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Final Girls by Riley Sager

FIRST THERE WERE THREE

The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma.

THEN THERE WERE TWO

But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or…

CAN THERE ONLY EVER BE ONE?

All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.

Final Girls is one of those books that grabs you by the collar and hurls you into a maelstrom of darkness, twisted minds and leaves you reeling as you try to work out where the truth lies.

 
Who are the Final Girls? They are the lone survivors of terrible killings; the ones whose psyches have been massively impacted by their experiences and who know that, although they are survivors, they will never be quite the same again. They are bound together in a club no-one ever wants to join.

 
Lisa Milner survived a massacre in her sorority house. Sam Boyd was the only survivor of a motel killer dubbed ‘The Sack Man’ and Quincy Carpenter was the last girl standing after six of her friends were murdered in the Pine Cottage massacre.

 
Our guide and narrator is Quincy. 20 years later and she is doing a decent job of putting the past behind her. She has a nice boyfriend and she has her own, popular, baking blog.
Then Lisa is found dead in her bath; having apparently committed suicide by slitting her wrists.

 
Quincy of course has alerts set and is shocked when she hears about Lisa’s death. She can’t believe that Lisa, who wrote a book about surviving, would give up in this way. Then, out of the blue, Sam appears on her doorstep. She, too, has heard about Lisa’s death.

 
Quincy invites Sam in to stay for a couple of days, but in doing so she is faced with having to bring up the past she has worked so hard to forget; to relive the horrors of that evening that left her soaked in blood and her friends dead.

 
I love a good, evil, serial killer book and this one is twisted, suspenseful and very fast paced.  Riley Sager has an evil mind and I, for one,really liked it. Its not the most enlightened book I have ever read, but it is very addictive.

Unputdownable.

Final Girls is published by Ebury Press on July 13th 2017

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About Riley Sager

Riley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who has been previously published under another name. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley is a writer, editor and graphic designer who now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

In addition to writing, Riley enjoys reading, movies and baking. (apparently)

Watching You by Arne Dahl translated by Neil Smith

SOMEONE IS WATCHING…

At each abandoned crime scene there’s a hidden clue: a tiny metal cog, almost invisible to the naked eye. Someone is sending Detective Sam Berger a message, someone who knows that only he will understand the cryptic trail.

SOMEONE KNOWS…

When another teenaged girl disappears without trace, Sam must convince his superiors that they’re dealing with a serial killer. As the police continue the hunt to find the latest victim, Sam is forced to unearth long-buried personal demons. He has no choice if he is to understand the killer’s darkly personal message before time runs out.

SOMEONE IS KILLING JUST FOR HIM…

Arne Dahl is a king of crime writing. His prose is always compelling. His mind is exquisite – I loved the way that he used watches and clocks both to leave clues and as instruments of mental and physical torture.

Watching You is a study in masterful, fast paced and intelligent prose. This is a book which launches straight into the action, leaving the reader breathlessly running to catch up with our protagonist, Detective Sam Berger and his intuitive and always reliable sidekick, Deer.

From the beginning we know that Sam is not a straightforward policeman. The fact that he is taking one small piece of evidence from each crime scene tells us that there is more to these crimes than we yet understand.

Sam Berger is looking for a missing schoolgirl, Ellen Savinger. She is one of at least three teenage girls that have gone missing. When the police receive a phone call about strange goings on in a house in the forest, they are sure they have their first real lead, but what they fine when they get there is a trap laid for them.

Looking through photographs and TV footage from the similar crime scenes they have identified, Sam spots a face that is common to more than one scene. Who is Nathalie Freden and what is her connection to the killer?

But first Sam has to convince his bosses that they are looking for a serial killer; something they are very reluctant to acknowledge.

With the clock ticking, Sam has to use every tool at his disposal to advance the search for Ellen Savinger if he has any hope of finding her alive.

I really enjoyed Watching You, because although it has all the intense, adrenalin fuelled moments you expect from a great crime novel, it is also a deeply thoughtful and insightful look at how a serial killer comes into being.

There are some sad and revealing moments in this book, which offers an understanding, if not a forgiveness, of what can lead a human being to commit such gross and callous acts.

There are lots of unexpected twists and turns, not least a pretty massive revelation fairly early in the book. It also has quite a cliffhanger of an ending – paving the way for more with Dahl’s characters from this novel.

Highly enjoyable, thought provoking, crime fiction from a Scandi- noir master at the top of his game.

Watching You is published by Random House UK, Vintage Publishing, Harvill Secker on 6th July 2017

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About Arne Dahl

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Jan Arnald is a Swedish crime author and literary critic, internationally famous for writing under the pen name Arne Dahl. His writing can also be seen in Sweden’s biggest daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter. He published Barbarer (2001) and Maria och Artur (2006) under his own name but under his pseudonym, he has written the ten-part Intercrime series, involving the A-team, a group highly trained in dealing with criminal cases in Sweden. The eleventh book in the series, Elva was published in August, 2008. The books are translated into over 25 languages.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

I am so thrilled to be on the blogtour for Karin Slaughter’s latest book – a standalone thriller that grasps the heart and squeezes it ’til you buckle.

Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville’s notorious defence attorney – devastated. It left the family fractured, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again, Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case which can’t help triggering the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried for ever…

My goodness but Karin Slaughter knows how to tell a rip roaring story! In this standalone novel, it is readily apparent that she has lost none of her flair.

 
Charlotte and Samantha Quinn are sisters, living in rural Pikeville; different personalities, but both in awe of their mother, Gamma, a scientist with a love for astronomy. Their father, Rusty, is a lawyer who will offer up a robust defence for every redneck and lowlife in town should they need it.

 
One evening when both sisters are in their teens, violence and savagery knocks on their door and nothing will ever be the same again.

 
28 years later Charlie is a lawyer, operating out of her father’s offices, though not in practice with him, when she becomes involved in a school shooting that will bring back everything she has tried to suppress for the last three decades.

 
One way and another Charlie’s life has been blighted by the events of the past. She and her husband Ben, a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office, are having marital troubles and Charlie is feeling lost and alone.

 
The school shooting throws everything out of kilter for Charlie and she has to re-evaluate all her relationships and come to terms with what has happened before she can move forward.

 
This is such a well told story with wholly convincing characters and a plot that is intricately woven with tension, twists and turns and a surprise ending that leaves you gasping.

I think it is her ability to make you emotionally connect with her characters that is the real strength of her writing because you will them to succeed.

 

I love Karin Slaughter’s writing and this book is yet another 5 star addition to her canon.

 

The Good Daughter is published by Harper Collins 0n 13 July 2017

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About the Author

karin

Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally-bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestsellers Cop Town and Pretty Girls. She has sold over 35 million books, making her one of the most popular crime writers today. She is passionate, no-nonsense, provocative, and is one of suspense fiction’s most articulate ambassadors. Her Will Trent Series, Grant County Series, and stand-alone novel Cop Town are all in development for film & television. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.  www.karinslaughter.com

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Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon

 

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

 

There’s a Philip Larkin poem, called This Be The Verse, the first line of which pretty much sums up the central theme of this book. “They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.”

Robin and Sarah are twins who, though very different, have been brought up together within a fairly loving family. Jack and Angie Marshall rub along well enough and life is fine. Robin Marshall is smal with unruly hair, dark eyed, and passionate. Sarah Marshall is the good girl, malleable, a people pleaser, and peace-maker.

Callum Granger is the shy, quiet, son of Drew and Hillary, whose marriage is less than happy and it is Callum who suffers the most when things are not going well.

So when Jack and Angie strike up a friendship with neighbours Drew and Hillary, the children end up spending a lot of time together, and Callum almost becomes one of the family.

But as their parents get to know each other better, the children are faced with a reality that none of them ever saw coming. Their parents split up and decide, without consultation with either child, that the twins will be brought up separately – Robin by her father and his new partner, Sarah by her mother and her new partner. Sarah ends up living in the United States, while Robin and Callum stay in the girls family home in Berkshire.

Told alternately through Robin and Sarah and in two timelines – present day and childhood 1990’s, this is a slow but gripping read. Well written and well paced, there’s an air of inevitability about the car crash that’s about to happen, but you can’t help but watch, fascinated as events unfold in front of you.

Though it is undoubtedly an accomplished psychological thriller, I was also struck by how sad this book is; how many lives are wasted because of failed relationships; lies and truth avoidance.

There are many themes woven throughout the story which is sensitively told, and it twists and turns in a satisfying way until it reaches its dramatic conclusion.

Each of these children has been damaged in a way that they are unable to recover from on their own. Their truths are ones they keep buried because they can’t bear to face them – the kind that make you not want to close your eyes because you don’t want the dreams that sleep will bring.

Haunting, sad, chilling. Don’t Close Your Eyes is a book which ultimately finds a way to redemption, but not before the reader has felt a massive anger at what these parents did to their children.

Don’t Close Your Eyes is published by Corvus on 6th July 2017

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About the Author

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Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets. Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books.

Her first novel TRY NOT TO BREATHE was published worldwide in 2016 and became a national and international bestseller.

 

The Other Twin by Lucy V. Hay

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for this excellent novel from Orenda Books. It’s so easy to like an Orenda Book, I feel genuinely proud to be able to blog about their distinctive output.

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy
begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana?
Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her?
Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well-heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as the truth..
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This book is heartbreaking. You don’t think it’s going to be because you are caught up in the storyline which is both tense and thrilling, but when the truth is revealed, it just breaks your heart.
Set in Brighton with all the lovely contrasts the offers, The Other Twin is a brilliantly written, complex thriller that I just did not want to put down.
Poppy is on a mission to find out what happened to her sister, India who fell to her death from a bridge on the Brighton to London railway line.
Did she kill herself, or was there more to it than that?
Returning to her old home and haunting grounds brings Poppy back into contact with her old boyfriend and lover, Matthew who comes from a well off family in the chic part of Brighton and now runs a trendy coffee bar in the Lanes.
Through her sister’s blog, Poppy finds that India was in contact with a range of people through social media and that some of her status updates offered a glimpse into the life she had been leading.
When Poppy reconnects with Matthew and his family, and meets India’s friend, Jenny, she has no idea what she is getting herself into until it is almost too late.
Beautifully written and hugely layered, this storyline slowly peels back like an onion until the core of the story is revealed and the tears can finally be shed.
What I really enjoyed was that the tension ramped up through the book, with many revelations, twists and turns and yet I did not quite understand until late on in the book where it had all been leading. Then it all made perfect sense.
Dealing with relevant, contemporary issues and highlighting the way in which social media can be used both to reach out and to accuse and blame, Lucy Hay has created a contemporary thriller with a heart of darkness.
A terrific read – go buy it now!

The Other Twin was published by Orenda Books on 3 July 2017

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About the Author


Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.

Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.

Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.

And only another life will do…

I am delighted to be on the blogtour for this excellent psychological thriller.

Blood Sisters is a tale told from two perspectives and in two different timelines. Kitty and Alison are half-sisters. Vanessa and Kitty are best friends.

Alison and Kitty’s lives have been irrevocably shaped by a tragic event that occurred when they were children. Now Alison works as an art teacher, but you sense that she is hardly living her life, there is clearly a shadow over her and that shadow impacts on her whole life and all her relationships.

Kitty and Alison had an awkward relationship when they were younger, shaped in part by rivalry and in part by the fact that they have very different personalities. Kitty was demanding, irritable and prone to getting what she wanted. Alison was the one who never fought back, the good girl with excellent grades.

The accident that left one girl dead and Kitty without her memories and severely disabled, changed all of that. Immensely frustrated, she often lashes out at those who care for her. Alison lost her appetite for achievement and now teaches stained glass art in the evenings. Alison has secrets; she is clearly hiding something because we can feel her pain, taste her guilt which comes through in the myriad ways in which she is clearly punishing herself. We learn a lot from Kitty about her life in the care home; her relationships and the way in which she bonds with others in the home. Kitty has her own devilish sense of fun, despite the fact that she can’t talk. It is not just Alison who has secrets.

Blood Sisters is told through the voices of Alison and Kitty, for though Kitty cannot speak, we can hear her thoughts. Jane Corry’s characterisation of both Kitty and Alison is multi-layered, complex and very well thought through. Though it takes time to build up a picture of the two sisters, it is worthwhile because that’s what makes the story really live in its own skin.

The catalyst for story progression comes when Alison decides to apply for a post teaching art in an open prison. It’s an opportunity to boost her bank balance and being an open prison, nothing too awful is likely to happen, right?

We then learn that Kitty’s brain has started to give her flashbacks, reawakening her memory.

From the beginning of the book you know that Alison has trust issues, but is she right? Is there a threat to her wellbeing from within the prison, or is it closer to home? At the same time, technological developments mean that there is a possibility that Kitty’s brainwaves can be harnessed to help her to communicate.

Though Alison’s and Kitty’s mother – whom Kitty refers to as her ‘Friday mum’ is enthusiastic, Alison is not at all happy. She is scared of what Kitty will remember – so was Alison responsible for Kitty’s accident – is that the secret she has been hiding?

The tension ramps up when Alison starts to receive threatening messages. Clearly someone is out to get her. But who and why is unclear.

Not all of the characters in Blood Sisters are what they seem, and Corry uses the unreliable narrator device here to excellent effect. The reader cannot trust everything they read and in a well-constructed plot, riddled with twists and turns, Alison’s life begins to unravel as the truth is revealed.

An intense tale of the realtionship between sisters, with lies, secrets and betrayals, Blood Sisters is a psychological thriller which confounds expectations, and is both complex and chilling.

Blood Sisters is published by Penguin on June 29th 2017.

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About the author

Jane Corry is a former magazine journalist who spent three years working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men. She had never been inside a jail before and this often hair-raising experience helped inspire her debut psychological thriller, the Sunday Times bestseller My Husband’s Wife.

Jane is a regular life story judge for the Koestler Awards given to prisoners for art and writing. Until recently, Jane was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University, and she now runs writing workshops in her local area of Devon and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. She has three grown up children and writes the ‘Diary of a First-Time Grandmother’ column for the Daily Telegraph.

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An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

These are the facts I collect. My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar. She went home with him. They next morning she was found in an allotment. Mariela is dead. Gabriel has been asked to report to Camden Police station in six hours for questioning Linda Moscow loves her son; it’s her biological instinct to keep him safe. But if she’s not sure of his innocence, how can she stand by him? Should she go against everything she believes in to protect him? She’s done it before, and the guilt nearly killed her. Now, the past is catching up with them. As old secrets resurface, Linda is faced with another impossible choice. Only this time, it’s her life on the line…

This is a thriller with serious contemporary relevance, but it’s much more than that, too. Linda Moscow used to be Home Secretary until a scandal forced her to resign. Now she is simply a humble backbench MP. Her relationship with her son Gabriel is a complex one and the two don’t really know how to talk to each other anymore.

Gabriel is a stand up alternative comedian, making a rapid name for himself and very much enjoying the lifestyle that goes with that fame.

So when Gabriel comes to Linda asking for her help because a young woman has been found dead – a young woman Gabriel was with only the evening before her body was discovered, Linda faces a real dilemma.

Not only has Linda to decide whether to help her son, she is also setting out on a quest of her own which will lead her to rural Scotland and place her life in serious danger.

Set between two timelines, the present day and 1992, this novel flits seamlessly across the decades, giving us insight into the characters and laying out the skeleton of the story that has led Linda to her current situation.

In many ways this is not a particularly novel plot,  because it has very real echoes of contemporary events and political occurrences. It is, however, a very chilling and extremely clever one. I found echoes here of Line of Duty, and like that exceptional drama, McBeth creates such vivid pictures of a world full of political intrigue and corruption that it is all too easy to believe such events are not just possible, but likely.

It takes a rare storyteller to paint such a strong picture and this is a really well plotted and very convincing narrative. Told from different perspectives as well as different timelines, the characterisation is beautifully done and the book flows really well.

Beautifully written, this is a strong, tense and sometimes very emotional read which is both shocking and stomach churning in equal measure. Highly recommended.

 

An Act of Silence is published by Wildfire on 29 June 2017

 

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About the Author

colette-mcbeth (1)

Colette McBeth had the idea for her first novel Precious Thing in 1998. Instead of writing it she went to work for the BBC where she spent 10 years as TV reporter. In 2011 she enrolled on the Faber Academy Novel Writing course and completed Precious Thing in 2012. She lives in West London with her husband and three children.

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