Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Juliet & Romeo by @david_hewson #Literary #Romance #Historical #NewRelease @DomePress #JulietAndRomeo

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Juliet & Romeo by David Hewson
Synopsis:

Two young people meet: Romeo, desperate for love before being sent away to study, and Juliet facing a forced marriage to a nobleman she doesn’t know. Fate and circumstance bring them together in a desperate attempt to thwart their parents with a secret marriage. But in a single fateful week, their intricate scheming falls terribly apart. Shakespeare’s most well-known and well-loved play has been turned in to a gripping romantic thriller with a modern twist. Rich with the sights and sounds of medieval Italy, peopled with a vibrant cast of characters who spring from the page, this is Shakespeare as you’ve never read it before.

Extract:

Part One: To Borrow Cupid’s Wings

The Marangona bell in the Torre dei Lamberti had just sounded the hour. Nine of a busy Monday morning in what was once Verona’s imperial Roman forum, now its marketplace, the Piazza Erbe. The square thronged with shoppers bargaining at stalls selling meat and fish, cheese and fruit and vegetables, cheap wine and cheaper beer. In the shadows of the colonnades two youths lurked, Samson and Gregory, both servants of the Capulets. The first a skinny seventeenyear-old kitchen boy, the second a priest’s bastard from Padua, a tall and hefty stable hand shuffling on his big feet as he caught the glint of metal in Samson’s grubby hand. They wore the clothes of their class – rough wool jerkins, baggy britches, sandals held together by thread and nails. This poverty extended to the weaponry they took with them on to the streets. The sons of fine families were in the habit of carrying daggers and rapiers forged in Florence and Milan. The lower orders snatched at anything they could lay their hands on, sharp or blunt. They fought with fists and boots and punches to the balls. Died that way, too. A crude swagger stick sat on a piece of rope round Gregory’s fat stomach, a mallet handle with a spiked iron ball on the end. The blade Samson owned was nothing more than a paring knife stolen from the

kitchen, the edge honed carefully until it gleamed. He held it now, low by his side so that only his companion might see. ‘There’s that fat Montague pig Abraham with his mate. Time to put that stick of yours to some use, Gregory. Go over and wallop him. He wants it.’ Across the piazza, just visible beyond the stalls, two figures moved through the market. Much the same age as the two Capulets. Much the same size: one short and lean, one tubby and daydreaming. Samson and Gregory wore a scarlet feather in their caps. The Montagues a blue one. Not that any of these were flesh and blood of the Montague or Capulet lines. Just servants, sharing the same borrowed hatred and never asking why. Gregory kicked a fish head and stuck his fists deep into the pockets of his britches. ‘I don’t know. We’re getting hard looks from those blokes on the stalls. They don’t like trouble when they’re trying to sell stuff.’ ‘I reckon it was them Montague lads who had that kitchen girl of ours last week.’ Lucia. An orphan who worked the ovens. She’d gone out for a walk by the river. Came back in tears and rags, telling tales the soldiers of Escalus, the city’s current military master, didn’t want to hear. ‘That hare-brained lass should have been in the kitchen stirring the pots, not hanging round down them dark alleys in Sottoriva. Could have been anyone had his way with her. Besides the watchmen reckoned she was up for it. Plenty been there with that daft cow. You for one.’ ‘Scared are you?’ ‘Just thinking it through.’ The Montague pair had spotted them but they hadn’t moved their way. ‘I don’t see you in a rush either.’

Fights were fine so long as the numbers were on your side. And you had the right comrades. Samson liked to whine. It was his principal pastime. Action always came last. ‘It’s only fair. They had one of ours. A bit of gravy on their chops and then we leg it.’ Gregory pulled a stick of dried sausage out of his pocket, bit off a chunk and waited. ‘Master sent us out to buy grub for his ball tonight. He won’t be happy if we come back empty-handed.’ ‘We whack them round the head a bit. Then go hunting round the back of their palazzo. First girl that comes out of the kitchen’s mine. Unless she’s hideous – then you can have her.’ Samson had a sly and cruel face and it was turned on Gregory. ‘With a bit of luck we might get a virgin if the Montagues have got any left. You all right with that?’ ‘I’m all right with the girls. Escalus ain’t so bothered about them. It’s the walloping bit–’ ‘They got to know who’s boss. You with me or not?’ Gregory patted his pocket. He had a stable knife with him as well as the swagger stick. Short, a bit blunt. But he was strong enough to hold a struggling stallion when he had to. The thing would do. ‘I hate the buggers, too, you know. But like I say. Escalus has got that one wicked eye on lads like us. Same way his bosses in Venice have got their eyes on him. The Marshal hates riots. They get him in trouble too. I don’t fancy jail or worse just for giving one of them scummy Montagues a few bruises and a sore head.’ ‘Then let’s get clever. Make them start the scrap. I’ll look at them funny. Get ’em going. That way we’re just… defending ourselves. Which is every man’s right, and Escalus is bound to uphold us in that.’ Samson grinned, displaying a remarkable absence of teeth. ‘As

to the kitchen girls… well… everyone knows what they’re like. I want first go though. This’ll do it.’ Samson winked, grinned and bit his thumb. The oldest, stupidest gesture any of them knew. Someone said the Romans used to do it when they fancied a brawl. ‘Go on then,’ said Gregory and didn’t move. Samson looked up at him. ‘You first.’ ‘When we get around to the girl, you mean?’ ‘No. The fight. You’re the big one. You lead. I’ll follow.’ Gregory slapped him hard on the shoulder. ‘Ow,’ Samson whined. ‘That hurt.’ ‘Oh sorry, friend. We’re supposed to be buying stuff for the evening ball. There’ll be trouble if that goes wrong. Capulet will do the walloping himself and we both know what he’s like with that whip of his.’ Samson went quiet. He’d had enough of Capulet’s beatings. ‘Tell you what,’ said Gregory. ‘We’ll skip the girl. Next week. When we’ve got more time. And…’ A shape they recognised was moving through the crowds, a tall youth around their own age. But he was an aristocrat; it showed in his clothes, his manner, the haughty way he held his head above the swarms of common folk around him as if he couldn’t stand the stink of them. ‘Well, well,’ Samson murmured, gleeful all of a sudden. ‘If it isn’t our master’s well-loved nephew. Just the chap you’d want at a time like this.’ ‘I suppose,’ Gregory agreed, though the sight of the young man across the Piazza Erbe gave him pause. ‘I heard the noble Tybalt crippled a clerk who’d done nothing more than bump into him in the street a month or so ago.’

‘Dead right he did. I was there and he paid me well to keep quiet. Back last winter he ran a cheeky cart boy right through down by the brothels in Sottoriva.’ Gregory didn’t like those dark and dangerous colonnades by the river. ‘Our Tybalt got caught hanging round the tarts down there?’ ‘The only kind of girl that one beds are the sort you pay for. Expensive business. The old man had to dig deep to keep him out of Escalus’s clutches after he murdered the poor little bugger.’ Tybalt was bloodthirsty, vicious and short tempered, always armed with the latest weapons, forever spoiling for a quarrel and a chance to use them. ‘Nothing stopping our Tybalt,’ Samson added. ‘’Specially when there are Montagues around.’ He clapped his grubby hands. ‘This will be fun.’

DH
Photo: Dingena Mol / Crimezone Magazine
David Hewson
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Street Orphans by @Authormary Mary Wood #Saga #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction @panmacmillan ‘A stark portrayal of the Victorian era in Lancashire 5*’

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The Street Orphans by Mary Wood
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Born with a club foot in a remote village in the Pennines, Ruth is feared and ridiculed by her superstitious neighbours who see her affliction as a sign of witchcraft. When her father is killed in an accident and her family evicted from their cottage, she hopes to leave her old life behind, to start afresh in the Blackburn cotton mills. But tragedy strikes once again, setting in motion a chain of events that will unravel her family’s lives.

Their fate is in the hands of the Earl of Harrogate, and his betrothed, Lady Katrina. But more sinister is the scheming Marcia, Lady Katrina’s jealous sister. Impossible dreams beset Ruth from the moment she meets the Earl. Dreams that lead her to hope that he will save her from the terrible fate that awaits those accused of witchcraft. Dreams that one day her destiny and the Earl’s will be entwined.

My Review:

I have previously read and loved Brighter Days Ahead by Mary wood. Which I thoroughly enjoyed as a ww2 fiction saga. This novel however, takes on a whole other angle. The Street Orphans is a much darker novel, which fully explores the themes of poverty in Victorian society. The plight of the children, whilst remaining factual accurate, is unbearable at times. It is just so painful and as a parent myself, I dreaded the thought of having to endure such harsh times.

The novel opens in 1850 when the lives of one young family are ripped apart. Ruth Dovecote is the oldest of five siblings, she finds herself the mother figure. After the death of their father in a recent accident, the family are served an eviction notice 24hrs after the funeral. They are cold, penniless and hungry. Their mother decides to make the trek to Lythe Fell in Blackburn, to her cousin’s residence.
Only the journey doesn’t go as planned.

On the journey the carriage of the Earl of Harrogate hits Ruth’s mother causing an instant death. Despite witnessing the death of their beloved mother, the children rally to save the passengers. The Earl is far from grateful and mocks Ruth’s club foot, with nothing but utter contempt for her. . .

‘And us within spitting distance of Pendle Hill, where they hanged a whole bunch of your kind a couple of centuries ago’ – Earl of Harrogate

The legend that surrounds Pendle Hill and specifically the witches of Pendle Hill, is well known. At least it is to me. I grew up in Lancashire and Pendle Hill could be clearly seen from the front doorstep of my grandmother’s house on Summer Street in Nelson. I can remember my granny Winnie filling my head with tales of her past in Lancashire. My Gran worked in the mills and my grandad worked down the pits. They had both known harsh childhoods, full of poverty and yet gave nothing but love their entire lives. My Grandfather himself was an Orphan at 17yrs of age. His father committed suicide after ww1, my grandad found his body at just 10yrs old. So, I suppose the themes of orphans/poverty hit me quite hard emotionally. I remember my gran telling me that at 17yrs old my grandad couldn’t afford shoes for his feet and that he had also endured sleeping rough. This is a man that would give you the shirt of his back, his last fiver or giant hug whenever you needed it. Lancashire might have a history of poverty and endurance under difficult times. But it also has an incredible history of love, friendship and warmth amongst its people.

Anyhow, back to the story before I am crying!
Ruth saves the Earl despite his vile attitude towards her. when he then makes violent threats towards her younger sister Elsie 4yrs old.
Ruth sees red and this leaves the Earl dead!
What will become of the children now?

Across Lancashire we are introduced to Katrina, daughter to a wealthy mill owner. She is betrothed to Lord Bertram Rollinson, the Earl of Harrogate. At just 21yrs old, she finds this a rather daunting prospect.
She is unable to marry for love and this she finds disheartening. . .

‘Lord Rollinson is trading a title for me, and daddy’s acceptance into society circles, just to get his hands on our money. How could you wish this to happen to me?’ – Katrina

However, Katrina is in for a surprise because Bertram is no longer among the living. Which will lead to his brother Frederick to take his place as Earl. Which brings a whole new dimension to Katerina’s marital woes.

‘Marriage in your society is no more than a business contract’ – Arkwright

The new Earl of Harrogate, Frederick is deeply concerned for the welfare of the children involved in the crash. He knows their actions allowed his mother Lady Eleonore to survive it. He hunts them down in a desperate attempt to help them. But these are street smart kids, who’s only experience of ‘toffs’ is one of exploitation and abuse. Ruth avoids the earl at every turn, which leads her to Ma Perkins and a whole new nightmare!

The novel covers a wide-range of themes as we follow not only the working-class characters but the society elite. Whilst the poor may fall prey to violence, rape and extreme poverty. The wealthy experience their own set of struggles. They live in s society built on reputations, where their status can be crushed in the blink of an eye. The women also experience being married off, as though they are pawns in a game of chess, being moved off to advance the males in the family. The author has done an outstanding job of covering the various people within the society and maintaining historical accuracy.
A stark portrayal of the Victorian era in Lancashire 5*

Mary Wood
Mary wood
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My ReviewBrighter Days Ahead

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
The Street Orphans - Blog tour 2018

 

Anne Bonny #BookReview Wrong Way Home by @IsabelleGrey 5* #CrimeFiction #Thriller #NewRelease @QuercusBooks A cornered predator is most dangerous of all. . .

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Wrong way Home by Isabelle Grey
Review Copy
Synopsis:

A cold case leads DI Grace Fisher on the hunt for the most dangerous killer of her career – but after twenty-five years, can she really be sure she will get to the truth?

The same night a local hero saved two people from the burning Marineland resort in Southend, a young woman was raped and murdered minutes from the scene of the fire, the culmination of a series of brutal rapes in the town. The killer was never found.

Twenty-five years on, new DNA techniques have blown the cold case open. DI Grace Fisher relishes the prospect of finally catching the culprit, but when the evidence doesn’t point to one clear suspect, she must reconstruct the original investigation. Any suggestion that the Essex force was less than thorough at the time could alienate her colleagues and destroy her chances of reaching the truth.

Grace finds her investigation shadowed by a young true-crime podcaster backed by veteran crime reporter Ivo Sweatman. As pressure mounts she cannot afford to be distracted. She knows that a cold-blooded killer is slowly being backed into a corner, and a cornered predator is often the most dangerous of all…

My Review:

The novel opens with Freddie Craig delivering his live podcast. The podcast entitled ‘stories from the fire’ focuses on the 1992 fire at the boarded up Marineland resort; and also a murder that took place that night. Heather Bowyer was just 19yrs old when she was raped and murdered at a nearby park. The media attention surrounding the fire and rescue of two local teenagers over-shadowed any focus on Heather’s case and she became quickly forgotten. The case remains unsolved and Freddie makes it his personal mission to unmask the killer. . .

‘Nobody knows. Or only one person, and he’s not telling’ – Freddie Craig

The novel then jumps to DI Grace Fisher, we are briefly introduced to the other members of the police team. But what is most fascinating, is that Grace has a lead on the Bowyer rape/murder case. Due to a DNA familial match, they have a drink driver from 2yrs ago with ties to whoever left DNA the night of Heather Bowyer’s murder. This could ultimately crack the case. Unbeknown to the rest of the team, Grace has linked this case to a potential 5 further rapes in Southend at that time.
Will Grace get the answers she so desperately seeks?

The novel also introduces Ivo Sweatman the chief crime correspondent at the daily courier. He was a young reporter at the time of the murder and reluctantly agrees to assist Freddie with his personal mission.

Grace tracks down the drink driver Deborah Shillingford. They ask about any living male relatives and explain how they would need to eliminate their DNA from the case. Deborah has two brothers Larry and Reece and her father is still alive. But there is something about Deborah’s plight that unnerves Grace. Why is she so accepting that the blame will fall to her? Why is she content to live a life of misery, almost in exile from all her family?

Meanwhile, Freddie’s podcast’s get more and more intense:
‘I want to know how it feels to live with the knowledge that every day might finally bring that knock on the door that will expose your whole life as a sham. I really want to meet this man and I bet I’m not the only one’ – Freddie Craig

Grace immediately assembles teams to take DNA from both Larry & Reece. It would seem the truth is finally about to be revealed. Then the novel takes a HUGE twist!
A fire breaks out at one of the potential suspects homes and throws the whole case into jeopardy.
This cold case, just hot a whole lot hotter…….

‘She knew all too well that true evil was never as simple as that’ – DI Grace Fisher

The characterisation of Grace, Freddie and Ivo, makes the novel so much more intense. Each has a different motive but the same ultimate goal. They all want to see justice for Heather Bowyer. Whilst some of the suspects conspire to conceal the truth.
Grace must deal with a case gone cold; in an era when rape victims weren’t believed or taken seriously at all.

As with all fantastic protagonists DI Grace Fisher continues to pursue justice despite the difficulties she faces unravelling the cold case. 5*

isabelle-grey
Isabelle Grey
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My Review – The Special Girls

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #JoonaLinna #Series – It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die. . .

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The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler – Joona Linna #6
My own copy from my TBR pile
Synopsis:

It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die…

The sixth gripping thriller in Lars Kepler’s bestselling series featuring Joona Linna. Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo.

There’s a face at the window.
A stranger wearing a mask stands in the shadow of a garden. He’s watching his first victim through the window. He will kill him slowly, make it last – play him a nursery rhyme – make him pay.

A killer in your house.
There’s only one person the police can turn to – ex-Detective Joona Linna – but he’s serving time in a high-security prison. So they offer him a chance to secure his freedom: help Superintendent Saga Bauer track down the vicious killer known as the Rabbit Hunter, before he strikes again.

Only one man can stop him.
Soon another three victims have been murdered and Stockholm is in the grip of terror. Joona Linna must catch a disturbed predator, whose trail of destruction leads back to one horrific night of violence – with consequences more terrifying than anyone could have imagined…

My Review:

I am a huge fan of the Joona Linna series. If I remember correctly we were left on a huge cliff hanger, of an ending for quite some time. Knowing that there was both positive and negative outcomes for Jonna’s future.
I pre-ordered this novel and read as soon as it was delivered! It did not disappoint. The backstory of Joona is immense and the series is best read from the beginning. This is not my favourite of the series, as it lacked that insight into Joona, that we have come to know and love in every other edition to the series.

The novel opens with a brutal scene, of sexual degradation. A call girl arrive at a prestigious address in Germaniqviken, to a ‘date’ with a mysterious new client named Wille. Sofia has been an escort for 3yrs and is experienced in her work and the dangers it brings. But nothing can prepare her for the moment, Wille turns. He spits in her face and it is in this moment Sofia realises she has been drugged. A Cat and mouse game of sexual assault takes place until at last Sofia is saved by a figure wearing a mask. But who is the masked individual? And where did they come from?

Before Wille is shot by the intruder, they share some sinister words. . . .
‘I know that Ratjen opened the door and now. . .’ – Intruder
‘Who’s Ratjen?’ – Wille
‘And now hell is going to devour you all’ – Intruder
But what does it all mean and who is Ratjen?

Superintendent Saga Bauer nis working for counter terroism, when she receives a code platinum, the highest threat to national security. She arrives at the scene to find the dead body of the foreign minister (Wille), a hooker in handcuffs and an intruder that has fled the scene.

Janus Mickelson is put in command of the operation. But it is clear from the off, something is not at all right. The victim was shot in the stomach as distance, then momentarily later shot in each eye socket. What does it mean? Why did the killer, kill in this manner? The killer spent the time an effort to ensure no evidence this was left behind, this was not the work of an amateur but a trained killer.
Was he hired for the job?

Meanwhile, the witness Sofia dissolves into further emotional instability. Relieved to have survived an attempted savage rape, she is now faced with unorthodox treatment by the counter-terror squad. Saga is quick to bring in psychologist Jeanette Fleming to assess the witness and determine if she is too a victim.

Saga reflects back upon the previous foreign minister Anna Lindh’s murder via stabbing. She wonders if this crime scene is politically motivated at all.
If so why? And to what gain?

The counter-terror team, trace links to Salim Ratjen, who is serving a lengthy prison sentence for narcotics. Here’s the moment where Joona Linna will come back into the story. Saga asks Joona to covertly gather intel from Ratjen. A feat which is no easy task in maximum security jail, where nobody trusts anybody and Joona is well-known as an ex-cop. Will he do it? Will Joona help with the case?
After everything the police have put him through.

The novel continues with further twists and turns. It is cleverly plotted and incredibly detailed. Is it Lars Kepler’s finest novel to date? Nope, sorry! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fantastic thriller. I may have been guilty of personally putting this novel on far too high a pedestal. Initially I assumed a terrorism angle, but it is so much deeper than that.
This crime is a personal crime, a crime of revenge. 4*

LK
Lars Kepler
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Anne Bonny #BookReview It Was Her by @markhillwriter #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #DIRayDrake #Series @littlebrown The toxic family, with toxic children that hide behind a middle-class façade #ItWasHer

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It Was Her by Mark Hill
Review copy
Synopsis:

Twenty years ago, Tatia was adopted into a well-off home where she seemed happy, settled. Then the youngest boy in the family dies in an accident, and she gets the blame.

Did she do it?

Tatia is cast out, away from her remaining adopted siblings Joel and Poppy. Now she yearns for a home to call her own. So when she see families going on holiday, leaving their beautiful homes empty, there seems no harm in living their lives while they are gone. But somehow, people keep ending up dead.

Did she kill them?

As bodies start to appear in supposedly safe neighbourhoods, DI Ray Drake and DS Flick Crowley race to find the thinnest of links between the victims. But Drake’s secret past is threatening to destroy everything.

My Review:

I was a big fan of Mark Hill’s debut novel His First Lie, as a psychological thriller it worked well to have so many added twists and turns. This new release is similar in that sense, but the plotline is completely different. This time we have a new potential baddie by the name of Tatia. Can DI Ray Drake and DS Flick Crowley solve the case, whilst avoiding their own dark secrets?

One moment Will was there, and the next –

20yrs ago the Tatia Mamaladze was given the new name of Sarah and adopted into the Bliss family. Jill and Patrick Bliss are a politically ambitious couple and sought to expand their profile. However, it all went wrong one sunny day with a walk along the cliffs. Their life as they knew it was shattered and they were left to deal with the grief and pain of their 3yr son Will’s death. Siblings Poppy and Joel were ushered into the family fold, whereas Sarah was ostracised! Which left permanent scars, on her already fragile well-bring. Needless to say Tatia has never gotten over being the outcast. . .

The novel opens with the crime scene of murder victims of Simon and Melinda Harrow. They returned from their holiday early due to a work emergency, only to disrupt their burglar and were savagely beaten to death! The crime scene is a mess and there is evidence everywhere. Whoever did this is neither skilled nor even trying to hide their finger prints. The killer is brazen, with a clearly vicious temper.

‘Let’s hope Goldilocks has an alibi’ – Eddie Upson

Additionally, to the backstory of the Bliss family and present-day crimes, Flick is struggling to cope carrying the burden of Drake’s secret.
Will she expose them or keep it quiet?

The intruder murders – Goldilocks killings continue, with more victims discovered beaten to death in their own homes. When the killer eventually strikes at a home with children in bed. At the Judd residence the daughter Emily (5yrs) not only saw the killer but spoke to her and it is then revealed that the person she spoke to was female. The woman appeared caring in nature towards Emily and even tucked her back into bed after committing the murder of her parents. . .

‘Come along, Emily let me take you back to bed’

The novel then jumps from the current string of murders to the present-day Joel and Tatia. The pair live together with Tatia’s lover Carl. Joel appears immature and needy, he is submissive to Carl and lives under his rules. Tatia is protective of Joel and wants to have the ‘perfect family’. Whilst Carl is bossy and domineering. It is a bizarre set-up and one that is destined to spill over into violence.

‘Death, violence seemed to follow her everywhere’

The novels timeline moves around to show various stages in the aftermath of Will’s death. We learn that Sarah/Tatia was blamed for the death and most specifically by her adopted sister Poppy.
No matter how much she tries to impress upon Poppy, her mind is set. . .

‘Whatever deluded thought you have in your head, you are not, and never will be, part of our family’ – Poppy

The aftermath of Will’s death had huge ramifications for the family. Patrick would go onto become an alcoholic and commit suicide by hanging, to be discovered by his young son Joel. It is Tatia that continues to shoulder the blame for every misfortune that occurs to the family. But why? Is Tatia as evil as they say she is?

‘Tatia was a bad seed. Always was. Always will be’ – Poppy

This novel is a fast-paced rollercoaster of a ride. The toxic family, with toxic children that hide behind a middle-class façade builds to a dramatic ending for all concerned.
The various personalities of the Bliss family keep you guessing and guessing. It is clear to see, everything was far from bliss in that family. 4*

Mark_Hill-308
Mark Hill
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My Review for His First Lie
Q&A with Mark Hill