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.

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday – 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.

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the first book I have read by John Marrs and I now understand why he is so popular. It is a quite a while since a book has made me feel so unsettled.

The two women, mother and daughter, both live in the same house. But they don’t live together like a normal family. One of them lives in chains in the attic. The reasons why become clearer the further you read. This is one dysfunctional relationship.

The narrative switches between both of them, in modern day and from years earlier. The earlier years show how their relationship started to disintegrate but don’t be quick to assume anything. There are many unseen reasons why certain decisions were made.  I was very quick to judge and at times I had sympathy for the wrong character. Neither of them were easy to like, it was only towards the end when I understood what was happening that my feelings regarding both settled. My nerves didn’t though, trying to sleep after finishing the novel was quite difficult. 

This was a book I found difficult to put down, John Marrs is an author I will look out for in the future.

What You Did by Claire McGowan – Review – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

A vicious assault. A devastating accusation. Who should she trust, her husband or her best friend?

It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.

When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?

When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I am familiar with Claire McGowan’s books having read a few from her Paula Maguire series. This is a stand-alone novel and she has proved that she can do both perfectly well.

When the six ex Oxford University friends had a reunion years after their graduation none of them had any idea that things would go so tragically wrong. The way each of them handled it revealed how their friendship wasn’t as strong or genuine as they thought.

Most of it is modern day and concerns Ali, wife of the charged man and ‘best friend’ of the victim. She was a character who baffled and annoyed me the more I read. Her obsession with image, her snobbery and especially her noticing that her daughter Cassie had chipped nail varnish on her toes when she had a lot more to think about. 

But there are flashbacks to 1993, when they finished university and differing accounts of what happened on the night of the dinner. In each of these more dubious aspects of each character is revealed.

Cassie, her brother Benji and Jake, Karen’s son, were the only characters I really liked. They were the only ones who could see how tragic the events of the night and the few days after were and they were not thinking about the consequences for themselves. 

This is a great novel that made me question everything I was reading. I missed a lot, I suspected the wrong people and I seethed occasionally at the elitist attitudes. It is probably one of the most character driven novels that I have read recently. 

Claire McGowan will be appearing at First Monday Crime on October 7th 2019. Details can be found here https://www.firstmondaycrime.com/