Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Party by @LisaHallAuthor 5* #Psychological #Thriller @HQStories ‘It’s all going on in suburbia’

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The Party by Lisa Hall
Review Copy
Synopsis:

It was just a party. But it turned into a nightmare.

When Rachel wakes up in a strange room, the morning after a neighbour’s party, she has no memory of what happened the night before. Why did her husband leave her alone at the party? Did they row? Why are Rachel’s arms so bruised? And why are her neighbours and friends so vague about what really happened?

Little by little, Rachel pieces together the devastating events that took place in a friend’s house, at a party where she should have been safe. Everyone remembers what happened that night differently, and everyone has something to hide. But someone knows the truth about what happened to Rachel. And she’s determined to find them.

My Review:

‘Something happened. Something bad’ – Rachel

Rachel wakes up, the morning after the night before. She is in an unfamiliar room and feels unwell. She has bruising and is naked from the waist down. She slowly becomes aware, she is in her neighbours Neil and Liz’s spare room. But how did she get there? And what happened to her?

‘I’ve never had a hangover like this before’ – Rachel

As Rachel battles with her own memory, pain and embarrassment she makes her way home. Only to be met by her husband Gareth and his unsympathetic response. . .
‘Look at the state of you, you’re a disgrace’ – Gareth

We begin to learn that Rachel’s marriage is far from perfect and that Gareth’s anger is understandable to some degree. They attempt to keep the peace for the sake of their 18yr old son Robbie. But as Rachel’s realisation sinks in, she is left alone to deal with the emotional and physical pain. Which is made worse by her lack of memory. What happened to Rachel?

‘Something bad happened. Someone did this to me – someone hurt me, and did things to me against my will. Someone raped me’ – Rachel

The novel then jumps in timeline, to four months before the New Year’s Eve party. It continues to flick between the build-up to the party and modern day narrative and the aftermath of the assault. We learn that life is not so rosy in the little West Marsham cul-de-sac, The Vines.

Eventually Rachel confesses the truth to Gareth and they go to the police in search of justice and answers. But Rachel must navigate the world of rape victim, where you are not instantly believed and treated with suspicion yourself. The novel also covers the lack of evidence, DNA and how complex it can be to prove rape took place. Then Rachel begins to receive sinister notes. She is being watched!

The novel is gripping and intense. Rachel’s story and constant state of fear seeps from the pages and I HAD to know what happened to her and what took place that night. When the truth is finally revealed, my jaw hit the floor!

It’s all going on in suburbia 5*

LH
Lisa Hall
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Anne Bonny Mini #BookReview The Blood Road by @StuartMacBride 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease What drives someone to murder? #LoganMcRae #Series #TheBloodRoad

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The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride – Logan McRae #11
My own copy
Synopsis:

What drives someone to murder?

The No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author returns with the much anticipated new Logan McRae thriller.

Some things just won’t stay buried…

Logan McRae’s personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards he’s policing his fellow officers.
When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the driver’s seat of a crashed car it’s a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago, they buried him.
Or they thought they did.

As an investigation is launched into Bell’s stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what’s so important that he felt the need to come back from the dead?

But the deeper Logan digs, the more bones he uncovers – and there are people out there who’ll kill to keep those skeletons buried. If Logan can’t stop them, DI Bell won’t be the only one to die…

My Review:

The Blood Road is the latest in the Logan McRae series. It revolves around the murder of DI Duncan Bell. The only problem is Bell died two years ago and was buried with full police honours. So where has Bell been? And who is currently in his grave?

‘Why would Ding Dong fake his own death?’

The police are currently under the midst of a media frenzy, due to a local child abduction case. Ellie Morton (4yrs) has gone missing and she becomes the first in a long line of vulnerable kids going missing from Scottish streets. Who is taking these kids? And why?

Logan must tackle the Bell case and begins with Bell’s former police partner DS Rose Savage. Coincidentally their last case together was that of a child abduction. Aiden MacAuley (3yrs) went missing and was never seen again.
Whilst Logan begins the proceedings to exhume the Bell’s grave. He must also dodge Roberta Steele. Something which is written with brilliant humour, despite the dark themes within the novel.

Logan must dig into past cases and risks ruffling the feathers of present police detectives. But to get justice for the victim’s Logan must ask questions.

There are various spin-off threads within the novel. The author has a clever way of leading you to believe you have it all figured out, only to pull the rug from under you!
I really enjoyed this edition, to an already outstanding series.
Logan Vs Battleaxe Steele and the dark humour are everything I have come to love about this series. 5*

SM
Stuart MacBride
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Anne Bonny #BookReview A Noise Downstairs by @linwood_barclay 5* #CrimeFiction #Mystery #NewRelease @orionbooks @orion_crime ‘The novel is packed with twists and turns, it has an EPIC ending!’

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A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay
Review Copy
Synopsis:

EVERY STEP…
Paul Davis forgets things – he gets confused, he has sudden panic attacks. But he wasn’t always like this.

TAKES YOU CLOSER…
Eight months ago, Paul found two dead bodies in the back of a co-worker’s car. He was attacked, left for dead, and has been slowly recovering ever since. His wife tries her best but fears the worst…

TO THE TRUTH…
Therapy helps during the days, but at night he hears things – impossible things – that no one else can. That nobody else believes. Either he’s losing his mind – or someone wants him to think he is.

Just because he’s paranoid doesn’t mean it’s not happening…

My Review:

A Noise Downstairs, is the new psychological thriller from Linwood Barclay. It is a stand-alone and is insanely gripping! I started reading this alone, late at night by lamp light and it really added to the eerie feeling that is constantly bubbling away under the surface of the novel.

‘There were a lot of sides to Kenneth, and Paul still wasn’t sure he knew all of them’

The novel opens with Paul Davis pulling over to assist work colleague and fellow college professor Kenneth Hoffman, late one night. What Paul isn’t aware of until he steps out of the car, is that there are two bodies in the boot of Kenneth’s car.
Once he discovers the bodies of the two females, Kenneth attacks, leaving Paul for dead. .

‘Then everything went black’

The novel then jumps forward eight months. With Kenneth arrested and in jail. Paul is still making process with his recovery. He begins with therapy with Dr Anna White, we learn he suffers both physical and mental symptoms from the attack. Paul is plagued by headaches and bizarre dreams which cause insomnia. The victim’s Jill Foster and Catherine Lamb; were known to Paul and in some way, he feels responsible.

‘Monsters can be very good at disguising themselves’ –
Dr White

Paul develops an obsession with the crimes Kenneth committed and a deep desire to research and understand the psychology behind his behaviour.
What Paul doesn’t realise at the time, is the dangerous journey this will take him on.

“Was Kenneth evil? Is Kenneth Evil?” – Paul

Through the novel we come to know all the characters personally. Kenneth left behind a devastated wife Gabriella and young son Len. Paul’s girlfriend Charlotte becomes a big part of his journey to getting healthier and taking back control of his life. For their relationship and Paul’s relationship with his young son Josh. Dr Anna White lives with her father, who has dementia and often accidentally interrupts her counselling sessions. She also has a sinister new client named Gavin Hitchins. Gavin enjoys stalking and tormenting his victims, he is in court ordered therapy.
Nothing and no one is what they seem! Everyone feels on edge and I felt on edge as I am introduced to the new characters.

Paul is an English Literature professor, he is on a long-term sick leave from work when he begins his research into Kenneth and his crimes. The media named Kenneth the ‘apology killer’ due to the nature of his crimes. He plead guilty and has been sentenced to life in prison. Yet despite this Paul needs more answers. . .

‘I’m not so sure Kenneth’s head is a place you want to be’ – Charlotte

Charlotte buys Paul a gift, in the form of an old typewriter. Which late at night Paul can hear tap, tap, tap, tapping away!!!!
At first, he assumes he must be hearing things, but then the typewriter begins producing notes. Notes that appear to be from the victims. . .

Is Paul losing his mind? Why would the victims haunt Paul?
What answers do they seek?

I was completely and utterly taken in by this plot. The fear of an inanimate object might sound irrational, in the daytime. But reading alone, late at night I felt scared!
The novel is packed with twists and turns, it has an EPIC ending! Which left me shocked!
Outstanding 5*

*This is the first novel I have read by Linwood Barclay. So, I will be adding his entire back catalogue of novels to my TBR pile.*

LB
Linwood Barclay
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Bomb Girls by Daisy Styles 5* #ww2Fiction #Saga #Lancashire @PenguinUKBooks ‘Journey through ww2 with the women of Lancashire’

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The Bomb Girls by Daisy Styles
My own copy
Synopsis:

On an ordinary day in 1941, a letter arrives on the doormats of five young women, a letter which will change everything.

Lillian is distraught. And whether she tears, hides or burns the letter the words remain the same – she must register for compulsory war work. Many miles away, Emily is also furious – her dream job as a chef will have to be put on hold, whilst studious Alice must abandon her plans of college.

Staring at an identical letter, Elsie feels a kindling of hope at the possibility of leaving behind her brutal father. And down in London, Agnes has her own reasons for packing her bags with a smile.

Brought together at a munitions factory in a Lancashire mill town, none of them knows what lies ahead. Sharing grief and joy, lost dreams and gained opportunities, the five new bomb girls will find friendship and strength that they never before thought possible as they unite to help the country they love survive.

My Review:

The Bomb Girls is an unusual series, in that each novel follows a different set of bomb girls. They are not a follow-on series such as The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell. So, each book can be enjoyed as and when you want to read them! I am already earmarking the Christmas novel, for one of my December reads.

The novels are set in the small Lancashire town of Pendle. Being from Lancashire myself I recognised some of the small towns and villages mentioned. The novel follows Lillian, Emily, Elsie, Agnes and Alice. Five very different women, as they navigate their new post at the munitions factory in an old Lancashire mill. With each of the women being seconded to compulsory war work, life is far from easy. But the girls will come to bond and it is that growing sisterhood that makes this novel so beautiful.

Emily is from the small Lancashire mill town of Pendle. She has a boyfriend Raymond who is serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers. Emily is a fantastic cook and had dreams of culinary school before the war. Eventually she ends up being able to provide some much needed subsidence to the workers at the munitions factory. Although she does have to twist the arm of Mr Greenhalgh.

Alice is the clever gal of the group. She had plans to attend Manchester University and study a degree in the French language. She is also a bookish girl, that can often be found at Tonge Moor library. Although she is the group tomboy, she has had a grammar school education and had high hopes for her future. Nevertheless, she signs up at the labour exchange and finds herself at the old mill.

Elsie is a unique character, she signs up to the labour exchange to escape her home life. One that is filled with domestic abuse and unpaid labour. Her character really develops throughout the novel and her strength is inspiring.

Agnes lives in London, she has in one sense the most heart-breaking background. Her husband Stan is MIA. Her daughter Esther is not only an evacuee currently residing in the Lake District. But Esther is also recovering from polio. Agnes knows that a move to Lancashire is a move closer to Esther and so she takes her chances on life at the factory.

Lillian is the beauty of the group and she knows it. Lillian uses her charms and good looks, so breeze through life. When the female conscription is announced, to say she is unimpressed is a major understatement.
Can Lillian thrive at the factory? Will it change who she is?

The women arrive to their ‘hostel’ type lodgings. By hostel, I mean cowshed. They are joined by local women of Pendle, Nelson, Colne and Darwin. Their work involves long exhausting shifts and each of the women quickly makes alliances with each other and new best friends.

‘From now on we’re going to look after Agnes’ – Emily

The group band together to organise compassionate leave for Agnes to visit her daughter. It is then we see the true personal costs of MIA soldiers, polio and the plight of evacuees.

When the US and Canadian troops arrive in the UK, some of the girls find their eyes wandering. With Lillian, Emily and Alice actively going in search of these mysterious men.

There is love, laughter and an explosion at the factory.
Can the women survive the war with their hearts intact?

Alice is offered a job at the war office, a job that will see her leave Lancashire for London and more important work in the war effort. The women are left devastated by her departure but determined to stay in touch as best they can.

The novel is an emotional rollercoaster, there are ups and downs galore. The strength of the women and sisterhood that develops is what makes this a brilliant read. It also forms as sort of a ‘coming of age’ in the ww2 era for the women. When the novel starts out they may be naïve, but by the end of the novel they are toughened young women.

‘Lancashire folk are fighters and we don’t let folk down do we?’ – Gracie Fields

Journey through ww2 with the women of Lancashire. 5*

More information about Daisy Styles

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Puppet Show by @MWCravenUK 5* #CrimeFiction #DebutNovel #NewSeries Welcome to The Puppet Show. . .

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The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven #1 Washington Poe
Review copy
Synopsis:

Welcome to the Puppet Show . . .

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see.
The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …

My Review:

The Puppet Show is the first novel in a new series (I hope). It features DS Washington Poe and civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw. The duo compliment each other perfectly and it truly makes this a fantastic new series. Where Poe is brash and rugged, Tilly is socially awkward, yet intelligent and direct.
I can’t praise the creation of Poe and Tilly enough!

The novel opens with a scene of a man being set alight. It sets the tone for the nature of the crimes detailed within the novel. This is no Nancy Drew, the murders and are dark and they are brutal.
The press name the killer the ‘Immolation Man’ and the victims begin to stack up!

Washington Poe is currently residing in Cumbria, serving out a suspension, from his last case a violent torture/murder case that saw Poe lose his rag!
When DI Stephanie Flynn informs him, his name was carved into the chest of one of the victims. If he doesn’t help the team, they have to issue him an Osman warning as his life is at risk. . .

‘I need you to re-join the human race’ – Steph

The novel then goes on to detail all the victims and the savage murders that took place. It is not for the faint hearted! As said above these are violent murders. But the novel does focus more on the skills of the detectives than scenes of graphic violence.

Matilda (Tilly) Bradshaw obtained her first degree at Oxford University at just 16yrs old. Since then she has acquired a masters and two PHD’s. she specialises in computers and mathematics. She has virtually zero social skills and is routinely bullied by fellow police staff. Something Poe does not take kindly too.

Poe and Tilly attempt to fathom a connection between the victims. They are all wealthy men, of the same age and were staked and burnt in the exact same manner. Yet they struggle to establish what links these men.
Then Poe receives a postcard, with a sinister message. . .

The message leads the police to a case from the past. How this ties into the current murders they are not sure. Did someone make a mistake in a past case? Do the murders have a revenge theme? If so who is targeting Poe? And why?

This is a brilliant debut novel, with a phenomenal ending! I very much look forward to the rest of the series and I can see it having a long and prosperous life.
I applaud the author on his usage of inclusive characters. I am a huge fan of Tilly Bradshaw and can’t wait to watch her develop throughout the series! 5*

MWC
M.W. Craven
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