Anne Bonny #BookReview The Whisper Man by @writer_north Alex North 5* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller @MichaelJBooks #TheWhisperMan

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The Whisper Man by Alex North
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken . . .

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys.

Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man‘.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home.

Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window . . .

My Review ~

The whisper Man opens with a chilling prologue that reads like a confession…
‘I told you so many times that there was nothing to be afraid of. That there was no such thing as monsters
I’m sorry that I lied’

The novel opens in July, with Tom and son Jake planning on moving to a new area ten months after a tragic accident. Jake is a lonely and solitary child with imaginary friends. He appears to talk often only to himself, or is he?

‘Featherbank
It sounded like a place we would be safe

However, Featherbank has quite the disturbing history. 15yrs ago five young male victims went missing and only four returned. Frank Carter would befriend his victims, targeting neglected and vulnerable boys. He would talk to them at their bedroom window, hence the nickname The Whisper Man.
But did Frank have an accomplice?

‘There’s a monster outside my window’
‘It was whispering at my window’

Tom’s past is explored and we fully understand the reasons, he is struggling as a now single father. They move to Featherbank in the September. Unaware that a few months previously a boy named Neil went missing…

‘If you’re lonely, sad and blue, the whisper man will come for you’

A serial killer that targets vulnerable young boys at an impressionable age, using the fact that they are easy to manipulate and ultimately in his control, makes for disturbing reading. Yet despite Featherbank being much more sinister than first expected, I couldn’t take my eyes from the page.

‘A nightmare can never, ever hurt you’

There is a huge revelation on page 188, which will eventually lead us to a gripping ending. I had to read back the last 5/6 pages as I read them in such a rush.
The novel is packed full of eerie occurrence that make you question Jake and Tom’s wellbeing. Are they delusions, manifestations or grief or more frighteningly…. Real!!!! 5*

Alex North’s Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The Dangerous Kind by @deboc77 #NewRelease #Thriller #Psychological #LiteraryFiction @zaffrebooks #1in100People

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The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

Perfect for fans of Anatomy of A Scandal, He Said/She Said, and Belinda Bauer, The Dangerous Kind is at once a gripping thriller and a stunning portrayal of the monsters that live among us.

One in 100 of us is a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. We all know them: these charmers, liars and manipulators. The ones who send prickles up the back of our neck. These people hide in plain sight, they can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family.

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear?

Extract ~

I follow him across the garden and out through a gate in the wall. Away from the manor house it is dark, the night sky bloated with snow that has yet to make itself known.
We keep walking, and before long we reach the foot of a muddy hill.
He tackles the incline at speed. I do the same. The hill is steep, and by the time we reach the top we’re both panting. Ahead, a perimeter of ragged orange netting, held taut by iron posts, rings a copse. He lift s a damaged section of the netting into the air.
‘The broadband in this part of the country is rubbish.’ He nods towards the trees. ‘They’ve been digging. New cables.’
I duck underneath and he joins me on the other side. The edge of the copse is overgrown with weeds and brambles. Thorns catch on my coat as we push our way into a small clearing.
‘That’s better.’ He breathes in the cold air. ‘I can think out here.’
The moon is full but the canopied criss-cross of branches means that large patches of the clearing are in shadow. I head for the carcass of a felled tree, covered with moss: the brightest available spot. I’ve been waiting thirteen years for this moment. I want to be sure to see the look on his face.
I don’t notice the hole.
My ankle twists on the precipice. Unable to take my weight, the cliff ledge collapses beneath me and clods of earth crash into the puddles below. I scramble, trying to right myself, but the crumbling soil continues to give way. I am about to topple forwards, into the hole, when I feel his hand clamp my arm.
‘Watch it.’ He yanks me back to safety. ‘That’ll be the digging I warned you about.’
My legs are rickety. I stagger over to the mossy tree trunk and sit down, my breaths short and shallow. My bicep stings. I had forgotten about his hands. His grip. Strong enough to bruise.
He inspects the hole. ‘This must be one of the sites they have yet to fill in.’
I wait until I’ve stopped shaking, then join him at the edge. This time I make sure to keep well back.

The hole is the diameter of a child’s paddling pool and twenty feet deep, the bottom spotted with puddles. The walls are a sheer vertical drop, sliced clean where the machinery has dug down to the layers below, their surface punctuated by white knuckles, tree roots that have pushed out through the mud into thin air.
Now that my eyes have adjusted to the dark I see mounds of dirt lined up on the opposite side of the hole and that a trail of abandoned tools – spades, buckled plastic buckets and odd bits of metal – litters the ground all the way back to the edge of the copse.
‘Come on, then. Out with it.’ He steps forward into a square of moon-light. ‘Why are you here?’
I look at him, standing there in his suit and tie. His brogues are ruined, the tiny holes and scalloped edges clogged with mud. He’s in his late fifties, his features slacker than they once were, but overall he’s aged well.
He’d always dressed smartly: chinos and polo shirts, jeans with a crease pressed down the middle of each leg. But this suit looks expensive. Something about the cut and line of the shoulders, the way the material hangs flush against his shirt.
‘Because it was wrong.’ I try to sound braver than I feel. ‘What you did.
What you tried to do.’
He won’t look at me. Instead he looks slightly to the left of my head, at the trees behind. ‘Is it money? Is that what you want?’
I’d imagined this moment so often. How it would feel to see him again.
Would I be angry? Scared? Now I’m here I feel something I had never anticipated. Disappointment.
‘I told you what happened that night. You promised to help. You lied.’
He scoffs and waves his hand in the air. Filled with a new sense of purpose, he starts to pace up and down, as though he’s dictating a letter and I’m his secretary, there to take notes.
‘I saw you as a favour but now I think it best if you leave.’
‘Times have changed. Back then, no one would listen. Now they’re all ears.’
The hole gapes blackly behind him. ‘I’m going to tell them everything.’
I pause. ‘So are the others.’
He stops pacing. ‘Others?’
‘You passed us round like we were nothing. I don’t care who you are now,’ I gesture back towards the manor house, ‘or who you’re going to be. It’s time you were brought to account.’
‘Whatever it is you think you’re talking about . . .’ he lapses into silence, reaching for some memory, but it won’t come, or he discards it ‘. . . you’re mistaken.’
There is no sound. The temperature has dropped. A sudden hoar.
‘Think about your family. That’s why I’m here. To give you a chance to talk to them before it breaks.’
This was true, but it was more than that. Watching the after effects on the news, him leaving a police station with his lawyer, harried and trying to cover his face with a newspaper, would not be enough. For my own sanity, I needed to be the one to confront him, to take back that bit of control.
He looks at his feet.
I relax a little. I’ve done what I came here to do. He reacted as I’d expected but now he seems to be taking me seriously. He is almost contrite.
He turns, and for the fi rst time since I got here he looks me in the eye.
I think he is going to apologise, to try and explain, but then he raises his hand and, whiplash fast, he slaps me.

DOC
Deborah O’Connor
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Deborah O Connor Blogtour FINAL

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Have You Seen Her by Lisa Hall 5* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller #WhereIsLaurel #HaveYouSeenHer @HQStories

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Have You Seen Her by Lisa Hall
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Bonfire Night. A missing girl.

Anna only takes her eyes off Laurel for a second. She thought Laurel was following her mum through the crowds. But in a heartbeat, Laurel is gone.

Laurel’s parents are frantic. As is Anna, their nanny. But as the hours pass, and Laurel isn’t found, suspicion grows.

Someone knows what happened to Laurel. And they’re not telling.

My Review ~

Lisa Hall is the queen of the suburbia thriller! Injecting terrifying crimes/mystery’s into the lives of those whom appear to have it all.
In Have You Seen Her, we follow the case of a missing 5yr old girl named Laurel. But who is to blame Laurel’s mother of her nanny? And where was her father when she went missing?

‘Someone has taken our baby’

The novel opens with the potential abduction of Laurel at a school bonfire night event. Her parents Fran and Dominic are wracked with guilt and anxiety surrounding the whereabouts of their little girl. Anna has been Laurel’s nanny since she was just 1yrs old and she becomes determined to solve the mystery and bring Laurel home. But Anna has secrets of her own, secrets she’d rather hide from everyone…

‘It can’t happen again’

A series of characters interweave their theories into Anna’s mind and it isn’t long until she is forced to take a long hard look at the people she has been working for. Fran is self-obsessed and erratic after the disappearance, often fearing being blamed more than the possibility her daughter is dead! Dominic… well Dominic would rather be somewhere else! The parents are the type, I love to hate! Nevertheless, this doesn’t spoil the novel. It is one of those titles where it actually enhances the story and makes it feel more believable. Especially given the way the public/media has gone after some missing children’s parents.

‘Find Laurel Jessop’

The mystery continues with various scenarios and events thrown in, which makes for intense reading. The lake is dredged, a man is arrested and the blame game begins…
Who do you trust when you are surrounded by toxic people? 5*

LH
Lisa Hall
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Night By Night by @JackJordanBooks 5* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller @CorvusBooks #NightByNight

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Night By Night by Jack Jordan
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

‘If you’re reading this, I’m dead.’

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink . But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth.
But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

My Review ~

‘For those sixty minutes, she was the loneliest woman in the world’

At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to protagonist Rose Shaw, her husband Christian and two young twin daughters Lily and Violet (10yrs). We become aware that Rosie is suffering from chronic insomnia and is plagued with thoughts of how due to this she is failing her children. Her close friend Heather attempts to convince her otherwise, to no avail. But for Rosie, her obsessive and intrusive thoughts, will have to deadly consequences…

‘Motherhood came with a price: it had meant sacrificing her former self’

The novel then jumps ahead 4yrs, to after the accident. It is Lily’s 14th birthday and Rosie is struggling to emotionally connect to anyone. She feels blamed for their pain and punished by her husband. These were painful and moving scenes to read. Rose’s grief and pain felt like a punch to the chest and this is all due to the author’s exceptional skill at weaving emotionally tense scenes between the suspense.

‘I saved the wrong one’

Rose is seeing a therapist Dr William Hunter and it becomes obvious the repercussions seep into every part of Rose’s life. Rose has lost multiple relationships with family and friends. she is surviving in a life of misery and pain.

‘To outward appearances, they had stuck together after the death of their daughter. but within their home they were strangers occupying different rooms, different beds, and avoiding each other’s eyes’

One emotional day, Rose visits her mother and brother’s graves. It is then we become aware the pain in Rose’s life reaches deep into her past also. When she is knocked over by a jogger, whom drops a journal…

‘My name is Finn Matthews and if you’re reading this, I’m dead’

Finn’s dairy tells the story of being stalked and concern he is losing his mind.
The diary scenes are gripping and intense. I kept having to remind myself to breathe!

‘What had become of Finn Matthews?’

Solving Finn’s disappearance becomes an obsession for Rose. Can she find her own salvation in the solving of his case? Can Finn bring Rose the redemption she so desperately needs?

The main focus of the novel is Finn, as a man and his mysterious journal. I don’t want to risk spoilers, but we the reader are in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride. Despite her obvious problems and flaws, protagonist Rose develops into a real fierce warrior of a woman. A HUGE 5* from me!

‘Life Marks us all’

JJ
Jack Jordan
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Jack currently is hosting a UK only giveaway via Pinned Tweet HERE

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Crushed by @kate_hamer #NewRelease #LiteraryFiction #Thriller @FaberBooks

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Crushed by Kate Hamer

Synopsis ~

Phoebe stands on Pulteney Bridge, tights gashed from toe to thigh. The shock of mangled metal and blood-stained walls flashes through her mind as she tries to cover her face so she won’t be recognised. It wouldn’t do to be spotted looking like this. She’s missing a shoe. She feels sick.

Phoebe thought murder and murder happened. Thoughts are just thoughts, they said. Now she knows they were wrong.

At home, Phoebe arranges the scissors and knives so they point toward her mother’s room. She is exhausted, making sure there’s no trace of herself – not a single hair, not even her scent – left anywhere in the house. She must not let her thoughts unravel, because if they do, there’s no telling who might be caught in the crossfire, and Phoebe will have to live with the consequences.

Extract ~

Phoebe

It was a book full of hate. The words must have been scratched underground at the dawn of time. They should’ve stayed there and never come to the surface. It set it all off again.
I’ve had to come to the only place that can calm me down. The corner of Pulteney Bridge. The only thing is, I’ve lost a shoe so people keep looking. My tights have an open gash from toe to thigh, flashing bright white flesh. I try to cover my face with my hair so I won’t be recognised. Things get reported back. I don’t know where my bag has gone – perhaps I dropped it on the way and didn’t notice.
I’d been calm as the sea before that book. It may as well have come crawling towards me on its elbows, dragging its black and bursting body behind. I should have heeded the inkling I had straight away that it was a bomb about to explode.
I lean against the cool stone of the bridge and look over the water to the weir. Usually it soothes me, but not today. In this water are hidden many ancient things. Sometimes one pops out – a coin, a tin mask, a figure of a bull, a crown, a pin. People are always surprised. Why should they be? The river is at the end of a vast drain sluicing straight down from the Roman bathhouse.
The sun glints off the water. The ancient buildings look more friendly in this light. It turns their darkness the colour of honey. The trees are full of early summer and shake their leaves in the breeze. Yet despite the bright surroundings I cannot be contained this time and I have to lean further over the wall, sickness cramping my stomach.
I’d tried to explain to Grace.
‘It’s just a book,’ she said. ‘It’s just a dusty old copy with half the pages falling out because they won’t pay for new ones. What are you on about?’
Her soft blue eyes travelled from side to side as she looked behind me. Her hair is cropped close to her head. The sight of it always makes me feel tender because I know she cuts it herself. It’s so short you can see the shape of her pretty little skull. I wanted to get her attention back. I cupped my hand over my mouth and whispered to her, quoting from the text.
‘I’ve been eating on the “insane root” again. Not now. Not today. A couple of weeks ago.’
Her eyes snapped back on my face and she nodded and gave a little laugh. ‘I’m partial to a few substances myself.’ Then she frowned. ‘You want to be careful, though, you know. Stuff like that can be dangerous.’
I turned away from her. I was bored of tellings-off. I felt light and free. Nothing bad was going to happen. It was just the warm day that had made me feel there could be a bomb, and Mr Jonasson being so close. All the pieces of me that had flown out came back and began fitting themselves together safely with hardly any gaps left in between.
That’s where it should’ve stopped.
But, no. I had to take it further, didn’t I? I had to go on testing myself, trying things out.
I’ve been told once, thoughts are just that by a woman with a face that looked like a little pussy-cat. The more I stared at her the more she seemed to resemble one.
Usually my tests are of the mundane kind. If I think There will be a red car when I turn this corner, perhaps there will be one. What if I wish for blackberry ice cream on the menu and there it is? If I want that plate to fall, it might and shatter on the stone floor. If, if, if, if. The results so far have been inconclusive.
Not this time.
It must’ve been the darkness of the story that made me do it. It was to show myself it couldn’t happen, that the light and airy feeling was how things were going to be from now on. One last little time, I thought. TRY IT OUT.
Was it five or ten minutes later we heard the commotion? Perhaps I was the only one that went towards it. I slipped out and ran down the road until I saw. There was mangled
metal. Blood ran down the walls.
I froze a good few moments before I ran again.
I reach for the front door key that I wear on a heavy chain around my neck. It’s more precious to me than any piece of jewellery could ever be. Hard won. I clasp it now like a rosary. There’s probably keys down there in the water too, along with the other old Roman stuff washed down from the baths. I can almost see it all, bubbling up to the top. Statues and pendants and nails surfacing at once in a thick and filthy mass, and I feel sick again and have to lean right over the wall. A car behind me beeps, once, loudly. They thought I was about to fall, or jump. Maybe I was. I need to move, but maybe I don’t have a choice.

Orla

Well, that was sickening.
I feel shaken to the pit of my stomach as I walk away. They haven’t got enough tents to cover it all up because the blood goes right along the wall on Walcot Street. They were trying to do it in the chaos and then they made everyone drive or walk away and closed the road as quick as they could. Horrific. Stuff like this just doesn’t happen in a place like Bath. I didn’t mean to look but it’s hard not to. It was mesmerising. It’s unbelievable how much blood people have in them. The red was in a stripe coming out from the back of the plastic they’ve rigged up. I could see how it had got cemented in between the blackened old stones and I wondered how they were ever going to get it out. They’ll have to scrape right into the gaps and use hoses so there’ll be a wash of pink water swirling across the road.
Behind the yellow tape there’s people trundling around in white plastic suits now. They look so out of place against all that dirty ancient stone, it’s like flickering beings have been beamed in from the future. My heart feels like it’s never going to slow down to its usual pace. I want to cry so badly. I’m only trying to hold on until I get home. I concentrate hard on looking at the normal little things I see every day to keep me going until I can wail in my bedroom. There’s a shop of mirrors full of glitter. There’s the giant carved head looming over the undertaker’s door – Bath is full of odd things like that, carvings and statues and old buildings. When I was little I always used to whisper ‘Hello’ to the head as I passed because he looked like he was asking, ‘Is it your turn yet? Will you be next?’ And I thought starting a conversation might please him so he’d decide not to choose me. He seems to be staring extra hard and pointedly today. It must be because of what just happened. ‘Hello,’ I whisper in a trembling voice. ‘Not me right now. I’m not ready.’
By the time I get to the fruit shop with bright green plastic grass in the window, my breathing has stopped hurting so much.
How many times and in different lights and times of day have I seen all these ordinary things? Hundreds. Thousands. I try to make them take the place of what I’ve just seen.
That’s when I see Phoebe’s bag dumped in the shop doorway. The sickness returns. What’s happened to her? What’s happened to her? I pick the bag up and stand, rubbing the striped canvas between my fingers, wondering what to do. It seems strangely violent, this familiar bag being here that I’ve seen a million times, swinging on Phoebe’s shoulder, the hard outline of books showing through the fabric. It’s not exactly her dumped body but something makes me think of it. I hug it close, shaking now. God, she frightens me sometimes. It terrifies me the way she carries on. My heart lurches: what if it’s her that’s been killed on Walcot Street? What if it was her blood I saw? I close my eyes and sway, the idea being so shockingly awful. No, it can’t be. I won’t allow myself to think that. I’ll never make it back.
I hurry on, the taste of home so strong now it’s almost on my tongue. I can’t wait to collapse inside and feel safe, to phone Phoebe and make sure she’s all right. But up ahead are Belinda and her crew, and they’re walking so slowly I’ll have no choice but to pass them – it’ll look too odd if I slow down to their pace behind.
As I catch up with them their tense bright faces tighten towards me.
‘Orla, did you see it?’ Samantha’s eyes are starry with the sight of the blood. The ribbon of it in the sun is still glittering her eyes.
‘Yes. Horrible.’
We all nod even though I can see it’s put a spring in all their steps. They’ll go home and dissect it together, crouching on one of their beds with their arms around their knees and big, pointy-cornered smiles on their faces they can’t wipe off they’re so excited.
It’s such a beautiful day. The sky is a perfect blue. I have an intense longing to be off this dusty pavement with these girls clucking and mauling over the horror like they’re actually sticking their fingers into it and dabbling there. I think of our garden just down the road. It’s my favourite place in the world. Walled in on three sides and with an apple tree in the middle. In the summer, green vines crawl up the brickwork and the scent of the passion flowers passes over me. Mum and Dad aren’t really that into it so I can poke about in there to my heart’s content. Even when it’s cold I’ll sit out on the bench wrapped in a blanket. In the winter the plants have their own bare beauty with all their bones and pods showing like they’ve been turned inside out. I need to be there now.
‘Got to go.’ A wave of awkwardness washes over me. What’s wrong with me? I can’t even make a quick getaway without breaking into a terrible sweat.
‘Hey,’ Belinda calls after me. ‘What was it Grace was saying today?’
I shrug like I don’t know but I heard perfectly well. I was sitting right next to her. Someone had just read a piece out from the supplementary notes. It was Simon, I think.
‘The role of the witch is to demonstrate the female, intuitive, otherworldly power of the mind.’
And while we were all pondering it, supposedly thinking about discussion points, Grace came up with one of her own.
She said, ‘Did somebody actually write this shit?’
It wasn’t even under her breath. In a way it was kind of thrilling, like breaking the law must be.
Everyone heard but nothing happened about it. It never does. She gets away with anything because of her circumstances. Grace might be only sixteen, while Phoebe and me are seventeen, but Grace always seems by far the oldest – as if she’s twice our age and she’s been married and had three kids already.
Finally I see our house and the face of it seems like the sweetest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. As I’m trying to get the key into the lock, the door opens and I collapse inside into Mum’s arms.
‘Did you see?’ she asks. ‘Carol from church just called and told me what’s happened. She’s stuck in the traffic.’
I nod and I can feel my mouth turning down so sharp at the corners it actually hurts.
‘Oh Orla.’ She hugs me tight. ‘My darling, darling girl. I was hoping you hadn’t. I was hoping you’d never have to witness something like that.’

KH
Kate Hamer
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