Her Deadly Friend by Rae Sargeant – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The Suspect
Bullied by Steph Lewis at school, then betrayed by her lover, Amy Ashby still seethes with fury. Despite the decades-old resentment, she’s on the hunt for a new man and a fresh start. This time for keeps.

The Stalker
When both women are stalked by a figure from their shared past, danger threatens.

The Detective
Now Detective Inspector, Steph follows a tip-off to her old rival. After quarrels exploded beyond the playground and changed lives forever, she vowed never to see Amy again. But that was then.

The Deaths
Murder rocks the city. First one, then another. The body count reaches five, and all Steph’s leads point to Amy. But is Steph obsessed with a schoolgirl vendetta or closing in on a deadly killer?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. At the beginning of this novel you get to meet two of the main characters, one in the police and the other a suspect, as children. One of them is accused of bullying the other and you soon see that the events that happened in childhood still had an impact on both many years later. This is definitely not a relationship where feelings have mellowed. 

But these are two people who have to communicate. Both of them are strongly connected to the investigation and Steph has to ask questions despite what occurred in their past. I had a lot of sympathy for Steph, despite the accusation against her. I detested Amy almost immediately.

The team that Steph is part of is a strong one. Not really friends, just colleagues who tolerate each other, but they don’t let any animosity impact on their jobs. They do care about each other though, and this became more evident when Steph’s worrying health issues were revealed. This was a part of the novel that I appreciated a lot. It’s not often where a team is portrayed so honestly. And it’s not often where I’ve had a lot of concern for a character’s health. 

I read a lot of crime fiction, sometimes I guess who is responsible for whichever crime has been committed, sometimes it’s a surprise but also a disappointment because it doesn’t make much sense. I thought I knew which way the storyline was going until a very surprising and clever event part way through In this novel and from then I had no idea what was going to happen or who was the murderer. 

I hope that there will be a follow up to this novel, I enjoyed this one a lot.

The Room Mates by Rachel Sargeant – Extract – BlogTour.

About The Book

University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.

A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets…

When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she lives with…



Three Years Ago

A car horn blares and instinct makes her jump back. Male driver, early thirties. Mouth open in an oath as he speeds past, skidding on the bridge’s frosty tarmac. She can’t be bothered to gesture after him. Defiance gone.

Clutching her elbows for warmth, she makes it to the opposite side. Her jacket’s not much of a coat these days. Zip bust from straining. The barrier along the side of the bridge is tall – nearly her height – but she peers between its vertical railings. The river below looks benign. No boats are out in mid-winter to ruffle its grey-green surface. A few dog walkers and cyclists on the promenade. The café’s open but the air’s too bitter even for smokers to sit outside.

Wind picks up, making her stumble. For a moment she longs for the warmth of the bonfire under the bridge where the others will be. A few cans and a bit of weed. Where’s the harm? But she can’t go there because of Danno. Can’t bear to see her betrayal reflected in his eyes. To see how her lies have destroyed him.

With her back against the barrier, sheltering from the worst of the weather, she squats and watches the traffic. When a passing lorry causes the bridge to judder, a change of plan flits through her mind. It might be quicker, more certain. But she can’t do that to a driver. She’s damaged enough people. People she loves. Her eyes smart. She stands up.

Searching for places to climb, she walks close to the barrier and spots possible toeholds – welded joints on some of the metal posts that are fixed into the ground at regular intervals. There’s a lull in the traffic and she hears her heartbeat. Loud. A shiver passes through her. Can she do this? What else is there? No one wants her, can’t blame Mum and Jade.

In one swift movement, she grips two railings, wedges the side of her foot on a bolt and hauls herself up. An icy blast hits her head and neck. When she looks down, the river looms in and out of focus. Her head spins so much, she’s sure she’ll overbalance. Determination deserts her and the dizziness makes her afraid. Her hands clench the top rail and she ignores how much the cold metal burns.

As she stares down at the water, Leo’s face flashes across her mind. This isn’t because of Danno – or Mum or Jade. Most of all she’s failed Leo. Her breathing slows and the unsteadiness fades. Her doubts begin to disappear. She levers herself higher.

No more pain, no more loss, no more hurting those who care – used to care. The burden lifts. Limbs and belly light for the first time in months. All over. She smiles. Places a knee on the top of the barrier. One final breath.

“Amber!” A voice shrieks along the bridge before the wind swallows it whole.

The Good Teacher by Rachel Sargeant – Blog Tour Review.

About the Book

Even the good have to die.
A beloved teacher is murdered and left in a ditch beside a country lane. His wife is found beaten and gagged in their suburban home.

Even the best schools have secrets.
New detective Pippa Adams learns that the teacher ran a homework club for vulnerable pupils. But what did he really teach them?

Even the perfect family has something to hide.
When Pippa scratches the surface of the school community, she meets families who’ve learned a shattering lesson. And finally uncovers the good teacher’s darkest secrets…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The start of the novel is quite tense, a woman handcuffed to a chair and then a body found by a pensioner walking his dog. It doesn’t take long for the two cases to be linked.

Pippa ‘Agatha’ Adams is a new member of the local CID. She has to prove her worth and accepts her nickname with good grace. She has her dreams about how her career and working relationships will be. But the reality isn’t like her dreams. It is harder to be accepted than she imagined and she has to put up with public dressing downs and being on the receiving end of jokes and the occasional insult. There is a strong hint of trauma in her past which influenced her decision to join the police but no real detail.

I liked Pippa and her team. The rivalries, the jokes and the loyalties were all convincing. The author showed that the loyalties had to be earned, the existing team weren’t prepared to give Pippa an easy ride, she had to prove that she was worthy. There was a character, the head teacher who I loathed with a passion. I really hope that he wasn’t a true portrayal of anybody within the education system.

I expected the teacher to be not as good as the title suggests but I was completely wrong about the reasons why. I was also wrong about who the culprit was. It does all work though, I was just duped. It would be great to see this novel become a series, I would love to see Pippa succeed in her job and build on her standing in the team.