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Book Review: Am I Guilty? by Jackie Kabler

on
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Am I Guilty? by Jackie Kabler



Title: Am I Guilty?
Author: Jackie Kabler
Publisher: Killer Reads
Publication Date:  19 April 2019 (ebook) 27 June 2019 (paperback)

Social Media/Website:
Twitter: @jackiekabler
Facebook: /jackiekablerauthor


Blurb

A mother’s job is to protect her child…
But everyone makes mistakes…


Gripping, exciting and emotional, this book will grab you from the first page and refuse to let you go until the final chapter!

I never thought it would happen to me…

One moment I had it all – a gorgeous husband, a beautiful home, a fulfilling career and two adorable children. The next, everything came crashing down around me.

They said it was my fault. They said I’m the worst mother in the world. And even though I can’t remember what happened that day, they wouldn’t lie to me. These are my friends, my family, people I trust.

But then why do I have this creeping sensation that something is wrong? Why do I feel like people are keeping secrets? Am I really as guilty as they say? And if I’m not, what will happen when the truth comes out…?

Review

Following on from her humorous murder mystery series, the Cora Baxter Mysteries (The Dead Dog Day, The Deadline and The Development) published by Accent Press, Jackie Kabler has taken a slight change in direction. Am I Guilty? is her debut psychological suspense novel published via the HarperCollins imprint, Killer Reads.  The ebook was published on 19 April 2019 and I was so excited to finally get my hands on it!

Since listening to a certain podcast recommended by my husband, I have found myself obsessed with the first sentence/paragraph of a book. I want it to really draw me in. I want to see scene setting, character introduction and intrigue - Am I Guilty? certainly delivers in this regard. The moment I started reading the book, I was hooked!

Thea is living through every mother’s worst nightmare – the loss of a child. This situation is made all the more tragic by the knowledge that Zander’s death is all her fault…. or is it?  Can she trust her returning memories?  Will those memories return in full before the trial date?  

It is a difficult subject matter to address, yet Kabler manages to do so sympathetically. The main character, Thea, is well-rounded if somewhat unstable. You could forgive this due to the recent circumstances, yet there is suggestion that this was the case even prior to Zander’s death.  She has long been the centre of a tug-of-war between her husband Rupert and her best friend Isla. Despite Thea’s obvious flaws, I had a lot of sympathy for her and I was convinced that there was more to the story than Thea believed.

The book is written from several points of view – Thea, Annabelle, Flora, Rupert, Greg and Isla.  The character interactions were interesting to read about and whilst some of those characters feature more prominently than others, the use of multiple voices enables the reader to get to know the characters whilst gradually piecing together the puzzle surrounding that same fateful day.

I enjoy the challenge of a good mystery, although more often than not I find myself successfully predicting the outcome. In this case, I didn't guess. The story is well crafted and precisely plotted. Each and every character seems capable of something, but what that something was I wasn't sure. 

Whilst I very much enjoyed Kabler's earlier novels, Am I Guilty? really is a step up. What a rollercoaster of a ride! Full to the brim of twists and turns, the book really did have me on the edge of my seat. Whilst it doesn't necessarily have an 'in your face' shock factor, it certainly packs a punch; it is completely unnerving and totally gripping. 

Would I recommend this book to others - absolutely yes! It is one of the best psychological suspense novels that I've read this year.

If this sounds like the book for you, the ebook version is already available and the paperback version is being published tomorrow (27 June 2019). Links to the book are listed below.

About the Author

Jackie Kabler
Jackie Kabler was born in Coventry but spent much of her childhood in Ireland. She worked as a newspaper reporter and then a television news correspondent for twenty years, spending nearly a decade on GMTV followed by stints with ITN and BBC News. During that time, she covered major stories around the world including the Kosovo crisis, the impeachment of President Clinton, the Asian tsunami, famine in Ethiopia, the Soham murders and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Jackie now divides her time between crime writing and her job as a presenter on shopping channel QVC. She has a degree in zoology, runs long distances for fun and lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.




BUY LINKS


An Evening with HarperCollins at #DestinationHQ

on
Friday, 21 June 2019
#DestinationHQ


On Monday I had the good fortune of attending the HarperCollins offices for their HQ imprint event #DestinationHQ.  The purpose of the event was to showcase their future releases for Summer 2019 to Spring 2020.

The event was held at the HarperCollins offices in London, situated next to The Shard. Held on the 17th floor, the room was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows which provided the most amazing views over the Thames.

View from HarperCollins HQ


After negotiating the suffocatingly hot underground to London Bridge, followed by a momentary panic upon seeing the complicated elevators in The News building, I arrived on the 17th floor where I was greeted by a table of very welcome fruity cocktails - vodka, orange and grapefruit. Delicious!

HQ cocktails


Just as welcome were the table of HQ branded water cooling fans available for our use - marvellous idea from those fab HQ folks!

HQ fans


On a third table situated by the window, as we walked into the main event room, were a pile of HQ branded tote bags and a table laden down with some of the future releases from HQ, along with copies some of the authors' earlier works.  I was very restrained at first, selecting only the two books which I was most keen to read. However, after each author gave their 60 second pitch presentation, I couldn't resist heading back to the book table to select a few additional books.  The line up coming from HQ sounds, quite simply, wonderful. Every book showcased sounded absolutely fantastic!

books from HarperCollins HQ Stories



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Debut Authors

The presentations began with Publicity Director Sophie Calder giving a welcoming speech, before handing over to Senior Press Officer Joe Thomas to introduce the HQ debut authors. We were treated to 60 second pitches from each of the authors to introduce their upcoming publications.


The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd


The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd
Publication date: 11 July 2019 
Pre-order here

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties, and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner n the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her - while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren's lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found...

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie


Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
Publication date: 25 July 2019
Pre-order here

On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.

Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after.

Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years.

Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he's falling in with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight.

Elvis is trying hard to remember the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things.

Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there's no way out.

But when the sun sets, Nightingale Point is irrevocably changed and somehow, through the darkness, the residents must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank


The Lost Ones by Anita Frank
Publication date: 31 October 2019
Pre-order here

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917.

Reeling from the death of her fiance, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick - but she arrives to find a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella that plague Madeleine - sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs - and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic past of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick's dark and terrible secrets - secrets the dead whisper from the other side...

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain


The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain
Publication date: 20 Feburary 2020
Pre-order here

Your roots can always lead you home...

Amjad never imagined he'd be a single father. But he must step up for his two children - while his world falls apart.

Saahil dreams of providing for his dad and little sister. But his life is about to take an unexpected turn.

As the baby of the family, Zahra is shielded from the worst the world has to offer. But, as she grows up, she wonders if she can rely on anyone but herself.

There's no such thing as an easy journey. But when life sends the family in different directions, will they take their own paths - or find their way back to each other?


This Lovely City by Louise Hare


This Lovely City by Louise Hare
Publication date: 12 March 2020
Pre-order here

The drinks are flowing. The music is playing. But the party can't last.

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England's call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he's taken a tiny room in South London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho's music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home and it's alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a discovery that will send shockwaves through the community. And the city's newest inhabitants will be the first to feel them.

Precious You by Helen Monks-Takhar


Precious You by Helen Monks-Takhar
Publication date: 30 April 2020
Pre-order here

Twenty-four-year-old Lily Lunt is a privileged, politically correct millennial, a 'fucking Snowflake': soft, entitled, earnest. She's got it easy.

Katherine Ross is a career woman in her early forties, a self-assured London homeowner with a loving partner, childless by choice. She's got it all her own way.

But when their professional and personal lives collide, Katherine finds herself obsessively drawn to Lily. as the stages mount in their cat-and-mouse game, a deeply disturbing picture emerges of two women who are not what they seem - and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top.

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Uplifting Fiction

Lucy Richardson, HQ's Publicity Manager, then introduced HQ's 'uplifting' fiction releases and we were treated to a further set of pitches from those authors.

About That Night by Elaine Bedell


About That Night by Elaine Bedell
Publication date: 11 July 2019
Pre-order here

Elizabeth Place might have been jilted on her wedding day one year ago, but at least she's still got her brilliant job producing one of the biggest shows on TV!

But when larger-than-life TV host, Ricky Clough, dies live on air, her life is sent spinning out of control. And with foul play suspected, the spotlight is turned firmly on his colleagues - especially Hutch, the man desperate for Ricky's job and whom Elizabeth is secretly dating.

As her world comes crashing down around her, Elizabeth realises that perhaps the only person she can really trust, is herself.

The Last Concerto by Sara Alexander


The Last Concerto by Sara Alexander
Publication date: 22 August 2019
Pre-order here

Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom.

Eleven-year-old Alba Fresu's brother, and her father, Bruno, are abducted by criminals who mistake Bruno for a rich man. After a grueling journey through the countryside, the two are eventually released - but the experience leaves Alba shaken and unable to readjust to normal life.

Accompanying her mother to cleaning jobs, Alba visits the villa of an eccentric Signora and touches the keys of a piano for the first time. The instrument's spell is immediate. During secret lessons, forbidden by her mother, Alba is at last able to express emotions too powerful for words alone.

But her path will lead her to a crossroads, and Alba will have to decide how to reconcile her talent with her longing for love and family, and convey the music of her heart...

Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister


Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister
Publication date: 22 August 2019
Pre-order here

Baked, mashed, boiled or fried, Mr Doubler knows his potatoes. But the same can't be said for people. Since he lost his wife, he's been on his own at Mirth Farm - and that suits Doubler just fine. Crowds are for other people; the only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.

So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything - and Mr Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?

What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts


What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts
Publication date: 22 August 2019
Pre-order here

After eight years together, Lil Bailey thought she'd already found 'the one' - that is, until he dumped her for a blonde twenty-something colleague. So she does what any self-respecting singleton would do: swips right, puts on her best bra and finds herself on a first date with a handsome mountaineer called Max. What's the worst that can happen?

Well it's pretty bad actually. First Max ghosts her and then, after weeing on a stick (but mostly on her hands), a few weeks later Lil discovers she's pregnant. She's single, thirty-one and living in a thimblesized flat in London, it's hardly the happily-ever-after she was looking for.

Lil's ready to do the baby-thing on her own - it can't be that hard, right? But she should probably tell Max, if she can track him down.

Surely he's not that Max, the highly eligible, headline-grabbing son of Lord and Lady Rushbrooke, currently trekking up a mountain in South Asia? Oh, maybe he wasn't ignoring Lil after all...

The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson


The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson
Publication date: 5 September 2019
Pre-order here

"We'll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we're meant to be together, we'll both be there. If we're not, it was never meant to be..."

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn't part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months' time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This is a story of what-ifs and maybes - and how one decision can change your life forever...

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan


A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Publication date: 31 October 2019
Pre-order here

First to arrive are the bride's parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter's marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce.

Rosie's older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister fro herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans...

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.


***************

Domestic Suspense

The final set of presentations, HQ's forthcoming domestic suspense releases, were introduced by HQ's Publicity Assistant, Izzy Smith.

Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks


Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks
Publication date: 19 September 2019
Pre-order here

Daisy and Simon's marriage is great, isn't it?

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three.

And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes - Daisy's used to it, she knows he's letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.

The Move by Felicity Everett


The Move by Felicity Everett
Publication date: 26 December 2019
Pre-order here

Karen is driving through a strange landscape into a new life. Always a city girl, now she is on her way to an idyllic country cottage, refurbished for her with impeccable taste by her husband Nick. They're making a fresh start.

But something is awry in the new house. It's not just the fact that Karen and Nick are ill at ease in one another's company - that their recent history is far from picture perfect, it's the whole vibe. The landscape is breathtaking by day, eerie by night. If the countryside is supposed to be a place of peace, far away from curtain-twitchers, who is the person watching them from the hill? And who are their new neighbours?

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris


The Dilemma by B.A. Paris
Publication date: 9 January 2020
Pre-order here

It's Livia's fortieth birthday and tonight she's having a party, a party she's been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she's been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she's glad their daughter won't be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect... until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

She by H C Warner


She by H C Warner
Publication date:  9 January 2020
Pre-order here

She's everything he dreamed of. Isn't she?

Ben can't believe his luck when the beautiful Bella walks into his life, just when he needs her most.

Still bruised and vulnerable since breaking-up with long-term girlfriend, Charlotte, he falls head over heels in love.

But Bella isn't quite the ideal partner that Ben believes her to be. She quickly decides that everything is better when it is just the two of them - making it harder for friend and family to stay in touch.

And then a sudden death triggers a chain of events that throws Ben headlong into a nightmare...

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What an incredible line-up for HQ over the next 6 months!

Once the presentations concluded, more drinks were served, canapes were circulated and it was time to mingle and chat with the authors, publicists and some fellow bloggers.  I was very happy to see some friendly faces and had a lovely time catching up with some blogger friends, including Zarina (@zarinatweets), Linda (@Lindahill50Hill), Rachel (@gilbster1000) and Sharon (@ShazsBookBlog). I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to discuss haunted houses with Anita Frank, unappetising cookbooks with Adele Parks and awkward sex scenes with Sophia Money-Coutts!

I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by Adele on my trek back to the station which made for a very pleasant journey, although I last saw her walking the wrong way down the platform at Waterloo underground station....! :) 

A huge thanks to the lovely folk at HQ for an absolutely wonderful evening, albeit I've been left with a sore shoulder from carrying my book haul across London to catch my train and a significantly longer wishlist on Amazon now that I've heard the great pitches from HQ's wonderful authors!

If you want to hear more from HQ, then you can visit them on Twitter at @HQstories.









Blog Tour: Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

on
Saturday, 8 June 2019

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten


Title: Dead Inside (Maggie Jamieson Crime Thriller, Book 1)
Author: Noelle Holten
Publisher: Killer Reads
Publication Date: 31 May 2019

Contact Links:
Website: https://crimebookjunkie.co.uk/
Twitter: @nholten40
Instagram: @crimebookjunkie
Facebook: @noelleholtenauthor

Thanks to Sarah from Books on the Bright Side and Killer Reads for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Dead Inside, book 1 in the Maggie Jamieson series by debut author Noelle Holten.  I am delighted to be one of today’s stop on the tour, along with my fellow bloggers -  Grace J Reviewerlady, Curled Up With a Good Book and Zooloo's Book Diary.


Blurb



The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.


The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.


And he is Lucy’s husband.


Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?


Review


Dead Inside is the first book in a new crime fiction series following Detective Constable Maggi Jamieson and her team at the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit (DAHU).  The author has a background working as a Senior Probation Officer and it is obvious that the author is writing about what she knows. There is great sense of authenticity to this story.


The first point to mention is the character development. The main character is Lucy, probation officer and abused wife. It’s difficult to imagine someone with such inner strength of character suffering at the hands of an abusive husband and yet, it felt real. I felt a real connection with Lucy’s character. Whilst I have always had sympathy for victims of domestic abuse, for the first time I felt that I understood how those victims allow themselves to remain in such horrendous situations, despite otherwise being strong, intelligent and logical people. Lucy’s relationship with Patrick was fascinating and thought-provoking, albeit somewhat upsetting. It worries me to think that I might know people in a similar situation who don’t feel that they can ask for help.

The addition of PC Kat Everett as a secondary character was a good move by the author. PC Everett adds a few dashes of humour to the story, with her bad language and ill-judged comments. I imagine that dealing day in and day out with victims of such crimes must sometimes make it difficult for police officers to strike the right balance between their official duties and their emotions. Gallows humour must be a common way of diffusing some very emotive situations. I felt that the author dealt with this issue subtly and sympathetically.

The second point to mention is the two-pronged plot. The first plotline is a psychological drama focusing on domestic abuse, an emotive and hard-hitting subject. It provides some insight as to how abusers get away with their actions – the psychological grip they have over their victims and the gradual increase in violence. The second plotline is a traditional murder mystery focusing on DC Jamieson’s efforts to locate the murderer of several local men.  The story quickly reeled me in and the great pace kept me hooked. It is well-paced and very tightly plotted. I must admit to being completely baffled as to who the perpetrator was. I had a few theories as the book progressed, however the ending did prove somewhat of a surprise. 

I know this review is quite short, however I am loathe to give away any details that may spoil the story – this really is one book you should read yourself!  It is a clever, tense and thought-provoking book. A dark, gritty and absolutely gripping story, with a very satisfying ending. I would happily recommend Dead Inside to anyone who enjoys a psychological drama, a gritty murder mystery or a police procedural. A brilliant debut from Noelle Holten and definitely an author to watch out for in the future – in fact I believe book 2 in the series, Dead Wrong, is due for release in November 2019!

About the Author


Noelle Holten

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA's - Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice - and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle's hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the book love via her blog. 

Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

 
BUY LINKS

If my review of Dead Inside has captured your attention, why not check out the other stops on the blog tour? Details as listed below.


Blog Tour for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten


Book Review: Cursed by Thomas Enger (Henning Juul Book 4)

on
Thursday, 6 June 2019
Cursed by Thomas Enger



Title: Cursed (Henning Juul book 4)
Author: Thomas Enger
Publisher:  Orenda Books
Publication Date:  15 February 2017

Contact Links:
Twitter: @EngerThomas
Facebook: @ThomasEnger

Blurb

What secret would you kill to protect?

When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests.

Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. When their lives are threatened, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

Review

All of the books in the Henning Juul series can be read as a standalone novel. This is a helpful fact when you realise that whilst Cursed was the first book in the Henning Juul series to be published by Orenda Books, it is originally the fourth book in the series.

In Norway, Hedda Hellberg has failed to return from a three-week trip to Italy. Her husband, Hugo Refsdal, asks Hedda’s university friend and journalist, Nora Klemetsen, for help in finding her. As Nora begins her investigations, she and Hugo both realise that they didn’t know Hedda as well as they thought. The discovery of links to the death of an old man, Daniel Schyman, leaves Nora wondering just what was Hedda’s involvement with this man that would cause her to lie to her friends and husband?  And what is the mystery surrounding the wealthy Hellberg family?

Nora’s ex-lover, reporter Henning Juul, is on an extended period of leave from work following a personal tragedy. He soon finds himself caught up in Nora’s investigations for the missing woman. As the story takes the protagonists from Oslo to Vestfold, a web of secrets and lies in gradually uncovered which puts Juul and Nora in danger.

In a subplot, Juul is digging into the circumstances surrounding the death of his young son. His investigations lead him to the criminal underworld in Oslo and in a direction that will forever haunt him.

The book is told in short chapters with alternating narratives. This style of writing sucks the reader into thinking ‘just one more chapter’ and thereby ensuring a good pace to the story. The writing style is gripping and clever, descriptive at times and yet at other paragraphs demonstrating a stark quality that helps to emphasise the bleakness of the story.

The found the setting for the story interesting and I enjoyed the way the author provides the reader with some fascinating snippets of Norwegian history, however Enger’s strength really lies in his characters. He knows how to open up a character to the reader, to show the reader that characters thoughts and motivations. This brings the characters to life and ensures that the reader feels engaged with those individuals.

Cursed is dark, complex and powerful, with an undercurrent of sorrow lingering just below the surface. The book takes a look at morality, self-preservation and redemption. It highlights how secrets can have an enduring impact. A tragic and truly compelling story that will draw you deeper until you simply can’t put it down.

This was the first book I have read by Enger and it certainly won’t be my last!

I should also make mention of the translator, Kari Dickson. I cannot say how the narration compares to the original Norwegian version, however it seems well done to me. There are no clunky paragraphs or cultural idioms that get lost-in-translation.

About the Author

Thomas Enger
Thomas Enger was born in Oslo in 1973, but grew up in Jessheim. He has an education in journalism, and has also studied sports and history. He worked at the Norwegian online newspaper Nettavisen for nine years.

He has composed music and written books since the age of 18. He is also working on a musical.

Enger's first book, Skinndød, was published in 2010. It is the first book in a series of at least six featuring crime journalist Henning Juul. The second installment, Fantomsmerte, was released in the fall of 2011; Blodtåke, the third book, is scheduled for a 2012 release.



Buy Links

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  Goodreads  |  GooglePlay  |  Kobo

Book Review: Call Me A Liar by Colette McBeth

on
Saturday, 1 June 2019
Call Me A Liar by Colette McBeth


Title: Call Me A Liar
Author: Colette McBeth
Publisher:  Headline
Publication Date: 18 April 2019 (ebook) 13 June 2019 (paperback)

Contact Links
Twitter: @colettemcbeth

Blurb

“You could say it started with vanity. We believed we were special. But the truth is we were simply vulnerable.”

Months after landing their dream job, five brilliant young minds are sent on a remote retreat.

But when one of them disappears, they're forced to question why they were brought there in the first place.

And for the first time in their lives, they realise too much knowledge can be deadly . . .

One of them is lying.

One of them is guilty.
No one is safe.

Review

Call Me A Liar is the new standalone psychological thriller from author, Colette McBeth.

The book revolves around a group of university graduates (Joe, Libby, Tess, Asha and Will) who join a start-up tech company to work in the area of cyber security and find themselves in a morally and ethically questionable situation. The subject matter is acutely topical and gives the story a particularly contemporary feel. The world of cybersecurity is a bit of a mystery to me and it is terrifying to think just how unsafe the online community can be. This very real and ever-present risk adds a disturbing and ominous undertone to the story.

The tale is told from the viewpoint of several different characters, with each chapter clearly signposted to distinguish between them. This structure works extremely well for this novel, allowing the story to gradually build and develop as each character’s voice is introduced, providing the reader with yet another perspective to the event unfolding.

The characterisation is interesting and well-done, with none of the characters being particularly likeable. I think this is an intentional ploy by the author to make them untrustworthy and to ensure that as the tale unfolds none of the characters avoid suspicion. They are all young ‘go-getters’, full of self-confidence, egotism and ambition and yet surprisingly naive to their own flaws and weaknesses, making them easy to manipulate. I could see any one of them being involved in the subterfuge arising in this story. Their personalities, strengths and shortcomings lead to a fascinating group dynamic, whereby the characters are quick to gang together and yet equally as quick to turn on each other depending on the situation – there is a great example of herd mentality nearing the end of their time at the retreat.

For me, the story was a little bit slow to get going in the first couple of chapters, however it quickly grabbed my attention. It is both pacy and well-written - a real page-turner!

Call Me A Liar is ultimately a tale of trust (or lack of!) and deceit. It is dark, morally ambiguous and twisty. Cleverly plotted and very well told, it is a sinister and tense thriller that will keep you reading into the early hours. Highly recommended!

Thanks to Headline Books for providing me with a review copy of Call Me A Liar.

About the Author

Colette McBeth
Colette McBeth is the author of three critically acclaimed psychological thrillers. Her latest, An Act of Silence, is part domestic, part political thriller. In her former life Colette worked as a political correspondent for the BBC at Westminster, a news reporter and started out on regional newspapers. She lives by the sea with her husband and three children and never has enough time




 
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Blogger Blast: Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler

on
Thursday, 16 May 2019
Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler



Huge congratulations to HS Chandler for today's publication of her new courtroom drama, Degrees of Guilt, and thanks to Orion Books for providing me with an advanced copy of the book for review.

Title: Degrees of Guilt
Author: HS Chandler
Publication Date: 16 May 2019 (ebook), 5 September 2019 (paperback)
Publisher: Orion

Twitter: @HSCinkpen

Blurb

When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You may think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

Review

Degrees of Guilt is a page-turning courtroom drama set predominantly in Bristol Crown Court and focusing on two people involved in the Bloxham trial.

Maria Bloxham is accused of the attempted murder of her celebrity husband of 18 years, Dr Edward Bloxham. Scratching under the surface reveals that their marriage may not have been quite as rosy as you might expect.

Charlotte 'Lottie' Hiraj is a juror assigned to the Bloxham trial. She feels immediate sympathy for Maria because her marriage is also on the rocks. Lottie feels that she is losing her sense of self since becoming a wife and a mother.

The book explores the darker unhealthier side of relationships, a particularly topical issue in light of the recent #MeToo movement.  It also explores some emotive issues such as marital abuse and self-harming in a thought-provoking way. It explains how women can find themselves unable to leave an abusive relationship but also considers whether the situation is as clear-cut as suggested.

Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler

I love a good courtroom drama and one of the most fascinating parts of this story for me was the actions and group dynamics of the jury. The author has a background in law herself and she has cleverly not fallen into the trap of sensationalising the setting or the trial, bringing a real sense of authenticity to the book. Whilst we never really know what goes on in a jury room, it strikes me as somewhat illogical to allow such an important decision as someone's guilt or innocence to rest with a group of people who more often that not will have some preconceptions/bias and whom may be easily pressured to align their views with other members of the jury in order to bring their jury duty to an end. The criminal justice system really is shockingly vulnerable to human fallibilities and to those barristers who are happy to twist evidence in order to get the win. In Maria's case, the tension quickly ramps up as we wonder whether justice will prevail?

Chandler has produces a compulsive and shocking story, full of suspense and twists and turns. Just as you think you know where the story is heading, it will flip around and sprint off in another direction. 

Degrees of Guilt is a gripping and entertaining read. Thoroughly recommended for fans of courtroom dramas, legal thrillers and psychological thrillers.

Many thanks to Orion for providing me with an early copy of the book for review.

About the Author


HS Chandler
HS Chandler is the pen name of Helen Fields. As HS Chandler she writes psychological thrillers and legal thrillers. With a background as a criminal and family law barrister, she now runs a media company and writes the Callanach crime series.










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