The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

He watches.

A woman runs alone in the woods. She convinces herself she has no reason to be afraid, but she’s wrong. A predator is stalking the women of Grant County. He lingers in the shadows, until the time is just right to snatch his victim.

He waits.

A decade later, the case has been closed. The killer is behind bars. But then another young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead, and the MO is identical.

He takes.

Although the original trail has gone cold – memories have faded, witnesses have disappeared – agent Will Trent and forensic pathologist Sara Linton must re-open the cold case. But the clock is ticking, and the killer is determined to find his perfect silent wife….

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Silent Wife is only the second book that I have read that features the amazing set of characters that came from two series of books. Even though I had no problems following the storyline I did prefer the the one that featured Sara with Will rather than the one that features her with Jeffery. Although I accept that this could be with not knowing anything about their relationship. 

The cold cases they are investigating after the information they have been given by the man who is serving time for them are brutal. Much of the detail comes from the forensic examinations but when you read about what the survivors are going through years later you can clearly see the trauma they have experienced. And the different ways in which they cope.

Some of the characters who feature in this book were Jeffrey’s colleagues at the time the crimes they were committed. One of these in particular I detested with a passion, even after reading their back story via google I still had little sympathy. There are not many, out of all the books I have read, who I disliked as much. Happily, there was another who I adored and I could read an entire series featuring her alone. That character was Faith I found her to be honest, cynical, funny and loyal. And I had a feeling she felt exactly the same about the character I disliked.

I really need to catch up on Karin Slaughter’s books, whilst I haven’t read that many I do enjoy them. 

Safe by S. K Barnett – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

YOUR CHILD IS MISSING.

She was only six years old when she disappeared. Posters went up, the police investigated.

But no one could find her.

Now, twelve years later, she’s home.

And knocking at your door.

You’re so happy to see her. But soon you start to wonder why she can’t answer your questions.

Where has she been? How did she find her way home?

And who is she?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. You often see reports on the news of kidnap victims found and reunited with their families years later. I always wonder how it works out, how they get used to being a family again and if it means a happy ending for all concerned. I sincerely hope that none of those families experience anything like the family in this book did.

Mainly told by the viewpoint of Jenny, but also Ben, her brother and Jake, her father you could see how Jenny’s reappearance affected them all. I thought  I knew which way the storyline would go but it didn’t take me long to discover that there was a lot to this novel, that would hint at something a lot more sinister. And nothing that occurred at the beginning of the book would prepare me for what was revealed the further I read. 

Jenny was a character who I liked more as I got to know her. Independent, inquisitive, determined and loyal. I appreciated her friendship with Tabs, whose family life couldn’t have been more different. This friendship added some relief to the rest of the storyline which was at times a little unsettling.

I don’t know if I have read other books by this author with him writing under a pseudonym, but I would like to in the future. 

The Inconvenient Need To Belong by Paula Smedley – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

In the summer of 1953, twenty-year-old Alfie steals away from his troubled childhood home in London to start a new life in Exeter. His own life.

And at first it’s everything he ever dreamed it would be. For the first time in his life Alfie feels like he belongs.

Today, in a care home in the Midlands, eighty-six-year-old Alfie is struggling to come to terms with his dark past.

Alfie’s story is one of regret, the mistakes we make, and the secrets even the most unassuming of us can hold. But it is also a story about family, friendship, the things we should treasure and protect, and how the choices we make can shape our lives and the lives of others.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Every now and again I like to read a book that is a bit different and I’m so glad I chose to read this lovely novel. I found it to be one that made me think about the world a little differently.

Alfie is the main character in the novel, much of the story concerns his life in a care home. He is in his 80s, lonely, set in his ways and looks forward to his visits to the library on Wednesdays where he can write to his pen pal and the park on Saturdays where he chats to Fred. Only one of these activities is really allowed, his visits to the park are noticed by Julia, a care nurse, but she chooses to let him carry on.

The other part of the story concerns his life when he was much younger. The many mistakes he made, the people he loved and the family he left behind. He wasn’t an easy person to like, but I had a lot of sympathy for him. Especially towards the end of the novel when I realised how lonely he felt. 

It wasn’t a book that had me in floods of tears but it was one that made me appreciate a lot what tales all those who live in a care facility have to tell. Their memories, good and bad. Reading the letters exchanged with his pen pal and reading about his meetings with Fred, I got to know the real Alfie. Not just the cantankerous, often unfriendly elderly man. 

A lovely story that I was very happy to read. 

The Secret Of Strangers by Charity Norman – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London café  their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives? 

Another tense, multi-dimensional drama from the writer of the Richard & Judy bestseller AFTER THE FALL.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the first book I have read by Charity Norman and after finishing it I know I need to read her other books. Even though it is based around a serious crime it is concerned more with what led to it and the private lives of the gunman, his hostages and the police negotiator who is trying to get all of them to safety.

There are only a few pages that concern the shooting in the coffee shop, instead most of the novel focuses on the reasons why it happened and the way the small group in the coffee shop bonded. I had to decide if Sam was giving true account of what his life was like. Was Robert a saint and Sam spoiled, ungrateful, badly behaved and a disappointment? Or was every word that Sam said a true reflection of what his life was like. There were also some upsetting accounts of the hostages lives, especially one near the end. I just can’t imagine how people recover from experiences like the one described. I thought the ending was perfect. Friendships formed and promises kept. Even from one who made me mutter occasionally.

If you decide to read this book please take my advice and have a box of tissues nearby. It is one very emotional read. 

Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

Single-mother Fran returns to her sleepy hometown to care for her dying father when a devastating bush fire breaks out. A devastating, disaster-noir thriller from the author of The Cry.

Fran hates Ash Mountain, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.

She returns to her hometown to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.

As old friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I first became aware of this book at a roadshow event last year. Having visited Australia a few times, each time seeing  the after effects of a bushfire and loving Australian fiction I was eager to read it. And what a book it is, it’s one that I will be recommending to everybody.

When Fran returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, along with her daughter it is with reluctance, it wasn’t a happy place for her as a teenager. The reasons why are revealed throughout the book which covers the events from 30 years ago, the first few days after Fran’s arrival and the day of the fire. There are a few narrators but mainly it is Fran.

Many people will have seen the devastation of the bushfires in Australia on the news earlier this year. What this novel shows is what it is like for those who had to live close by. There is the fear, the smell of burning and death, the way the fires destroy everything in their path, the knowledge that many neighbours have lost their lives. And the uncertainty about many others.

But there is also some humour. Fran is funny, sarcastic and down to earth. What you see is what you get. She feels hurt at the nickname she has had to endure for thirty years but deals with it the best way she can. I adored her. And I laughed at the freezing cold temperatures in Adelaide, 23 degrees! 

Absolutely wonderful.