Anne Bonny #BookReview Forget Me Not by Claire Allan 4* #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @AvonBooksUK

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Forget Me Not by Claire Allan
My Own Copy ~ Paperback

Synopsis ~

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

My Review ~

‘Someone had wanted this woman very much dead’

The title deals with the aftermath of a violent and sadistic murder. Elizabeth O’Loughlin stumbles upon the victim in the throes of bleeding out, whilst walking her dog. She is left emotionally and mentally disturbed by what she saw… And what the victim said…
“Warn them”

When the woman in later identified we follow not only the witness statements and local police officer DI Bradley. But we follow the lives of her two closest friends, one of them Rachel, is grieving particularly heavy and her friends death leads her to question those closest to her.

We also begin to learn of Elizabeth’s past life and the story of her family. When she begins to receive threatening notes, we know that someone close to Elizabeth, means her harm.

‘Laura sends her love’

The title deals with the impact of violent murder on those left behind in its wake. The past collides with the present in this gripping Irish crime fiction title. 4*

‘Every action has consequences. Every inaction, too.’

CA
Claire Allan
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Forgotten Village by @LornaCookAuthor 5* #NewRelease #HistFic #Mystery #Romance @AvonBooksUK #DebutAuthor

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The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook ~ (Titled, The Forgotten Wife in the US)
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

1943: The world is at war, and the villagers of Tyneham are being asked to make one more sacrifice: to give their homes over to the British army. But on the eve of their departure, a terrible act will cause three of them to disappear forever.

2018: Melissa had hoped a break on the coast of Dorset would rekindle her stagnant relationship, but despite the idyllic scenery, it’s pushing her and Liam to the brink. When Melissa discovers a strange photograph of a woman who once lived in the forgotten local village of Tyneham, she becomes determined to find out more about her story. But Tyneham hides a terrible secret, and Melissa’s search for the truth will change her life in ways she never imagined possible.

‘A coastal village abandoned in wartime, a haunting expression in an old photograph, and a charismatic TV historian: from these raw ingredients Lorna Cook creates an intriguing mystery that will keep you wanting to read more’ ~ Gill Paul

My Review ~

The Forgotten Village is the perfect summer read. It really has a little bit of everything to draw the reader in and warm the heart! It is a dual timeline novel split between the modern day and the historical era of 1943. There is a mystery at the core of the title and a brilliant dash of romance! As I type that, I am aware, I am not known to read romance as such. But with The Forgotten Village I was completely taken in, as much as I was when I devoured the entire series of Poldark!

The title opens in Tyneham, Dorset in December 1943. We become acquainted with Sir Albert and Lady veronica Standish. Their entire village is to be requisitioned and to say Bertie is unhappy about it, is a major understatement. He is furious!

In the Alternative timeline we meet Melissa who is holidaying in the area with her boyfriend Liam. She is captivated by the history of the area, when she reads in the Purbeck Times of the village’s re-opening. Only when she meets historian Guy Cameron and becomes intrigued by an old photo, she is driven to investigate the mystery that lays deep in the war time past.

The novel then  jumps between 1943/2018. We learn how relationships between men and women have changed dramatically. Especially as we follow the events in Melissa and Veronica’s lives. When Melissa fails to uncover death records for the Standish’s; the investigation really heats up! Can Melissa uncover the mysteries of the past? Can Melissa she the romance blossoming before her eyes? Will Veronica find peace in her life? What lengths will Bertie go to, to ensure veronica remains with him for eternity?

‘She had no idea that the worst was yet to come’

There are mysteries and secrets galore and it is the perfect summer read! With a mix of the ‘feel good’ cosy crime. Which would make an ideal Sunday evening TV drama. Huge congratulations to the author on pulling off a fantastic debut novel and I wish her all the best in her future writing career. 5* 

LC
Lorna Cook
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Her hidden Life by @VSAlexander3 V.S. Alexander #ww2Fiction #HistoricalFiction #NewRelease @AvonBooksUK She would risk everything for the man she loves. . .

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Her Hidden Life by V.S. Alexander
Synopsis:
Her Hidden Life is currently just 99p in the UK on Kindle!
The title was released in the US under a different name – ‘The Taster’.

A forbidden love. A deadly secret.

It’s 1943 and Hitler’s Germany is a terrifying place to be.
But Magda Ritter’s duty is the most dangerous of all…

Assigned to The Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat, she must serve the Reich by becoming the Führer’s ‘Taster’ – a woman who checks his food for poison. Magda can see no way out of this hellish existence until she meets Karl, an SS officer who has formed an underground resistance group within Hitler’s inner circle.

As their forbidden love grows, Magda and Karl see an opportunity to stop the atrocities of the madman leading their country. But in doing so, they risk their lives, their families and, above all, a love unlike either of them have ever known…

Extract:

Karl informed us that Hitler often stayed at the Berghof for only a short time before leaving for another headquarters or hiding place. When Hitler was in residence, a giant Nazi flag flew over the grounds. As it turned out, he wasn’t even at the Berghof for about two weeks in May. I wasn’t sure where he went, but Karl, on the sly, told me it was to the ‘Wolf’s Lair.’ To foil assassination attempts, the Führer kept his travel schedule secret and often switched trains or flights at the last moment or showed up early or late for appointments. He’d used this tactic for years, and it had served him well, particularly since the war broke out.
A rumor circulated that Hitler was holding a reception at the Teahouse for kitchen staff before he left on his next trip. It would be the first time I had a chance to meet the leader of the Reich. I asked Karl about this and he confirmed it was true.

After breakfast the next morning, everyone was in high spirits and anticipation about ‘tea’ with the Führer. A light rain fell, but it did not dampen our gay mood. Cook wanted me to take inventory from the greenhouses and record food items, in addition to my tasting duties, so I was late getting back to my room.

‘Eva has instructed everyone to wear traditional Bavarian garments,’ Cook told me. ‘There will be a costume on your bed.’

‘Why is dressing up so important?’ I asked her.

‘Because Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s personal photographer, is here. He and Eva thought it would be a good opportunity to capture the benevolent spirit of the Führer as he entertains and thanks his staff.’ She chuckled. ‘Eva loves to dress up. That’s really why we’re doing it.’

When I went back to my room, I interrupted Ursula. She was already dressed in her Bavarian costume. I really had no fondness for the hose, petticoats, the flouncy dress and puffy sleeves of the garment. Ursula sat on her bed, sewing her apron. She turned quickly away from me when I entered.

‘You’d better get ready,’ Ursula said, looking back over her shoulder. Her fingers trembled and the needle slipped from her hand.

‘Are you all right?’ I asked. ‘Is there a problem with your apron?’ She shook her head. ‘I’m shaky because I haven’t eaten. I need to get to the kitchen for some food.’ She began sewing again and stitched across the apron’s left pocket.

‘There’s not much to eat now. The staff is preparing lunch, but I wouldn’t be concerned about me getting ready. I’m sure it’ll be after four before we’re called to the Teahouse. We’ve got plenty of time.’ Ursula sighed. ‘Yes, plenty of time.’

She went back to her work as I inspected my dress and its trimmings. ‘I don’t have an apron. Do I need one?’

Her eyes dimmed. ‘I don’t know. You might ask Cook. This one was given specifically to me.’

I stretched out on my bed with a book. ‘The weather is so nasty it’s a good day for reading.’

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Fear by @callytaylor 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Thriller @AvonBooksUK

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The Fear by C.L Taylor
Synopsis:

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

My Review:

This novel has an extremely relevant theme. With more and more women coming forward; regarding their experiences of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement’s media reach. The central theme is the abuse of power, by male teacher Mike Hughes. The trauma of the past will have severe repercussions for victim Lou Wandsworth. This is a griping psychological thriller, with many thought-provoking points.

The novel opens with the now adult Lou and her most recent boyfriend Ben. Having organised a secret surprise for Lou, Ben takes her to the ferry port to Calais.
Only what Ben doesn’t know, is that for Lou this journey brings back flashbacks of a much darker time…..

‘In an instant I am fourteen years old again’

Back in Malvern, someone is stalking Lou, using the accessibility of social media, to track her down. They have taken their time, created a fake profile and seem hell bent on making Lou pay, but who? And why?

The narrative of what occurred between Lou and Mike when they fled the UK for France; is explored in a serious of memories and flashbacks. The author has done an outstanding job, of describing the seduction and fear of the teenage victims. The perpetrators desperation for control and in some way, what he looks for in his potential victims.
As the mother of a teenage girl, I was horrified!

‘I don’t know why you’re blaming me for everything, you know what you were getting yourself into’ – Mike

The trauma of the experience at the ferry port, leads Lou to believe she must confront Mike. On reflection she knows she was groomed for abuse, she hears his voice within her head. Lou believes, that to overcome her internal fear she must make Mike face up to what he has done to her. But Mike is a sexual predator, who blames his victims for his sexual appetite. He will not accept accountability, so easily…..

When Lou tracks down Mike, she finds him in the embrace of a 13/14yr old girl. She is shocked and disturbed, by the way in which Mike is so casually re-offending. Lou speaks to the local police officers, but with no proof of what she saw and a young girl in denial. They have nothing to go on. Which puts Lou firmly back at square one!

The young teenage girl, is Chloe Meadows. As victims go, she is highly complex herself. Her parents show little interest in her life, she is lonely and has very low self-esteem. I was surprised at her parent’s lack of protection and regard for her safety with the internet. This enabling Mike to have constant communication with his victim, poisoning her mind at every turn.

‘I thought I was so grown up.
That my life was a romantic movie.
That I was in control. I couldn’t have been more wrong’ – Lou

As Lou’s investigation into Mike and his relationship with Chloe intensifies, so does Lou’s stalkers. This is a novel with constant simmering confrontations and a high level of emotion. This makes it one hell of a tense read!!!!!

When Mike took Lou to France, she assumed it was a romantic trip. When she got there, she discovered his intentions were much more sinister. Mike is a master manipulator, as evidenced in Lou’s experiences in France. When She returns home, Mike is sentenced to 5yrs in jail. He loses his career, wife and freedom. But can men like this ever be rehabilitated? Is he just biding time, to locate and move in, on a new victim? Lou is labelled an ‘embarrassment’ and disgrace by her father. I had to ask myself, who really paid the bigger price, Lou or Mike?

‘You’re to hold my hand all the way there, keep your eyes lowered and do as you’re told’

Mike’s justifications for his actions are sickening. But he is unaware, that Lou kept a diary of her experiences. A diary that may help her prove what a sick individual Mike is.
This novel has an incredibly tense build up to a shocking ending! Those last four pages, show just how cleverly plotted out the entire novel is. Huge respect for the author for ensuring her novel reads right up to the very last sentence. 5*

***I don’t add buying links on my reviews, but I will give you the heads up that the kindle & paperback version of The Fear are just £2.99 via Amazon***

CL
C.L Taylor
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#Review 5* #TrustMe by @TheAngelaClarke @AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #SocialMediaSeries

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Trust Me by Angela Clarke
Synopsis:

YOU SAW IT HAPPEN. DIDN’T YOU?

What do you do if you witness a crime…but no-one believes you?

When Kate sees a horrific attack streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who attacked her.

Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but the trail has gone cold. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?

Dark, gripping, and flawlessly paced, Trust Me is the brilliant third novel in the hugely popular social media murderer series.

‘Smart and sassy’ SARAH PINBOROUGH, author of Behind Her Eyes

‘Clever and unnerving’ C.L. Taylor, author of The Escape

My review:

I am new to this series, but have read many positive reviews and praise. I initially assumed Freddie and Nas were male characters (my bad!). It was a pleasant surprise to see two strong female leads, in a contemporary, police procedural, crime fiction novel. This made the novel feel much more realistic to me. My bestie is a detective. So whilst I know there maybe be fewer female detectives, there are still more than is often portrayed in crime fiction.

The novel opens with Kate witnessing a savage and graphic rape and murder via a live stream on the internet. The periscope account is quickly deactivated, leaving Kate with no proof of what she saw. She contacts a local police officer, PC Jones who is dismissive and trivialises the event.
Leading Kate to start her own investigation!

But Kate isn’t the only one that witnessed the live stream…..

The novel then focuses on the police team. There is wide mixture of characters. With the main two being DS Nasreem Cudmore and civilian investigator Freddie Venton. Freddie is going through a role change. But the individual role of the team members is fully explained. They are currently investigating the case of a missing gang member Paul Robertson, who disappeared with his daughter Amber a year ago. They are linked to a local gang, THM tower hamlets massive and a rival gang the dogberry boys. The gangs are heavily involved in drugs and the trafficking of people, usually for the sex trade. When they investigate Amber’s social media, they are shocked to discover RIP messages. Is Amber dead? Or is this a threat?

There are chapters written from the perspective of someone involved in the live streamed assault. They are chilling! But they do offer an insight into the guilt, people may feel for their involvement or coercion into a brutal assault. Kate is struggling mentally with what she witnessed and becomes more and more unreliable as a character. She begins have delusions and ends up on sleeping tablets, to block out the images of what she saw. I felt this was also an insight into the life of a witness after the tragic event. I am not sure I would have coped much better than Kate.
It must be sheer hell to witness, what she saw…..

The novel continues at quite a rapid pace. We discover Kate’s personal grief, which fuels her delusions. The team also uncover more threats via social media. More witnesses come forward and Freddie and Nas begin to start asking themselves, are they now looking for a body?

“If you cross me I will come for the people you love. I will destroy them. I will take you apart piece by piece” Lex Riley FB post.

This novel has so many themes. We discover the depravity that can lurk in disenfranchised youth. The brutality of rape and its impact on innocent young women. The pain of witnesses in the aftermath. The lure and hold gangs, have over their members. The dangers of social media and the internet. How do the police officers cope, putting a case together, chasing leads and gathering the relevant evidence?
Highly recommended! 5*

*It may also be worth noting. There are a set of questions at the back for reading groups and a Q&A with the author herself. Which makes this ideal for a contemporary crime fiction pick, for reading groups!

AC
Angela Clarke
Authors links:
Twitter: @TheAngelaClarke
Website: http://angelaclarke.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterAngelaClarke/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6993171.Angela_Clarke