Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, Crime Fiction, NetGalley, Novel, Richard Osman, thriller

#TheManWhoDiedTwice by @richardosman

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

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‘I was talking to a woman in Ruskin Court and she said she’s on a diet’ says Joyce, finishing her glass of wine.

PART 1, 1

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(@VikingBooksUK, 16 September 2021, ebook, 432 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I really enjoyed the first book, The Thursday Murder Club and took part in the blog tour when it was launched last year. I couldn’t wait to read the club’s next adventure. I wasn’t disappointed. This was everything I expected and I look forward to the next adventure. The Man Who Died Twice like the previous book is a blend of cosy mystery and thriller with a group of elderly amateur sleuths finding themselves in the middle of a real crime involving spies, stolen diamonds and grisly murders. I love the characters, especially Joyce. Due to their age they are assumed to be feeble and doddery and I love it when they kick ass and show they are more intelligent than the criminals and police combined. This is a delight.

Posted in 2021, Contemporary Fiction, First Read, Leslie Wolfe, NetGalley, Novel, thriller

#TheAngelCreekGirls by Leslie Wolfe

Her chestnut hair, long and shiny, fanned around her head, moving gently in the wind. Her eyes, still open, stared at the back door, and her hand stretched out in a pleading gesture. Her lips, pale under the rosy lip gloss, were parted slightly as if to whisper one last word, to draw one last breath.

9 HOURS AGO: In a sleepy mountain town, widow Cheryl Coleman stares anxiously out of her kitchen window while a storm rages outside. When the knock comes, she glances back at her daughters before opening the door with trembling hands…

NOW: Detective Kay Sharp vows to get to the bottom of a heart-breaking murder that has rocked Mount Chester. A single mother has been brutally killed in front of her three daughters. The youngest, three-year-old Erin is lying inches from the body, her pigtails loose, her face tear-stained. Eight-year-old Heather is discovered hiding under her bed. Sixteen-year-old Julie is nowhere to be found.

The first twenty-four hours are critical in child abductions, and the girls are the key to saving their missing sister. But Heather is in shock, unable to communicate, and all tiny Erin can say is “A monster came”. When Kay finds three suitcases lined up in the hallway, it’s clear that the family were about to run away. But why? And who were they trying to escape?

Thanks to her own past, Kay knows all about traumatic childhoods shrouded in tragedy, and she works around the clock to get justice for the orphaned girls. Turning the town upside down, she uncovers the shocking truth about their peaceful community: it’s home to a serial killer who preys on helpless girls. Faced with the most twisted case of her career, can she catch the monster before another innocent life is lost?

Think you know the meaning of gripping? Think again! Leslie Wolfe takes gripping to a whole new level. Fans of Lisa Regan, Robert Dugoni and Kendra Elliot will be totally addicted to this twist-filled page-turner.

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A quick rap against the dark window startled Cheryl.

1 – THE GUEST

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(@Bookouture, 19 August 2021, ebook, 352 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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This is a new author for me. I was gripped from the start. It’s clear after only a few pages that something very sinister is going on. Cheryl is packed and ready to leave. She knows someone is coming for them and they need to be gone. Who? Why? Julie has grown up with her mother’s paranoia and thinks it’s all just nonsense until someone comes to the door and darkness enters their lives. The book is told from different narrative points of view as Kay and her team try to solve Cheryl’s strange murder and discover if it’s linked to the body of a man, shot to death, found on the interstate not far from the crime scene. As the investigation gets going, Kay learns of a strange local legend about first daughters being taken and discovers many cases of kidnappings and disappearances similar to Julie’s going back more than fifty years. Just what the hell is going on in the town Kay grew up in?

Posted in 2021, Contemporary Fiction, Elizabeth Enfield, First Read, NetGalley, Novel

#AfterBeth by @lizzieenfield

On a beautiful late-summer’s morning, Cate Challoner’s daughter, Beth, heads to the beach with her best friend. The girls will spend the day flirting with boys and enjoying the thrill of being young. Beth is eighteen and soon leaving home for college. Her mother is already missing her.

That afternoon, the doorbell rings. Cate immediately knows something is wrong. CPR. Resuscitation. What do these words have to do with two teenagers enjoying an afternoon at the beach?

Cate’s daughter is her everything. Beth’s presence at home is inescapable. How can a child stop existing? How can a mother survive such loss? Can a shattered world be put back together?

***

‘I’m off now. See you later,’ Mum.

EVENTS UNFOLDING

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(@MichaelJBooks, 5 August 2021, ebook, 341 pages, copy from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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This is a new author for me. I really enjoyed After Beth; it tugged my heart in all the right places. The premise of the book isn’t new; a mother loses her barely-out-of-her-teens daughter in a tragic accident and the book focuses on a resulting grief and chaos. What makes After Beth stand out is that the whole book is told from Care’s POV, the mother so the readers gets close and intimate to her grief and loss and the devastating impact on her life. We are right with her as she stumbled through the aftermath and tries to find a way to heal. This is a real tear-jerker.

Posted in 2021, Camila Lackberg, Contemporary Fiction, NetGalley, Novel, thriller

Silver Tears by @camillalackberg

A gripping new novel from No. 1 international bestseller and Swedish crime sensation Camilla Lackberg

She is safe…

Faye Adelheim deserves the life she has. After fleeing from a violent marriage, she has built her business into a global brand and is living in a beautiful villa in Italy with her daughter.

Or so she thought…

But Faye’s life is turned upside down when her murderous ex-husband escapes from prison. Faye has no choice but to return home to confront him.

This will be the fight of her life…

Faye will do anything to keep her family safe. But when the dark secrets of her childhood come back to haunt her, she will have to battle like never before to stop her deepest fears from coming true…

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Faye switched on the Nespresso machine.

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(@HarperCollinsUK, 6 July 2021, ebook, 327 pages, copy from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’m a rabid fan of the author since I discovered her crime novels set in Fjällbacka. I enjoyed Faye’s first book, The Gilded Cage and wanted to find out what happened next. This book reveals Faye grew up in Fjällbacka which I can’t remember being in the first book. This delighted me for some reason. I love it when author’s link their books, even indirectly. Stephen King is a genius at this. The book moves between the present as Faye discovers that she hasn’t been as cautious as she believes she was and some of her actions have come gunning for her and her past in Fjällbacka when terrible events force her to take terrible actions. Like the author’s other novels, this is fast paced and engrossing.

Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, Elizabeth Strout, NetGalley, Novel

#OhWilliam by @LizStrout

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life.

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband – and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’

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I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William.

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(@VikingBooks, 21 October 2021, ebook, 256 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’m a fan of the author and had read other books. I really enjoyed Lucy Barton so was looking forward to this. I thought it was a great book. The structure took a while to get used to as there are no chapters, just paragraph breaks and the past and present blend into each other in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style. Lucy is the narrator and carries the story of her life with William from the moment they met until now and the memories they share. You could say nothing really happens in the book but everything actually happens. I thought it was great.

Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, NetGalley, Novel, samantha downing, thriller, Top Books

#ForYourOwnGood by @smariedowning

Double Sunday Times bestseller Samantha Downing, author of My Lovely Wife and He Started It, is back with a deliciously twisted new novel…

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant. Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud – though if they stopped to think, they would realise no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when he doesn’t let anything distract him – even the tragic death of a school parent. Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day. You’re sure you can prove it.

You just didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind…

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Entitlement has a particular stench.

1

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(@MichaelJBooks, 19 August 2021, ebook, 400 pages, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’ve enjoyed other books by the author so was looking forward to For Your Own Good. This is different from her other books, in a good way. I had a fantastic time reading it. This is the kind of intense, fast paced twisty thriller I love. I thought I knew what was going on and who the killer actually was but then something seemingly random would happen and my theory was blown out of the water. I loved the way there were so many suspects in the tragedies even though it’s clear fairly early on who the guilty party is, this knowledge didn’t retract from my enjoyment, in fact watching the killer discombobulate while trying to ‘fix’ the mess they made and only making it worse was a pleasure. I loved this book.

Posted in 2021, Claire McKenna, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, NetGalley, Novel, Steampunk

Deepwater King by @mckenna_claire

The sensational follow up to MONSTROUS HEART, a magical tale of intrigue on dark waters and a love story for the ages. The perfect gothic, gaslamp fantasy – ideal for fans of V.E. Schwab and China Mieville.

Since losing her great love to the Queen of the Sainted Isles, Arden must fulfil an impossible promise before she can return home – she must complete the dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.

This sets her off on a journey far out at sea to find believers of the old religion on the oil-slick and mysterious islands beyond the horizon. But such a responsibility will not come without sacrifice, for the Deepwater folk who worship the King require the most desperate payments the soul, and with one man Arden may have to pay the greatest price of all…

Astonishingly original, with world-building to rival the depths of the ocean, McKenna has drawn a rich tale of longing and courage – penning the perfect oceanic steampunk fantasy.

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The history goes like this.

THE SAINT OF THE ISLANDS

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(@HarperVoyagerUK, 24 June 2021, ebook, 352 pages, copy from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I loved the first book, Monstrous Heart and couldn’t wait to read this next volume and now I look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy. Deepwater King picks up not long after the first book ends with Arden determined to perform the ritual to return Jonah’s spit to the court of his Deepwater King. After what happened in the first book it doesn’t take a genius to realise it’s not going to be as simple as that with so many forces aligned against Arden not least his wife Bellis, gone mad with power determined to bring the whole world to it’s knees before her or Jonah’s cousin, the only person Bellis fears. I loved the impressive world building in the book which carries on from the first book. I had a great time with this book.  

Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, Elizabeth Day, NetGalley, Novel, thriller, Top Books

#MagpieBook by @elizabday

The exhilarating new novel from the bestselling author of The Party: a thrilling, stylish and psychologically astute story of jealousy, motherhood and power.

She has almost everything. The rest she’ll take.

Marisa may have only known Jake a few months, but she has never felt this certain about anyone. When he asks her to move in with him and they start trying for a baby, she knows she has finally found the steadfast love and support she has been looking for all her life.

But their relationship is tested when they take in a lodger, Kate, who has little regard for personal boundaries and seems to take an uncomfortable interest in Jake – as well as the baby they are hoping to have.

Why is Kate so obsessed with the couple? And, more worryingly, why doesn’t Jake share Marisa’s concern?

In her determination to find the answers, Marisa risks losing everything she holds dear…

Magpie is a tense, twisting, brilliantly written novel about mothers and children, envy and possession, and the dangers of getting everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

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The house was perfect.

1

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(@4thEstateBooks, 2 September 2021, 256 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’ve enjoyed other books by the author and was really looking forward to Magpie. I’ve read books that deal with a similar premise so thought I knew what to expect. Boy was I wrong. Magpie threw me for a loop and took me in a completely unexpected direction. I thought I knew what was really going with Marisa, Jake and Kate and then the author pulled the rug from under my feet and left me dazed and confused on the floor, utterly clueless. I loved the direction the author chose to take the story rather than the more obvious routes that have been done before. Magpie blew me away. This is a corker.

Posted in 2021, ARC, Fantasy Fiction, historical fiction, Myth Retelling, NetGalley, Novel, Pat Barker

#TheWomenofTroy by Pat Barker

Following her bestselling, critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker continues her extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest myths.

‘Taut, masterly, wholly absorbing. Still one of the greatest stories ever written. A book that will be read in generations to come’ Daily Telegraph on The Silence of the Girls

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors, loaded with their spoils: their stolen gold, stolen weapons, stolen women. All they need is a good wind to lift their sails.

But the wind does not come. The gods have been offended – the body of Trojan king Priam lies desecrated, unburied – and so the victors remain in limbo, camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, pacing at the edge of an unobliging sea. And, in these empty, restless days, the hierarchies that held them together begin to fray, old feuds resurface and new suspicions fester.

Amidst her squabbling captors, Briseis — now married to Alcimus, but carrying the child of the late Achilles — must forge alliances where she can: with young, dangerously naïve Amina, with defiant, aged Hecuba, and with wild-eyed Cassandra, the unheeded seer. And so begins the path to a kind of revenge. Briseis has survived the Trojan War, but peacetime may turn out to be even more dangerous…

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Inside the horse’s gut: heat, darkness, sweat, fear.

1

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(Hamish Hamilton, 26 August 2021, 320 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I loved The Silence of the Girls and couldn’t wait to read this. I love myth retellings, especially Greek ones so this book was guaranteed to be a treat. I’ve read other books that focus on the Trojan war and the aftermath but none quite like this which is told from the viewpoint of women when most I’ve read have been about the men. I also haven’t read a book which imagines what happened after the Trojan War so I enjoyed this aspect. I loved the way the author explores the complex relationships between men, women, Greeks and the people of Troy. This is a corker.

Posted in 2021, ARC, Contemporary Fiction, Karin Slaughter, NetGalley, Novel, thriller

False Witness by @SlaughterKarin

The stunning new thriller from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author

You thought no one saw you. You were wrong.

Leigh and her sister Callie are not bad people – but one night, more than two decades ago, they did something terrible. And the result was a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, devastated by violence.

Years later, Leigh has pushed that night from her mind and become a successful lawyer – but when she is forced to take on a new client against her will, her world begins to spiral out of control.

Because the client knows the truth about what happened twenty-three years ago. He knows what Leigh and Callie did. And unless they stop him, he’s going to tear their lives apart …Just because you didn’t see the witness … doesn’t mean he wasn’t there.

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From the kitchen, Callie heard Trevor tapping his fingers on the aquarium.

SUMMER 1998

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(@HarperCollinsUK, 24 June 2021, 338 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’ve started to read Slaughter’s work again after a few years and have started to fall in love with her writing all over again. I was looking forward to getting stuck into False Witness even though it’s not part of the regular Grant County / Atlanta series. This ticks all the boxes for a corker of a thriller; fast paced, well-written, full of misdirection and twists and turns. I loved the fact I started to think I knew where the book was going only for another curve-ball to be hurled at me. I also loved the way the past impacts on the present with both Leigh and Callie still haunted by what they did, which was justified. I loved both characters, so real they walked off the page and settled down next to me to read their story over my shoulder. I had no idea where the book was going to go. I thought the ending was great, not what I expected at all, but satisfactory.