Anne Bonny #BookReview Close Your Eyes by @darrensully #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @HQDigitalUK @HQstories ‘This novel is an interesting spin on a whodunit. An amnesia inspired mystery, that keeps you guessing. . .’

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Close Your Eyes by Darren O’Sullivan
Review copy
Synopsis:

Close your eyes…and count to ten.

He doesn’t know his name. He doesn’t know his secret.
When Daniel woke up from a coma he had no recollection of the life he lived before. Now, fourteen years later, he’s being forced to remember.

A phone call in the middle of the night demands he return what he stole – but Daniel has no idea what it could be, or who the person on the other end is. He has been given one warning, if he doesn’t find out his family will be murdered.

Rachael needs to protect her son. Trapped with no way out she will do anything to ensure they survive. But sometimes mothers can’t save their children and her only hope is Daniel’s memory.

My Review:

This novel is another one with a short, sharp and snappy synopsis. One that grabs your interest immediately. A coma patient with no memory, no recollection of a life once lived and 14yrs later he must recover those memories.
Get ready for a fast-paced and action-packed read!

The novel opens with Daniel around Christmas time, with his young son Thomas and girlfriend Kate. We learn that Daniel is no longer with the mother of his son (Rachel), but that they retain a good relationship and intend on spending New Year’s Eve together as one big happy family. Daniel has plans to propose to Kate in the new year and everything is optimistic to this point. . .

‘Mum prefers never to speak of the time before the accident’

Slowly we learn that Daniel is having small flashbacks of memory. Nothing major and nothing to really go upon, but he distinctly remembers France and Auvers-Sur-Oise for no specific reason. His mother refuses to help him uncover his memories. But girlfriend Kate does her best and encourages Daniel to attend his therapy sessions.

Then one late night Daniel receives a call that changes everything. They inform Daniel that he stole something, and they want it back. They make threats against his family, violent threats against Thomas and Kate. What becomes most confusing to Daniel is they appear to know everything about him yet call him Michael. Why?
‘You have until Friday’

Daniel is in a sheer panic, he doesn’t know what to do and who to turn too. The person on the phone advised that going to the police would only ensure they end his young son’s life. But what can he do? And who is Michael?

In a moment of fear, he heads to Thomas’s house. He finds Rachel’s partner Sean dead, brutally murdered. With Rachel and Thomas missing. The people who have his son, mean business. Daniel decides enough is enough and realises he is going to have to force his mother to reveal more of his past to him. Starting with his name. . .

The narrative jumps between Daniel, Rachel and Thomas’s perspective. Which is great for the reader, giving you all the angles of the on-going terror. Rachel in captivity does her best to distract her son, from the horror of their situation. Daniel continues to pressure his mother for more information, but what he learns will shake him to the core.

This novel is an interesting spin on a whodunit. An amnesia inspired mystery, that keeps you guessing and constantly questioning Daniel’s behaviour and character. 4*

DOS
Darren O’Sullivan
Twitter

Close Your Eyes is released in Ebook on 5th May,
and is available for pre-order at just £1.99

***Don’t miss the other fabulous bloggers on the blog tour***
*Check out my blogger buddy for the day @dougieDV – The Chloe Douglas Blog*
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Colour Of Bee Larkham’s Murder by @sarahsky23 #NewRelease @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #BeeLarkham #PaintYourOwnProof #Winner #Review

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The Colour Of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris
Winner copy – Paint your own proof
Synopsis:

Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham…

Jasper is not ordinary.
In fact, he would say he is extraordinary…

Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder.

He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly.

But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…

My Review:

This novel is possibly one of the quirkiest novels I have ever come across. The protagonist Jasper Wisham, has to be the ultimate unreliable narrator. As Jasper, as we come to know and love him, has learning difficulties. Which doesn’t mean that what he says is untrue/lies either, it just means his version of the truth maybe, his interpretation of the truth. There will always be an element of truth within it, but it may take some de-coding and that code is unique to Jasper.
I know this, and can adequately describe this (I hope), as I myself have been blessed with a child with learning difficulties. My son has Autism, his interpretations of the world around him, are completely unique to his experiences. But he also couldn’t lie or fabricate the truth, if his life actually depended upon it. Like Jasper, he has the quirk of what I call ‘brutal honesty’. If you ask my son a question, you will get the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth. It is never wise to ask him questions you may not, want a truthful answer too. As my sister learnt one day!

‘My life is a thrilling kaleidoscope of colours only I can see’ – Jasper

Back to the story, what makes Jasper’s world also unique is that he has a condition called synaesthesia. Which means he interprets the world in a multitude of colours. It is further expanded upon in the book and the person who best describes it is Jasper.
His story really is worth a read!

‘Bee Larkham’s murder was ice blue crystals with gritty edges and jagged silver icicles’

We open the novel on Tuesday (bottled green). Jasper is at the police station being interviewed by DC Richard Chamberlin. A school boy has made accusations against Bee. The police officer desperately tries to relate to Jasper. But fails to fully grasp what his father calls his ‘profound learning difficulties’. Jasper it appears, is lost within his own world. His father tries to protect him from the probing questions of the police officer. But at times Jasper can’t but help blurt out facts whether relevant or not.

‘Try to act normal, don’t flap your arms, don’t rock’

The interview is deemed a failure and Jasper is free to go.
But it is his own thoughts that are his own worst enemy.

‘I have to remember what happened the night I murdered Bee Larkham’ – Jasper

Jasper’s world doesn’t just consist of colours. He is an avid ornithologist and has a keen eye for art. Through the novel, we enter Jasper’s world and learn about his various obsessions and behaviours. He is an intelligent young man and I really liked his character. Well, actually I wanted to adopt him! I just found his unique world-view so beautiful. I just had to know, if he had committed a murder first. . .

‘I can’t stop seeing the colour of murder’ – Jasper

Jasper is 13yrs old, his mother was the only one to truly understand his world. He misses her terribly, as she passed when he was just 9yrs old. His father then left his career in the Royal Marines to take care of Jasper. Throughout the novel his father, is desperately trying to understand the world in which Jasper lives. This is evidenced when Jasper catches him reading a parenting guide to autism.
Which Jasper completely misinterprets. . . .
‘Trying to get a grip on why I’m difficult. Why I’m different from other teenage boys.
Why I am so hard to love’
The above quote really resonated with me. It actually made me cry. What people/parents/teachers forget when they try to ‘understand’ autistic people and get inside their individual worlds. Is that they are people too, with feelings. Autistic kids/teens are still capable of feeling emotional pain. This is something so over-looked, in an adult’s determination to ‘understand’ or ‘fix’ the child/teen.

The author has truly done an outstanding portrayal of an autistic character and how those around them can struggle to interpret their world. But she has also illustrated their vulnerabilities, which some people may manipulate.
And so we come to Bee Larkham. . . .

Bee Larkham befriended Jasper as soon as she moved into the neighbourhood of Vincent Gardens. She spotted his love of art, colour and parakeets. She knew exactly how to manipulate Jasper to her will.
But can you ever fully control someone, who systemically refuses to be controlled?
The intense friendship that develops, often made for uncomfortable reading.
But it has you desperate to uncover the truth of, what occurred the night Bee Larkham was murdered?

The last 130 pages were insanely gripping, as the plot finally unravelled, and the truth was revealed. Jasper Wishart is a character I will not forget in a long time! This novel hit close to home for me, but it only enhanced my enjoyment of it. Others with no experience of autism or learning difficulties may find it eye-opening reading.

I think this novel is perfect for book groups, due to the various themes within. I also would love to see it being discussed in schools/colleges. It can offer a real insight into the world of learning difficulties and the protagonist is just so perfectly written! 4*

Winner – Paint your own proof – Images:
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My husband painted the proof cover:

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SJH
Sarah J. Harris
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