Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview & #Extract Leave No Trace by @MejiaWrites 4* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @QuercusBooks #LeaveNoTrace

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Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Ten years after a boy and his father went missing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, the boy – who is no longer a boy – walks back out of the forest. He is violent and uncommunicative. The authorities take him to Congdon Mental Institution in Duluth, on the edge of mighty Lake Superior.

There, language therapist Maya Stark is given the task of making a connection with this boy/man who came back from the dead. But their celebrity patient tries to escape and refuses to answer any questions about his father or the last ten years of his life. In many ways he is old far beyond his years; in others, still a child.

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world – but at what cost to herself?

My Review:

Leave No Trace has instant appeal to readers. 10yrs ago Josiah Blackthorn and his son Lucas (10yrs) disappeared into the Minnesota boundary waters and were never seen again.
Now, Lucas is back!!!!!!!

We follow the case through the eyes of Dr Maya Stark at the Congdon psychiatric institute. Maya is no stranger to mental health herself, having experiences her own share of personal losses and in-turn ending up a patient at the institute.

Dr Mehta the senior psychiatrist assigns Maya the case, which is in some sense suspicious. As Maya is a specialist in speech therapy and the boy has since refused to speak.
After being arrested for breaking and entry, then identified he was immediately taken to the institute.
Where the staff nickname his Tarzan and regard him with fear and intrigue.

‘No one can help us – that’s why we disappeared’ – Lucas

‘He wasn’t a boy’

Maya is attacked on their first meeting and Lucas attempts an escape. What ensues is a battle of wills between the two. As they both attempt to delve further and further into each other’s background etc.

‘Damaged people recognised their own’

Lucas and Maya’s background are fully explored, and it is then that you get a sense of why these two may eventually bond. Lucas refuses to communicate with the police for fear of incriminating his father. Maya encourages him to keep a journal. Josiah has a history of alcohol abuse and violence but has no outstanding warrants.
What happened in the years they disappeared?

What makes someone abandon their modern-day life for the wilderness?

‘Would you go up to the mountain to save the person you loved most in the world? How far would I go to help them’
This is the most unusual book I’ve ever read about mental health. The personal story of the characters and the challenges they face in helping one another is captivating. 4*

MM
Mindy Mejia
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Extract:

Robert and Monica Anderson owned a camping outfitter
store in the tiny border town of Ely, Minnesota. According
to their website, they stocked Kevlar canoes, state of the art
rain gear, powdered guacamole, and anything else a Boundary Waters
voyager could dream of needing for a trek into the wilderness.
At 12:26 a.m. on October 5, long past the busy summer season
and even the smaller burst of travelers who wanted to see the fall
colors from the bow of a canoe, Monica was watching Netflix in
their apartment above the store when the sound of smashing glass
surprised her. She called 911 and crept downstairs with a utility
knife and her phone.
Expecting to find the same kids who’d vandalized a house down
the street, Monica was shocked to see a hunched figure behind the
store counter, pulling open drawers, rifling through the contents,
and shutting them again. Before she could report more than that to the 911 operator, a scream and a series of crashes cut off the rest
of the phone call.
Robert, startled awake, grabbed the hunting rifle he kept in
their bedroom closet and rushed downstairs to see a dark figure
wielding a knife. He aimed into the shadows and fired, but the cry
that followed the blast was too high, too familiar. He ran forward
as his wife’s body was shoved at him and caught her before she hit
the ground. Someone pulled the gun out of his hands and threw
it across the store to the sound of more shattering glass. Sobbing
on the floor, he cradled Monica and looked desperately around
for a phone, a weapon, anything. When the intruder tried to dart
past them, Robert lunged for his feet, tripping him. The person
responded by flipping over and kicking Robert in the head until he
lost consciousness.
The police took Robert’s statement from the hospital, hours
before his wife slipped into a coma and died. The intruder, who’d
been chased down by responding officers, had to be physically restrained
during his mugshot and fingerprinting, which eventually
revealed him to be a lost child from the missing persons list. Even
in the cryptic language of police reports, it was obvious they hadn’t
known what to do next. At nineteen, he was too old for social services
to get involved and the most they could charge him with was
B&E, attempted robbery, and assault. The Ely police transferred
him to Duluth – complaining about extensive damage to the jail
cell – and if he was anyone else the judge would have sent him to
prison for a few years, but the boy who came back from the dead
got a commitment order and a ticket to Congdon.
And now, after two weeks of silent violence and disregard for
every human around him, he’d decided to talk. To me.
I read his entire file three times. His mother, Sarah Mason, had died of a brain aneurysm when Lucas was five. Besides his father,
Josiah, his only other known relative was a maternal grandfather
currently living in an Alzheimer’s unit outside Chicago. He’d attended
a series of elementary schools around the Midwest before
his disappearance. Good grades – better than mine, like that was
a challenge. His therapy notes were less inspiring. The Congdon
psychologists had tried communicating with him a dozen
different ways: They’d showed him pictures of the Northwoods
and of his father, played music popular from the year he went
missing, demonstrated games he might have enjoyed as a child,
even played the video for all entering campers about how to leave
no trace of themselves when they journeyed into the wilderness.
I found it on YouTube, all the rules for burying fish entrails,
collecting firewood, hauling every scrap of trash back out of the
woods, and saw how ridiculous it would look to someone who’d
been a ghost for the last ten years, who had probably watched
those campers light their choking pine needle fires and dig their
shallow fish graves.
Pacing the house while Jasper snored, I wracked my brain for a connection, some pathway into Lucas Blackthorn’s head, and by dawn I’d scribbled a list of the few
things I knew for sure.
One, something or someone had driven Lucas out of the Boundary Waters.
Two, he didn’t find what he was looking for at the outfitter’s store. The police confiscated nothing from him except a few sharp rocks.
Three, he wanted to escape Congdon, and I’d bet anything he
was trying to get back to the glacial waters and shadowed forests
that called him home.

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse 4* #NewRelease 1960s #Saga #HistoricalFiction @MichaelJBooks @ed_pr #LoveLesley25

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The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Twenty-three-year-old Katy Speed has always been fascinated by the house across the street . . .

The woman who lives there, Gloria, is the most glamorous neighbour on the avenue, owning a fashionable dress shop in Bexhill-on-Sea. But who is the woman who arrives in the black car most Saturdays while Gloria is at work? Sometimes she brings women to the house, and other times the women come with children.

Hilda, Katy’s mother, disapproves of Gloria. She wonders where these mysterious visitors have come from, and what they want. Does Gloria have sinister reasons for secretly bringing strangers into the heart of the community?

Then one night, the house burns down. In the wreckage, the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found. Katy is sure the unexplained strangers must be responsible, until her father is arrested and charged with murder.

Surely the police have arrested the wrong person?

Is the rest of the street safe?

Can Katy find the truth before it’s too late?

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Lesley Pearse and her novel Remember Me, is one of my all-time favourites. I recently enjoyed The Woman In The Wood, but noticed the author had taken a much darker spin on her usual saga type novels. It was still a cracking read, but I was surprised at some of the tough/violent themes.
This time she has written a similar dark novel, set in the 1960’s. The era really sets the tone, as this was an era of fundamental change for women and the beginnings of the female sexual revolution.

The prologue opens in Bexhill-On-Sea, Essex 1964. Katy (22yrs) is busy spying on her neighbours, when she is interrupted by her brother Rob. He is currently home from university and appears to not feel too welcome in his own home.
It becomes quite clear why upon the introduction of Hilda. Katy and Rob’s mother, is far from ‘mothering’. She appears to enjoy belittling and making nasty remarks to others including her own daughter, son and husband. But no one is a bigger target for Hilda than the glamour neighbour Gloria.

Mrs Gloria Reynolds is a local business owner. She owns ‘Gloria’s Gowns’ and Katy is in complete awe of her. Something which sees to incense Hilda even further. Gloria is considered a ‘glamourous divorcee’ locally. With divorce still being considered a taboo subject. Katy is desperate to know more information about her, but aware of the social restrictions to simply ask…..
‘It was rude to ask personal things of someone you didn’t know’ – Katy

Gloria had often taken the time to give Katy advice and guidance, which led to a growth in her confidence and self-esteem. Which enrages Hilda as she feels the slip of her control over her daughter growing.
Especially when Gloria recommends a life in London for Katy.

Hilda is a battle-axe and all-round snob, but as her character develops, we uncover there is more going on inside her own head.
As the saying goes, damaged people, damage people.

In January 1965, there is a terrible fire in the middle of the night at Gloria’s. A fire that will take the lives of two souls, including Gloria. Albert (Katy’s long-suffering father) rushes to help. Whilst Hilda continues to make vicious snide comments and be opinionated beyond the realms of human decency.

When the fire is discovered to be arson and Katy’s father is arrested. Katy must turn amateur sleuth to separate fact from fiction. Albert denies any such affair or knowledge of a motive for the fire. Whilst Hilda turns on her own husband.
‘By consorting with that woman right under my nose, he deserves all he gets’ – Hilda

Katy seeks out Gloria’s friend Edna, is a desperate search for clues of who would want Gloria dead. What she uncovers is a world of domestic abuse, hidden and hushed up amongst middle-class society.

The plot is very moving, and protagonist centred around Katy. I struggled with the constant reminders of this being an issue impacting ‘middle-class’ people. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, it certainly doesn’t discriminate due to wealth. 4*

Lesley Pearse Copyright Charlotte Murphy 2014
Lesley Pearse
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