The Street by Susi Holliday – Review.

About The Book

Their neighbours welcomed them with open arms. Now they’ve vanished without a trace.

Anna and Peter desperately need to escape London for a fresh start. And they’ve found just the place: a perfect house on a perfect street in a perfect new development on the Scottish coast. But before they’ve even unpacked, they discover that the community they’ve moved into might be keeping secrets of its own…

Eager to fit in, Anna and Peter spend their first evening with their new neighbours, a couple who turn up on their doorstep to welcome them with open arms. But when Anna pops over the next morning to thank them for their hospitality, there’s no answer. The house is bare and unoccupied, and the neighbours have vanished without a trace. What’s more, everybody else on the street is convinced that no one ever lived there at all.

As she battles a growing obsession with the mystery, Anna finds herself becoming increasingly paranoid. She thought she’d escaped her own troubled past, but as the truth catches up with her, life starts to unravel. Maybe she’s not the only resident of The Street with something to hide…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I am a big fan of this author so was looking forward to reading her new book. The two main characters in the novel, Laura and Peter have moved to a seemingly close knit community in Scotland. You are aware that they are running from something, what that is slowly revealed the more you read. But what isn’t revealed as quickly is what was really happening within the neighbourhood. Nothing was as it seemed, nobody could be trusted, and initially, in all honesty I’d have run away from all of them. 

But Laura isn’t one to accept everything she is told and carries on digging, despite being warned not to by her handler and an extremely annoying app that everyone in the neighbourhood had  to have on their phones. If anything would encourage me not to carry a phone with me it would be this app. As the threat increased so did her determination to understand what was happening around her. 

I have to say that I didn’t really like or have much sympathy for either Laura or Peter, especially when I realised why they had to move, but another couple featured in the background who I felt differently about. I couldn’t work out their connection at all at first but this was slowly revealed. These two were probably my favourite for many reasons. I can’t say why, or discuss that much about them, but they were the characters I thought about when not reading the book. 

I would love to read a short story collection about all of the families who feature in this novel, just out of curiosity. 

Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

A defense attorney is prepared to play. But is she a pawn in a master’s deadly match? A twisting novel of suspense by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Keera Duggan was building a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with a senior colleague ended badly. For the competitive former chess prodigy, returning to her family’s failing criminal defense law firm to work for her father is the best shot she has. With the right moves, she hopes to restore the family’s reputation, her relationship with her father, and her career.

Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense.

As Keera and her team follow the evidence, they uncover a complicated and deadly game that’s more than Keera bargained for. When shocking information turns the case upside down, Keera must decide between her duty to her client, her family’s legacy, and her own future.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I don’t tend to read a lot of legal fiction, but this was a first book in a new series by an author who I’d never heard of so thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did, I found it a really interesting read with a fascinating and likeable family who were all trying to prove their client innocent. 

Keera, the lead character is new to the family business and desperate to prove that she is able. Like many in her family she had issues with alcohol but unlike them hadn’t fallen victim to it. One of her ways of avoiding its lure was online chess and throughout the game she was playing a game against an opponent who was at first unidentified. I did have my own suspicions about who the opponent was but I was completely wrong. The parts concerning the chess game went way over my head but I did enjoy seeing the way that it helped Keera forget about the case.

I had a lot of appreciation for the court room setting. The extremely frosty relationship that Keera had with the prosecuting lawyer Ambrose worked perfectly and I loved the way she tore apart his arguments. Mainly because he was such an awful character but also because it gave insight into how the legal process worked. If more legal thrillers were written this way I’d probably read more. 

I would definitely read more books by this author, there are certainly quite a few to choose from.

The Hike by Susi Holliday – Review.

About The Book

Four hikers enter the mountains. Only two return. But is it tragedy? Or treachery?

When sisters Cat and Ginny travel with their husbands to the idyllic Swiss Alps for a hiking holiday, it’s not just a chance to take in the stunning scenery. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with each other after years of drifting apart—and patch up marriages that are straining at the seams.

As they head into the mountains, morale is high, but as the terrain turns treacherous, cracks in the relationships start to show. With worrying signs that someone might be following them, the sun begins to set and exhaustion kicks in. Suddenly, lost high on a terrifying ridge, tensions spill over—with disastrous consequences.

When only two of the four hikers make it down from the mountain, the police press them for their story—but soon become suspicious when their accounts just don’t add up.

What really happened up on that ridge? Who are the survivors? And what secrets are they trying to hide?

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I always enjoy reading a book where there is a character to dislike so this was such a good book for me to read. The four main characters were all so awful I was relieved that they were only fictional. 

Two waring sisters, Cat and Ginny, and their husbands,Paul and Tristan, go on a walking holiday in Switzerland. It has been arranged by Cat and Ginny’s husband Tristan, their first holiday since lockdown. But nothing is as it seems, Cat has something up her sleeve. Only two of them make it back from the walk, and it is unclear at first who out of the four they were. 

You see toxic relationships all the time, either on TV or in books. There is nothing but venom in the relationship between Cat and Ginny. I have to admit, that even knowing that Cat was manipulative and untrustworthy I had more liking for her than Ginny. Throughout the entire book, my feelings on the two sisters did not change. Unlike on their husbands Paul and Tristan. There was more that was hidden about both of them and whilst I did have sympathy for one of them initially it soon wore off the more I read.

Whilst you know that Cat has something planned you are not sure what. But the walk doesn’t go as planned. Inexperience, lack of knowledge and unwilling to take advice from locals complicates matters and their situation deteriorates further when they become aware that they have company. 

This is such a brilliant novel, plenty of twists, venomous characters and a fantastic setting. I loved every page. 

Substitute by Susi Holliday – Review.

About The Book

Three people live. Three people die. You make the choice.

Like any mother, Chrissie wants to protect her family. She would do anything to keep them safe. So when a mysterious stranger turns up at her door, offering to prevent the deaths of the people she loves, it sounds too good to be true. The only problem: she must choose someone to die in their place. A substitute.

When her daughter Holly has a terrible accident, Chrissie has no option but to enter the programme. In that horrifying moment, she would do anything to save her. But even after Holly makes a miraculous recovery, Chrissie is convinced it’s just a coincidence. After all, who can really control the laws of life and death?

But as the dangers to her family escalate and her chosen substitutes begin to disappear, Chrissie finds herself in an underworld of hidden laboratories and secretive doctors. And the consequences of playing by their rules are far deadlier than she ever imagined…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I can always rely on Susi Holliday to entertain me with one of her novels. They are original with a storyline that I know will always have me reading one more chapter.

A dual time framed novel, in the 1980s we have two scientists who have differing views on how their work should be handled. Excited and fearful but maybe not fearful enough. These two are completely out of their depth despite their differing passion for wealth and knowledge. And in modern day there is Chrissie, young mother who struggles with loneliness but is devoted to her young daughter Holly and insists on family time where her and her husband Nathan take Holly to the park and just spend time together without their phones. Sounds ideal, but you just know that nothing is as it seems. It doesn’t take long for this seemingly happy family unit to be torn apart by the work of the scientists years earlier.

How do you handle knowing that you have the option of choosing who has to die to protect the ones you love? And then realising that you may have chosen incorrectly. Both to live or die! It is a feeling that made me slightly uncomfortable. And despite feeling relief at being able to take advantage of the offer Chrissie also felt a lot of guilt.

Whenever I read a novel there are always characters I dislike but it was different in this book. There were ones I wasn’t keen on initially but the more I read and realised what happened to them I was more inclined to feel sympathetic. Mistakes made mainly due to the thrill of wealth and power, but which had catastrophic results. And there was also a character whose actions I misunderstood throughout most of the novel and then saw that person completely differently towards the end. 

I found Substitute a great read, I really hope that none of the fictional discoveries become reality.

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Amelia is part of a group of people who have been invited to an event. None of them have any idea where they are going or what they will be doing. They also don’t know anything about any of their travel companions. Most of them have the public image that they want to glorify and they all have something that they want to try and keep hidden. The most exciting part of this novel for me was when and how their secret would be revealed. And all of their secrets made me think about each of them differently. Some with pity and some with revulsion. The rivalries and friendships made in the small group were perfect. I could really sense the tension between them, especially the women.

It’s an unusual novel that I struggle to assign to just one genre. There is a crime element, but also Sci- fi, tech, and suspense. The tech was just enough for me. It didn’t go over my head and was just about the right amount to make me wary. 

When I read a book by this author I know that it will always be a little different. No two books have been the same. What I didn’t expect was to find some thoroughly unlikeable characters or rediscovering my childhood with the references to The Famous Five. But you have no need to be concerned if you are not familiar with that series. This novel is completely original and I think it will be a long time before I read anything like it again.

Susi will be one of the authors who is taking part in December First Monday Crime. Alongside her will be Sam Carrington, Deborah Massey and A. K. Turner. Join in the fun at 7.30pm on Monday 7th December on Facebook.