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
Website
Twitter
My Review – The Special Girls

My #BlogTour #Review of #TheConfession by @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks #CrimeFiction #NewRelease 5* by @annebonnybook

 *I received an arc via Bookbridgr in return for an honest review*

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The Confession by Jo Spain
Synopsis:

SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE NOT ALL THEY SEEM…
SOMETIMES THE TRUTH HIDES A SECRET…
SOMETIMES A CONFESSION IS THE BEGINNING… NOT THE END

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. It looks like Harry’s many sins – corruption, greed, betrayal – have finally caught up with him.

An hour later the intruder, JP Carney, hands himself in, confessing to the assault. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account, but Julie remains troubled.

Has Carney’s surrender really been driven by a guilty conscience or is this confession the first calculated move in a deadly game?

My review:

This is one of them novels that has ALL the hype and it is totally and utterly deserved!
As you read the novel your opinions on the individual characters change with every chapter! At times you loathe them and at times you have so much empathy for their plights! I didn’t know if I was coming or going, with regards to the characters, but they are so engrossing, they read right up until the very last page………….

The novel opens with the scene of a barbaric and violent assault on Harry McNamara. As the reader, the scene instantly conjures up a million questions! Why did the killer strike at Harry? What is the motive? Who is the killer?

The pace of the novel then slows a little, as it details the life story of Harry and wife Julie. How they came to be married, what has occurred in Harry’s career and ultimately, why someone may hate him enough, to take a golf club to his head!!!!!

On the other side of the Irish town John Paul Carney (JP) hands him into the police station. He confesses to the crime of murder and the detectives are left baffled at to the reasoning. JP claims to have no vivid memory of the assault and admits that he simply ‘lost it’. But why what is JP’s link to Harry? Why target Harry? One thing is for certain, this was no random attack……..

The novel then details JP’s early life from childhood to adulthood. The poverty, abuse and mistreatment he has endured is laid bare, for all to see. Yet he still sticks to his original story. This continues to frustrate and rile DS Alice Moody, as she becomes convinced of a connection. Does an abusive childhood nurture a future killer?

“Seamie was a shit dad, but everyone knew the system was a cesspit for kids” – JP

JP’s internal dialogue continues to have the reader engaging with his personal story. I started to warm to his character and almost became defensive of this violent killer!!!

“What mad me this way?
I don’t know. Can you ever really know why you are the way you are?” JP

This novel has it all revenge, betrayal, loyalty, honour and unbreakable bonds. With a toxic marriage at its core, I was absolutely hooked on the blame triangle between Harry, Julie and JP.
If you are a fan of the psychological/thriller genre, then you will LOVE this novel! 5*

“Everything about that night had fate, written all over it”

JS
Jo Spain
Authors page
Twitter

Don’t miss the other blogs on the #BlogTour

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#Review The Crow Garden by @Ali_L Alison Littlewood @JoFletcherBooks @QuercusBooks #HistoricalFiction #Literary 4*

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The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood
Synopsis:

Susan Hill meets Wilkie Collins in Alison Littlewood’s latest chiller. Mad-doctor Nathaniel is obsessed with the beautiful Mrs Harleston – but is she truly delusional? Or is she hiding secrets that should never be uncovered . . . ?

Haunted by his father’s suicide, Nathaniel Kerner walks away from the highly prestigious life of a consultant to become a mad-doctor. He takes up a position at Crakethorne Asylum, but the proprietor is more interested in phrenology and his growing collection of skulls than the patients’ minds. Nathaniel’s only interesting case is Mrs Victoria Adelina – Vita – Harleston: her husband accuses her of hysteria and delusions – but she accuses him of hiding secrets far more terrible.

Nathaniel is increasingly obsessed with Vita, but when he has her mesmerised, there are unexpected results. Vita starts hearing voices, the way she used to – her grandmother always claimed they came from beyond the grave – but it also unleashes her own powers of mesmerism . . . and a desperate need to escape.

Increasingly besotted, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a world of séances and stage mesmerism in his bid to find Vita and save her.

But constantly hanging over him is this warning: that doctors are apt to catch the diseases with which they are surrounded – whether of the body or the mind . . .

My review:

Welcome to Crakethorne Asylum…………

Set in 1856, this novel offers a literary insight into the world of asylums. It details the ‘inmates’, doctors and a growing relationship between one doctor and his patient, the illusive Mrs Victoria Adelina Harleston.
Crakethorne Asylum is perfectly described, and you feel immersed inside its crumbling walls. Set in northern England, West Riding, Yorkshire. The author has done an outstanding job of portraying the opinions and attitudes held by many in the era.

“The north, despite its bluff inhabitants, austere weather and desolate landscapes, has indeed rather favoured the mad”

Dr Nathaniel Kerner is a new ‘mad doctor’ in post. He has an interesting backstory and is determined to absolve some inner guilt by creating a family legacy. Nathaniel/Nate is idealistic in his approaches and has felt inspired by the nearby York Retreat. He hopes to radicalise mental health. To do away with the notion that Bedlam Asylum has created, that all those considered ‘mad’ are lost causes with no hope of saviour.
He begins his post under the watchful eye of Dr Algernon Chettle. The Asylum houses 39 ‘inmates’ of various conditions. From epilepsy, to female hysteria and a child patient whom believes he is a dog!

“All physicians face the risk of succumbing to the diseases they battle” Dr Chettle

“Guard your mind – or you may discover one day it is entirely lost, and you may not find it again!” Dr Chettle

Mrs Harleston arrives with her husband, she has an interesting backstory and you become fascinated with her plight. Is she mentally ill? Is she manipulating the inexperienced Dr Kerner? Why is her husband so abrupt and callous towards the staff?
Mrs Harleston forms question after question, in the readers mind. But not just the reader, Dr Kerner’s fascination is also growing day by day………….

The novel details the workings of the asylum. The class structure, treatments available and meagre privileges afforded to the mentally ill. The other ‘inmates’ lives are detailed, almost as if you are reading their patient files. The chapters themselves include patients note/observations and entries from the doctor’s journals.
Which makes for brilliant reading!
Dr Chettle is obsessed with the physiology study. A study which believes a person’s afflictions can be predicted from their skull etc. A bizarre study but reflective of the era.

Dr kerner becomes convinced that talking therapy would work best with Mrs Harleston. That simply breaking down the walls of her defence, will provide a solution or cure to her current crisis.
As their conversations develop, I began to wonder, who is teaching who?

“How much of a woman’s life, do you think is spent being buried alive?” – Mrs harleston

Various therapies are explored with Mrs Harleston and each give an insight into her psyche. Her childhood, marriage and outlook on life are all fully explored. Other characters are slowly introduced into the story, they provided added deception, scandal and lies. I was glued to the page.
Then suddenly one dark evening, Mrs Harleston disappears………..

Who is the threat to Mrs Harleston? Or is she a danger to herself? Can Dr Kerner find her and return her to the asylum? Where/who would a woman with the odds stacked against her run to?

“The weight of society and authority was all on his side, what proof could I offer” Mrs Harleston

A fantastic historical fiction novel, offering an insight into mental health in the Victorian era. I think the ending is one for much discussion, but may leave some readers baffled.
I would be delighted to read more by this author!
Recommended.

AL
Alison Littlewood
Authors links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.littlewood.3?ref=tn_tnmn
Twitter: @Ali_L
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4655152.Alison_Littlewood
Website: http://www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk/

Author bio:
Alison Littlewood was raised in Penistone, South Yorkshire, and went on to attend the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (now Northumbria University). Originally she planned to study graphic design, but “missed the words too much” and switched to a joint English and History degree. She followed a career in marketing before developing her love of writing fiction.

Alison Littlewood’s latest novel is The Crow Garden, a tale of obsession set amidst Victorian asylums and séance rooms. It follows The Hidden People, a Victorian tale about the murder of a young girl suspected of being a fairy changeling. Alison’s other novels include A Cold Silence, Path of Needles, The Unquiet House and Zombie Apocalypse! Acapulcalypse Now. Her first book, A Cold Season, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club and described as ‘perfect reading for a dark winter’s night.’

Alison’s short stories have been picked for Best British Horror, The Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthologies, as well as The Best British Fantasy and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime. They have been gathered together in her collections Quieter Paths and in Five Feathered Tales, a collaboration with award-winning illustrator Daniele Serra. She won the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Short Fiction.

Alison lives with her partner Fergus in deepest Yorkshire, England, in a house of creaking doors and crooked walls. She loves exploring the hills and dales with her two hugely enthusiastic Dalmatians and has a penchant for books on folklore and weird history, Earl Grey tea and semicolons.

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Available now in Ebook and hardback.