tragic car accident, and a shocking murder, DI Milton’s colleagues have to start digging into every aspect of his life.

Suspicion and disbelief creep into their lives as a web of deceit unfolds – the Bowman family, friends and even colleagues come under suspicion. No one is to be trusted.

Nothing is as it appears.

Buried Secrets, the second in the East Rise series, starts with a tragic accident, closely followed by a murder, one that puts the police themselves at the heart of the investigation.  Front and centre of trying to find the murderer should be DI Harry Powell; unfortunately, he’s at best a witness, at worst a suspect, so off the case.

Instead it’s down to DI Doug Philbert and DCI Barbara Venice to head up what will prove to me a much more complicated case than any of them might have thought.  Amongst the team they are leading are some familiar faces, including DC Hazel Hamilton, who is appointed Family Liaison Officer and finds herself supporting the nineteen year old son of the victim.

I suppose one of the first things I would say about Buried Secrets, and one of things I liked about it, is exactly what drew me to the first in the series, Mercy Killing – the fact that this book really shows how the police work, and how team work is at the heart of what they do.  Whilst some characters here take front and centre, it is all the officers as a unit, working together, that solve the case.  No one is a lone wolf, so often the case nowadays in books.

What it does mean though is that it took me a while to get all the characters straight in my head, who they were, what their roles were and what type of personalities they had.  I did get it, but it was probably a good 10 chapters in before everything fell into place. The good new is, once I did, there wasn’t anyone I didn’t warm to or want to find out more about.

And this is something I am hoping I will get to as the series goes on because what Lisa Cutts did here is, I thought, quite clever.  Whilst Harry was one of the main characters in the first book, and is definitely present here, it was Hazel who dominated this novel (and not in a bad way).  I liked getting to know her here and understanding what made her tick

I also liked that she had the role of family liaison, something which I know exists but don’t really know what they do.  Hats of to them I would say now because it’s a hard, emotionally  draining, job by the sounds of it.  Focusing on this aspect of the case (though not to the detriment of the investigation, there was plenty of that), gave this book a different slant, which I liked.

Other things I liked? The twists and turns, which started to come thick and fast in the second half as you were left guessing who the guilty party was, and the sub-plot involving a local drug gang (which I’m hoping might be the subject of another novel because there are some nasty characters there that might make a good story).  Plus the fact that I got to see not just the investigation but the trial.

What I didn’t like? Not a lot, if I’m honest.  The getting my head round the large cast maybe but that’s a minor complaint and may just be down to my age and terrible memory for names.  Also, for me, it was just a little too long – not much, maybe fifty pages, but there were a few scenes of Hazel’s burgeoning relationship I could maybe have done without.

And that’s it really.  Overall, I found myself liking this book a lot and recommending it for fans of police procedurals…Enjoy!

Emma x

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Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 22nd June, 2017
Format: ebook
Pages: 432
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review; all thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guiltless by Viveca Sten

The tiny Swedish island of Sandhamn has always been a haven for lawyer Nora Linde. With trouble brewing in her marriage, she finds its comforts more welcome than ever, even in the depths of winter. That is, until her two young sons trip across a severed arm in the woods.

The boys’ gruesome discovery will once again connect Nora with her childhood friend Thomas Andreasson, now a local police detective. When the limb is identified as belonging to a twenty-year-old woman who disappeared without a trace months earlier, what had been a missing persons case takes on a whole new urgency.

Nora and Thomas delve deeply into the woman’s final hours, each of them wrestling not only with the case but with the private demons it awakens in them. As they do, they’ll find themselves drawn into the history of Sandhamn and the tensions that have been simmering just below the surface for more than a hundred years.

Guiltless is my third trip to Sandhamn, a small island off the Swedish coast with a population of only a couple of hundred people but – seemingly – a lot of murder.  I have to say, it sounds beautiful there, but – given the death count – I would think twice before visiting.

This time, the victim is a young girl, missing for months before Nora’s boys find her body. She is an island native (vs. the visitors that flood the island in the summer) and so her death is possibly more shocking than it might have been otherwise and the small community are rocked to it’s core.  The question is why and who?

It’s a question Nora finds herself in the middle of, not just because her sons found the body but because her best friend, Thomas, is investing the case.  Nora and Thomas make an interesting team.  They don’t investigate together as such but they do use each other to bounce ideas off, as well as supporting each other in life in general.

I like their relationship (purely platonic) and both Nora and Thomas as individuals and I think it is this that keeps bringing me back to the series.  They are genuinely nice people, the type I would want to know.  Their friendships seems natural and I can only commend Sten for how well she has created these two people.

Her plots too are pretty good.  There is a simplicity to them when you first start reading but soon the twists start coming and you don’t really know where you are.  Clever.  At the same time, a word that does pop to mind when describing her novels is gentle because you aren’t being beaten over the head with wild card detectives or omnipotent killers.  There is an old fashioned element here, a lot of who dunit and (thankfully) very little in the way of gruesome.

This style fits me perfectly more often now I find.  I don’t like lots of gore with my crime and I am tiring of detectives that go out on their own and don’t listen to anyone else on their team, usually whilst not sleeping, not eating and drinking too much.  There is none of that in Thomas, and I like it.  I also liked the book – a lot – and definitely recommend it (including for those who haven’t read the first two – it’s definitely a standalone).

Enjoy!

Emma x

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Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: 23rd May, 2017 (originally published 2010)
Format: ebook
Pages: 370
Genre: mystery / crime
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Note: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 

Other books in the Sandhamn Series…

Still WatersClosed Circles