Anne Bonny #BookReview Past Life by @NolanDom #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @headlinepg ‘An AMAZING debut novel 5*’

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Past Life by Dominic Nolan
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.

Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.

Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.

Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?

My Review:

This novel has a gripping synopsis, a detective found with amnesia and a stranger to her own family. A pain that pushes her to search for the truth and justice.
I was 100% SOLD, straight from that.

The novel has a dark opening, with a woman awakening not knowing her own name. There is a nearby body of a late teen female, clearly dead. The scene is intense and dark, set the pace for the novel perfectly. The woman is in a locked room, with no handle on the inside of the door. The woman can here the voices of others nearby including another female.
‘Noises of fear. Noises of pain’

I was on tender hooks as I read her inner thoughts……
‘Deep breaths now – resist the urge to call out’
Eventually the female is able to escape, urging another captive to RUN!
‘She didn’t remember anything about anything’

As I said above, a tense, action-packed and emotionally charged opening scene.

Abigail Boone has since moved house, attempting a chance at a new start/life. She is still struggling with chronic pain in her leg. Her family, husband Jack and teen son Quin find her difficult to relate to as her habit have changed. Abigail Boone feels alone in the world. Her recovery is fully explored and we learn of the medical and psychological impact of what Abigail has sustained.

‘The doctors said short-term memory lass wasn’t that uncommon after major trauma, so confusion was to be expected. The heavy dose of benzodiazepines found in her system wouldn’t help either’

She has no memory of who she is but can understand the world, as such! Imagine surviving a trauma only to lose who you are and the ability to bring the perpetrators to justice?

‘Four days she had been missing. One hundred and two hours’

Abigail was found in a London flat, set alight there is no DNA/evidence and no ID on the dead body. The other female victim is Bulgarian, she is uncooperative due to her trauma and the investigation leads to a dead end.

‘Life was habits and systems and Boone had to learn them all anew’

The debut novel reminded me very much of Tim Weaver’s excellent missing series. As Boone, as she now likes to be called digs into a cold case in an attempt to expose her own memories. Her clinical psychologist husband Jack also urges her on in her search to find Sarah, a previous abduction case Boone had worked on.

Working Sarah’s case also leads Boone to Rumena Zlatkova (Roo) the Bulgarian captive held with Boone. Roo re-tells her experience of trafficking to Boone and we become aware of the horrors that these women endure.

‘Men like that rely on two things. Fear firstly. And secondly, the fact these girls have no voice. Nobody cares what they say’

Boone is a relentless force to be reckoned with, she makes an incredible protagonist and the ending completely blew me away, I felt bereft….

‘Masks don’t just hide identity – they hide a person’s humanity. Hiding that gives them the power, makes their victims feel powerless’

An AMAZING debut novel 5*

DN
Dominic Nolan
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Dark Place by @steph2rogers1 #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller #DebutAuthor @BooksManatee #TheDarkPlace ‘Prepare for an intense read 5*’

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The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers
Review Copy
Synopsis:

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

My Review:

‘Faceless and desolate, like her. Lost’
The Dark Place is a family psychological thriller (in my opinion). It revolves around the family of 18yr old Issy after she ends her life by suicide. Her parents Jon and Mel are on a desperate path to understand her motives and why she would abandon her young son Noah (3yrs). I felt as if I was with the couple on their journey into #TheDarkPlace. . .

The method of Issy’s suicide is fully explored within the narrative, and the parents although at first in denial; eventually come to understand it was an intentional act. PC Dawson and PC Carter are called to the parent’s residence to explain. Mel as Issy’s mother is not only devastated, she is mentally broken by the news…..
‘For the next twenty four hours I can’t remember anything else, other than wishing it was me who was dead’ – Mel

When Jon goes to the police station to identify Issy’s body he notices scars of self-harm. It is then that it dawns on him that his daughter was in deep emotional and psychological pain. At first, he responds with anger and rage as the pain and grief consume him. I felt this was an accurate description of the stages of grief.
‘In my chest, where a warm human heart used to be, now sits a stone-cold lump of concrete’ – Jon

Mel and Jon do their best to hold their emotions together for Issy’s young son Noah. But they are still unaware of the child’s biological father and this adds another layer of mystery to Issy’s suicide. Eventually the parents befriend Inspector Steve Jackson, who is as baffled by the case as they are. He agrees to help them investigate when he is off-duty and so forth the journey into The Dark Place begins.

‘Everything looks bleak and I can’t see a way out of it’ – Jon

The investigation gives the parents a focus and a goal to aim for. They seek to understand their daughter and in some way bring themselves closure.
But they are unprepared for what they are about to un-cover and suspicion falls on everyone. . .
‘I’m feeling more and more like I never knew, my daughter at all’ – Mel

Prepare for an intense read 5*

SR
Stephanie Rogers
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with #Author @NatalieGHart #PiecesOfMe #NewRelease #DebutAuthour #DebutNovel @Legend_Press

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Pieces Of Me by Natalie Hart
Review to follow
Synopsis:

Emma did not go to war looking for love, but Adam is unlike any other.

Under the secret shadow of trauma, Emma decides to leave Iraq and joins Adam to settle in Colorado. But isolation and fear find her, once again, when Adam is re-deployed. Torn between a deep fear for Adam’s safety and a desire to be back there herself, Emma copes by throwing herself into a new role mentoring an Iraqi refugee family.

But when Adam comes home, he brings the conflict back with him. Emma had considered the possibility that her husband might not come home from war. She had not considered that he might return a stranger.

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) Hello! Thanks for having me on the blog. I am currently based in London, but I often spend time travelling for work. Wherever I am in the world, I like to start my day by writing. My first job out of university was in Baghdad, which is where part of my novel is set.
My book follows protagonist British woman Emma, who meets and falls in love with US soldier Adam while she works in Iraq. Eventually she moves to the US to be with him, but when Adam is redeployed their relationship starts to struggle. My book explores the impact that conflict has on individuals and personal relationships, and the way that the effects of war linger long after the battle is over.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) I started writing the novel on a writing workshop in Mexico in January 2015. I had been thinking about the idea for a while, but the writers leading the workshop (particularly Magda Bogin and Owen Sheers) gave me the confidence to start it.
I met my agent, the wonderful Ella Kahn, at the London Book Fair where I won the Write Stuff competition in April 2016. Having an agent made the writing process both more focused and more enjoyable. Ella encouraged and reassured me every step of the way.
Legend Press bought my manuscript in February 2018. I got the call while I was at an airport in Morocco and promptly burst into tears because I was so overwhelmed. From the first time I met my editor I knew that she was totally on board with my vision of what I wanted the novel to be.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) My favourite book this year has been When the Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú, which is the memoir of a US border patrol agent. It resonated with me as a book that gives a real human experience to an international political issue, as I have tried to do myself. Cantú’s writing is a delight and his descriptions of the vast, beautiful and treacherous landscapes of the desert on the US Mexico border evoked feelings that have lingered long since I finished the book.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Dick King-Smith’s Sophie series were my favourite books as a child. The series follows a young girl who spends lots of time in the countryside and constantly works towards her ambition of being a ‘Lady Farmer’, which was also my goal at the time! I remember having an intense feeling of familiarity and being understood while reading those books. I think it’s the first time I experienced how writing can reflect and make sense of people’s realities, which is a major motivator for me in my writing today.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) When I was a teenager I worked in a small bookshop in East Sussex called Barnett’s of Wadhurst, owned by a man called Richard Hardy-Smith. My favourite moment of the publishing journey was telling Richard that he would finally be able to sell my book in his shop. I think my next favourite moment will be when I actually see my book on the shelves there!

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) I am very, very lucky to have so many people who have supported me through the writing process. Different people offer me different things. I rely on some for emotional support, others for writing advice, and others still when I need a voice of reason. My family are particularly good at teasing me and reminding me not to take life too seriously.

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Natalie Hart
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with #Author @TraceyJEmerson #SheChoseMe #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller #DebutAuthor @Legend_Press

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She Chose Me by Tracey Emerson
Review to follow
Synopsis:

‘Not having a child can change your life as much as having one.’

Grace has returned to London after twenty years abroad to manage her dying mother’s affairs. When she receives a blank Mother’s Day card in the post, she is confused and unsettled. Who could have sent it to her and why? She isn’t a mother.

Another Mother’s Day card arrives. Then come the silent phone calls. Haunted by disturbing flashbacks, Grace starts to unravel. Someone is out to get her. Someone who knows what she has done. Someone who will make her face the past she has run from for so long.

Q&A:

Thanks so much for your interest and great questions! Best wishes, Tracey.

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) As an army kid, I spent my childhood moving between military bases in the U.K., Germany, the Middle East and South-East Asia. After school, I went to Bretton Hall College, which was part of Leeds University. I trained as an actor there and went on to work in theatre and community arts before turning to fiction writing.
She Chose Me is a psychological thriller about a single, childless woman, Grace, who has returned to London after 20 years abroad to care for her dying mother. The mystery begins when Grace receives a blank Mother’s Day card in the post. Who could have sent it to her and why? She isn’t a mother. When another card arrives, followed by a spate of silent phone calls, Grace begins to unravel. Haunted by disturbing flashbacks, she realises someone is out to get her, and she knows the only way she will survive is by confronting the dark past she has run from for so long.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) I had the original idea some years whilst out walking—this is always when the ideas seem to arrive! Soon afterwards, I embarked on my Creative Writing PhD at the University of Edinburgh and decided to write the novel as the PhD’s creative component.
The journey from idea to publication was a long one. I thought at first that in order to make the original idea work, I would have to set it in the future and write a dystopian novel. 90,000 words later, I realised the idea didn’t fit the genre and had to start again. By the end of my PhD I had a two-viewpoint literary novel called Choose Me. Another draft later, I had the thriller version that got me my agent. We came close with our first round of submissions to publishers and then I revised the novel yet again. This version got me my publishing deal.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) There are too many brilliant ones to pick from so I’ll focus on novels that shaped my thinking while I was writing She Chose Me: Doris Lessing’s Memoirs of a Survivor, Surfacing by Margaret Atwood and Toni Morrison’s Beloved were all influential. As were Nina Todd Has Gone by Lesley Glaister, Disclaimer by Renée Knight and The Offering by Grace McCleen. I also re-read Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley. Highsmith is so skilled at writing twisted but sympathetic anti-heroes.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I grew up in the 70’s, so Enid Blyton’s books dominated my younger childhood, in particular the Malory Towers and The Wishing Chair series. I also loved The Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Later, The Wind in The Willows, Tales of The Arabian Nights and Little Women were particular favourites, along with classics like Lorna Doone, The Swiss Family Robinson and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

I was a teenager before YA fiction came along, so I read a combination of the good commercial fiction my parents had at home and the literary works I studied at school. I devoured Stephen King in my teens and remember loving V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic series. Favourite books from school included Lord of The Flies and All Quiet on the Western Front. In my late teens, I read a lot of plays, poetry, books by and about Jim Morrison and like all my friends, I obsessed over The Bell Jar and cried over Jonathon Livingston Seagull. And let’s not forget Viz magazine and comedy classic, The Daily Sport!

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) Holding a finished copy of She Chose Me for the first time was pretty special. But I’m really enjoying this part of the process—getting to engage with readers and share the book with them.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) Considering writing is often thought of as a solitary process, it’s taken a huge team of people to make She Chose Me possible. I’ve had support and encouragement from my writing mentors, the Creative Writing staff at The University of Edinburgh and the other students I met whilst studying there. Then there’s my brilliant agent, Charlie Brotherstone, and all the team at Legend Press. Closer to home, I’ve had invaluable support from my family, friends and the people I share my life with. I’m indebted to them all.

Tracey Emerson
Tracy Emerson
Website
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Lies Between Us by @Ronnie__Turner #NewRelease #PsychologicalThriller #DebutAuthor @HQDigitalUK @HQStories #WhereIsBonnie

Lies Between Us
Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Will they ever learn the truth?
Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.
Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.
Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .

My Review:

‘Not all love is pure
not all love is kind
not all love is true love
some love is blind’

The novel focuses around three central characters. John the father with the perfect life who had it all until his young daughter Bonnie went missing. Maisie the Intensive care unit nurse who cares deeply for her patients; and Miller an innocent child with a dark and deadly home life.

The novel opens in 1992 with a traumatic scene from Miller’s childhood, one that will go on to shape the man he becomes. . .
‘Sweet girl. Funny girl. Dead girl’

We then jump to 2015 and the disappearance of author John Graham’s 6yr old daughter Bonnie. John lives with his pregnant artist wife Jules in Oxford and until the disappearance of their daughter they had the picture perfect life.
Is someone targeting John? If so, why?

We then move to 2016 and meet Maisie Green an ICU nurse treating coma patient Tim. Maisie becomes involved in Tim’s life and personal backstory due to the nature of his circumstances. Tim was attacked and left for dead. His devastated wife and daughter regularly visit; and this draws Maisie deeper into their lives.

‘I’ll start with my family because you know the beginning is just as important as the end’ – Miller
Miller’s backstory is harrowing, and I became quite obsessed with his character. I was desperate to know if Miller really is the victim of abuse, or if Miller just perceives himself to be the victim? You have to read his scenes and inner thoughts to fully try to grasp his character. It does not make for easy reading.

‘It isn’t death that fascinates me. It is life’ – Miller

The biggest mystery within the novel is #WhereIsBonnie? Who has taken her and why. The chapters are short, sharp and stick to the point. The author provides you breadcrumb like clues to each of the individual characters.
But will you be smart enough to figure it out?
When John begins to receive threatening notes and photos the tension and suspense is really ramped up!

‘Bonnie is a piece of weaponry in the kidnapper’s arsenal’

The author has written an intelligent and well crafted plot. That instantly reminded me of, Why Did You Lie by Yrsa Sigadottir. It isn’t all the mini/sub plots that give this novel it’s intelligence but how they all eventually come together.

I was 80% of the way through the novel and had no idea how the novel would tie up.
A menacing and taunting psychological thriller, from an author with a bright future ahead of her. 4.5*

Author Photo 2
Ronnie Turner
Website
Twitter

*Apologies to Ronnie & HQ, that my post is a few days late, I have been laid up with flu*

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