The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue – Ambassador Book Buzz.

About The Book

Power. Jealousy. Desire.

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…
When Louisa arrives at Temple House, an elite catholic boarding school, she quickly finds herself drawn to sophisticated fellow pupil Victoria and their young bohemian art teacher, Mr Lavelle. The three of them from a bond that seems to offer an escape from the repressive regime of the nuns who run the cloistered school. Until Louisa and Mr Lavelle suddenly disappear without trace.

Years later, a journalist with a childhood connection to Louisa determines to resolve the mystery. Her search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and unintended consequences.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher and Love Reading for the copy received. The Temple House Vanishing was an intriguing dual time frame novel that focused on the disappearance of a school girl and her teacher. It is narrated by Laura, the girl concerned, where you learn about her life up to her disappearance and the journalist who is writing about the circumstances twenty five years later and has the unfortunate task of interviewing the ones who knew her. Neither her friend Victoria or prefect Helen are likeable. Helen in particular made me angry every time she appeared.

I had expected the nuns who ran the school to feature more but they were very much in the background, oblivious to the students, the way they were bullied by the prefects and also the effect that the young good looking male teacher had on their pupils.

It was unusual reading Louisa’a story and not knowing what happened to her. Usually you are given clues but nothing was revealed until the end and it was far from straightforward. I had a lot of sympathy for her, she was completely out of her depth when coping with her feelings and the treatment she received at the hands of the prefects, in particular Helen.

Spooky, threatening and with a sense of loneliness this was a great debut by Rachel Donohue.

I Will Miss You Tomorrow by Heine Bakkeid – translated by Anna Bruce – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The first in a new Norwegian crime series featuring disgraced ex-Chief Inspector Thorkild Aske, a damaged man with a complicated past

Fresh out of prison and a stint in a psychiatric hospital, disgraced ex-policeman Thorkild Aske only wants to lose himself in drugged dreams of his beloved Frei. Wild, unknowable Frei. The woman he loved. The woman he has lost forever.

Yet when Frei’s young cousin goes missing off the Norwegian coast and Thorkild is called in by the family to help find him, dead or alive, Thorkild cannot refuse. He owes them this. 

Tormented by his past, Thorkild soon finds himself deep in treacherous waters. He’s lost his reputation – will he now lose his life?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I’ve read a few Norwegian novels but I have never read anything like I Will Miss You Tomorrow. Aske was a character who like many before him has a private life that is a mess. But his private life has caused him to lose his career as an investigator in internal affairs and placed him in prison. I misunderstood most of his situation initially. When what happened to him was revealed I had a lot more sympathy, respect and liking for him.

It was a book that had me shivering whilst reading. The weather conditions, the freezing cold water, the attitudes and abuse he faced from former friends and colleagues. I learned more about certain medical conditions than I expected, drug dependency and Norwegian village life. I read the most graphic description of an autopsy I have ever read , where I could practically smell the body.

It is a crime novel with a supernatural slant. Not too much, just enough to unsettle me and question whether it was a hallucination or ‘reality’. Aske is one of the more intriguing characters I have met, I hope I don’t have to wait too long for book two.

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver – Blog Tour – Extract.

About The Book

Nine suicides
One Cult
No leader

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.

How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?

Extract

Other People 

The trick to running a cult is to get other people involved. Not new members or followers. Not more subscribers or a greater mailing list. It doesn’t matter if there are six people who think someone is Jesus or there are a million admirers hoping for a seat on the spaceship that will fly them away as Earth implodes with greed and apathy. 

It’s not the apostles that make the cult. 

It’s everybody else. 

What is needed are the other people. Because other people always fuck things up. 

Take the small town of Antelope, Oregon. A smudge on a map. Fifty people looking for quiet. They need a post office, a general store, a school and a church to exist. Not to survive. They haven’t moved here for that. Everybody knows everybody and everybody wants to be alone. Because they’ve come here to see out their years in peace. Then die. 

Drop in four thousand disciples adhering to the philosophies of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Watch as they are welcomed as a peaceful people, renouncing a world of materialism in favour of a spiritual life. Embrace their desire to establish their own community. 

Now get other people involved. 

See how the word ‘community’ transforms into the word ‘commune’. Now wait as tensions rise and hostility grows. Wait a little longer. Because here come the other people. And it’s easy to take other people and make them fear something. Soon, a school teacher or postal worker or bar owner or dairy farmer has used the word ‘cult’. 

Sit back and bask in your success as civilians are weaponised and cafes are poisoned and phone lines are tapped. 

This is other people. 

Take a student pastor at the Somerset Southside Methodist Church, Indiana. Tell him that he can’t integrate black people into his congregation. Piss him off. Give him a crusade. 

Watch as he moves on and gives people hope. See his drive for racial equality. You don’t call the healings fake. Not yet. You call them Baptists. You say they are a church. He calls them the Wings of Deliverance. 

Now let him open a soup kitchen for the poor, then watchas other people become involved. Because other people have an innate ability to take something good and turn it straight to shit. 

Migrate that church to Guyana. Call it a compound. Call it Paradise. Call it Jonestown. Say that members did not travel there of their own free will. Get other people to interfere. Intervene. Get shot at. Wait a moment while everything is ruined. While nine hundred men and women take cyanide to kill themselves. Let them poison their children. 

Now you can call it a cult. 

And feel safe that you’re not one of them. 

You. 

Other people. 

Take David Koresh. Take Waco. Tell the world he has several wives and fucks his kids. Set fire to buildings. Smoke him out. Kill twenty of those kids while you’re there. 

Get involved. 

Take the Manson Family. Take Scientology. Take any passage from any holy book out of context. 

Take the unknown and drop in some fear and insecurity. 

What have you done? 

You. 

The other people club

You. At arm’s length. Outside looking in. With your judgement and your free choice and your safety. You don’t understand. 

Not one of these people thought that they were part of a cult. 

And you, you’re no different. You could be part of a cult right now and you don’t even realise. You think you have a choice. 

So, put that rope around your neck. 

Now wait. 

Here come the other people.


Safe House by Jo Jakeman – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.

Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. 

And now she has a chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really paid the price for what she did….

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. In an attempt to rebuild her life after being released from prison Steffi moves to Cornwall. She changes her name, because of the threats she received for her crime and just wants to move on. But someone is aware of who she really is and it doesn’t take long for everything to go wrong.

I really enjoyed this novel. There is only one narrator but it feels like two as you find out how Steffi ended up in prison and how she tried to rebuild her life as Charlie when she was released.

Even though they were the same person they felt completely different. Steffi’s  relationship with her father and her ex boyfriend made me cringe. Not because of violence, but because of the control and the constant put downs. I had a lot of sympathy for her. As Charlie, she seemed more confident, despite initial shyness and had a lot of time for others. 

The location settings are perfect. Remote, beautiful but dangerous with some fantastic local characters, Aubrey in particular was one I really liked. 

A great read and I will be reading the author’s previous book Sticks And Stones soon. 

Violet by SJI Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I see many thrillers described as psychological and often I’m disappointed. I’m happy to say that I wasn’t with Violet, my new favourite novel by this author. It had it all. Violet was an unreliable, unsettling and at times creepy narrator, and Carrie her new friend and travel companion has just become her new obsession.

But Carrie also has issues, and not just the ones that involve heavy drinking and drug taking. Most of what you learn about her is through her emails home to family and the best friend who couldn’t be with her. It is these that also show what she really thinks about Violet and also what occurred back home.

Everything about this novel works. The setting in countries that are completely different to the UK. The descriptions of the customs, some of which were really eerie. And the increasingly bizarre behaviour of Violet that had me wondering what she would do next.

It is very clever with characters that scared me at times, but strangely ones I could also feel sympathy for. As the story progressed there was insight into why they behaved like they did, especially with Violet.

As I read this novel I also enjoyed seeing daily photographs on the author’s website of her trip that inspired the novel.