See No Evil by Rebecca Bradley – Review.

About The Book

A brutal killer with a vicious calling card targets the older males in Nottingham. Are they connected or are the murders simply random attacks? 

That is the question Detective Inspector Hannah Robbins and her team must investigate as they hunt down the monster on their streets. 

But Hannah has just returned to work after a terrifying ordeal, and is still distressed as snapshots of the trauma plague her every waking moment.  

Across town Amelia Vaughn, a senior Crown prosecutor, questions herself when a sensitive police file lands on her desk. However, things begin to look more sinister closer to home.  

As the two professionals struggle to hold it together the murders become more frequent. The two women are on a collision course that no one could see coming. Can they each do what it takes to bring the killer to justice or will personal attachments result in another loss of life?

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. Rebecca Bradley’s Hannah Robbins series is one of the few that I have read every book from. I like the main character but also her team of people. The respect and loyalty they have for each other is evident with the way they welcome her back after the events that occurred in the previous book. But Hannah struggles to accept the help or admit that she is struggling with the pain. She finds it easier to push friends away, despite feeling guilty and rely on pain relief.

Whilst I enjoyed catching up with Hannah, I loved the other narrative. Amelia has serious concerns about her husband and when she attempts to find out what is wrong she is unprepared for what she discovers. When she makes contact with Hannah’s team her world falls apart. I can’t remember reading anything like this before, where you see the story develop from somebody who is connected to a crime but not as a perpetrator. 

There is huge potential for this series to carry on, this ending in particular, left a lot of possibilities for further storylines. I have a feeling Hannah has some explaining to do with the investigation in this book and with what Aaron discovers at the end. What I would love to see in the future is for Hannah to find happiness, because at times she seems very lonely, and for a book to focus on one of the other characters. My choice would be from Aaron or Pasha. 

When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

They need him to remember. He wants to forget.

1918. 
In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there.

The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home. His doctor James is determined to recover who this man once was. But Adam doesn’t want to remember. Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his memory away, seemingly for good.

When a newspaper publishes a feature about Adam, three women come forward, each claiming that he is someone she lost in the war. But does he believe any of these women? Or is there another family out there waiting for him to come home?

Based on true events, When I Come Home Again is a deeply moving and powerful story of a nation’s outpouring of grief, and the search for hope in the aftermath of war.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Whilst I have read books about the impact of war before I have never read one that concerns those who are desperate for answers. Either from those who need to remember who they are or the loved ones who need to know what happened to their son, husband or brother. And both were equally heartbreaking.

When Adam is arrested after vandalism at Durham Cathedral he has no knowledge of his identity. All those around him know is that he was a serving soldier from the war. In a bid to help him he is transferred to a place of care in Westmorland. As a way of identifying him they go public but are unprepared for how many turn up to lay their claim on Adam. They filter it down to three and start the long and often upsetting process of trying to work out if any of them are related. I spent most of this novel trying to decide who I wanted to have the happy ending. 

Adam isn’t the only one who has issues, James, his doctor also had a bad war and struggles to talk about it. Both appeared to have suffered similar experiences but cope in different ways and also have different reactions to certain environments. Whilst Adam finds solace in the local woods, it a nightmare for James. 

This novel was at times extremely upsetting, especially towards the end. But it also shows a method of coping, even if it looked strange to others. It made me think about how many thousands of families had no idea what happened to their loved ones and I had no idea how I would even begin to cope if I was in the same situation.

I loved the Westmorland setting, the tranquility made a welcome change from a city based novel.  I think that it was the only type of setting that a book such as this could work in with the way that Adam could feel at ease with the nature around him, totally different from what happened in the woods during the war.

One August Night by Victoria Hislop – Review.

About The Book

25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.

When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.

In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.

Number one bestselling author Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. About 15 years ago I read the prequel to this book which was called The Island. From memory it was a holiday read and I loved it. But because it was so long ago and I’ve read a lot of books since I can remember little of it. Apart from the island that became a leper colony and the way it tore apart lives when loved ones had to go and live there. But I was thrilled to be sent this follow up which I decided to read as a stand-alone novel.

It starts with a tragedy at what should have been a happy occasion. The release of all the inhabitants of Spinalonga after a cure had been found for leprosy. One of those released was affected personally by what happened and she is one whose story you read. How she coped with her release and the way she chose to deal with the tragedy that occurred. Anna was one of the central characters in The Island, and really the only one I remembered anything about.

The other thread of the story involves Manolis, who flees Crete after what occurred. He builds a new life for himself but can never settle into a relationship and be truly happy. Despite not remembering him from The Island it was his story I preferred. His life with friends, especially his landlady was one that I really enjoyed.

The culture, the people, the developing tourism all felt realistic and I would happily reread The Island and then read this again. I’m sure reading the two together will reveal so much more about the history from the time.

All Your Little Lies by Marianne Holmes – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When everything you say is a lie, can you even remember the truth?

Annie lives a quiet, contained, content life. She goes to work. She meets her friend. She’s kind of in a relationship. She’s happy. Not lonely at all.

If only more people could see how friendly she is — how eager to help and please. Then she could tick “Full Happy Life” off her list. But no one sees that side of Annie, and she can’t understand why.

That all changes the night Chloe Hills disappears. And Annie is the last person to see her.

This is her chance to prove to everybody that she’s worth something. That is, until she becomes a suspect.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. It’s not often where I find a narrator who made me feel extremely edgy but it was I got with Annie. I have to admit that this feeling didn’t last for the whole length of the novel but she definitely wasn’t a character who I would like to meet in real life. And even though my feelings did change slightly when I realised what had happened in her past somewhat, she was still someone who I felt wary of. Even though this book is about a missing girl, most of the novel concerns Annie and the way she handles the situation. Which has to be said isn’t well. 

Apart from the character of Annie what I found interesting about this novel was the impact a missing child had on the local community. This isn’t really told from the point of view of the police. Instead it’s about those who come together to search, help, and at times turn vigilante as suspects are revealed. It also show how rumours and gossip spread and how dangerous it can be. Often without any thought for the victim or their family and friends. It also shows that there will always be the ones who don’t really care, who are more concerned about the impact it has on them rather than a family going through their worst nightmare. 

Alongside the story that concerns the missing girl there are also brief passages that show an unsettling friendship between three girls. They are short but sinister, when you see how easy it is to manipulate a dangerous situation. 

This is the first book I have read by this author, I would definitely read another.

You And Me by Nicola Rayner – Review.

About The Book

This is not a love story…

Watching sunrises together should have been romantic.

But you were always inside with your wife, and I sat in your garden, in the shadows.

I thought you’d never know how I felt about you.

Until one night, I witnessed a terrible crime.

I wanted it to bring us closer together.

But now the secrets are tumbling out.

And they could tear everything apart…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Fran is a loner, known by the cruel nickname Freaky Fran when she was at school she is the type of person who finds the real world difficult to be in. She would to prefer to live in her little book world, surrounded by all her favourite characters. She doesn’t have many people she can talk to in the real world. Her mother is dead, her sister and niece estranged and has a sometime distant relationship with an old school friend. One who knows about her extremely concerning obsession with another old school friend Charles. This isn’t an obsession that takes place across social media platforms. This is one where she watches his home and place of work but when he starts to make contact, after the death of another from school  she starts to feel that she is happier with the image she has in her mind rather than the reality.

I liked Fran a lot and had a lot of sympathy for her. She definitely didn’t handle her predicament well, it would take a very strong person to admit they had seen a death whilst they were stalking somebody else. I wanted to know more about her sister and why they argued and I wanted her to be able to relax and start to realise who her friends were. 

This is a crime novel but it also concerns mental health and a few other medical conditions that it would be difficult to reveal without spoilers. There is a heart to the storyline that shows you never know what is behind certain actions. 

There were plenty of twists, none of which I saw coming but it did all work surprisingly well. It’s well written, a great storyline with some decidedly unpleasant characters and an interesting account of a job in a bookshop. I would definitely read more by this author.